Winged Victory

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"All those who see me, and all who believe in me, share in the freedom I feel when I fly."

In 1929, the first women's transcontinental air-race was held, as part of the National Air Race events. Humorist Will Rogers called it the "Powder Puff Derby." (Sources differ on whether he was putting down the race, or praising it, with that term).

A transcontinental air race for women pilots was inaugurated in 1947, called the All-Woman Transcontinental Air Race" (AWTAR). From 1948 to 1949 it was called the "Jacqueline Cochran All-Woman Transcontinental Air Race," as she sponsored it, then it returned to its original name. But it was generally known as the Powder Puff Derby.

In 1977, rising costs, insurance premiums, and diminished corporate sponsorship saw the competition come to an end after thirty years. The final commemorative flight had many pilots carrying passengers - women who had flown the race before, or new celebrities.

Participants 1947-1977

1. All participants: sorted alphabetically
2. Pilots sorted alphabetically
3. Pilots sorted by race year
4. Passengers in 1977 (some were pilots who flew in previous years, others were student pilots, etc.)
5. Pilots who flew in one race
6. Pilots who flew in multiple races

In 1978, the Air Race Classic, a scaled-down version of the race, made its debut for women pilots.

Read about the original race in: Powder Puff Derby of 1929: The True Story of the First Women's Cross-Country Air Race, Gene Nora Jessen, 2002

A few years after the final race, the AWTAR produced the AWTAR Record, which gave information on each race, and was chock full of photos.

From that source, provided above are six PDFs featuring the pilots and passengers who took part in the Powder Puff Derby, 1947-1977.


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