Happy Birthday, Pancho Barnes

Florence Lowe ‘Pancho’ Barnes was born on this day in 1901.

I met her son, Bill. Dad kept his planes on leaseback at Barnes Aviation, where I learned to fly. Bill’s widow Shouling was a wonderful lady.

Most people know of Pancho Barnes through The Right Stuff, but she’s a legend where I spent my teens and early-20s.

One of the Great Ladies of Flight. And quite a character in her own right.

I read an article about her recently in either Aviation History or Air & Space Magazine a few months ago. There was a lot more to her than what was shown on The Right Stuff.

Yep. Stunt pilot, founder of the Associated Motion Picture Pilots union, granddaughter of Thaddeus S. C. Lowe, rival to Amelia Earhart…

If you want to learn more, I can recommend the book The Happy Bottom Riding Club: The Life and Times of Pancho Barnes and the DVD The Legend of Pancho Barnes and the Happy Bottom Riding Club.

I’ve been meaning to pull the DVD out again.

One of the top female air racers of the 30’s, too. And a top horse trainer, in her spare time.