Item #17575 Press photograph for the refueling endurance flight attempted by two women aviators. Aviation, Bobbi Trout, Elinor Smith.
Press photograph for the refueling endurance flight attempted by two women aviators

Press photograph for the refueling endurance flight attempted by two women aviators

Underwood and Underwood, [n.d., 1929]. On January 2, 1929, Evelyn “Bobbi” Trout (1906 – 2003) set the women’s endurance flight record with a time of twelve hours and eleven minutes. The record didn’t last a month, however, before being beaten by Elinor Smith (1911 – 2010) by over an hour. The next month, Trout reclaimed the record with a seventeen-hour flight; in April, Smith smashed the record with a time of twenty-six hours. Trout and Smith’s rivalry led them to collaboration: while participating in the Women’s Transcontinental Air Derby in the summer of 1929, they agreed to attempt a month-long endurance flight. The present photo commemorates their first attempt, which took place in November of 1929. Though Trout and Smith were able to successfully refuel the plane while in the air three times, mechanical issues grounded them after forty-two hours. They set the women’s endurance flight record with the time. Photograph (10” x 8”) with leaf of typewritten commentary (by Underwood and Underwood) adhered to verso at bottom edge. Some toning to edges and verso and some wear to the commentary leaf. Very good. The photograph shows aviator Bobbi Trout warming up the motor of a Commercial Aircraft Corporation “Sunbeam” plane at the Los Angeles Metropolitan Airport, where Trout and Elinor Smith took off on their refueling endurance flight. The typewritten commentary suggests the headline, “BOBBIE [sic] TROUT AND ELEANOR [sic] SMITH BURY THE HATCHET IN PREPARATION FOR REFUELING ENDURANCE FLIGHT.”. Item #17575

Both Trout and Smith had illustrious aviation careers. Trout set an altitude record for light-class aircraft in June of 1929 and set another women’s endurance flight record in 1931 by spending over 122 hours in the air with actress Edna Mae Cooper. Alongside Amelia Earhart, Phoebe Omlie, Louise Thaden, and Blanche Noyes, Trout co-founded the Ninety-Nines, an organization for women pilots. Trout also co-founded founded the Women’s Air Reserve with Pancho Barnes.

When she received her pilot’s license at sixteen, Smith became the youngest United States government licensed pilot in history. Some of her earliest feats of aviation were stunt flights under New York bridges. She set records in both altitude and speed, including a world altitude record of over 27,000 feet in 1930 and a women’s speed record of 190.8 miles per hour in 1929. Smith also worked as a radio commentator on aviation events for NBC for three years and helped establish an aviation museum on Long Island.

Price: $750.00

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