The women of early aviation

Listen 49:02

Guests: Keith O’Brien, Bonnie Tiburzi Caputo

Air shows of the 1920s and 1930s were competitive, dangerous and often deadly events. Hundreds of thousands of spectators watched pilots race through the skies in rickety, single-propeller, open-cockpit planes and crashes were common. It was a sport not welcoming to women but that didn’t stop Amelia Earhart, Ruth Nichols, Louise Thaden, Ruth Elder, and Florence Klingensmith from taking to the skies and breaking records crossing oceans and continents. KEITH O’BRIEN chronicles these pioneers in his new book, Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History. We talk with O’Brien about these fearless women who were a part of the early days of aviation, and their struggle to fly in a male-dominated field. And we hear from BONNIE TIBURZI CAPUTO, the first woman to be hired by a major US airline in 1973, about her experience breaking into aviation.

WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal