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Louis Blériot was the first man to fly across the English Channel in an airplane in 1909, to huge acclaim. Three years later, an American Harriet Quimby became the first woman to achieve the same feat.
Harriet Quimby was a show-woman. She affected an image of growing up in wealth but in fact came from a poor family. She combined exemplary flying skills and courage with commercial instincts.
She used her glamorous image to attract advertisers to pay for her flying exploits.
Quimby's article for Good Housekeeping advocated “Flying [as] a fine, dignified sport for women…and there is no reason to be afraid so long as one is careful.”
Tragically, Quimby died too young, at 37. Her lasting legacy is the invention of the now-standard pilot pre-flight checklists.
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