February 29, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Santa Monica History: 90th Anniversary of Powder Puff Derby

Looking up at the skies of 1929

By Keldine Hull

It was the summer of 1929. Twenty female pilots took to the skies in a transcontinental race from Santa Monica to Ohio in the First Women’s National Air Derby, also known as the Powder Puff Derby. Over the course of nine days, the women challenged gender stereotypes while enduring mechanical and navigational issues and threats of sabotage.

Among the women who competed were Pancho Barnes, known for smoking cigars and cursing like a sailor, Hollywood starlet Ruth Edler and aviation icon Amelia Earhart. Marvel Crosson, an experienced pilot who flew the entire course before the race, didn’t survive the derby. Louise Thaden, who came in first place, dedicated her trophy to Crosson. “We were indignant,” wrote Thaden in her book High, Wide, and Frightened. “To us the successful completion of the derby was of more import than life or death.”

Ultimately, 14 pilots finished, successfully traversing the route in a time long before GPS and smartphones. They became legends in aviation and set an important precedent in history. Following the derby, 99 female pilots accepted an invitation to join a new organization called “The 99’s,” which remains active to this day.

On August 18, fourteen women and men commemorated the 90th anniversary of the historic derby and formation of “The 99’s” by racing small plans from Santa Monica Airport to San Bernardino. Competing pilots were greeted in San Bernardino with songs from “Powder Puff Pilots,” a musical based on the 1929 derby. In an interview with KCRW, pilot Andrea Garcia said, “I started flying very late… I’m poor and have no godly reason that I should have made it this far. But when you see somebody else who’s done it, and you see somebody else who’s doing it, then you realize that you can do it too.”

in News
Related Posts

Leap Day Brings Once-in-Four-Year Deals at Popular Restaurants All Day Long

February 28, 2024

February 28, 2024

Krispy Kreme, Dunkin’, and More Roll Out Special Offers to Mark the Occasion Leap Day, that rare additional day occurring...

Sweet Lady Jane’s Social Media Tease Continues As Locations Sport Hiring Notices

February 28, 2024

February 28, 2024

Mysterious Posts Leave Fans Eager for the Return, But Questions Linger By Dolores Quintana After resurfacing on social media, the...

Upcoming Ice Cream Shop on Montana Ave. Will Serve Multitude of Vegan Flavors

February 28, 2024

February 28, 2024

The Company Has Come a Long Way Since Its Humble Beginnings as a New York City Food Truck By Zach...

(Video) Pro-Palestine Protest at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel

February 28, 2024

February 28, 2024

Protesters were there to protest the arrival of U.S. Representative Nancy Pelosi Counter-protesters drove by in a car. @smmirrornews Pro-Palestine...

(Video) Restaurants Replace Glass Front Doors After Late Night Robbery Spree in Del Ray

February 28, 2024

February 28, 2024

Seven restaurants and small businesses in Del Rey and Venice, including Nick the Greek and Dudley Market, were robbed. Council...

SMMUSD Appoints New Asst. Superintendent of Education Services

February 27, 2024

February 27, 2024

Dr. Williamson Will Assume Her Role on March 8, Bringing 17 Years of Education Experience In a special board meeting...

Hollywood Royalty to Shine at 96th Oscars: First Wave of Star-Studded Presenter Lineup Unveiled

February 27, 2024

February 27, 2024

Incredible Lineup of Actors and Previous Oscar Winners Announced Executive producer and showrunner Raj Kapoor, along with executive producers Molly...

Vote Smart, Vote Early: Streamlining Your 2024 Presidential Primary Experience in L.A. County

February 27, 2024

February 27, 2024

Skip the Lines and Save Time – Your Guide to Early Voting Options  In preparation for the upcoming 2024 Presidential...

Iconic Venice Beach Sculpture and Landmark to be Removed, Returned to Artist’s Property

February 27, 2024

February 27, 2024

Since the Money, Effort or Desire to Purchase the Piece Appears to Not Be There, the Artist Wants It Back...

(Video) Heartfelt candlelight vigils in Westchester and West Hollywood for Nex Benedict

February 27, 2024

February 27, 2024

The non-binary 16 year old student with Choctaw ancestry died in Owasso, Oklahoma after being beaten by three older high...

Sweet Lady Jane Sparks Hope of Return – Popular Bakery Hints at Reopening Across LA

February 27, 2024

February 27, 2024

After Abrupt Closures, Beloved Bakery Hints at a Comeback, Leaving Fans Intrigued  Sweet Lady Jane, a Los Angeles cake bakery...

Waymo’s LA Expansion Hits Roadblock: CPUC Temporarily Halts Self-Driving Company’s Plans

February 26, 2024

February 26, 2024

California Public Utilities Commission suspends Waymo’s service expansion for 120 days. California’s Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has put a temporary...

Real Estate Giant Funds LAPD Union Fund to Sway L.A. City Council Election in March

February 26, 2024

February 26, 2024

Santa Monica Company Responsible for LA’s Largest Mass Eviction Gives $400,000 Santa Monica-based Real estate investment trust company Douglas Emmett...

Santa Monica College Unveils 2024 Spring Jazz Series Lineup

February 26, 2024

February 26, 2024

Tickets for each concert are priced at $10 and can be purchased in advance The Santa Monica College Music Department...

Downtown Wellness Center Bridges Gap Between Psychedelics and Meditation

February 26, 2024

February 26, 2024

The Center Has Partnered With Local Agencies and Gave Free Sessions to Around 500 Veterans in Two Years By Zach...