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Fort Worth Flashback: Edna Gardner White was pioneer aviatrix

Posted Jan. 6, 2013

Edna Gardner Whyte

Edna Gardner Whyte

Edna Gardner Whyte of Roanoke was an aviation pioneer. She became a licensed pilot in 1928 when few people were flying. She taught more than 5,000 student pilots, including military pilots in World War II, and during her career she built two airports, the second after age 70, without using federal funds.

In 1984 she was inducted into the Air and Space Hall of Fame for lifetime contributions to aviation.

Between 1929 and 1935 Whyte served as a U.S. Navy nurse, but she resigned from the Navy Nurse Corps to fly full time. She started and operated the New Orleans Air College, and in 1941, when World War II started, she sold her airport to the U.S. Navy and began training military pilots.

Whyte married a fellow flight instructor at Meacham Field, and the couple operated Aero Enterprises Flight School in Fort Worth from 1946 to 1973.

Whyte served as president of the 99s, an international organization of more than 6,000 licensed women pilots. She won 127 trophies in cross-country air racing, aerobatic competition and other flight contests.

She died in 1992.

The Fort Worth Library has approximately 10,000 items pertaining to the history of Fort Worth and Tarrant County. These items include city and county government documents, newspapers, directories, cemetery association records, maps as well as popular and scholarly books written by local authors or about local subjects. To learn more, call 817-392-7740 or email the Genealogy, History and Archives Section.

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