Matilde E. Moisant

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Matilde E. Moisant
Matilde Moisant (cropped).jpg
Moisant in 1912 wearing a "good luck" swastika medallion.
Born (1878-09-13)September 13, 1878
Earl Park, Indiana, U.S.
Died February 5, 1964(1964-02-05) (aged 85)
Glendale, California, U.S.
Occupation Aviator
Parent(s) Medore Moisant
Josephine Fortier
Matilde Moisant (left) and Harriet Quimby

Matilde E. Moisant (September 13, 1878 – February 5, 1964) was an American pioneer aviator. She was the second woman in the United States to get a pilot's license.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

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

Aviation career[edit]

Moisant learned to fly at Alfred's Moisant Aviation School on Long Island, New York.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed] In September 1911, she flew in the air show at Nassau Boulevard airfield in Garden City, New York and, while competing against Hélène Dutrieu, Moisant broke the women's altitude world record and won the Rodman-Wanamaker trophy by flying to 1,200 feet (370 m).[citation needed]

Retirement from flying[edit]

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


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.[1]



  1. ^ a b "Matilde Moisant, Early Flyer, Dies. Second Woman in Country to Get Pilot's License.". New York Times. February 7, 1964. 
  2. ^ "Miss Moisant Wins License. Second Woman In This Country To Prove Her Ability To Fly.". New York Times. August 14, 1911. Retrieved 2008-05-31. Garden City, Long Island. August 13, 1911. With the wind eddies flattened to almost a dead calm, Miss Matilda Moisant, sister of the late John B. Moisant, who was killed at New Orleans last January, distinguished herself this morning as the second woman in this country to win a pilot's license under the rules of the Aero Club of America. 

Further reading[edit]

  • New York Times; May 11, 1911; pg. 6; "Woman in trousers daring aviator. Long Island Folk Discover That Miss Harriet Quimby Is Making Flights at Garden City. Garden City, Long Island; May 10, 1911. Rumors that there was a young woman aviator at the Moisant Aviation School here who made daily flights at 4:30 A.M. have brought many Garden City folk and townspeople from Hempstead and Mineola to the flying grounds here on several mornings. These early risers have seen a slender, youthful figure in aviation jacket and trousers of wool-backed satin, with ..."
  • New York Times; Oct 09, 1911; pg. 1; "Escapes sheriff in her aeroplane; Matilde Moisant Takes to the Air Before He Can Arrest Her. Matilde Moisant, who became America's most notable woman flier after seeing her brother, the late John B. Moisant, make his celebrated flight around the Statue of Liberty, narrowly missed being thrown into jail yesterday in Nassau County for going into the air in her monoplane on Sunday."
  • Oakes, C. M.: United States Women in Aviation Through World War I; Smithsonian Institution Press, 1978.
  • Rich, D. L.: The Magnificent Moisants - Champions of Early Flight; Smithsonian Institution Press, 1998. ISBN 1-56098-860-6.

External links[edit]

Media related to Matilde Moisant at Wikimedia Commons