How it feels to fly | Harriet Quimby (1875-1912) | America's First Lady of the Air

 Harriet Quimby in the Moisant monoplane, 1911

"Everyone asks me 'how it feels to fly.' It feels like riding in a high powered automobile, minus
 bumping over the rough roads, continually signaling to clear the way and keeping a watchful 
on the speedometer to see that you do not exceed the speed limit and provoke the wrath of
 the bicycle policeman or the covetous constable."

"The speed with which an aviator flies and the strong currents created by the rapidly 
revolving propeller directly in front of the diver compel the latter to be warmly clad. There 
must be no flapping ends to catch in the multitudinous wires surrounding the driver's seat. 
The feet and legs must be free, so that one can readily manipulate the steering apparatus..."

 Harriet Quimby in the cockpit of her plane in the USA, 1911

"The men flyers have given out the impression that aeroplaning is very perilous work, 
something that an ordinary mortal should not dream of attempting. But when I saw how
 easily the man flyers manipulated their machines I said I could fly."

"I was annoyed from the start by the attitude of doubt on the part of the spectators that I 
would never really make the flight. They knew I had never used the machine before, and
 probably thought I would find some excuse at the last moment to back out of the flight. 
This attitude made me more determined than ever to succeed."

 Harriet Quimby

Harriet Quimby in front of the Bleriot when she became the first woman to fly across the English Channel.
Harriet Quimby, 1912

"If a woman wants to fly, first of all she must, of course, abandon skirts and don a 
knickerbockers uniform… There must be no flapping ends to catch in the 
multitudinous wires surrouding the driver’s seat." 

Harriet Quimby


* Quimby was also known for flying in her purple satin flying suit.


Harriet Quimby (1875 – 1912) was an American pioneering aviator, journalist, and film screenwriter.

On April 16, 1912 Harriet Quimby flew from Dover to Équiphen-Plage (Pas-de-Calais), making 
her the first woman to fly an aircraft across the English channel. This gained her world-wide
 recognition.

There is little know about the early life from Harriet; we don't even know for sure when 
she was born. It is assumed she was born on May 1, 1875 in Coldwater, Michigan (USA). 
We do know however that by 1902, she and her family were living in California. In the
 same year, she became a writer for the journal Dramatic Review. A year later, Harriet 
moved to New York City and started working for Leslie's Weekly as a drama critic.

Harriet later became interested in aviation. She started classes at the Moisant School of 
Aviation at Hempstaed (Long Island). On August 1, 1911, Harriet became the first woman
 to qualify for a license from the Aero Club of America (the U.S. branch of the Fédération
 Aéronautique International). This made her the second licensed woman pilot in the world 
(first licensed woman: baroness de la Roche). On April 16, 1912, Harriet flew from Dover 
to the continent, making her the first woman to do so. Unfortunately, on July 1 of the same 
year, Harriet lost control when flying her Blériot over Dorchester Bay. Both she and her 
passenger were killed in this accident. Eventhough Harriet died young, she still influenced 
the role of women in aviation.

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