Ruth Alexander

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Ruth Blaney Alexander
Ruth Blaney Alexander (4727886076).jpg
Full name Ruth Blaney Alexander
Born (1905-05-18)May 18, 1905
Irving, Kansas
Died September 18, 1930(1930-09-18) (aged 25)
San Diego, California
Nationality American
Aviation career
Known for Establishment of world record in flight height
Flight license February 16, 1930

Ruth Blaney Alexander (May 18, 1905 – September 18, 1930) was a female aviation pioneer in the United States.


Alexander's flying career started on September 9, 1929 at Ryan Field in San Diego, California with an introductory flight. Within a short period of time she became the 65th licensed woman pilot in the U.S. Less than 24 hours after attaining her license, Alexander took off from Lindbergh Field on November 18, 1929, in a Great Lakes biplane and continued climbing to what she believed was an altitude of better than 18,000 feet over the skies of San Diego. This was later recognized as a new official altitude record for women in light planes of 15,718 feet. On February 16, 1930, Alexander qualified for a United States second-class glider license from the slopes of Mount Soledad, near La Jolla, California. In doing so she followed Anne Morrow Lindbergh as the second woman in the United States to achieve this distinction. Alexander made a perfect flight using a primary glider lasting 2 minutes 33 and 2/5 seconds. On July 4, 1930, Alexander flew her Barling NB-3 light aircraft (serial number 52, U.S. Department of Commerce registration number 880M) to 21,000 feet; this was not confirmed as an official record. In the spring of 1930, she became a glider instructor and, in so doing, became the first woman in the United States to hold this position.

On July 11, 1930, Alexander took off at 1:34 p.m. in the Barling from Lindbergh Field. After briefly losing consciousness at extreme altitudes, she established a new world record in light planes (both men and women) of 26,600 feet at the apex of the flight. The American record held prior to this flight was set by D. S. Zimmerly (male) at an altitude of 24,074 feet over St. Louis, Missouri on February 16, 1930.


Ruth Alexander died when her NB-3 Barling struck a hillside shortly after takeoff on September 18, 1930 from Lindbergh Field, San Diego on a scheduled cross-country flight to New York City via Wichita, Kansas. She was eulogized as a "pioneer of the airways of this epic age."

External links[edit]


  • Carlson, D (1978) "Women in San Diego...a History in Photographs" The Journal of San Diego History, Vo. XXIV, No. 3.
  • Fogel, Gary (2001) "Wind and Wings: The History of Soaring in San Diego" RockReef Press, San Diego
  • Fogel, Gary and Lindemer, Grant (2007) "Ruth Blaney Alexander: A Dream of Wings" Quiet Flyer, Vol. No. 8, pp. 22–27.
  • “Girl Flies Up 20,000 Feet,” The Irving Leader, July 11, 1930.
  • “Ruth Blaney Alexander Will be in Irving Soon,” The Irving Leader, September 12, 1930.
  • “Cracked Up,” The Irving Leader, September 19, 1930.
  • “Ruth Blaney Alexander,” Advocate Democrat, September 25, 1930.
  • “Left Pathos When Crashed to Death,” Marshall Co. News, September 26, 1930.
  • “Hall of Fame Beckoned to Ruth,” Marshall Co. News, September 26, 1930.
  • “Struggles Led the Way to Her Success,” Marshall Co. News, September 26, 1930.
  • "No Lake Landings?". Time Magazine. 1930-09-29. Retrieved 2008-08-09.