Accelerated Reader Program Selection
North Carolina was the site of the first powered airplane flight by the Wright brothers in 1903. Only ten years later, the state could also claim the first parachute jump from an airplane by a woman affectionately known as “Tiny.”
At just over four feet tall and weighing a mere eighty pounds, Tiny married at the age of twelve, and was abandoned by her husband one year later. As a result, she worked fourteen-hour shifts at a local cotton mill for forty cents a day, and walked home three times daily to feed her baby.
In 1903, she saw a parachute descent from a hot air balloon for the first time at the Johnny J. Jones Carnival in Raleigh. Charles Broadwick’s thrilling feat inspired her to join the carnival, and after her first jump from a hot air balloon, she was hooked.
This story of Tiny’s life follows the history of aviation from the early novelty of flight through the tremendous developments in air travel during World War II, all the way to the Apollo 13 launch in 1970. Tiny was inducted into the Hall of Fame alongside such aviation pioneers as Charles Lindbergh and the Wright brothers in 1976.
Little has been written about this pioneer in aviation history, whose contributions made flying airplanes safer for pilots during World War II through improvements to the design of parachutes and demonstrations for soldiers.