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Iris Louise McPhetridge Thaden
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Birth: Nov. 12, 1905
Benton County
Arkansas, USA
Death: Nov. 9, 1979
High Point
Guilford County
North Carolina, USA


Louise McPhetridge Thaden was
a female aviation pioneer.

She held numerous flight records
during the late 1920-30s.
At one point, she was the most
famous female American aviatrix
after Amelia Earhart.


Louise McPhetridge was DAUGHTER of
FATHER - Roy McPhetridge
(a salesman)
MOTHER - Edna McPhetridge
(a housewife)

She had one sibling
SISTER - (?)


Raised on the family farm,
Louise took an early interest
in aviation long before
learning to fly. A ride
in a plane with a barnstormer
fuelled her desire to fly.

McPhetridge attended the
University of Arkansas (UA) 1922-25,
majoring in journalism / physical ed.
Leaving school without a degree,
she moved to Kansas.

McPhetridge spent much of her time
at the local airplane factory,
'Travel Air'. She met Walter Beech
and became his Calif. sales rep.
Part of her salary included
flying lessons. She earned her
pilot's certificate in 1928.


The very certification is shown
on the right here - number 850.
It was authorized by Orville Wright.


She became the first and only pilot
to hold the Women's Altitude,
Solo Endurance, and Speed Records


Louise was WIFE to
HUSBAND - Herbert Thaden

They were wed on July 21, 1928
in Reno, Nevada

She was MOTHER to
two children
*SON - Bill

(at least) 3 grandchildren


Thaden competed and won against
fellow aviators:
* Amelia Earhart
* Pancho Barnes
* Blanche Noyes
* and others in the first
all-women's transcontinental race,
the National Women's Air Derby
held August 1926, 1929.

Later that year, Thaden, Earhart,
and others founded the Ninety-Nines,
an international organization
for female pilots based out of Atchison,
Kansas (the birthplace of Earhart.)
Thaden served the organization in 2 posts:
Vice-President and Secretary.


Thaden helped organize and took part
in the 'National Air Marking Program.'
This was done from 1934-35 with the
'Bureau of Air Commerce.'

After 1935, with the removal of the
ban on women in top air races, Thaden
and co-pilot Blanche Noyes became
the first females to win
the Sept. 4th, 1936
'Bendix Transcontinental Air Race.'
They set a new transcontinental record.

Thaden received aviation's highest honor
- the 'Harmon Trophy,' of 1937.

Thaden retired from competition in 1938.
She wrote her memoirs,
'High, Wide and Frightened',
It told of the years from 1927-37.
She penned newspaper and magazine
articles. Always active in aviation
groups Louise eventually flew
everything from gliders to modern jets!

In 1951, the Bentonville (Ark.) Airport
was renamed in her honor:
'Louise M. Thaden Field'

She is a founding inductee in the
'Arkansas Aviation Hall of Fame.'

She was a member of the
Smithsonian Institution's
'Aviation Hall of Fame.'

In 1976, Thaden returned to
Bentonville for a re-dedication
ceremony of 'Thaden Field'.


She died of heart attack
at her home in the Carolinas.
Her funeral was held on her
74th birthday.



"A life well lived is
one to be celebrated
and never mourned."


This biography is
humbly presented by
Audrey Burtrum-Stanley - Arkansas

Family links: 
  Herbert Von Thaden (1898 - 1969)*
*Calculated relationship
Created by: Someone Who Cares...
Record added: Dec 29, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 46120151
Iris Louise <i>McPhetridge</i> Thaden
Added by: Richard Arthur Norton (1958- )
Iris Louise <i>McPhetridge</i> Thaden
Added by: NJBrewer
Iris Louise <i>McPhetridge</i> Thaden
Added by: NJBrewer
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Original member of the Ninety-Nines a Women pilot group founded by pioneers of women pilots. First president Amelia Earhart.
- Barbara LeClaire
 Added: Jul. 7, 2015
I'm honored to leave these beautiful flowers to a wonderful and beautiful woman. Thanks to her and many others we women are granted the permission to fly. We love you Louise
- Alyssa D
 Added: May. 7, 2015

- Dot
 Added: Nov. 20, 2013
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