Valentina Tereshkova: First Woman in Space

Born in 1937 in Maslennikovo, Russia, U.S.S.R., Valentina Tereshkova became interested in parachuting as a young woman while working at a textile mill. She trained in skydiving at the local Aeroclub and made her first jump at age 22. She soon began training as a competitive parachutist. Valentina’s parachuting experience made her an ideal candidate […]

Hélène Dutrieu: First Woman to fly with a Passenger

Born in 1877 in Tournai, Belgium, Hélène’s fame originally came from her cycling career. Following in the footsteps of her older brother Eugène, a professional cyclist, she started as a professional track cyclist. She set multiple cycling speed records throughout the 1890s. Hélène began performing stunts on both bicycle and motorcycle at variety shows in […]

Jerrie Cobb: Paving the Way for Female Astronauts

Born in 1931 in Oklahoma, Jerrie was first introduced to aviation by her father, Lt. Col. William H. Cobb, who was a pilot. She rode in an airplane for the first time at the age of 12, in her father’s 1936 Waco biplane. By age 16, she was stunt flying around the Great Plains dropping […]

Ellen Church: First Female Flight Attendant

Born in Iowa in 1904, Ellen studied nursing and worked as a registered nurse in San Francisco. During her free time, she took flying lessons and earned her pilot’s license. Ellen passed by the San Francisco office of Boeing Air Transport (now United Airlines) on her route to work and decided to inquire about a […]