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McCop's Air Scoops

People are interesting. Especially flying people. One of the nicest we met while at the three-day National Air Races in Cleveland last week was Blanche Stuart ("Betty") Scott, first woman flier. She soloed September 6, 1910 at Hammondsport, N.Y., under the tutelage of Glenn L. Curtis, flying a plane called a June-Bug. Naturally she is a member of the Early Birds, organization for the world's first crop of flier. That's how we happened to engage her in conversation, because of her black and white checkered Early Bird cap members always wear at the races. Miss Scott was happy to point out to us many of the well known aviation personages about us on the speakers' stand, including Colonel Ernest Stoeffle, World War 1 ace, Arlene Davis, famous Cleveland flier, and others. Most interesting was her talk on early flying experiences.

Now a Rochester radio woman and writer, she flew steadily as a stunt pilot until 1916.

"In that time I had several crackups, two serious ones, and my mother (Mrs. N.W. Bintz of Rochester) was notified more than once I had been killed. She never tried to keep me from flying, however, but when I wrote her I thought I might stop, she told me, "You'll never know what a relief that will be to me."

Miss Scott recalls sitting around an airport on Long Island in the early days with "some of the boys" as they used to visualize modern air transport planes and terminals for passengers. She says no passenger going for his first airline ride can get as much of a thrill from the flight as she still does "because its just like we used to picture it - gates, ramps and all."

Miss Scott believes discrimination against equal rights for women is especially apparent in the field of aviation and has a firm conviction if given a real chance women could lend invaluable aid to further development of modern flying. Although she is out of the active flying game herself, Miss Scott continues to promote interest in the field and foresees much greater advancement of aviation in addition to the rapid growth already accomplished in less than one lifetime.

Regarding a controversy among her cronies as to whether a sons and daughters organization of the Early Birds be formed in order to perpetuate the club, she says: 

"I'm for it, otherwise I shall someday probably be the last surviving Early Bird going about because I'm so darn healthy!"

BILL ODUM, of 'round the world' fame, told us Monday before taking off for Chicago, he will try again next year for the Bendix Trophy in the transcontinental race he was forced to drop out of this year due to a gas leak in his P-47 surplus Army fighter. He said he plans to use the same P-47 with enlarged prop and clipped wings. Asked if he would really have to land the ship on its tail to keep the prop from scraping the ground, he laughed and said: "That's how I always land it anyhow." He's a boy from the three-point landing school. Roger! He and Milton Reynolds were flying to Chicago in the globe-girdling "Reynolds Bombshell," formed Army A-26 bomber. Reynolds told us when they return from a trip to France, they will undertake a preliminary North Pole trip preparatory to circling the globe around both poles.

ROSCOE TURNER asked us to tell his Huntington friends he'd drop in from Indianapolis someday. The famous flier and former Huntingtonian, stopped at the races Monday, winging his way home from the American Legion convention in New York... Lieutenant J.B. Russell of Marshall College and Navy flying fame, did a good job of announcing the mock dog fight and combat formation maneuvers of his skillful pilots of Grumman fighter aircraft... Around the press box you'd see Jim Strebig, Associated Press Editor; John Stuart, covering the races for the New York Times; Mrs. Helen Waterhouse, described by newsmen as "the one and only," who has been covering the races for the Akron Beacon-Journal since 1929 and many other busy writers... In the tower centered above the press section, diminutive Roger W. Kahn, chief timer, was doing a king-sized job in getting out official race results. We were there when word came through just before 6 P.M. of Bendix racer James Ruble's bail-out over Arizona, on opening day... William Courtenay, former British war correspondent, was there as an official representative of the Royal Aero Club of Britain, taking all kind of photographs of the racing events in an effort to promote British participation next year. He rode on our jeep across the field to the hangar line as we prepared to depart during the final and fateful Thompson race.

RECALLING the 1947 races spectators will remember Saturday as Bendix Day with stunts and storms to book; balmy Sunday with two days' races crowded into one, traffic jams and muddy entrances; hot Monday with a repeated display of military aircraft might ranging from the Army's jet P-80 ships to the huge B-29 bomber formations and Fairchild C-82 cargo and troop carrier plan, the Navy's carrier-based combat planes and demonstrations and twin-engine Tigercat night fighter, and the day's rough ending which cost the life of one Thompson racer and crashes of three others. The races are important to aviation progress and development, and it is well a study of more adequate safety measures was undertaken last week at Cleveland.

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