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In more than a century of flight, aircraft have gone form crude one-man gliders to sleek, supersonic jets. Th e earliest airplanes were simple, open-cockpit craft made from wooden frames and covered in cloth with single propellers prone to stalling in midair. It took many daring men and women to figure out how airplanes worked and how they could be improved. One Arkansas family became pioneers in aviation, including two of the earliest women pilots in the United States. Katherine Stinson led this family of pilots and became a celebrity in the years before World War I.

Katherine Stinson was born on Valentine’s Day 1891 in Northeast Alabama, the eldest of four children. Her brother Edward, Jr., born in 1893 and sister Marjorie, born in 1894, would also follow her into aviation. Their father was an electrical engineer. When they were still young, the family moved to Mississippi to be near their father’s family. Shortly after the turn of the century, they moved to Pine Bluff. It was in Pine Bluff where their love of aviation began.


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