HARRIET QUIMBY CENTENARY
will be remembering another aviation pioneer from the 1900s
on April 16th 2012 after that of
Blériot back in 2009. This time it's Harriet
Quimby, an American born in Michigan, the
first woman pilot to cross the Channel
in an airplane. She made her flight less
than a year after being the first US
female to win a pilot's licence. Sadly,
less than three months after her
crossing, she was
killed in an
Mass.; she was 37 years old.
Members of the Harriet Quimby Centennial Committee want to create a monument in Dover to honour her feat of derring-do. In fact, they want to erect it in Northfall Meadow, in the shadow of Dover Castle, near where Louis Blériot, has his commemorative monument. A campaign in the US is being led by Giacinta Bradley Koontz, who wishes to celebrate Quimby's flight 99 years ago (at the time of writing), the first woman to fly solo across the English Channel.
She flew from Whitfield aerodrome, near Dover, at 5:30 in the morning in a Blériot borrowed from the man himself; she headed off in poor weather, the Gnome's fifty horses galloping at 1200 revolutions every minute. Quimby tells us the Daily Mirror's 'chase-boat' belched black smoke as it chugged away from Dover en route to Calais. Quimby landed on Equihen-Plage, Hardelot in the Pas de Calais after a 59 minute crossing of gusty winds and fogbanks, missing her Calais target by some 25 miles. The local French fishermen of Equihen were very pleased to greet this glamorous purple-clad beauty, I'll bet.
The US group are hoping to create a celebration for the week of April 16th 2012 at Dover and Hardelot in France, and there may even be a cross-channel anniversary flight. In her 1912 record breaking flight Harriet Quimby was sponsored by the Daily Mirror, she flew in an unfamiliar 50hp monoplane from Whitfield, and landed on the sandy beach in France. There may be more to come if I have details; meantime have a look at this classic piece of British Pathé News Film starting at 7:28 minutes into the clip.
Film News - April 2012
A film documentary is in production about Harriet Quimby's life by, ironically the very company she wrote screenplays for all those years ago, the USAs oldest movie studio, the Biograph Company (biographcompany.com), created in 1895. For more docudrama details see the Facebook page (facebook.com/harrietquimby) dedicated to the new film with photos of the purple-clad, stunning actress Donnamarie Recco who is to play her part in this bio flick.
The Harriet Quimby Centenary Project in the UK are also commissioning a short documentary film about Harriet Quimby in June 2012; it will be available to buy at the Dover Regatta which takes place on the weekend of July 7/8th.
A 3 metre high stainless steel statue is planned for the cliffs overlooking Dover Eastern docks later in the year. A Blériot XI is being shipped from Holland to go on display at Dover Transport Museum (dovertransportmuseum.org.uk) and a day of celebrations on the seafront at Dover is planned for April 15, 2012.
1875—Born Coldwater or was it Arcadia,