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It is an entirely mistaken idea that upon interviewing an aviator you have first to buy one of those new aeronautical dictionaries and go armed to the teeth with their new-fangled air-words, volplaning terms and figure-eight phrases. Not so. Miss Quimby uses plain, not plane, language. She's straightforward and Western (there it goes again! You see, it's hard to get over that cute little fact about her being a Westerner. Isn't that all right?) Yes, real cross-my-heart Western, albeit she didn't ride into New York from Frisco on a tan-colored mustang, wearing a sombrero, a khaki knee-dress and a belt full of cartridges, and cracking a quirt at the crowd in City Hall Park, as did a certain female person a few weeks ago. Miss Quimby isn't Western at all in the sense of being an escaped Buffalo Bill show-girl. Nor does she snap a quirt, even aeronautically speaking. She nauts just because she thinks it's a good, sensible, delightful, unsensational sport for women, and not a fad or a short-cut to mere notoriety.

Really, Miss Quimby said, there was very little to talk about, she was afraid, it was all so simple, and any one wanting an interview would have to fall back upon gray matter to get any space results. You see, she can speak journalistically. But the very contrary proved to be the case.

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Copyright 1911 by MARCEAU

Miss Harriet Quimby.


flyers have given out the impression that it's very perilous work, something the ordinary mortal should never dream of attempting. It was when I saw how easily they could circle the Statue of Liberty that I said I believed I could learn to do that myself.

"Mr. Moisant took me up, figuratively, and I began to learn. It's easy! If your instructor is good, that's the secret. Any one can fly who cares enough for the sport. As for women, they are as adaptable as men to flying. Some women couldn't learn, of course, just as some men can never learn to drive an auto sanely. But there's no more ability needed to fly than to manage an auto."

Miss Quimby drives her own runabout, by the way. And of course, being Western, she rides and drives horses. "I have ridden everything, I believe, except an elephant and a hobby." She says her flying will never be a mere hobby with her. 

"I'd never give up my work for it. I care too much for my work. And a business woman can't really want mere notoriety. I wish I could express my views of this sport. It's not a fad, and I didn't want to be the first American woman to fly just to make myself conspicuous. I just wanted to be the first, that's all, and I am honestly and frankly delighted. And I have written so much about other people, you can't guess how I enjoy sitting back and reading about myself for once. I think that's excusable in me.

"I do think flying is a really fine, dignified sport for woman, healthy and stimulating to the mind. I know of nothing more satisfying than to rest the mind. There is a certain freedom from resistance in a monoplane such as you don't get in an auto, and there is exhilaration in managing anything so delicate and so responsive."

She says she expects to take longer flights after her return from Chicago, but no very long ones. "To Philadelphia would be a nice flight," she said, "but I should never try an endurance flight. I made it to Kansas City once in an auto, but I wouldn't try to test the limit of my endurance in the air. I don't see the point in endurance tests, especially for women. And I haven't the necessary athletic makeup. I don't even like walking, to confess the truth.

"It requires a great deal of patience as well as enthusiasm to learn to fly. I heard of a certain flyer who learned in three hours, but I didn't know those three hours really covered a period of six weeks. We sit around in the shed all day long sometimes, waiting for the fog to lift or for the wind to be right, and then perhaps we can get in five minutes of flying. So that while I have been two months

could express my views of this sport. It's not a fad, and I didn't want to be the first American woman to fly just to make myself conspicuous. I just wanted to be the first, that's all, and I am honestly and frankly delighted. And I have written so much about other people, you can't guess how much I enjoy sitting back and reading about myself for once. I think that's excusable in me."

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"If you're afraid, of course, you will never go up," she said. "If you do go up, it's because you are not afraid. And there won't be any reason to be afraid, for they are making it so easy now to learn. I don't see why women shouldn't be flyers, and good ones too."


AUGUST 27, 1911  THE WORLD MAGAZINE

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