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November 4, 2015

Miss America of Aviation – 20 Vintage Photos of Ruth Elder As a Pilot in the 1920s

Ruth Elder (1902-1977) was a pilot and actress. She carried private pilot certificate P675, and was known as the "Miss America of Aviation." She was a charter member of the Ninety-Nines.

In 1927 she took off from New York in the airplane American Girl, with her co-pilot, George Haldeman, in an attempt to become the first woman to duplicate Charles Lindbergh's transatlantic crossing to Paris. Mechanical problems caused them to ditch the plane 360 miles from land, but they established a new over-water endurance flight record of 2,623 miles. It was also at the time the longest flight ever made by a woman. She and George were honored with a ticker-tape parade upon their return.

In 1929 she entered the first Women's Air Derby, flying in her Swallow, NC8730, and placed fifth.

She starred in Moran of the Marines (1928) and Glorifying the American Girl (1929). She married six times, lastly to Ralph King, to whom she was married for 21 years and who outlived her. She had suffered emphysema for several years before she died on October 9, 1977 in San Francisco, California, USA.


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