Thursday, May 13, 2010



"Pancho Barnes"

Valerie Bertinelli

From Wikipedia:
Florence Lowe "Pancho" Barnes (July 22, 1901 – March 30, 1975) was a pioneer aviator, the founder of the first stunt pilots union and the owner of the Happy Bottom Riding Club.

[In] the Spring of 1928, while driving her cousin Dean Banks to flying lessons, decided immediately to learn to fly. Convincing her cousin's flight instructor of her desire that same day, she soloed after just six hours of formal instruction. True to her flamboyant devil-may-care spirit, she forthwith brought friends along for rides and began "buzzing" her husband's Sunday morning congregation for the fun of it. At this time in aviation history, Barnes was one of only two dozen aviatrixes in the United States, a contemporary of female flyers such as Amelia Earhart.

Her passion for aviation took off, and she ran an ad-hoc barnstorming show and competed in air races. Despite a crash in the 1929 Women's Air Derby, Pancho returned in 1930 under the sponsorship of the Union Oil Company to win the race – and break Amelia Earhart's world women's speed record with a speed of 196.19 mph (315.7 km/h). Barnes broke this record in a Travel Air Type R "Mystery Ship."

After her contract with Union Oil expired, Pancho moved to Hollywood to work as a stunt pilot for movies. In 1931, she started the Associated Motion Picture Pilots, a union of film industry stunt fliers who promoted flying safety and standardized pay for aerial stunt work. She flew in several air-adventure movies of the 1930s, including Howard Hughes' "Hell's Angels."



Todd Mason said...

There's a syndicated Pancho Barnes documentary making the public broadcasting station rounds...

Anonymous said...

Yes! It is called "The Legend of Pancho Barnes." Visit to see the trailer and view the broadcast schedule.

chuck said...

please, im at word2chuck@ yahoo
what is this about? with these pictures of this girl posing as pancho.
is this a film? not the docuementary.
my dad is howie keefe and he just told me pancho wrote a message on his p-51's tail. lol!!!
after i told him about the pbs film.