Breaking Through the Clouds: The First Women's International Air Derby

About This Episode


Turbulence, mechanical failures and emergency landings - these are just a few of the challenges that happened over a nine-day period in 1929 during the first National Women's Air Derby, dubbed the 'Powder Puff Derby' by columnist Will Rogers. Although facing public scrutiny on a daily basis, aviatrixes Amelia Earhart, Pancho Barnes, Bobbi Trout, Louise Thaden and sixteen other qualified pilots entered this ground-breaking transcontinental air race, one of the most pivotal and significant events ever to take place in women's aviation.

Breaking Through the Clouds: The First Women's International Air Derby tells the story of these pioneering women who were flying in the face of anyone who believed women belonged on the ground. The derby was, after all, more than just a race; it was a chance to show the world that women can be independent, competitive, self-sufficient, intelligent, competent, graceful and really good pilots.