Blanche Noyes

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Blanche Noyes


June 23, 1900 USA


October 1981 USA




Dewey Noyes (c1900-1935)

Blanche Noyes (June 23, 1900 – October 1981) was an American pioneering female aviator who was among the first ten women to receive a pilot’s license.

Marriage and aviation

She married Dewey Noyes (c1900-1935), a United States Airmail pilot, and started a flying career after her husband gave her about four hours of dual control instructions. She was Ohio’s first licensed female pilot in 1929.


She was a demonstration pilot for Standard Oil in 1931 and flew with various organizations until her husband died in a crash in 1935.

1936 Bendix Trophy Race

In 1936 she teamed up as co-pilot to Louise Thaden and won the Bendix Trophy Race in the first year women were allowed to compete against men. They set a new world record of 14 hours, 55 minutes from New York City to Los Angeles, California. In their astonishing victory the two women flew a Beech C17R Staggerwing biplane and defeated twin-engine planes specifically designed for racing. Laura Ingalls, another aviatrix, came in second by 45 minutes flying a Lockheed Orion. First prize was $4,500 and they also won the $2,500 prize for a woman finishing. Time magazine wrote on September 14, 1936:

To Pilots Thaden & Noyes the $7,000 prize money was far less gratifying than the pleasure of beating the men. Among the first ten U.S. women to earn transport licenses, they have for years been front-line fighters in aviation’s “battle of the sexes.” A fuzzy-haired blonde of 30, Mrs. Thaden has been flying since 1927, has held the women’s speed, altitude and endurance records, is the mother of a 6-year-old son. She and Flyer Noyes both work regularly as air-marking pilots for the Department of Commerce. Short, brunette Mrs. Noyes is better known as the only pilot ever to fly John D. Rockefeller Sr. In the National Air Races, men contestants have always patronized women, in 1934 ousted them altogether. Smilingly observed Pilots Thaden and Noyes last week when they found they had won one of the two most important events of the Races: “Well, that’s a surprise! We expected to be the cow’s tail.”

Air Marking Group

While living in Irvington, New Jersey Noyes joined the Air Marking Group of the Bureau of Air Commerce in August 1936. She became a member of the Women’s Advisory Committee on Aeronautics.


Time magazine wrote on November 2, 1981:

Died. Blanche Noyes, 81, Aviation Hall of Fame member who was a Broadway actress before dropping her stage career to fly planes in the early days of U.S. aviation; in Washington, D.C. A friend of Amelia Earhart’s, Noyes took John D. Rockefeller for his only plane ride, in 1930. A stunt flyer, she also competed in numerous air races and was a co-winner with Louise Thaden of the grueling 1936 Bendix Trophy race.


  1. “Mrs. Noyes Gets Air Post. Irvington Woman Is Appointed Federal Marking Pilot.”, The New York Times, August 14, 1936. Accessed January 2, 2008. “Mrs. Blanche Noyes of Irvington, N.J., was appointed today an air-marking pilot for the Bureau of Air Commerce by Eugene L. Vidal, the director. Mrs. Noyes has been flying since 1929 and was one of the first ten women pilots to receive a air transport license.”

Further reading

  • “The Major Trophy Races of the Golden Age of Air Racing” by David H. Onkst, US Centennial of Flight Commission, retrieved January 6, 2006
  • “The Bendix Trophy”, Air Racing History, retrieved January 6, 2006
  • New York Times; September 5, 1935; page 1; Los Angeles, California; September 4, 1935. Two veteran women pilots, Mrs. Louise Thaden of Bentonville. Ark., and Mrs. Blanche Noyes of Memphis, landed here this afternoon 14 hours 54 minutes 49 seconds out of Floyd Bennett Field, New York, to win one of the most famous events in aviation, the Bendix transcontinental derby. Between them they took first money of $4,500, plus $2,500 for a new …
  • New York Times; August 14, 1936; page 19; Washington, District of Columbia; August 13, 1936. Mrs. Blanche Noyes of Irvington, New Jersey, was appointed today an air-marking pilot for the Bureau of Air Commerce by Eugene L. Vidal, the director. Mrs. Noyes has been flying since 1929 and was one of the first ten women pilots to receive an air transport license.
  • New York Times; August 20, 1942; page 13; Washington, District of Columbia; August 20, 1942. Mrs. Blanche Noyes of CAA Has to Undo Safety Work to Bar Aid to Enemy. The irony of it all sometimes makes Mrs. Blanche Noyes chuckle, but she is going right ahead with her job of obliterating hundreds of the safety air markers she spent six years getting set up.