Georgia (Tiny) Broadwick was the first woman to parachute from an airplane. The American got her start in 1907 as the Doll Girl barnstorming with The Broadwicks and their Famous French Aeronauts. Her first successful parachute jump was on June 21, 1913. Tiny was an honorary 99 of the Long Beach chapter. By the time of her last jump in 1922, Tiny had parachuted over 1,000 times!
The 99s Museum of Women Pilots features exhibitions on female aviators from the earliest days to the present. Harriet Quimby and Matilde Moisant received their pilots’ licenses in 1911. These brave women took to the skies before women had the right to vote. Harriet Quimby went on to become the first woman to fly across the English Channel in 1912. Sadly, Harriet died in a plane crash that same year, and shortly after Matilde stopped flying. Many other women followed in their footsteps, picked up the torch and took to the sky.
Bessie Coleman was inspired to fly after hearing the stories of pilots returning from World War I. Unable to procure flying lessons in the United States due racial discrimination, Bessie saved her money and went to France to learn to fly. She received her license on June 15, 1921; when she returned to the States she had a successful barnstorming career. A early champion of civil rights, she had dreams of starting her own aviation school for the instruction of African American pilots, and she refused to perform at airshows unless audiences were desegregated. On April 30, 1926, Bessie and her mechanic took to the skies. The mechanic was flying that day, but lost control of the plane. Bessie fell from the open cockpit plane and did not survive. Her accomplishments were many and her legacy of being a pioneer in aviation and equal rights for both women and African Americans lives on today.