July 24, 1897|
Hânţeşti, Buciumeni commune, Covurlui County (now Galați County), Romania
|Died||February 2, 1948
|Known for||Early world records in parachuting|
Smaranda Brăescu (May 21, 1897 – February 2, 1948) was a Romanian parachuting and aviation pioneer, former multiple world record holder. Her achievements earned her the nickname "Queen of the Heights".
On May 19, 1932, Smaranda Brăescu sets the absolute world record for highest parachute jump (from 6929 meters or 22733 feet), in Sacramento, California. It was homologated by the Aero Club of Washington. She surpassed the previous record by 476 m.
In 1918, she flew for the first time in a Farman plane piloted by Captain Dumitru Naidinescu. In 1928, while in Germany, she bought a parachute, and jumped for the first time from a 6000 m height, becoming the first female Romanian parachutist. She got her parachuting license in Germany, on July 5, 1928, after a two days course and a jumping without incidents. Thanks to her, Romania is the third country in the world, with a female parachutist. On August 17, 1930, at Satu-Mare, after a parachute jumping, she was seriously injured and remained bedridden for six months. She owned two biplanes. In 1932, in her Miles Hawk, she established the record crossing the Mediterranean Sea between Rome and Tripoli (1100 km in 6 hours and 10 minutes). In the same year, in the United States, in Sacramento, California, Braescu establishes an absolute world record, previously held by an American at 21,733 ft, by jumping successfully from 24,000 ft (7,200m). From then on, she becomes a heroine, being escorted by 30 other planes to an air show in Canada, where she is invited. She was in the medical wing during battles on the Eastern Front in World War II, remaining active until May 12, 1945. After World War II, she signed a document condemning the November 1946 election, and was sent to prison for two years. It is believed she died on February 2, 1948, and is possibly buried in the Central Cemetery in Cluj, under the name of Maria Popescu.
A street in Bucharest was named after her.
(Substantial parts of this article were taken from selected sentences from automatic translations from the Romanian Wiki, and from the Avram reference.)
- Femei celebre din România, p. 309, at Google Books
- on YouTube
- (in Romanian) Dr. Valeriu Avram, Smaranda Brăescu,o pasăre în văzduh (Smaranda Brăescu, A Bird in the Sky), in Magazin istoric, January 2001
- (in Romanian) Costin Anghel, Smaranda Brăescu, eroina (Smaranda Brăescu, the Heroine), in Jurnalul Naţional, April 10, 2005
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