“Out of roughly 29 million adult women in America in 1928, less than a dozen had pilot’s licenses on file with the U.S. Department of Commerce.”
I love reading books about the lesser-known parts of history and Fly Girls falls right into that category. Early in aviation history, women were making strides alongside men, even though they were often thought of as being not able to fly as well. Amelia Earhart is well-known, but there were other aviators who helped pave her way or flew alongside her to further the advancement of women in aviation. Aviation is a career field where everyone has an even playing field, no matter what gender, race or finances. Either you learn and have the skill to fly or you don’t. Yet, women had to fight to be able to participate in plan races with men.
I don’t remember exactly where I first saw this book, but I knew it was a book I wanted to read. I didn’t have to wait long for it to become available once I requested it from our local library through the Libby app.
I read through Fly Girls fairly fast because it was truly interesting. The book follows five women aviators: Florence Klingensmith, Ruth Elder, Amelia Earhart, Ruth Nichols and Louise Thaden. They should all be well-known for their aviation pursuits, all while being businesswoman, wives and/or mothers. The book tells of how they each became fascinated with aviation and how they pursued their dreams. They came together to form a pilots’ organization just for women and helped each other with flights and races when they could. Living in Ohio, the history of the Wright brothers makes aviation history a local focus.
I would encourage any lover of history to read Fly Girls, but especially women and young girls middle school age or older. The women’s stories are inspirational and remind the reader that anyone can accomplish any dream when they’re willing to risk everything for it. One of my favorite stories was of Olive Ann Beech, who ran Beechcraft after her husband died.