1912: Aviation Feat Missed Because of Titanic Disaster
In 1911, just eight years after the airplane was invented, Harriet Quimby became the first U.S. licensed female pilot. She was so accomplished that she earned as much as $1,500 for performing in air shows. In addition to being skillful, Quimby, 36, was so cool and collected that even when her engine quit during a flight to Mexico, she was able to glide safely to a landing [source: Tyson].
In the spring of 1912, she came up with an idea for a spectacular feat. She would be the first woman to fly across the English Channel. Louis Bleriot had been the first man to do this three years earlier [source: Daniels, Hyslop and Brinkley].
As she had planned, Quimby took off from Dover, England, on the morning of April 16, 1912, and despite the fog, completed the flight and touched down on a French beach just 59 minutes later [source: Daniels, Hyslop and Brinkley, page 282]. Unfortunately, nobody paid much attention, because of the sinking of the Titanic the day before [source: History.com]. Sadly, in July of the same year, Quimby was killed in a plane crash while flying from Boston to New York [source: Tyson].