Thursday, December 29, 2016

WASP Museum Press Release - Vultee BT-13

I'm sharing the entire press release, let's see how it appears on my blog.

I have some exciting news to share with you, today.
Recently, I received a phone call from Captain Jim Johns of the American Aviation Heritage Foundation asking if I would accept a restored Vultee BT-13 as a gift. Vultee BT-13 in Flight During WWII
This is the same model that Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) like Elizabeth (Liz) "Betty" Wall Strohfus trained on and flew during WWII!
I'm sure you'll be pleased to know that I said yes.
Maintaining a 1943 airplane and keeping it in flying condition is a huge commitment, but I said yes because I know that I can count on dedicated WASP supporters like you to help.
Barbara, I'm sure you know just how important having an airworthy BT-13 (one of the few still flying today) is to keeping the memory of the WASP alive for future generations.
This magnificent airplane will fly across the country bringing the inspiring story of the Women Airforce Service Pilots to life for young people, who otherwise would never learn how the WASP forever changed the role of women in aviation (because they are too often left out of American history).
Vultee BT-13
As you can imagine, maintaining this magnificent warbird in airworthy condition will cost thousands of dollars - but I hope you'll agree that it's worth every penny.
It will be the gift that keeps on giving... educating future generations of Americans on the important role the WASP played in America's victory in WWII.
But not without your help.
Captain James Johns, Board Member, Aviation Heritage FoundationThis magnificent BT-13 will be the centerpiece of our efforts to keep the memory of the WASP alive by inspiring future generations of Americans with their story.
So critical is this plane to our mission, that Captain Jim Johns (US Army Aviation, Retired) dedicated countless hours in search of a BT-13 to restore in honor of the WASP.
We are so grateful to the American Aviation Heritage Foundation and their volunteers who have donated their time and talents to restore this magnificent aircraft to help carry on the legacy of these brave, pioneering women who dropped everything to answer the call to serve when their country needed them.
When the restoration began, they declared, "This One's for the Girls!"
After 5 years of restoration, Captain Johns and his volunteers expect to have our BT-13 ready to make the flight home from Minnesota to Texas in early Spring!
It will cost us $3,375 annually to carry airplane insurance and liabilty. Required annual inspections will cost between $1,500 and $2,000 per year to keep her flying. And it will cost $562 in fuel just to fly her one time from Minnesota to Texas (aviation fuel can be as costly as $8 per gallon/$9 in larger metropolitan areas).
To help us reach our goal of $14,587 by year end, would you send a gift of:
  • $281 - Covers one month of insurance;
  • $150 - One-tenth of the cost for an annual inspection;
  • $73 - Representative of the number of years it's been since the WASP flew BT-13's at Avenger Field;
  • $38 - One dollar for each WASP who died in service to her country; or
  • $19.42 - Representative of the year the WASP first took flight.
Liz with the BT-13As a thank you to the first 150 people to send in a donation of $72 or more, I will send you a copy of "And Still Flying... The Life and Times of Elizabeth (Liz) 'Betty' Wall."
You have been so generous to support the WASP Museum in the past, so I hope I can count on you to help bring this very special plane home where it belongs.
With your help, our BT-13 will serve as a testament to the heroism and bravery of the 1,102 women who put their own lives on hold and on the line to serve our country at its greatest time of need.
  This One's For the Girls!

Carol Cain, Associate Director
Carol Cain, Associate Director
National WASP WWII Museum
P.S. Don't delay! The first 150 to send in a gift of $72 or more will receive "And Still Flying... The Life and Times of Elizabeth 'Betty' Wall" as a thank you.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Sad news from Afghanistan - first woman AirForce pilot not safe in her own country

Here's the link to the news from CNN:

And here's the first three paragraphs of the article:
(CNN)Three years ago, Niloofar Rahmani became the first woman to earn her wings in Afghanistan's air force. But her place in history as an international symbol of female empowerment and courage has effectively cost her the ability to live in her homeland.
Now, she's seeking asylum in the United States. 
Capt. Rahmani said it's no longer safe for her to live in Afghanistan. Her attorney, Kimberly Motley, said her client has received numerous threats from insurgents and condemnation from government officials.
 It's definitely hard to empower women in hard-line Muslim countries like Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia. (Women in Saudia Arabia can't drive, can't leave home without a male relative, etc.)

I remember in one of the Olympics, there was a Muslim woman competitor from one of these hard-line Islamic countries - clothed from head to toe while she ran a marathon or something. Lots of people were proud of her, but not anyone in her own country who believed she brought disgrace on womanhood by running in front of a bunch of men. She should have been home where she belonged....

Sunday, December 18, 2016

3 free downloads available from

At the time of this posting I'm offering three free downloads on my website,

They are all PDFs.

One is the Storybook Version of the 1969 Powder Puff Derby, featuring Steve Canyon's sister and pilot Bitsy Beekman. Milton Caniff wrote it especially for the PPD, or All Woman Transcontinental Air Race of 1969.

One is an illustrated guide to all 100 of the Smithsonian Institutions Milestones of Flight series. Includes an image of the cachet/first day cover, and text on each cover.

The third is a PDF of Linda Finch's first newsletter for her 1997 World Flight, in which she recreated and completed Amelia Earhart's final flight in a restored Lockheed Electra.

So please check them out.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

John Glenn has died.

Here's a link to the news article regarding his death. At the age of 95 - that's a long, full life!

John Glenn NASA Astronaut
John Glenn became the oldest person to go into space, at age 77, on October 29, 1998 when he was part of Discovery's STS-95 mission. He had "won his seat on the Shuttle flight by lobbying NASA for two years to fly as a human guinea pig for geriatric studies.

This prompted Jerrie Cobb to urge NASA to let her go into space.

Jerrie Cobb was one of the Mercury 13 - a group of 13 woman who took all the tests that the male astronauts did during the Mercury program, and passed them, but were denied the opportunity to go into space.

Unfortunately, NASA turned her down.

Monday, December 5, 2016

She's the first local Malay woman to become a commercial pilot

Here's an article from a Singapore online newspaper from two days ago

She's the first local Malay woman to become a commercial pilot

SINGAPORE - Commercial pilot Farhain Abu Bakar is making waves in the aviation sector, a largely male-dominated industry.

Ms Farhain, 29, who flies with Scoot-Tigerair, was recently promoted to first officer. She is the first local Malay woman to become a commercial pilot, according to Berita Harian. 

She was profiled in the Malay newspaper last Sunday (Nov 27), and is one of 17 female pilots in Scoot and Tigerair, which have a combined pilot roster of 399. 

Singapore is an up-and-coming economy - one of the most profitable and largest in Asia. In their aviation sector, women pilots make up only 1% of the pilot force.

She's a "first officer," not a captain, which means she doesn't sit in the "left seat" or "captain's seat" but it's progress.

Of course reaching the position of First Officer is only 10% of the battle. Will her male compatriots treat her with respect or make things difficult for her? Will passengers throw a fit if they learn their co-pilot is a woman?

Time will tell.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Women pilot Lucknow's first Metro run (passenger trains, India)

is the link to a news story from the Times of India stating that two women train "pilots" were given the job of piloting this Lucknow Metro.

India is a country that's not that kind to women, for all that supposedly there are more women doctors in India then there are in the United States. India has that "Untouchables" thing going on, as well as the "Dowry" thing going on, where if a woman doesn't have a dowry she can't get a husband, etc. (Easiest solution to that would be to abolish the dowry system, but I guess it's "cultural."

I'm sharing this story here because it's very much a part of The Freedom Stea ethos - women sitting in the command chair and proving their mettle.

A couple of days ago I did a search on "Women Pilots' from 1900 to 1910, at the digitized newspaper repository,  because I wanted to see when the term "pilot" for the pilot of a plane first came into use - the Wright brothers referred to themselves as "operators" and in France they were "aviatiors."

I was shocked to find - in the headlines - mentions of "women pilots" as early as 1907 - well before the first women had taken to the skies.

Turns out the news articles were referring to *steamboat* pilots. In the early 1900s there were a handful of women pilots of steamboats - in fact the term pilot itself, used for everything else, has its originations in nautical activity.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Two women pilots for Zeppelin craft

I've been researching women balloonists. From 1890 to 1900, at least one woman balloonist (they'd work at fairs and would go up in balloons only to perform on a trapeze underneath the balloon and then jump by parachute 2,000 feet to the ground.)

From there I segued to doing a bit of research on dirigibles (so called because "dirigible" is French for "direction," and being able to direct a dirigible via engine and steering apparatus is what differentiates a hot air or hydrogen balloon from a dirigible).

As of 2012 when this article was written, there were two female Zeppelin pilots in the world, one in the United States and one in Germany:

From General Aviation News, June 14, 2012 by : America’s first female Zeppelin pilot takes off
Andrea Deyling has joined Airship Ventures in the San Francisco Bay area as an airship pilot, becoming America’s first female Zeppelin pilot. A licensed LTA pilot, Deyling has been training on the Zeppelin Eureka since November 2011 and officially earned her Zeppelin qualification this month.  
In climbing into the left seat of the world’s largest passenger airship, Deyling becomes the 22nd pilot qualified to fly the Zeppelin NT. There is only one other female pilot in this elite group, Katharine Board, who had previously piloted Eureka and now pilots a Zeppelin NT in Germany.
Sadly, as I just learned when I checked out Airship Ventures website,  the company ceased operations six months later.

They have a legacy site: Airship Ventures.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Flyin' Jenny World War II comic strip

I'm working on my Powerpoint presention, The Freedom Seat: A History of Women in Aviation, which I'll teaching February 25 and March 4 at Laramie County Community College, for the LIFE (Learning is for Everyone) program.

I'll be giving this and other seminars about women in aviation and automobiling history at LCCC and other venues in the Rocky Mountains from now on.

So, while working on my presentation, I decided I'd include a bit of information on the history of lighter-than-air craft - namely women pilots of balloons and dirigibles prior to 1903.

I have an account with, and did a search on Aida de Acosta, the 19-year-old girl who flew Alberto Santos-Dumont's dirigible across Paris in May 1903, thus becoming the first American and the first woman to pilot a powered, controlled, lighter-than-air craft.

There was an article on Aida de Acosta in a 1933 newspaper, and above that article was a comic strip, Tailspin Tommy, featuring a male adventurer and pilot, Tailspin Tommy. Funnily enough, the comic strip featured a "strong" female character (at least in this particular installment) whom Tailspin Tommy entrusts with a gun and orders her, "If anyone comes, shoot!" And he apparently expects that she'll do it!

In the next panel, the character says, "I don't like being ordered around, but because it's Tailspin Tommy, I like it."  Well, that's a paraphrase, but you get the idea.

Anyway, at the Wikipedia page for Tailspin Tommy, the author of that entry listed other aviation-based comic strips including Flyin' Jenny. (The title is an in-joke - the Flying Jenny is the nickname of a plane, the Curtiss JN-4 known as a Jenny.)

I'd never heard of this comic strip before, which debuted at the start of WWII and saw the female pilot "a test pilot at the Starcraft Aviation Factory, Jenny encountered spies, saboteurs and criminals. Since the strip began simultaneously with the start of World War II, Jenny was active in wartime escapades."

That page had a link to a comic strip encyclopedia, and on the Flyin' Jenny page there, there was a mention of a strip called Connie, which was actually the first woman-as-pilot comic strip ever. That strip debuted in 1927.

Connie the pilot
There are a few Flyin' Jennie comic strip Sunday strips available at eBay, and I'll probably pick up a few to use as displays for my seminars.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Freedom Seat Seminars website is now live!

I've got a lot more stuff to add to the site - I'll be sharing photos of my collection of women-in-aviation memorabilia, sample chapters of the book I'm writing and so on, but I decided I may as well make it live now.

The first seminars I'll be teaching will be at Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne, Wyoming, February 25 and March 4.

Front page of The Freedom Seat Seminars website.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The women pilots that history forgot

On November 15, 2016, Karla Pequenino of CNN had an article published in their Best of Travel section called "The women pilots that history forgot."
Here are the first three paragraphs:
More than 100 years after Harriet Quimby broke down barriers as the first woman to earn a pilot certificate, there are still very few women who choose flying as a career.
Worldwide, only 3% of airline pilots are women, the Royal Aeronautical Society said earlier this month.
Now, there's a move to change that."
Aviator Penny Hamilton has established an project called Teaching Women to Fly in an effort to encourage more women to go after a career as an airline pilot.

Author Laurie Norato has researched women pilots for a new book called Crossing the Horizon which was published in October 2016.. It's a novelized version of history - about three women and their co-pilots who attempted to fly across the Atlantic Ocean (before Amelia Earhart finally succeeded
The book can be purchased from Amazon, Barns & Noble, and other retailers.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Profile: Alma Heflin - first American woman Test Pilot

Alma Heflin was born on September 2, 1910 in Winona, Missouri, and died in 2000. Her father was Irvin Heflin, her mother Nora Heflin nee Kelley.
Heflin learned to fly in 1934. While not flying, she earned a bachelor’s degree from Eastern Washington College in 1936.
In 1940, she and a friend, Margie McQuin, took a Piper Cub called Mister Shrdlu on a vacation to Alaska. She wrote an account of their trip in Adventure Was the Compass, published in 1942.
First of 6-page comic book story featuring Alma Heflin
She went to work as a test pilot for the Piper Aircraft Company, and test flew the Piper Cub. Her first flight as a test pilot was of a single wing two-seater on November 12, 1941. She also became the editor of Cub Flyer magazine.  

From Click Magazine
In 1943 when the WASP sent out a call for women pilots, Alma Heflin joined, but did not complete the program.

After the end of the war, she went on to earn her Master’s degree in Education from Eastern Washington College in 1949.
In 1949 she also published a second book, the semi-autobiographical novel Merry Makes a Choice, and in the same year married an Air Force Pilot named McCormick.
In 1953, Alma founded a department for helping severely mentally disabled children in the Tri-City Public Schools in Richland, Washington. In 1955 she was the co-founder and direction of the Adastra School for Gifted Children in Seattle, which she ran until 1964.
She went on to earn her PhD at Clayton University in 1977, and continued her career as a child psychologist.
A chapter of her book Adventure was the Compass can be found in the book Into the Blue: American Writing on Aviation and Spaceflight, edited by Joseph J. Com.  You can read it here:
Profile: Prabook
Test-pilots (Popular Mechanics, digitized at Google Books)

Monday, October 24, 2016

Airport History: Cheyenne Regional Airport Historical Markers

The Cheyenne Regional Airport in Cheyenne, Wyoming has been in existence since 1920. It's located on the east/right hand corner of the one way going north Warren Avenue (Highway 85/Greeley Highway) and 8th Avenue.

I'll be writing more about this airport in future posts, but for now I'm going to share the information available from the three two-sided historical markers that are placed about the facility.

Cheyenne Regional AIrport: Jerry Olson Field

As you turn right from Warren Avenue onto 8th Avenue, you'll drive an 8th of a mile or so (past the sign above)  to turn left into the airport parking lot. The first marker you see explains why the Cheyenne Air Field (as it was known from its inception in 1920) was built.

(Click on each image to see it at a slightly larger size. Note that the text for each marker has been transcribed.)



First Historical Marker as you enter Cheyenne Regional Airport Parking Lot
The First Transcontinental Airmail Route*
Cheyenne Airfield
The U.S. Post Office Department authorized the first experimental mail flight in 1911 at an aviation meet on Long Island, New York. By 1912 it had authorized 52 flights at fairs, carnivals and air meets in more than 25 states. From 1912 to 1916 they urged Congress to appropriate money to launch airmail service and in 1916, $50,000 was authorized but no aircraft were received due to the absence of suitable planes. In 1918 appropriated $100,000 to establish experimental airmail routes and the Post Office encouraged the Army Signal Corps to lend its planes and pilots to start the service. They argued that this cross-country flying would provide invaluable experience to the student flyers and the Secretary of War agreed. In the fall of 1918 the Post Office purchased six specially-built mail planes and hired civilian pilots. Early airplanes had no radios, instruments or other navigational aids and pilots flew by dead reckoning. Few facilities existed and pilots were often forced to land due to bad weather; however, fatalities were rare.
General William “Billy” Mitchell, a staunch advocate of aviation, put together a U.S. Air Service transcontinental air race in October 1919. Although a number of aviators had flown across the United States since Cal Rodgers first accomplished the feat in 1911, there was no organized route and landing areas were few and far between, especially in the western U.S. The route used was later adopted by the Post Office as the most practical. Of the original 48 aircraft that would depart New York and 15 that departed San Francisco, only 33 would complete a one-way crossing and only eight would make the full round trip. Seven lives were lost.
Although at first the routes were short (e.g. New York to Washington, [DC]), the Post Office envisioned a transcontinental airmail route from New York to San Francisco to better its time on long hauls and to lure more people to use airmail. The first leg of the transcontinental route was from New York to Cleveland in 1918; the Cleveland to Chicago leg was established in 1919; Chicago to Omaha in 1920; and the last segment from Omaha to San Francisco was opened on September 8, 1920. This last leg included stops in North Platte, Cheyenne, Rawlins, Rock Springs, Salt Lake City, Elko and Reno.
Reverse: Information from the United States Postal Service
* Information from a history of the U.S. Postal Service

In May 1920, Post Office superintendent of airfield construction John A. Jordan arrived in Cheyenne to begin planning for an airmail station. He believed Cheyenne to be perfectly suited as a major division point along the transcontinental airmail route due to the fact that it was almost exactly in the middle of the direct flight route between Chicago and San Francisco; the city lay at the foot of the lowest crossing point of the treacherous Rocky Mountains; and the Union Pacific Railroad ran through the city which meant easy re-supply of the airmail station. The railroad line itself had significance, serving as a landmark pilots could easily follow across the continent during the daytime.
Initial plans called for the first airport at Cheyenne to be co-located at the landing field for Fort D.A. Russell; however the city along with Laramie County secured the current airport site and started construction of a hangar to hold up to dix mail planes. On September 6, 1920, the U.S. Air Mail Service began operations in Cheyenne when pilot Buck Heffron left town with 400 pounds of mail destined for the West Coast. The next day, James “Jimmy” Murray landed with the first load of mail from the east. Murray returned with the first east bound mail on September 13, thus helping complete the inaugural circuit of the first transcontinental air service in history.
At first mail was flown by day and loaded onto trains for night travel, then reloaded and flown the next day. This method bettered the all rail service by 22 hours. By August 1920, the Post Office had begun installing radio stations at each flying field. Radios replaced the telegraph. By November 1921, the mail was flown both day and night for the first time. Congress was impressed and appropriated $1,25 million dollars for expansion of the airmail service. In addition to adding other landing fields, the money was used to equip existing fields with towers, beacons, search lights and boundary markers. Also planes were equipped with luminescent instruments, navigation lights and parachute flares.
The first commercial airline air mail flight occurred in February 1926, and soon after the Post Office transferred all of its facilities to the Department of Commerce. The transfer included 17 fully-equipped stations, 89 emergency landing fields, and 405 beacons. Terminal airports were transferred to the municipalities in which they were located.
This project completed through the cooperation of the City of Cheyenne and its Cheyenne Historic Preservation Board. Cheyenne Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and funded through a grant from the Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund and Preserve America.



View of "Aviation in Cheyenne (1920-1930s) Historical Marker in front of Terminal

Aviation in Cheyenne (1920s-1930s)
Cheyenne Airport
This marker is just to the left of the terminal doors, with the parking lot to its left.

From 1920 to 1926, pilots braved the toughest conditions on the Transcontinental Airmail Route, contending with Wyoming’s high altitude, unpredictable weather and severe winds. Pilots such as Slim Lewis, Hal Collison, Frank Yager, Harry Chandler and Jack Knight became aviation legends while flying the airmail route through Cheyenne. Each pilot flew by sheer nerve and skill and each could tell stories of narrow escapes and near death experiences flying the route.
A series of five new hangars for the airmail service replaced the original Cheyenne hangar that burned down in November 1924. Although they are all gone now, they were between Central and Warren Avenues directly west of the current Administration Building.
In 1925, Congress passed the Kelly Air Mail Act authorizing the Post Office to turn airmail over to civilian contractors and by July 1927, Boeing Air Transport (BAT) had taken over operations in Cheyenne. The company retained the aviation facilities and many of the airmail pilots, and they also established their main maintenance facility in the city.
In the transition, BAT discontinued the use of the DeHavilland DH-4s that had loyally worked the routes for the previous seven years and replaced them with the lighter and more powerful Boeing B-40 aircraft. These planes were capable of easily flying over the state’s mountain barriers and avoiding its most brutal weather. In addition to carrying mail, these planes were equipped with a small cabin in front of the pilot to hold up to four passengers. In 1928 these planes were augmented by the addition of a three-engined biplane airliner, the Boeing B-80. These planes were luxuriously appointed with individual reading lights, leather seats and wood-paneled walls and could accommodate 18 passengers. Even with rich surroundings, early flights on these planes were loud and frequently cold.
Reverse of Aviation in Cheyenne 1920s-1930s Historical Marker
n 1929, BA Thiel constructed the building currently used for airport administration. The new facility housed the main offices for ticketing, dispatch, communications, employee training and weather monitoring. In 1930 BAT constructed the hangar located immediately west of the Administration Building to protect its aircraft from Wyoming weather while being serviced. 1930 was a watershed year for Cheyenne and commercial aviation in America as BAT, Pacific Air Transport, National Air Transport and Varney Airlines merged to form the airliner powerhouse-United Air Lines. That same year, United also trained eight young women to become the first airline stewardesses in the world and kept Cheyenne as its principle maintenance and training facility for the next seventeen years.
In 1933, United introduced the Boeing B247, the first modern airliner with a single monoplane configuration and an all-metal skin. The new plane was considerably faster than the old B-80, but could only hold ten passengers.
In 1937, as technology improved, United introduced to its fleet the Douglas DC-3, a plane that could carry up to 35 passengers.
This project was completed through the cooperation of the City of Cheyenne and its Cheyenne Historic Preservation Board, Cheyenne Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and funded through grants from the Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund and Preserve America.

Third Historical Marker: Cheyenne Regional Airport

This marker is to the left of the airport terminal, and across the parking lot, so that it is in front of the Aviation Offices Buildng (a rectangular brick building with, as a decoration at the top of the building over the entrance doors,  a blue circle in which is the image of an aviator).
Second marker facing the Aviation Office Building. Look to the
right of the tree at the top of the building to see a circle. That's
the image of a male aviator on a blue background

Aviation in Cheyenne (1930-1950s) marker
It was at Cheyenne’s airport facility that the first de-icing equipment was installed on aircraft. It was also where wide-scale installation of variable-pitch propellers, cabin heaters, and on-board air to ground capable radios was begun. So proficient were United’s Cheyenne mechanics that they brought observes from Britain, France, Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany. As United continued to update its fleet with new aircraft, its mechanics at Cheyenne developed an international reputation for innovation and problem solving, creating new solutions for old and new aircraft alike. At one time, Cheyenne was considered the largest aviation roundhouse in the world.

With America’s entry into the World War II in 1941, United was asked to put its technical expertise to use for the American war effort. In late December of 1941, two Boeing B-17 bombers were flown to Cheyenne with instructions to modify the planes to carry extra fuel and a battery of cameras for aerial photography. Shortly thereafter, another order was placed to modify eight more B-17s for the British. These aircraft turned out to be photo-reconnaissance aircraft designed to overfly enemy territory from long distances. After the war it was discovered by United officials that the first two modified planes were used in reconnaissance flights over Tokyo in preparation for the famous Doolittle bombing raid of 1942.
United’s Bomber Modification Center #10 in Cheyenne was bustling with activity during World War II. Between January 2, 1942 and July 31, 1945, the facility retrofitted 5,736 Boeing B-17 bombers with equipment the factory could not install because of heavy production schedules.

Second side of Aviation in Cheyenne (1930s-1950)
The Cheyenne airport was enlarged by the construction of two new hangars in 1942 and a third in 1943. By the spring of 1943, 1,600 workers were employed at the center with an average of six planes a day leaving Cheyenne for combat areas. In 1942 United also transferred their flight training school from California to Cheyenne. About 100 students were in training year round. After the war, most of the hangar and rework facilities on the north side of the airport were turned over to the Wyoming Air National Guard and the former Boing/United Headquarters building became the city’s Airport Administration Building.

Because commercial airplanes remained unpressurized until the mid-1950s, most could not fly directly west from Denver over the Rocky Mountains, thus Cheyenne remained a major regional airfield and was often used especially in inclement weather as a place to layover until the weather cleared and flights could resume. United’s stewardess school also remained in Cheyenne until approximately 1956 when it was transferred to Chicago.
The Boeing/United Airlines Terminal, hangar and Airport Fountain in Cheyenne were built for BAT between 1929 and 1934. The Louis Sullivan-influenced designs form a consistent theme at a time when Cheyenne’s Municipal Airport was a major air transport facility. The 1930 hangar was designed by Cheyenne architect Frederic H. Porter and the 1934 Art Deco fountain was designed as a memorial to early aviation history.
This project was completed through the cooperation of the City of Cheyenne and its Cheyenne Historic Preservation Board, Cheyenne Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and funded through grants from the Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund and Preserve America.

Friday, October 21, 2016


This is the official blog of The Freedom Seat Seminars (

From the beginning of history until the late 1960s and early 1970s, the roles of men and women in the Western World were sharply defined. Men were the breadwinners. Women were the homemakers. Woe betide a woman who didn't want children and wanted to earn her own living. (It was all very well for a woman to work before she got married. But once she did get married - and it was her role in life to get married, she was expected to quit her job and begin having children.)

While the job of caring for a home and caring for and raising children is an extremely important one, the fact that women didn't work outside the home caused there to be a belief that they shouldn't work outside the home.

In the earliest days of automobiles - back when you had to stick a crank in the starter and use a bit of strength to start the car - women were told they were too weak to ever be able to do that, and if they could get a car started,well, they just didn't have the cool "nerves of steel" or intelligence that it would take to drive the thing.

While it's certainly true that the earliest cars broke down more often than they ran, and a driver needed to have some mechanical knowledge to repair his car every hundred miles or so - once the automobile was "perfected" and would stop breaking down at the drop of a hat, women were still told that they couldn't drive because of that lack of intelligence and hand-feet coordination needed to drive a stick-shift.

The same thing happened when the rickety airplane became reliable enough to fly by the "average person." Women wanted to fly too, but in every country they faced resistance -women didn't have the hand-feet coordination needed (a necessity in those early "crates"), they didn't have the nerve to fly hundreds of feet in the air, and so on.

And even when the Early Birds (Raymonde de Laroche, Harriet Quimby, etc.) proved that women did have what it took to fly, the naysayers persisted - not the least because many of these women did die in plane crashes. That was the nature of aviation during its early years. But when a man died - well, it might have been pilot error or it might have been mechanical failure, but no one said men in general were too stupid to fly. But when a woman died, that just proved that all women were incompetent and shouldn't be allowed up into the air.

But the left seat of a car (or the right seat, if you were in Europe!), and the left seat or captain's seat of an aircraft, were the "freedom seats." A woman who could drive or fly could go where she wanted to go, whenever she wanted to go there. It was independence. It was freedom.

The Freedom Seat is devoted to the history of adventurous women - pilots (of speed boats as well as planes!), drivers, and explorers.