History President Vivian Small hosted a reception
The Authority has high hopes that
in Earhart’s honor at her home located
experience gained during the coming
across from campus on Mentor Avenue.
school year will furnish encouragement
“The lure of flight is the lure of beauty,” Earhart said in her address, describing her emotions as she saw a sunrise over the ocean on a recent flight. “Airplane travel is simply the most modern and most beautiful mode of transportation
for widespread entrance of women into aviation.” Forty Lake Erie students applied for the program, but only 10 were selected to participate. For each of these women,
developed by man.” Barbara (Morris) Redmond ’40 described Earhart’s appearance on campus. “Miss Earhart was here, shy and beautiful. She spoke, and we hung on every word,” Redmond said. Earhart disappeared over the Pacific on
At the end of 1939, ten Lake Erie College students held pilot licenses. A plane built expressly for the use of these students was named “The Suzanne Grant” in honor of Suzanne (Grant) Hawgood ‘37, the first Lake Erie student to obtain her student pilot’s license. Jean (Fulton) Knowles ’40 was one of the students who earned her student pilot’s license. Knowles remembers her solo flight (made in a Piper J-3 Cub on March 4, 1940) vividly and describes it as follows: “I loved it, being alone
July 2, 1937, after taking off from New Guinea on a flight around the world. Her remains have never been found, but the inspiration she provided to aviators around the world remains strong even today. the CAA paid $290 for flying instruction In 1939, Lake Erie College was one of
and an additional $20 for related
two women’s colleges chosen by the
courses given by the College. To qualify,
Civil Aeronautics Authority (CAA) to
the student had to be at least 18 and
participate in a civilian pilot training program. The other college was Mills College in California. The training program was intended to
not over 25 and pass a rigid physical examination that cost $6. She also had to obtain her parents’ approval, have an insurance policy at a cost of at least $14
create a reservoir of experienced pilots
and pass a psychological test. (Cleveland
for a national emergency. Robert H.
Plain Dealer, March 24, 1940)
Hinckley, chairman of the CAA, predicted that the United States would be able to put 70,000 licensed pilots in the air by the end of 1941.
Redmond was one of the students who was interested in the CAA program, and she was disappointed that her parents didn’t approve. “I had no doubt that my
“The inclusion of women in this
father would think it was a wonderful
vocational training program must be
opportunity – after all, I was his favorite
considered this year to be entirely
daughter,” Redmond said. “But the
experimental,” Hinckley said. “Little
answer was a resounding ‘no!’ I should
of no data exists on the adaptability
keep my feet on the ground and study. I
of women to group training as pilots,
couldn’t believe it.”
although individual women fliers have in many cases made distinguished records. 14
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in a plane up in the sky. Canvas and sticks with wheels and a lot of faith!
Marjory Willoughby ’42 was at Lost Nation Airport to see Knowles make her solo flight. “I really got a thrill out of being on hand to see my good friend, Jean Fulton, a senior when I was a sophomore, take her solo flight successfully,” Willoughby said. A scrawled sign in the small waiting room of the airport explained the extra payment the students who soloed successfully had to make. “Bank Night is every solo day,” the sign said. “Each civilian pilot training student is to provide candy bars for all members of class and instructors after first solo flight.” The students undoubtedly loved being witnesses to these special flights.
Lake Erie College Magazine, Fall 2011 issue