Pancho Barnes

Pancho Barnes was an extraordinary pilot and a living legend from the early days of aviation. Born over a century ago as Florence Leontine Lowe, she was fierce, witty, and always ready to take on a challenge. In 1930, she shattered Amelia Earhart’s speed record, becoming the fastest woman in the world for a time. Beyond setting records, she also made her mark as a Hollywood stunt pilot, leaving audiences in awe with her breathtaking aerial acrobatics for the cameras.

But Pancho Barnes didn’t stop there. She started the first stunt pilots’ union and the Happy Bottom Riding Club, a place to hang out near Edwards Air Force Base. Aviators and Hollywood stars loved it. Her ranch became legendary, and test pilots would visit regularly, including those who broke the sound barrier.

Pancho lived life on her terms and never buckled to society. That’s why she’s so important and loved in aviation history. Her story is strength and adaptability personified – the adventurous and pioneering spirit of the early flyers.