On April 16, 1912, Harriet Quimby became the first female pilot to fly across the English Channel. She was also the first female to earn an Aero Club of America’s aviator license in August of the previous year. When she wasn’t breaking the gender barriers in the skies, she was writing screenplays for silent films directed by D. W. Griffith. Alas, less than three months after her English Channel triumph, she crashed and died while flying in the Third Annual Boston Aviation Meet, at the age of 37. "Men flyers," she once wrote, "have given the impression that aeroplaning is very perilous work, something an ordinary mortal should not dream of attempting, but when I saw how easy men flyers handle their machines, I said I could fly. Flying is a fine, dignified sport for women, it is healthy and stimulates the mind." Ms. Quimby was from Michigan originally and earned her pilot’s license in Long Island. She also sported a handmade purple flying suit, as shown in the above stamp. Purple aviator suit hoods off to you, Harriet!
Issued on: April 27, 1991
From: Plymouth, MI