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28 U.S. Air Services November, 1931 women supposed to have achieved soaring licenses on the Pacific Coast did only the glide from a mountain to a field below. The license given to Mrs. Charles A. Lindbergh was honorary. On August 12 another north wind blew against South Mountain hard enough to bring soaring into action. When the breeze starts usually it is after hours of irritating wait. But when things do start, it is a matter of split seconds. This getting off takes a few men and some forethought. Therefore when we started off for "C" licenses the matter of minutes made a difference in the license number received. Like all sports in competition this is part of the alertness and planning of the individual. In gliding when the number of handicaps are considered, such as sharing a glider with other students, (degrees of ability being an asset or liability to said glider) or the good will of those present in helping pull the shock cord, the chance of repairs that may prove necessary, make the results more of a gamble. If one could own one's own glider and pay a gang these things would be simplified. However, I have never been in a position to get results out of life without facing odds. I could not be nonchalant and reach for that cigarette, because quinine for malaria in my youth had spoiled my taste, so I just had one big ache of apprehension. After nine o'clock, proper wind. We were up on the mountain when we spied Charlie Gale coming up the path. Bud Stickler took off in his glider, an extra wing span type, before ten o'clock; a couple of others; then I was ready, and except for Hawley Bowlus in his Bowlus sailplane, the mountain top was clear. I had the novice's white ribbon on my wing tip to let others know that soaring was all I could take care of without watching traffic. My husband assembled a gang for the ropes. I was in my seat, my blanket back of me, my cushion under me, all set as I had been for a half-hour or more. The crew walked-then ran-the air seemed full of static - my heart stood still just a wee second, back snapped my head, as the glider snapped into the air with a zzzzz sound in my ears, and out over the tree tops I went at 10:17. A sudden puff of wind caught me, up I shot several feet at a time. I was in the up currents. The glider climbs with nose down, strange to the uninitiated, because the glider goes straight up as if lifted bodily on a columnular force. The air was so forceful that my altitude was rapidly. I remembered Charlie Gale saying to give myself the benefit of the doubt because should I go below the starting point they would have to clock me all over again. I looked at my wrist watch and made a flat soaring turn, so as to save as much altitude as possible, and decided I would stay until they called to me, saying that I had surely qualified. My right foot was jiggling on the rudder petal. I was provoked at such obvious nervousness. Then, being accustomed to my attitude in rising currents of air, having made a turn in the rising currents I found I did not go beyond them, and that I could tell instinctively how near to approach a stall; in other words, where the best angle of attack was. I could relax then and enjoy the rest of the trip. The wind blew the tears out of my left eye. I had left my goggles in the car, and as I looked around at the other ships about me, saw Bowlus take off in the Bowlus sailplane; looked for Mrs. Holderman, her ship was still tied up; saw the white flag waved at me, after I had clocked a good seven minutes, myself; then turned the nose of the glider for the airport. I had risen about 500 feet in those few minutes and gone back and forth several times over the ridge near the starting point. There was plenty of wind. I was nearly 2,000 feet high, flying by myself. I looked in back of me to be sure some one was not flying me as of yore, looked out at the skids on the wings that protect the wing tips when they drip on the ground, after a landing, contentedly remembered that Bud Schulenberger had done all of the metal work in the fuselage, all of the good welding, just as he did on the first three big Wacos, and many of the Waco nines; knew in the other words that the ship was well built. I looked back to see many gliders up another few thousand feet, and decided it was harder to get down on this particular day than to stay up. Bud Stickler stayed up all day. I finally got in over the airport about 500 feet high, did 360-degree turns, a couple of 180's caught a puff close to the ground, but landed all right. I scanned the mountain, recognized Mrs. Holderman's ship not yet off and decided to try to get back to the mountain to see if I could really go up now and play, since my license was cinched. I could now enter all contests. I was in the air from 10:17 to 10.30 A.M., Mrs. Holderman from 10:45 to 10:56. C'mon, let's go gliding! British View of Women as Flyers A communication from the Society of British Aircraft Constructors, Ltd., in London, deals with the relative efficiency of men and women pilots. The communication is signed by the Society as apparently no individual would care to assume responsibility for even so mild an opinion as that instructors find generally that the woman pupil learns a little more readily than the average man, but that she does not seem to attain ultimately an equal standard of skill. So far, the letter states, no woman has had flying experience to be compared for a moment with the stupendous totals of time and distance recorded by the leading men pilots in commercial and private flying; it will be fairer to assess relative efficiency when a few more years have passed. Almost certainly no woman will ever be able to equal the astonishing feats of endurance achieved by the star long-distance pilots among men, but the stunt flight is fading into less and less importance and there is no reason why women should not cope easily with the problems of everyday practical aviation, in commerce as well as in holiday and business touring. The modern light airplane, with its easy and light controls and simple maintenance, is particularly suitable for the woman pilot and engineer. The next 25 years will see many great changes in business, mode of life, personal and official relationships, and aviation is bound to play a major role in these fundamental developments.
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