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Harriet Quimby
In the summer of  1910,  photojournalist  Harriet Quimby joined  an Aero Club that  made model airplanes.  Some of its members  were to become  notable aircraft  inventors and aviators, including A. Leo  Stevens and Lilian  Todd. The following  year, Quimby became  America’s first  licensed female pilot  and exhibition flier.  Other aviators chose  bi-planes built by  Curtiss and Wright, but Quimby once quipped that she felt it prudent to follow nature’s  design of birds, which had one set of wings.  Her training and exhibition flights were in  Bleriot-type monoplanes, copied from the  French factory-built aircraft designed by  Louis Bleriot. In the spring of 1912, Quimby arrived in  England with a goal to become the first  woman to solo across the English Channel.  Her plan was to borrow a Bleriot from the  famous French flier and make his 1909 flight  in reverse, taking off from the cliffs of Dover  at the narrowest distance over the channel to  Calais, France. Meanwhile, the European press was  preoccupied with the debut of the Star Line’s  luxury liner, RMS Titanic. On April 1, 1912,  the Titanic passed its sea trials and headed  for Southampton, England, to pick up  passengers. That same day, the skies over  the English Channel cleared just long enough for England’s famous aviator, Gustav Hamel,  to fly Eleanor Trehawke-Davies from England  to France, making her the first woman to  cross the channel by air. Although a  passenger and not at the controls, it was  enough to steal much of Quimby’s thunder.  As she waited in the south of England,  Quimby did not let the foul weather nor this  news impede her resolve. Two weeks later, with predictions for a few  days of clear weather, Quimby was eager to  make her flight. Although experienced in  monoplane types, she had never flown a  factory-built Bleriot, and missed her chances  to make test flights prior to her cross-channel  attempt. On the morning of April 15, Quimby  and the rest of the world was shocked to read that more than 1,500 people had lost their  lives when the Titanic sank after striking an  iceberg. As a New Yorker, Quimby probably  knew some of the victims personally, if not by  association as a reporter. Nevertheless, the following day, April 16, she  went forward with her own entry into the  history books. Her flight was perilous, and  others had died making the effort. Without a  parachute, safety belt or life vest, Quimby’s  only precaution was a pontoon that Bleriot  affixed to the fuselage in case of a water  landing. From the cliffs of Dover, Quimby flew  more than 25 miles in about one hour,  making a beach landing near Equihen,  France. Her flight had been perilous, in  extreme cold and over treacherous waters.
Harriet Quimby (May 11th, 1875 – July 1st, 1912)
Click thumbnail for closer detail
Exulting in her personal triumph,  Quimby returned to the U.S. several  weeks later. Headlines continued to be  dominated by the Titanic disaster, and  her achievement was not celebrated  with major recognition at the time.  Eager to join in the Harvard-Boston Air  Meet, Quimby was soon back on Long  Island and making test flights in her  newly purchased two-seat, 70hp  Bleriot. It was to be her last public  appearance. On July 1, 1912, Quimby and her  passenger were both thrust out of their  seats and fell to their deaths as she  flew an exhibition flight around the  Boston Light in Massachusetts. A  design flaw in the tail assembly was  later determined to be cause of the  sudden mid-air imbalance which  Quimby could not control. This had not  been the first accident of its type, and  Bleriot thereafter improved the elevator design.
ORIGINAL AVAILABLE ORIGINAL FOR SALE Copyright© 2011, Terry Jones Aviation Art. All rights reserved . Web Design © 2012 scaachi-by-design.
Full Size Print image size 32cm x 26cm approx. £39 ---------------------
Framed Original Oil Painting (click the above pic for larger view) 32cm x 26cm image size 50cm x 43cm inc. frame. £400 -------------------------------------------------
aviation art painting by terry jones - harriet quimby Wood frame with border and glass
The time is coming when we shall  find the means of transportation by  bird-like flights as safe and  satisfactory as transportation by  steamship or locomotive and with  still greater speed.  This is not to be  accomplished by racing or doing  circus tricks in the air at aviation  meets. - Harriet Quimby, Leslie’s  Illustrated Weekly, 1911