16 April 1912

Harriet Quimby becomes the first woman to fly an airplane across the English Channel.

Harriet Quimby
Harriet Quimby 1911.jpg
Quimby circa 1911
Born(1875-05-11)May 11, 1875
DiedJuly 1, 1912(1912-07-01) (aged 37)
OccupationWriter, aviator

Harriet Quimby (May 11, 1875 – July 1, 1912) was an early American aviation pioneer and a movie screenwriter.

In 1911, she was awarded a U.S. pilot's certificate by the Aero Club of America, becoming the first woman to gain a pilot's license in the United States.[1] In 1912, she became the first woman to fly across the English Channel. Although Quimby lived only to the age of 37, she influenced the role of women in aviation.

Early life and early career

She was born on May 11, 1875, in Arcadia Township, Manistee County, Michigan. After her family moved to San Francisco, California, in the early 1900s, she became a journalist. Harriet Quimby's public life began in 1902, when she began writing for the San Francisco Dramatic Review and also contributed to the Sunday editions of the San Francisco Chronicle and San Francisco Call. She moved to Manhattan, New York City in 1903 to work as a theater critic for Leslie's Illustrated Weekly and more than 250 of her articles were published over a nine-year period.[2]

Quimby continued to write for Leslie's even when touring with airshows, recounting her adventures in a series of articles. Totally committed to her new passion, the dedicated journalist and aviator avidly promoted the economic potential of commercial aviation and touted flying as an ideal sport for women.[3]

Quimby became interested in aviation in 1910, when she attended the Belmont Park International Aviation Tournament in Elmont, New York.[2] There she met John Moisant, a well-known aviator and operator of a flight school, and his sister Matilde.[4][5]

On August 1, 1911, she took her pilot's test and became the first U.S. woman to earn an Aero Club of America aviator's certificate.[2] Matilde Moisant soon followed and became the second.[6]

Due to the absence of any official birth certificate, many communities have claimed her over the years.[7]

Aviation

After earning her license, the "Dresden China Aviatrix" or "China Doll," as the press called her because of her petite stature and fair skin, moved to capitalize on her new notoriety. Pilots could earn as much as $1,000 per performance, and prize money for a race could go as high as $10,000 or more. Quimby joined the Moisant International Aviators, an exhibition team, and made her professional debut, earning $1,500, in a night flight over Staten Island before a crowd of almost 20,000 spectators.

As one of the country's few female pilots, she capitalized on her femininity by wearing trousers tucked into high lace boots accentuated by a plum-colored satin blouse, necklace, and antique bracelet. She drew crowds whenever she competed in cross-country meets and races. As part of the exhibition team, she showcased her talents around the United States and even went to Mexico City at the end of 1911 to participate in aviation activities held in honor of the inauguration of President Francisco Madero.[3]

Hollywood

Photograph of Quimby in 1911 by Theodore Marceau

In 1911 Quimby authored seven screenplays or scenarios that were made into silent film shorts by Biograph Studios. All seven were directed by director D. W. Griffith. Stars in her films included Florence La Badie, Wilfred Lucas, and Blanche Sweet. Quimby had a small acting role in one movie.[8]

Vin Fiz

The Vin Fiz Company, a division of Armour Meat Packing Plant of Chicago, recruited Quimby as the spokesperson for the new grape soda, Vin Fiz, after the death of Calbraith Perry Rodgers in April 1912. Her distinctive purple aviator uniform and image graced many of the advertising pieces of the day.[9]

English Channel flight

On April 16, 1912, Quimby took off from Dover, England, en route to Calais, France, and made the flight in 59 minutes, landing about 25 miles (40 km) from Calais on a beach in Équihen-Plage, Pas-de-Calais. She became the first woman to pilot an aircraft across the English Channel.[10] Her accomplishment received little media attention, however, as the sinking of the RMS Titanic the day before consumed the interest of the public and filled newspapers.[11]

Death

Harriet Quimby and Matilde Moisant, circa 1911–12

On July 1, 1912, she flew in the Third Annual Boston Aviation Meet at Squantum, Massachusetts.[1] Although she had obtained her ACA certificate to be allowed to participate in ACA events, the Boston meet was an unsanctioned contest. Quimby flew out to Boston Light in Boston Harbor at about 3,000 feet, then returned and circled the airfield.[12]

, the organizer of the event and father of the aviator , was a passenger in her brand-new two-seat Bleriot monoplane. At an altitude of 1,000 feet (300 m) the aircraft unexpectedly pitched forward for reasons still unknown. Both Willard and Quimby were ejected from their seats and fell to their deaths, while the plane "glided down and lodged itself in the mud".[5]

Harriet Quimby was buried in the Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx, New York. The following year her remains were moved to the Kensico Cemetery in Valhalla, New York.[13] A cenotaph to Quimby, the Harriet Quimby Compass Rose Fountain, stands at Pierce Brothers/Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery in Burbank, Los Angeles, California. Located close to the cemetery's Portal of the Folded Wings, a shrine containing the ashes of aviation pioneers, the Quimby fountain's plaque reads:

"Harriet Quimby became the first licensed female pilot in America on August 1, 1911. On April 16, 1912, she was the first woman to fly a plane across the English Channel. She pointed the direction for future women pilots including her friend, Matilde Moisant, buried at the Portal of the Folded Wings."

Filmography

[14]

As actress

Title Year Role Director
Lines of White on a Sullen Sea 1909 Fishermaiden D.W. Griffith
The Late Harriet Quimby's Flight Across the English Channel 1912 Self Unknown

As writer

Title Year Director
Sunshine Through the Dark 1911 D.W. Griffith
The Blind Princess and the Poet 1911 D.W. Griffith
His Mother's Scarf 1911 D.W. Griffith
The Broken Cross 1911 D. W. Griffith
Fisher Folks 1911 D. W. Griffith

Legacy

In 1991 the United States Postal Service issued a 50 cent airmail postage stamp featuring Harriet Quimby.[15]

She is memorialized in two official Michigan historical markers. One is located near Coldwater where she was born.[16] The other was erected near the now abandoned farmhouse in Arcadia Township where Quimby grew up.[17]

In 2004 Quimby was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame.[4]

In 2012 Quimby was inducted into the Long Island Air and Space Hall of Fame.[18]

The Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome possesses a flyable Anzani-powered one-seater Blériot XI, which bears the Blériot factory's serial number 56, showing that it was manufactured in 1909. Since Quimby's plane, in 1912, was a brand new two-seater, the idea that the former was the aircraft that she was flying in 1912 seems to be an urban legend.[19]

Aircraft

Harriet Quimby in her monoplane.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "Miss Quimby Dies In Airship Fall. Noted Woman Aviator and W.A.P. Willard, Passenger, Are Thrown 1,000 Feet". The New York Times. July 2, 1912.
  2. ^ a b c Tallman, Jill W. (August 2, 2011). "Thanks, Harriet" (Harriet Quimby profile). AOPA Pilot. Archived from the original on December 21, 2014. Retrieved December 21, 2014.
  3. ^ a b "Harriet Quimby" (PDF).
  4. ^ a b "Harriet Quimby profile". The National Aviation Hall of Fame. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  5. ^ a b "Harriet Quimby profile". centennialofflight.net. Retrieved May 10, 2015.
  6. ^ "An American Lady Aviator". Flight. August 26, 1911. Retrieved May 16, 2012.
  7. ^ "Quimby, Harriet". National Aviation Hall of Fame. Retrieved March 31, 2019.
  8. ^ Internet Movie Database, Harriet Quimby (and links therein); accessed April 16, 2009.
  9. ^ Holden, Henry M. "Vin Fiz reborn". Airport journal. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
  10. ^ "Miss Quimby Flies The Channel"Flight April 20, 1912
  11. ^ "Titanic Sinks Four Hours After Hitting Iceberg". The New York Times. April 16, 1912. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  12. ^ "Harriet Quimby Crash, 1912". CelebrateBoston.com. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  13. ^ "Aeronautics – Harriet Quimby". Aeronautics Learning Laboratory for Science Technology and Research. Florida International University. December 20, 2004. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
  14. ^ "Harriet Quimby". IMDb. Retrieved March 31, 2019.
  15. ^ Sama, Dominic (April 28, 1991). "Stamp Honors First Woman Licensed Pilot". Chicago Tribune. Knight-Ridder Newspapers. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  16. ^ "Harriet Quimby". The Historical Marker database. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  17. ^ "Harriet Quimby Childhood Home". The Historical Marker database. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  18. ^ Melanson, Alana (May 16, 2012). "Fitchburg pays tribute to first woman to fly across English Channel". Fitchburg, Massachusetts: Sentinel & Enterprise. Retrieved May 16, 2012.
  19. ^ Pat Trenner (April 15, 2013). "Did Harriet Quimby's Blériot End Up in New York?". airspacemag. Retrieved March 2, 2016.

External links

16 April 2007

Seung-Hui Cho guns down 32 people and injures 17 before committing suicide at Virginia Tech.

On 16 April 2007, 32 people died after being gunned down on the campus of Virginia Tech by Seung Hui Cho, a student at the college who later committed suicide.

The Virginia Tech shooting began around 7:15 a.m., when Cho, a 23-year-old senior and English major at Blacksburg-based Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, shot a female freshman and a male resident assistant in a campus dormitory before fleeing the building.

Police were soon on the scene; unaware of the gunman’s identity, they initially pursued the female victim’s boyfriend as a suspect in what they believed to be an isolated domestic-violence incident.

However, at around 9:40 a.m., Cho, armed with a 9-millimeter handgun, a 22-caliber handgun and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, entered a classroom building, chained and locked several main doors and went from room to room shooting people. Approximately 10 minutes after the rampage began, he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The attack left 32 people dead and more than a dozen wounded. In all, 27 students and five faculty members died in the massacre.

Two days later, on April 18, NBC News received a package of materials from Cho with a timestamp indicating he had mailed it from a Virginia post office between the first and second shooting attacks. Contained in the package were photos of a gun-wielding Cho, along with a rambling video diatribe in which he ranted about wealthy “brats,” among other topics.

In the aftermath of the Virginia Tech shooting, authorities found no evidence that Cho, who was born in South Korea and moved to America with his family in 1992, had specifically targeted any of his victims. The public soon learned that Cho, described by students as a loner who rarely spoke to anyone, had a history of mental-health problems.

It was also revealed that angry, violent writings Cho made for certain class assignments had raised concern among some of his professors and fellow students well before the events of April 16.

In 2011, Virginia Tech was fined by the U.S. Department of Education for failing to issue a prompt campus-wide warning after Cho shot his first two victims.

School officials sent an email notification about the dorm shooting to students and faculty at 9:26 that morning. According to the Department of Education, the message was vague and did not indicate there had been a murder or that the gunman was still at large.

16 April 1941

The Italian-German Tarigo convoy is attacked and destroyed by British ships during World War II.

The Battle of the Tarigo Convoy was a naval battle of World War II, part of the Battle of the Mediterranean. It was fought on 16 April 1941, between four British and three Italian destroyers, near the Kerkennah Islands off Sfax, in the Tunisian coast. The battle was named after the Italian flagship, the destroyer Luca Tarigo.

Control of the sea between Italy and Libya was heavily disputed as both sides sought to safeguard their own convoys while interdicting those of their opponent. Axis convoys to North Africa supplied the German and Italian armies there, and British attacks were based on Malta, itself dependent upon convoys.

In mid-April, 1941, a five ship Axis convoy sailed from Naples, en route to Tripoli. It consisted of four German troopships and an Italian ammunition ship. The convoy was escorted by a Navigatori-class destroyer Luca Tarigo and two Folgore-class destroyers, Baleno and Lampo, all commanded by Commander Pietro de Cristofaro. The convoy was delayed by bad weather, sailing in the evening of 13 April.

The British had been alerted to the convoy’s sailing by intercepted radio messages. On 15 April, a British Maryland reconnaissance plane sighted and shadowed the convoy. Two Italian SM.79s that were ordered to provide air cover did not arrive, due to the continuing bad weather. During the night of 15–16 April, the convoy was intercepted by the British 14th Destroyer Flotilla, HMS Janus, HMS Nubian, and HMS Mohawk, commanded by Captain Philip Mack. At least three of these destroyers were equipped with radar. The encounter took place as the Italian convoy maneuvered around the shallow waters surrounding the Kerkennah Islands.

By the use of the radar, the British force ambushed the Axis convoy in the dark. As the convoy passed a buoy marking sandbanks, the British opened fire at 2,000 yards and closed to as near as 50 yards. Three of the Axis transports were sunk, and the other two beached on the sandbar and became a total loss. Lampo was run aground and later salvaged, while Baleno sank in shallow waters. The flotilla commander, Commander de Cristofaro, on board Tarigo, had his leg shot off and later died of his wounds; he was posthumously awarded the Medaglia d’Oro launched two torpedoes which hit HMS Mohawk. Mohawk was subsequently scuttled by HMS Jervis, and settled on the sandy bottom at a depth of 12 metres. The outcome of the battle marked the end of the relatively unopposed Axis transport to Libya, which they had enjoyed since June 1940.

16 April 1990

Jack Kevorkian (“Doctor Death”)participates in his first assisted suicide.

 photo photo_1307108565384-3-0_zpsrdelynb6.jpg

Dr. Jack Kevorkian has been known as “Dr. Death” since at least 1956, when he conducted a study photographing patients’ eyes as they died. Results established that blood vessels in the cornea contract and become invisible as the heart stops beating. In a 1958 paper, he suggested that death row inmates be euthanized, and their bodily organs harvested. In 1960, he proposed using condemned prisoners for medical experiments.

In 1989, a quadriplegic, too handicapped to kill himself, publicly asked for assistance, and Dr. Kevorkian began tinkering on a suicide machine. But a different patient — Janet Adkins, a 54-year-old with Alzheimer’s — was the first to test the device. It worked. Kevorkian then provided services to at least 45 and possibly more satisfied customers. Kevorkian was arrested and tried for his direct role in a case of voluntary euthanasia. He was convicted of second-degree murder and served eight years of a 10-to-25-year prison sentence. He was released on parole on June 1, 2007, on condition he would not offer advice nor participate nor be present in the act of any type of suicide involving euthanasia to any other person; as well as neither promote nor talk about the procedure of assisted suicide

In 1997, however, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Americans who want to kill themselves but are physically unable to do so have no Constitutional right to end their lives. Kevorkian is now serving 10-25 years in prison, and is reportedly in ill health.