In 1928, Aviatrix Elinor Smith, then 16, earned national recognition as the youngest pilot to receive a license from the FAA. Orville Wright signed her license. Smith is the first -- and only -- pilot to fly under all four bridges over the East River in NYC.
“Our times may not understand the work you’ve now completed” This line was spoken at the funeral of Elsa Andersson, who died at the age of twenty five. These words share something of the enigmatic quality that Elsa had, both in life and in death. Her gravestone read ‘First and only female aviator in Scandinavia’. A slender boy-girl Icarus, a Puck, an adventuress; a fatalist, a yearning, a sign of modernity…one can easily get lost in the mythology. To find the real girl I had to peel away
photo by Marc Riboud, Japan, 1958
In 1941, the U.S. began to form a hand-picked army to fight in Europe; its troops were composed of artists, designers, actors, meteorologists, and sound technicians, and their true mission was not to fight, but to deceive the German army. Their props were inflatable tanks and pyrotechnics; their tools camouflage, “spoof” radio plays, special effects, and sonic deception. Their last “disappearing act” was to vanish from history. Officially they were the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops.