Saturday, August 25, 2012
Blanche Stuart Scott
Blanche Stuart Scott's parents knew they had an in-your-face woman on their hands when the automobile was invented and she was driving all over town before she was fifteen. So they sent her to finishing school in hopes that she'd come back a "lady." It didn't work.
In fact, rather than leaving the car alone, she decided, instead, to drive from New York City to San Francisco with a woman reporter as her passenger. The trip had already been made the year before by another in-your-face woman -- Alice Huyler Ramsey -- but when the Willys-Overland Company approached Scott about making the follow-up run, she didn't hesitate (a trait common to in-your-face women apparently). In any case, by the time she reached San Francisco in July of 1910, aviation pioneer Glenn Curtiss had offered her flying lessons and she was really off to the races.
In no time at all, Scott -- called "The Tomboy of the Air" -- was part of Curtiss' exhibition team, flying upside down and plummeting to the earth in "death dives," aerial nosedives that would begin at 4000 feet and only end when she pulled up the nose of the plane about 200 feet above the ground. Next, she flew sixty miles non-stop across New York in what was then a long distance flight. And followed that up by being a test pilot for Glenn Martin prototypes before the final blueprints were even drafted.
Eventually, though, Scott quit flying when it became apparent that women were not going to be allowed to be flight mechanics or engineers and the audiences became more obsessed by crashes than stunts. In-your-face women love showing off, but they're not stupid.