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Blanche Stuart Scott

Born: 8-Apr-1885 [1]
Birthplace: Rochester, NY
Died: 12-Jan-1970
Location of death: Rochester, NY
Cause of death: unspecified
Remains: Cremated, Mount Hope Cemetery, Rochester, NY

Gender: Female
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Aviator, Daredevil

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Auto and air daredevil

Blanche Stuart Scott was raised in an upper-income family, and her father gave her a new automobile for her 13th birthday. A license was not yet required to drive, and over the next several years Scott became a local celebrity as Rochester's only girl driver. As a young woman she moved to New York City, where she made headlines as the first auto saleswoman, and at 24 she was contracted by a major automaker, the Willys-Overland Motor Company, to drive across America in a publicity stunt. Accompanied by a female reporter, Scott drove 5,393 miles from New York to California (of which only 220 miles were on paved roads) making stops all along the way at Willys-Overland dealerships.

By the end of her journey she was nationally famous, and to extend her fame Scott enrolled in Glenn Curtiss's Curtiss Flying School. While practicing ground taxiing, a gust of wind lifted Scott and her 33-horsepower biplane about forty feet into the air, making her arguably (see Bessica Raiche) the first American woman pilot to fly solo. The exact dates are obscured, as contemporary news accounts differed and many of Scott's papers were destroyed in a fire, but she is widely credited as the first woman to pilot a long-distance flight (1911) and the first woman test pilot (1912), after she was hired to fly Glenn L. Martin's experimental planes. She spent six years barnstorming as a stunt flier on the aerial exhibition circuit, before retiring from air shows after being seriously injured in a daredevil mishap. She later worked in radio, and as a public relations spokeswoman for the U.S. Air Force Museum near Dayton, Ohio. On 6 September 1948 she became the first woman to fly in a military jet, riding with pilot Chuck Yeager in an Air Force T-33. She never applied for a pilot's license, and was said to have never had a driver's license either.

[1] Scott frequently lied to publicists and reporters about her age, and some sources cite her birth year as 1889.

Father: John Scott (hoof paste manufacturer)
Mother: Belle Scott
Husband: (three marriages)

    Plane Crash Madison, WI (31-May-1913)
    National Women's Hall of Fame 2005

Appears on postage stamps:
USA, Scott #C99 (28, depicting Scott in front of biplane, issued 30-Dec-1980)

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