Born To Fly

Born To Fly

Written on 11/26/2019
CuriPow


Katherine Sui Fun Cheung was born in Canton, China in 1904  (a year after the Wright brothers’ first flight). When she was 17 she moved with her father to California to study music at the Los Angeles Conservatory. After graduating, she continued her studies at Cal Poly Pomona and the University of Southern California.

Cheung was a natural. Her first solo flight came a mere 12 ½ hours after she took her first flying lesson. By 1932, she earned her pilot’s license at a time when only 1 percent of all licensed pilots in America were female.

What Cheung chose to do with her license was even more amazing: she became a barnstorming pilot. Throughout the 1930s, she traveled to fairs and events taking part in mid-air stunts including acrobatic loops and barrel rolls, flying her open cockpit plane upside down and performing spiral dives.

In 1936, Cheung was invited to join the Ninety-Nines Club, a prestigious international group of female pilots founded by Amelia Earhart. Cheung developed a close friendship with Earhart and was heart-broken when her friend disappeared over the Pacific Ocean.

Cheung has been inducted into the Aviation Hall of Fame, the Museum of Flying’s International Women in Aviation Pioneer Hall of Fame, the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum as well as numerous other honors. But for Cheung it was simply about the love of flying.



Cheung has been inducted into the Aviation Hall of Fame, the Museum of Flying’s International Women in Aviation Pioneer Hall of Fame, the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum as well as numerous other honors. But for Cheung it was simply about the love of flying.



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