Let's Talk with Cheryl Hollon

Celebrating our Women Pioneers in Aviation

June 20, 2024
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Did you know that on this day, June 20, 1966, Sheila Scott became the first woman to fly solo around the world? This remarkable feat caught me by surprise as I was searching for a topic for today’s Let’s Talk blog. Her journey is not just a tale of aviation but a testament to perseverance and courage.

Scott’s numerous solo trips around the globe were accomplished in her trusty Piper Comanche 260B, aptly named “Myth Too.” This aircraft was modified with extra fuel tanks and survival gear to handle the extraordinary demands of such flights.

Scott’s ascent to aviation fame was far from straightforward. During World War II, she served as a nurse in the Royal Air Force. It wasn’t until 1958, at the age of 36, that she earned her pilot’s license, igniting a passion that would take her around the world. Her groundbreaking journey began and ended at London Heathrow Airport, covering approximately 31,000 miles and clocking 189 flight hours.

Her achievements inspired countless women to chase their dreams, breaking free from societal expectations and gender norms. Over her illustrious career, Scott set over 100 aviation records, including the longest solo flight by a woman and the first solo flight from London to Cape Town.

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She didn’t just make history in the skies; she also chronicled her adventures and challenges in several books, including “I Must Fly,” offering an intimate glimpse into the highs and lows of her extraordinary career.

Sheila Scott passed away on October 20, 1988, but her legacy in aviation and her role in breaking barriers for women continue to be celebrated. Her story is a powerful reminder of what can be achieved with passion and determination, no matter the obstacles.

Like Sheila Scott, I chose to change careers from the aerospace engineering field to writing mystery novels. Likewise, my sleuth Miranda Trent bravely attempts to forge a new career in the Daniel Boone National Forest of Kentucky. Thanks to women like Sheila Scot who defie boundaries, many of us are free to follow our dreams.

Exploring the internet for historical figures often leads me to stories like this. I can’t wait to see who I find next.
Has history surprised you with a new hero?

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The Paint & Shine Mysteries are set in the Daniel Boone National Forest. My parents were born and raised in the area, and now they rest in peace in the JJ Adams Family Cemetery in Wolfe County, Kentucky. The characters spend considerable time preparing traditional southern meals and creating moonshine cocktails. Please consider buying locally. Independent bookstores need your help.

Don’t forget to enter our Booklover’s Bench contest, but hurry the entry window closes in two days! We’re collecting entries for TWO free books to one lucky winner. It runs from June 1-22. Click HERE for the contest.

If you want to know more about author Cheryl Hollon, visit her WEBSITE.

Posted in Let's Talk, with Cheryl Hollon • Tags: , , , |  16 Comments


16 thoughts on “Celebrating our Women Pioneers in Aviation

  1. Not per se in terms of heroes, but reading posts like yours or the stories Leslie Budewitz wrote using the real Mary have opened my eyes to people I would never have known or stumbled upon.

    1. There are so many unsung heroes who would have been helpful when I was a young woman. I wouldn’t have felt so isolated. That is one advantage girls today will enjoy.

  2. Unfortunately, too often throughout history, men have taken credit for many of women’s achievements. In The Tiffany Girls, my good friend Shelley Noble wrote about the real-life women who were responsible for designing and executing many of the stained glass works attributed to Louis Comfort Tiffany. The same is true in various fields of science where countless breakthroughs and discoveries were made by women, but they rarely got credit for their work.

    1. I’m susceptible to disappearing down rabbit holes during research — this one was terrific!

  3. I love reading posts like this. Women have had to fight for equal billing since the dawn of time, but it is wonderful to read stories like this and understand what Sheila Scott had to endure to follow her dreams. I enjoy being an armchair traveler and living vicariously through female pioneers in every career. I’m glad my children had more female role models than I had and I believe my grandkids will be fearless, male and female.

    1. I agree with you Maggie. I’ve seen my grandchildren make career choices without any qualms about whether or not they would be welcomed. <3

  4. For research on my Bad Hair Day Mysteries, I learned about Martha Matilda Harper who started the first public hair salon in Rochester, NY. Her company went on to include 500 franchises worldwide. She was a true pioneer in this field by employing women, inventing hair care products, emphasizing customer service and spreading her philosophy of retail franchise operations. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martha_Matilda_Harper

    1. I love to hear stories like that. I had some family role models. My grandmother was the postmaster of her small village in Eastern Kentucky and her sister was a licensed barber.

  5. I recently read American Flygirl about Hazel Ying Lee. first Asian American woman to earn a pilot’s license and join the WASPs during WWII

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