About Harriet Quimby Day
Although the name Amelia Earhart is perhaps a better-known name when it comes to women and flying, Harriet Quimby deserves just as much recognition, as on August 2nd 1911, Quimby became the first woman to receive a pilot’s license.
Harriet Quimby was born on May 11th 1875 in Arcadia, Michigan. Originally a journalist, she moved to New York City in 1903 after taking a job as a theater critic for Leslie’s Illustrated Weekly.
In 1910, she went to the Belmont Park International Aviation Tournament on Long Island. There, she met the pilot John Moisant, who encouraged Quimby to apply for her pilot’s license. On August 1st 1911, Quimby took the test and, the next day, she became the first U.S. woman to earn an aviator’s certificate from the Aero Club of America.
Less than a year later, on April 16th 1912, Qumiby became the first woman to fly across the English Channel — a feat that got little media attention as the Titanic had sunk the day before.
A few months later Quimby went to Massachusetts to fly in the Third Annual Boston Aviation Meet. It was there, during her flight, that Quimby’s plane pitched forward for unknown reasons. She and the other passenger — William Willard, the organizer of the event — fell to their deaths.
Despite the unfortunate circumstances of Quimby’s death, she is still remembered as an important figure both in the history of flight and the history of women.