because the woman's place is wherever the woman is...

Monday, November 26, 2012

Edna Gardner Whyte

Edna Gardner Whyte started out as a U.S. Navy nurse, but she quit in 1935 to open her own flight school. Then, when World War II started, though she was turned away as a pilot by the military because she was a woman, she trained no less than 5000 male pilots for her former boss. The builder of two airports -- one after she turned seventy -- over time, Whyte won 127 awards for cross-country air racing, aerobatic competitions, and other daredevil flying contests.

Amassing a lifetime record of more than 35,000 hours in the air, Whyte died at ninety-years-old while still living in a house attached to a five-plane hangar. Her book, entitled Rising Above It, discusses, among other things, the struggles she faced -- and overcame -- because she was a woman who loved to fly. "Just all of you watch me," she was quoted as saying while facing down her detractors early in her career  "I'll show you what a woman can do...I'll go across the country, I'll race to the Moon...I'll never look back." And she didn't. How in-your-face of her.

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