Aviatrixes have jumped into the cockpit since the Wright brothers invented the flyer in 1903. Bessica Raiche who is credited as the “First Woman Aviator of America” flew for the first time in October 1910. Harriet Quimby was the first American woman to earn her pilot’s license in 1911. Quimby opined that “there is no reason why the aeroplane should not open up a fruitful occupation for women. I see no reason why they cannot realize handsome incomes by carrying passengers between adjacent towns, why they cannot derive incomes from parcel delivery, from taking photographs from above, or from conducting schools for flying.” She would later become the first woman to fly the English Channel in 1911. Other women included Katherine Stinson, the first woman pilot of U.S. Air Mail Staff in 1918 and Ruth Gillette who was the first woman to enter a national air race in 1925.
The technological advances in aviation allowed the United States to use airplanes during World War I. Aircraft production by 1918 had reached to 14,000 units. With the end of the war and the United States disinterest in aviation, production slowed to 263 units per year in 1922. At the end of WWI, a surplus of airplanes sold for as little as $300. With so many airplanes available, anyone interested in flying took advantage. Airplanes and aviators gained prominence at county fairs and local carnivals. They showed off their flying abilities, performing tricks and acrobatic flying while offering rides to those interested in soaring through the sky. People started to take an interest in the advantages of flying. The benefits of flight seemed endless: from mail couriers to cross country travel. As Amelia Earhart notes, “With the very rapid development of aviation, a new attitude on the part of the traveling public entered the picture. Airlines began to be accepted as a necessity, like railroads and bus lines.”
Women became a part of this growing industry. It was a time when individual women began to be accepted on their own merits. It should be recognized that only an exclusive elite were acknowledged. The general consensus deemed flying as socially inappropriate and could only be done by the strongest of women. They were often considered by the media as the new woman: the historical flapper girl with the bobbed hair, displaying her knees, while smoking, drinking, dancing, and whatever else that was deemed immoral at the time. Conversely, the ideal woman of the 1920s was above all a mother with duties and functions that exude from this position. Some women ignored this stereotype and pursued their desire to fly. Such women included prominent actress Blanche Noyes, who revealed her flight skills in the 1929 Women’s Air Derby. Other aviatrixes, such as Bessie Coleman, took advantage of barnstorming, a popular form of entertainment in which pilots would perform spectacular acts in their airplanes. By 1932, women comprised 3 percent of the total licensed pilots with 472 in the United States.
Amelia Earhart was the first female flyer to gain a prestigious status among society and is probably still the best known woman pilot in the history of aviation. She represented a dual message: that flying is safe and that women make good pilots. She was the first woman passenger and later pilot to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. She also was the first to fly solo from Honolulu to Oakland, but her most famed exploit was her trip around the world. Her famous disappearance left the world’s population mesmerized as to what happened to her. 
In the year following the disappearance of Amelia Earhart, another famed aviatrix made her mark in aviation. Jacqueline “Jackie” Cochran became the first woman to win the Bendix Cross-Country Air Race. The Bendix Race “was to aviators what the Kentucky Derby still is to horse breeders. They are both American Classics.” The prize was $30,000, a substantial sum of money in those days; however as Cochran stated, “It was the urge to do something for yourself and for aviation and not the money that drove us.” The race began in Burbank, California and finished in Cleveland, Ohio. Cochran finished in record time of eight hours, ten minutes, and thirty-one seconds.
 She was second in the world to Raymonde de la Roche who received her license in 1910.
 Harriet Quimby, “American Bird Woman” Good Housekeeping 55, no. 3 (September 1912), 315.
 William A. Schoneberger, California Wings: a History of Aviation in the Golden State (Woodland Hills, CA: Windsor Publications Inc, 1984), 94.
 Ibid, 94
 Ibid, 30
 Amelia Earhart, For the Fun of It: Random Records of My Own Flying and of Women in Aviation (NY: Brewer, Warren, & Putnam, 1932), 106.
 Claudia Oaks, United States Women in Aviation 1930-1939 (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 196), 11.
 Henry M. Holden with Captain Lori Griffith, Ladybirds: the Untold Story of Women Pilots in America (Mt. Freedom, NJ: Black Hawk Publishing Company, 1991), 38.
 Mobilizing Women, p. 73
 Earhart, 146.
 Holden, 56.
 Jacqueline Cochran and Maryann Bucknum Brinley, Jackie Cochran: An Autobiography (NY: Bantam Books, 1987), 127.
 Ibid, 127.
 Jackie Cochran entered the Bendix Race for a total of five times, winning it twice, once in 1937 in third place and coming in first in 1938. In 1937, it took Cochran in her Beechcraft D17W 10 hours, 19 minutes, 8.7 seconds with an average speed 313.327 km/hr (194.7 mph). In 1938, she flew a Seversky Pursuit with an average speed of 401.895 km/hr (249.774 mph).