Florence “Pancho” Barnes, considered Hollywood’s first female stunt pilot and an influential woman in early aviation, will be spotlighted during an event Thursday, August 7th, at the Flight Path Learning Center and Museum at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
The event is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m., in the LAX Imperial Terminal, 6661 W. Imperial Highway, Westchester. The public is invited and admission and parking are free.
Nick Spark, writer-producer of a television documentary on Barnes, will discuss his research on the pioneer aviator and will preview video highlights of the upcoming program, “The Legend of Pancho Barnes.” USC Film School professor Amanda Pope is collaborating on the project, which is scheduled to be on KOCE-TV, the PBS station in Orange County.
Barnes was renowned as a tough and fearless pilot, performing as a barnstormer throughout California and appearing in numerous films in the 1920s and 1930s, said Flight Path president Rowena Ake.
“This Speaker Series program is part of our year-long salute to the 80th anniversary of LAX and takes us back to a very exciting time in aviation,” said Ake.
Barnes was a friend and competitor of another woman air pioneer, Amelia Earhart, and broke Earhart’s air speed record by flying at 196 miles per hour in 1930.
General Charles E. Yeager, honorary chairman of Flight Path, was among aviation personalities entertained by Barnes at her guest ranch near Edwards Air Force Base, where Yeager became the first pilot to break the sound barrier, in 1947.
Known as “The Happy Bottom Riding Club,” the ranch was a hangout for test pilots and movie stars. The ranch was later immortalized in Tom Wolfe’s book, The Right Stuff. The club was destroyed by fire in 1953.
The Flight Path Learning Center and Museum is operated by nonprofit Flight Path in cooperation with Los Angeles World Airports, the city agency which operates LAX.
Information, (310) 215-5291 or http://www.flightpath.us/.