ONLINE & BOOK
by Michael Graham
(Portions extracted from the complete website)
Amelie Beese, known as Melli, was the first woman in Germany to obtain a pilot's license.
She was born in September 1886.
In 1911, aged 25, she passed her flying test in spite of considerable efforts by male comrades to sabotage her with lighthearted practical jokes like draining fuel from her tank, loosening control wires, or replacing fresh sparking plugs with clogged ones. Injured in several crashes - not unusual in those days - she went on to construct her own aircraft based on the Rumpler Taube, and built several under license.
She started her own flying school, (Flugschule Melli Beese), the only one of the day to boast not one single serious accident or fatality! Her courage became a legend.
She later married the French aviator and aircraft constructor, Charles Boutard.
You may read the whole fascinating story, which includes several photographs, by clicking on the title above.
One of the most comprehensive and useful is the website of Jürgen Ladek. The entire site is in German, but you can use the AltaVista "Babelfish" translation machine to read it in English. To access it, click on:
Then click on Flugpionere. You will find entries for Melli Beese, Hans Grade, and many other German pioneers..
Women Pilots in the Early
Days of Aviation
Eileen F. Lebow
Cloth: 315 pages; 6x9 inches
List Price: $26.95
Your Price: $21.56
Before Amelia is the remarkable story of the world's women pioneer aviators who braved the skies during the early days of flight. While most books have only examined the women aviators of a single country, Eileen Lebow looks at an international spectrum of pilots and their influence on each other. The story begins with Raymonde de Laroche, a French woman, who became the first licensed female pilot in 1909. De Laroche, Lydia Zvereva, Melli Beese, Hilda Hewlitt, Harriet Quimby, and the other women pilots profiled here rose above contemporary gender stereotypes and proved their ability to fly the temperamental heavier-than-air contraptions of the day.
Lebow provides excellent descriptions of the dangers and challenges of early flight. Crashes and broken bones were common, and many of the pioneers lost their lives. But these women were adventurers at heart. In an era when women's professional options were severely limited and the mere sight of ladies wearing pants caused a sensation, these women succeeded as pilots, flight instructors, airplane designers, stunt performers, and promoters. This book fills a large void in the history of the first two decades of flight
About The Author:
Eileen F. Lebow is an author and former teacher. Her previous books include Cal Rodgers and the Vin Fiz: The First Transcontinental Flight and A Grandstand Seat: The Army Balloon Corps in World War I. She lives in Washington, D.C.
This book has a whole chapter on Melli Beese. It includes several photographs which help to tell her story. The coverage of the many other pioneer women aviators is excellent. It deserves to be in the library of anyone who is interested in these remarkable women. For more information and to order, go to the publisher's homepage by clicking on: