US Stamps

Born April 8: Blanche Stuart Scott

Apr 8, 2015, 1 AM

A 28¢ stamp issued in 1980 honors pioneer pilot Blanche Stuart Scott, who was born April 8, 1885.

Blanche Stuart "Betty" Scott, the first female professional pilot in the United States, was born April 8, 1889, in Rochester, N.Y.

Scott was probably the first woman in history to pilot a solo flight, but the records of who flew solo first — Scott or Wisconsin businesswoman Bessica Raiche — are inconclusive. Raiche flew her homemade craft on Sept. 16, 1910; the date of Scott's flight is believed to be earlier in the same month, but the documentation has been lost.

In its description of the 28¢ airmail stamp honoring Scott issued in 1980 (Scott C99), the United States Postal Service didn't equivocate, however, describing her as "a pioneer pilot and the first American woman to make a solo flight."

Scott was often described as a tomboy and a daredevil, driving an automobile around Rochester at age 13. At age 21 she drove cross-country from New York to San Francisco in a little over two months, accompanied only by a female journalist who didn't drive.

That same year, 1910, she began taking flying lessons from famed aviator Glenn H. Curtiss, and joined an aerial exhibition team soon after.

Scott retired from her flying career in 1916, and worked in radio and as a filmwriter. She later became a consultant for the U.S. Air Force Museum at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.