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Rochester, N.Y., Friday Evening, January 31, 1969

[[caption]] The subject was flying at Zonta Club's annual Amelia Earhart dinner.  Speakers Blanche Stuart Scott (left) and Mrs. David M. Gitelman (center) and Mrs. Norma R. Fox, dinner chairman, spiel off some aeronautical lingo. [[/caption]]

She Was a Pioneer in Skies
Editor of the Family Section

Times-Union Photo—Gordon Massecar
[[caption]] New officers of the Susan B. Anthony Republican Club include Mrs. Edward C. Ehrlich (left), first vice-president, and Mrs. Robert L. Criddle of Chili, president. [[/caption]]

Don't ever ask Blanche Stuart Scott of Alexander Street her age "because that's a fighting word with me."

Like Jack Benny she is forever 39, even though, while still in her teens in 1910, she was the first American woman to pilot a plane.

"I would have been the first women in the world if Baroness de la Roche of France hadn't beaten me by two weeks," she told the 125-member Zonta Club at its annual Amelia Earhart Dinner in the Statement, formerly Pilgrim's Landing.

The late Miss Earhart in 1928 was the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean.  She was lost in 1937 on a Pacific flight.  She was a Zontian and in her honor the clubs given women fellowships for graduate study in aeronautics.  Mrs. Edward Perkins, president of the local club, said Zonta has financed 80 Earhart scholars to date.

Mrs. Scott, who knew Miss Earhart slightly — "we all called her A.E., but compared to us oldtimers she was a Johnny-come-lately in aviation" — claims her own solo flight in Hammondsport was "an accident.  In those days planes were kites with a motor in them.  I was practicing grass cutting — taxiing around a pasture — when a gust of wind caught the plane and I hopped up and down 12 to 14 feet.  It really wasn't a flight.  A month later I piloted a real flight."

Earlier that year, as a publicity stunt, she was the first woman to drive a car across the country.  "If I were young today, I'd probably be a delinquent.  Would I go to the moon?  Oh yes, but then I'm not terrible sane," she said, laughing and shaking her blonde curls that she confessed were "mostly a wig." 

She's had a lively life as a screen writer, been in radio, newspaper and television work, acted as a consultant to the Air Force.  She still writes and lectures and plans a book she'll call "Not on a Broom."

THE SMALL gold pair of wings pinned on her white blouse proclaimed her an "Early Bird," one of the men and women who flew before World War I.  The medallion hanging from her neck was imprinted with the head of Glenn L. Curtiss, pioneer aviator and her instructor, and "means I'm a member of the Antique Airplane Society."

Mrs. David Gitelman, the other speaker, had a different pin.  "I'm a member of the 99s, an international group of women pilots.  Amelia Earhart was its president back in 1929."

Mrs. Gitelman, a teacher at Harley School, and her husband are pilots and think nothing of bundling their sons, 5 and 7, into a plane and "flying the breakfast circuit, spending $20 to rent and fly a plane to places like Boston to buy a $1 breakfast," or "to leave Rochester at 8 a.m., fly around the White Mountains in New Hampshire and over Lake Champlain, eat lunch at Lake Placid and arrive home by 5:30 p.m."  For her flying is a "catharsis, a relief from the pressure of school work.  It's a great family activity."

The gold pin Dorothy Chasey Wilis, the Kodak dietitian, wore was called "the flight of evening song," but had no aeronautical connotation.  "My husband bought it for me in France because he liked the three-dimensional look of all these streaks of lightning piled up."

IF YOU want to know how to travel lightly by plane, get in touch with Ruth H. Turner.  She spent seven months traveling around the Orient with "only a nightgown tucked into a flight bag."  Her secret: "I bought clothes as I went along and shipped them home as I tired of them.  In the process I bought 22 pairs of shoes," she confessed at the Susan B. Anthony Republican Club's luncheon in the AAUW clubhouse.

Despite all her world traveling, her "most thrilling thing yet" was attending President
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Times-Union Photos - Ivan Conklin
From the look on Mrs. Floyd B. Newell's face, there's a grand slam coming up. She was among the American Association of University Women at the dessert card  party in the clubhouse on East Avenue. Proceeds will go into the educational fund for scholarships
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