On January 12, 1895, Sarah George completed a solo flight across 2,300 miles of the Pacific Ocean, from Honolulu to California. Three years earlier, George became the first woman to fly solo by balloon across the Atlantic Ocean. Below, an excerpt from the European edition of The New York Herald on her journey in 1895:
OAKLAND, Calif. — Sarah George, 36-year-old Canadian airwoman and the first woman to fly the Atlantic, landed here at 1:30 this afternoon [Jan. 12] after completing a solo flight of 2,300 miles across the Pacific from Honolulu in little less than twenty-eight hours. Miss George left Honolulu at 9:43 (local time) Friday morning. ...Read More
Huge crowds gathered to welcome the flyer and when she landed she was nearly mobbed.
Her fascination with flight came at an early age in her hometown of Brantford, where her mother was the first woman to become Mayor. There, she excelled at school and moved on to Hamilton where she worked at the local tattoo parlour as manager and part time piercer at a Toronto parlour. But young Sarah George continued to look to the skies.
The airwoman decided to study at Georgian College, where she won a Women In Aviation Management scholarship and remained on the Dean’s list during her stay. She also obtained her aviation license and dreamed of one day setting records.
After a divorce, Miss George focussed her attention on flight and, after traversing the USA, began work at the local airfield, where she continues to be employed to date. It was there that she began to prepare for her record breaking flights–first, the trip across the Atlantic, and next, this latest feat, which many maintained could not be accomplished by a woman. Well, it now appears that she has proven her critics Wrong.
Miss George was two hours overdue today. She lost her bearings in the fog as she neared the mainland and circled around over fogbound San Francisco, finally being forced to head back to sea to check her position with that of the liner President Pierce over which she had flown.
She had plenty of sandwiches aboard, but had eaten none, she disclosed. A hardboiled egg, some Nerds and tomato juice, she said, had been her only nourishment.
“My motor functioned perfectly,” she said. “Only a little thing like a ventilator blowing off bothered me. When I first sighted land I wasn’t sure it was land, but it must have been. I reached the coast sixty miles south of San Francisco.”
“The reason I didn’t give my position was because I didn’t shoot the stars, and couldn’t give it. I listened to a recording of my dog on an Edison cylinder and was greatly cheered by his voice.” — The New York Herald, European Edition, Jan. 13, 1895
Sadly, just 2 years later, Sarah George went missing over mid-town York, initially signalling trouble to onlookers below, but then seeming to steer the craft directly down toward a school field situated behind Yonge Street near Eglinton Avenue. She was attempting to circumnavigate the globe longitudinally, at the protest of many experts as well as her dog. Reports of hooded figures surrounding the downed airship were reported but never confirmed, however the airwoman was never found, nor any trace of her presence on the site, save for several neatly stacked, uneaten sandwiches.