Women in Aviation


Women have made a significant contribution to aviation since the Wright Brothers' first 12-second flight in 1903. Although their first flight was in 1908, women have slowly and progressively gained full access to military and commercial cockpits, as well as the Space Shuttle and aerospace technology. Today, women pilots fly for the airlines, fly in the military and in space, fly air races, command helicopter flights, teach students to fly, maintain jet engines, etc.


Thérèse Peltier – 17 September 1908

Thérèse Peltier (1873–1926), born Thérèse Juliette Cochet, was a French aviator, popularly believed to have been the first ever woman passenger in an airplane on 8 July 1908; she should perhaps instead be recognized as the first woman to pilot an aircraft on 17 September 1908.


Blanche Stuart Scott was the first American women to fly solo an aeroplane on 2 September 1910. On 8 March 1910, Frenchwoman Elise Deroche (1882-1919), alias Baroness Raymonde de Laroche, became the world’s first woman pilot to earn an airplane pilot licence; she received the 36th aeroplane pilot's licence issued by the Aeroclub de France, the world's first organization to issue pilot licences. On 1 August 1911, Harriet Quimby (1875-1912) became the first U.S. woman pilot to earn an Aero Club of America aviator's certificate, and on 16 April 1912, she became the first women to fly across the English Channel. By 1930, there were 200 women pilots and, by 1935, there were between 700 and 800 licensed women pilots.


Although the full impact of all women in aviation cannot be related in this page, there are some of those women whose contributions are noted in ICAO’s philatelic collection.


Mrs Hart O. Berg

Edit Berg was the spouse of Hart O. Berg, USA, the Wrights' business agent in Europe. After their feat in December 1903, the Wright brothers worked on the development of the Flyer III, a substantially improved model considered the world’s first aircraft capable of taking off and changing altitude and direction according to the pilot’s controls. Subsequently, from 1906, they contacted the American and European governments in order to sell them a truly capable aircraft. As the US Army Signal Corps and, in France, the Compagnie Générale de Navigation Aérienne showed interest in the aeroplane, but required that it be able to take a passenger, the Wright brothers equipped their Flyer III with two seats and a more powerful engine and renamed it the Wright Model A.


In 1908, Wilbur Wright left for France to demonstrate the maneuverability of the new aircraft. When Edit Berg watched Wilbur Wright demonstrate the Wright Model A at Le Mans, France, she was so thrilled by the performance that she asked Wilbur for a ride. Thus, on 7 October 1908, she became the first American woman to fly as a passenger in an airplane, soaring for two minutes and seven seconds. Seated in the right seat of the aircraft, she tied a rope securely around her skirt at her ankles to keep it from blowing in the wind during the flight. After landing, she hobbled a few steps before removing the cord. A French fashion designer watching the flight was impressed with the way Mrs Berg walked away from the aircraft with her skirt still tied. Mrs Berg was then apparently credited with inspiring the famous "Hobble Skirt" fashion; however, the French designer Paul Poirier has always claimed to have designed this type of skirt regardless of the precaution taken by Mrs Berg.


The stamp (with ICAO emblem) was issued by Cyprus on 23 October 1978 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the first motorized and controlled flight of all time by Orville Wright on 17 December 1903, as well as to highlight the thirtieth anniversary of ICAO.

This first day cover shows Wilbur Wright and Mrs Hart O. Berg in the Wright Model A biplane in 1908.

The cover is part of the album “The History of Aviation - First Day Cover Collection” (“La Collection d’Enveloppes Premier Jour de l’Histoire de L'Aviation”) containing nearly 100 different first day covers, from all over the world, issued in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the first engine-powered flight (1978), by The Franklin Philatelic Society under the auspices of FAI, the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (International Aeronautical Federation), Lausanne, Switzerland. The album cover shows the FAI emblem.


Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Charles Lindbergh and the Spirit of St. Louis

Anne Morrow Lindbergh (1906-2001) was an American author, aviator and the spouse of fellow aviator Charles Lindbergh. On 29 January 1930, her single flight of over 6 minutes qualified her the third-class, second-class and first-class glider licenses, thus becoming the first American woman to earn a first-class glider pilot's license.

Much time during the early years of the Lindbergh’s marriage was spent flying. Anne served as her husband's co-pilot, navigator and radio operator on history-making explorations, charting potential air routes for commercial airlines. They made air surveys across the continent and in the Caribbean to pioneer Pan American's air mail service. In 1931, they journeyed, in a single-engine airplane, over uncharted routes from Canada and Alaska to Japan and China. They then completed, in the same single-engine Lockheed "Sirius," a five-and-one-half-month, 30,000-mile survey of North and South Atlantic air routes in 1933. Charles Lindbergh characterized this expedition as more difficult and hazardous than his epic New York-to-Paris flight in 1927 in the "Spirit of St. Louis."

For information, it is to be noted that two American women earned a third-class glider pilot’s license as follows:

1.    Maxine Dunlap on 29 April 1929, and

2.    Peaches Wallace on 26 January 1930.





United Nations - 12 June 1978 - Safety in the Air

In recognition of Charles A. Lindbergh as a pioneer in civil aviation and in confirmation of his belief in its future, the words of Anne Morrow Lindbergh and the artistry of Ole Hamann from Denmark have been combined on the cover and lithography to create a meaningful and artistic record of the theme of this stamp issue Safety in the Air. The artwork incorporates a quotation, signed on the plate by Anne Morrow Lindbergh, under a striking painting by Ole Hamann showing a bird in flight, with several shades of blue enhanced by a lighter blue background and a blue lettering. Ole Hamann was the third Chief, United Nations Postal Administration. The above cover and lithography (numbered 102/1000) were the first WFUNA design ever to feature two contributors, i.e. Anne Morrow Lindbergh and Ole Hamann, and their signatures.

The quotation on the front of the cover and lithography is from Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s response on behalf of her late husband, to the presentation of the Edward Warner Award from ICAO on 6 November 1975: The early flyers loved flying for itself – for the freedom and beauty of the sky, the adventure of life in the air … They wanted flying to be safer and faster … My husband believed that aviation would be one of the great forces of the future to bring nations together.


Amelia Earhart

Amelia Mary Earhart (1897–1937) was a noted American aviation pioneer and author. Earhart was the first woman to receive the U.S. Distinguished Flying Cross, awarded for becoming the first aviatrix to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean (1932). She set many other records, wrote best-selling books about her flying experiences and was instrumental in the formation of The Ninety-Nines, an organization for female pilots, of which she became the first elected President. Earhart joined the faculty of the Purdue University aviation department in 1935 as a visiting faculty member to counsel women on careers and helped inspire others with her love for aviation. During an attempt to make a circumnavigation flight of the globe in 1937 in a Purdue-funded Lockheed Model 10 Electra, Earhart disappeared over the central Pacific Ocean near Howland Island.


In December of 1917, Earhart’s visit to her younger sister, who was studying in Toronto, changed her life and aviation history. By then, hundreds of Canadian wounded soldiers had returned home to Toronto, some with grave injuries. Earhart was deeply touched and hadn’t seen anything like that. So she decided to stay in Toronto and volunteered as a nurse at the Spadina Military Hospital, as part of the Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) program; there, she took great interest in listening to the injured pilots' stories. Moreover, it is during her convalescence from pneumonia in Toronto that she developed her love of flying; with fiends, she spent time at hangars and flying fields, talking to pilots and watching aerial shows.






USA, 12 December 1928 - International Conference on Civil Aeronautics (12/12/28 to 14/12/28)

and 25th Anniversary of Wright brothers’ first flight (17 December 1903)

First Day Cover – Picture showing Orville Wright, President of the Aeronautics Association, Senator Hiram Bingham, Secretary of War Dwight F. Davis, Amelia Earhart, Igor Sikorsky, Giovanni Battista Caproni (Italian aircraft manufacturer) at Kitty Hawk.

On the afternoon of 17 December 1928, the Delegates to the International Civil Aeronautics Conference arrived at the Kill Devil Hills (at Kitty Hawk, N.C., USA) memorial site, twenty-five years after the Wrights' historic flight. At two o'clock, Secretary of War Dwight F. Davis laid the cornerstone of the planned national monument at the top of the dune. Senator Hiram Bingham, president of the National Aeronautical Association, spoke and unveiled an inscribed ten-ton granite boulder, bearing a commemorative bronze plate in honour of the Wright Brothers and erected on the identical spot where their plane took off under its own power and with Orville Wright at the controls on 17 December 1903.

The Delegates' final arrival in Washington, D.C., from Kitty Hawk marked the last official activity related to the International Conference on Civil Aeronautics.


Turks and Caicos Islands - 28 February 1985 - 40th Anniversary of ICAO

Amelia Earhart's Lockheed 10E Electra (1937)



Artwork and plaque offered by the Canadian Delegation to the ICAO Staff Association on 19 May 2011:

“Amelia: A tribute to Aviation’s Women Pioneers”

The actual registration number of Earhart's Lockheed 10E Electra was NR16020.

Both numbers found on the image and the plaque are different from the actual registration number of the aircraft.


First Licensed Women Pilots

The ICAO Museum at Headquarters in Montréal pays tribute to the First Licensed Women Pilots. A set of 6 frames is exhibited, one for each region in the world.



Pictured from left to right:




Date of pilot’s license


Melody Millicent Dankwa


15 Avril 1965


Gladys Standford

New Zealand

22 December 1925


Raymonde de Laroche


8 March 1910

Middle East

Loftia Elnadi


27 September 1933

North America

Harriet Quimby

United States

1 August 1911

South America and Mexico

Amalia Celia Figueredo


1 October 1914





First Day Covers – Dated 7 December 2014.

7 December 2014 - Guyana celebrated the International Civil Aviation Day with the launching of a new souvenir sheet and first day covers in honour of women in aviation at a ceremony held at Colgrain House, Camp Street, Georgetown.


Guyana 2014 – Women in Aviation



Guyana’s unveiling of a mini-sheet of 4 stamps: Women in Aviation on 7 December 2014 (International Civil Aviation Day) at a ceremony held at Colgrain House, Camp Street, Georgetown. Below is the corresponding first day cover.

Shown on the picture: Robeson Benn (on the left), Minister of Public Works, along with Paula McAdam and Sandra Persaud unveiling the stamp. Paula McAdam (on the left) was the first female Air Traffic Controller in Guyana and has spent over 40 years in this field; Sandra Persaud (on the right) was the first female in Airport Management in Guyana.