10 Most Famous Female Pilots

Throughout the history of aviation, numerous remarkable women have defied stereotypes and societal norms to leave an indelible mark on the world of flight.

From soaring through the skies in the early days of aviation to reaching the stars in space exploration, these pioneering women have shattered glass ceilings and inspired generations to come.

In this article, we will delve into the lives and accomplishments of some of the most famous female pilots and astronauts who have contributed to the rich tapestry of aviation history.

Their stories serve as a testament to the power of determination, passion, and the unyielding spirit of adventure. Join us as we celebrate the trailblazers who reached for the skies and beyond.

Famous Female Pilots

1. Amelia Earhart (1897-1937)

Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart was an American aviator and one of the most iconic figures in aviation history. She was born on July 24, 1897, in Atchison, Kansas, and disappeared on July 2, 1937, during her attempt to circumnavigate the globe.

Earhart was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, completing the historic journey in 1932. She set numerous aviation records and championed the cause of women in aviation.

Her disappearance over the Pacific Ocean remains one of the greatest mysteries in aviation history.

2. Bessie Coleman (1892-1926)

Bessie Coleman

Bessie Coleman was an African American aviator who broke racial and gender barriers to become the first woman of African descent and the first Native American woman to hold a pilot’s license.

Also Read: Famous Test Pilots

She was born on January 26, 1892, in Atlanta, Texas, and tragically died in a plane crash on April 30, 1926. Facing discrimination and limited opportunities in the United States, Coleman went to

France to earn her pilot’s license in 1921. She became a pioneering figure in aviation and an inspiration to many.

3. Jacqueline Cochran (1906-1980)

Jacqueline Cochran

Jacqueline Cochran was an American aviator who achieved numerous records and milestones in aviation. She was born on May 11, 1906, in Muscogee, Florida, and passed away on August 9, 1980.

Cochran was the first woman to break the sound barrier and held more speed, altitude, and distance records than any other pilot, male or female, during her career.

Also Read: Most Famous African American Pilots

She played a pivotal role in advocating for women’s contributions to aviation and was instrumental in the formation of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) during World War II, where she served as a director. Cochran’s contributions to aviation earned her numerous awards and honors.

4. Harriet Quimby (1875-1912)

Harriet Quimby

Harriet Quimby was an early American aviator and a trailblazer for women in aviation. She was born on May 11, 1875, in Arcadia, Michigan, and tragically died in a plane crash on July 1, 1912.

Harriet Quimby is perhaps best known for being the first American woman to earn a pilot’s license, which she obtained in 1911. She was also known for her daring stunts and exhibitions.

One of her most notable achievements was becoming the first woman to fly solo across the English Channel in April 1912, a feat that earned her international recognition as an aviation pioneer.

5. Jerrie Mock (1925-2014)

Jerrie Mock

Jerrie Mock, whose full name was Geraldine “Jerrie” Fredritz Mock, was an American pilot and the first woman to fly solo around the world. She was born on November 22, 1925, in Newark, Ohio, and passed away on September 30, 2014.

In 1964, Jerrie Mock embarked on her historic journey, flying a single-engine Cessna 180 named the “Spirit of Columbus” around the globe. Her flight took her 29 days, 11 hours, and 59 minutes, making her a pioneering figure in aviation history.

6. Valentina Tereshkova (born 1937)

Valentina Tereshkova

Valentina Tereshkova is a Russian cosmonaut who made history by becoming the first woman to travel into space. She was born on March 6, 1937, in Maslennikovo, Russia. On June 16, 1963, aboard the Vostok 6 spacecraft, Tereshkova orbited the Earth 48 times during her mission, which lasted nearly three days.

Her journey marked a significant milestone in the history of space exploration and women’s contributions to it. Valentina Tereshkova remains an inspirational figure in both the field of aviation and space exploration.

7. Eileen Collins (born 1956)

Eileen Collins

Eileen Collins is an American astronaut and former NASA astronaut. She was born on November 19, 1956, in Elmira, New York. Collins made history as the first female Space Shuttle pilot and later became the first female Space Shuttle commander.

Her notable missions include commanding the Space Shuttle Columbia in 1999 and the Space Shuttle Discovery in 2005. Eileen Collins played a significant role in NASA’s space exploration programs and was a trailblazer for women in space.

8. Anne Morrow Lindbergh (1906-2001)

Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Anne Morrow Lindbergh was an American author and aviator, known for her literary works as well as her contributions to aviation alongside her husband, Charles Lindbergh.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh accompanied Charles Lindbergh on many of his pioneering flights and wrote about her experiences in books such as “North to the Orient” and “Listen! The Wind.” She was not only a writer but also a pioneering aviator in her own right.

She was born on June 22, 1906, in Englewood, New Jersey, and passed away on February 7, 2001.

9. Jean Batten (1909-1982)

Jean Batten

Jean Batten was a pioneering New Zealand aviator who achieved international fame for her long-distance solo flights in the 1930s. She was born on September 15, 1909, in Rotorua, New Zealand, and passed away on November 22, 1982.

Batten is best known for her record-breaking flights, including the first solo flight from England to New Zealand in 1936.

She set multiple speed and distance records during her career, earning her the nickname “Greta Garbo of the Skies” for her media-shy nature and her remarkable achievements in aviation.

10. Hélène Dutrieu (1877-1961)

Hélène Dutrieu

Hélène Dutrieu was a Belgian aviator and an early figure in the world of aviation. She was born on July 10, 1877, in Tournai, Belgium, and passed away on June 26, 1961. Dutrieu was known for her daring stunts and long-distance flights during the early 20th century.

She participated in various aviation events, including air races and exhibitions. Hélène Dutrieu was not only a pilot but also a competitive cyclist and an accomplished sportswoman. Her contributions to early aviation helped pave the way for future generations of female pilots.