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Matilde Moisant

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Matilde E. Moisant (September 13, 1878 – February 5, 1964) was an American pioneer aviatrix. She was the second woman in the country to gain a pilot's license.

Moisant was born in Earl Park, Indiana to Médore Moisant and Joséphine Fortier. Both parents were French Canadians. Her siblings include George Moisant, John B. Moisant, Annie M. Moisant, Alfred Moisant, Louisa J. Moisant and Eunice Moisant. John and Alfred were also aviators. In 1880 the family was living in Manteno, Illinois and her father was working as a farmer.

Moisant learned to fly at Alfred's Aviation School on Long Island, New York. In 1911, a few weeks after her friend Harriet Quimby received her pilot's certificate, Matilde Moisant became the second woman pilot certified by the Aero Club of America. She pursued a career in exhibition flying.

In September 1911 she flew in the air show at Nassau Boulevard airfield in Garden City, New York and, while competing against Helene Dutrieu, Moisant broke the women's altitude world record and won the Rodman-Wanamaker trophy by flying to 1,200 feet.

Moisant stopped flying on April 14, 1912 in Wichita Falls, Texas when her plane crashed (the same day as the Titanic sank). Less than two months later her friend Harriet Quimby was killed when she fell from her plane. Although Moisant recovered from her injuries, she gave up flying, and moved to the family plantation in San Salvador.

Matilde Moisant died in 1964 in Glendale, California, aged 85, and was interred in the Portal of Folded Wings Shrine to Aviation in Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery, North Hollywood, Los Angeles, California.


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