Powder Puff Derby (1947)

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Eight women pilots before they left Palm Springs for 1948 Powder Puff Derby

The Powder Puff Derby[1] was the name given to an annual transcontinental air race for women pilots inaugurated in 1947.[2] For the next two years it was named the "Jacqueline Cochran All-Woman Transcontinental Air Race" (AWTAR). It was dubbed the "Powder Puff Derby" in reference to the 1929 Women's Air Derby by humorist and aviation advocate Will Rogers.

In 1977, rising costs, insurance premiums, and diminished corporate sponsorship saw the competition come to an end after thirty years. After the commemorative final flight, the Air Race Classic continued the tradition for women pilots.

Popular culture[edit]

The Powder Puff Derby was frequently mentioned in the television series, The Astronaut Wives Club (2015). Trudy Olson Cooper (1927-1994), the wife of astronaut, Gordon Cooper, was a pilot who is depicted as longing to fly in such a race. In 1970, Trudy Cooper did fly the first leg of the race.[3][4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Powder Puff Derby". www.aerofiles.com. Retrieved 2017-04-08.
  2. ^ Burnett, Claudine (2011). Soaring skyward: a history of aviation in and around Long Beach, California. AuthorHouse. pp. 141–142.
  3. ^ "You've flown a long way baby". Texas Techsan: 16. August 1971.
  4. ^ Koppel, Lily (2013). Astronaut wives club. Headline Publishing Group. ISBN 9780755362615.