1st Woman Pilot was pretty hot; Lone Star State Stories: Charles Whitman & 6 Flags over Texas


The real first lady of flight

The real first lady of flight

One Hot Pilot

One Hot Pilot

On This Date In History:

Perhaps the greatest and most courageous aviators no one has ever heard of got her flying license on this date in 1911. Harriet Quimby was a single woman working in New York, which at the time was a pretty tough thing to do. Quimby worked for Leslie’s Illustrated Weekly. She was an independent and strong minded woman but wasn’t cast in the role of the Suffragettes. Instead she wrote articles that focused on neglect of children, corrupt politics and over hunting of certain species of animals.

Quimby also must have had a thing for machines because in 1906 while covering a race at the Vanderbilt Race Track, she went for a ride in a high speed automobile. So enthralled was she that she purchased her own car. I wonder if she was the only female car owner in 1906 New York. She covered a flying meet in 1910 and decided to take flying lessons. She said ” There is no more risk in an airplane than a high-speed automobile and a lot more fun. Why shouldn’t we have some good American pilots. She became the first American woman to get a flying license and the second in the world. On April 16, 1912 she became the first woman to fly solo across the English Channel. So why haven’t we heard of her? On that date, the press was filled with details of the tragic Titanic sinking and her feat was left to the back pages and generally lost to history.

A looker

A looker

A few months later, she turned her sights on the air speed record. Her plane was a two seat monoplane. When she flew is solo, she used sandbags in the passenger seat in order to maintain balance. For some reason, she took a man on a ride, presumably before she went for the record. The man won the opportunity in a coin flip with his son. As the plane went on its journey, for unknown reason it pitched forward and the man was tossed to his death. Harriet maintained control briefly before the plane pitched again and she was tossed to her death at age 37(NYTimes 1912 story/obit). Like the more famous, Amelia Earhart, Harriet was quite the looker. Her flying outfit was a quite handsome purple silk jumpsuit. Earhart gained fame perhaps as much for her disappearance as for her flying feats. While Quimby has been largely forgotten, I have an idea that her death highlighted the need of seatbelts in planes. When you buckle up on your next flight, think of Harriet.

Whitman Finally Was Stopped

Whitman Finally Was Stopped

Other things  happened on this date. In 1966, Charles Whitman took to the top of the University of Texas main building tower and shot a bunch of people. WWI began in 1914. The Sonny and Cher Show Debuted in 1971. In 1953, “Shane, Come Back!” entered the American lexicon as Shane was released. It is said that many actors had to stand in small ditches so Alan Ladd didn’t look so short. I think it was the debut of a young Jack Palance. And in 1943, Lt. John F. Kennedy had his PT-109 torpedoed. Kennedy was credited with helping to save the lives of his crew and his heroism helped launch his political career. Later Cliff Robertson portrayed Kennedy in PT-109 and made a coconut famous. My favorite guy though was Lenny.

Angus: The Man with the Plan

Angus: The Man with the Plan

But the most interesting thing to me today(aside from Harriet) was that Six Flags Over Texas opened on this date in 1961. It was the first of the Six Flags parks and had the first log rides and mine train rides. It was also the first park to feature a single admission price, which was $2.75 for adults and $2.25 for kids. Previously all parks required payment for each ride. What is more remarkable though is that the guy who came up with the idea, Angus Wynne, Jr. only thought of it as a short term investment. He was an oilman and real estate developer who had other plans for the 212 acre site in Arlington, Texas. He was planning on just using the park to get the land to produce some revenue until he could develop an industrial park. He put up $3.5 million of the $10 million required to start up Six Flags Over Texas. His plans changed when in 18 months he had gotten his money back. Within 10 years, over 17 million people had visited his plan for a quick buck and became the most profitable private tourist attraction in Texas. Seems Ol’ Angus struck oil without even drilling one well.

SPC Convective Outlook 8am Sat to 8am Sun

SPC Convective Outlook 8am Sat to 8am Sun

Sunday 8AM

Sunday 8AM

Weather Bottom Line:  There is another cold front approaching in what continues to be a fairly active pattern across the eastern 2/3 of the nation for this time of year.  The mean longwave trof extends across the northern half of the country from the Rockies eastward.  The base of the trof will be down in Arkansas by Saturday afternoon and as the front moves across the central plains and extends down into the southern plains, activity will begin to erupt.  The best chance for severe weather will be at the base of the trof, though some strong storms may be found all along the front as it makes its way eastward during the heat of the day into the evening. 

Tornado probability Sat

Tornado probability Sat

Now, the front doesn’t get here until about 8am on Sunday and will be slow to move through.  The severe indices from the early Saturday model runs are rather pedestrian and, given the time of day, t’storms will be relatively benign.  Several of the models indicate that a piece of the energy, in the form of a dying shortwave, will break off from the base of the trof and move through the Ohio Valley, riding along the front.  I suspect that what we will see will be similar to our last few events which is for rain chances to increase late Saturday night and carry into the first part of Sunday.  I haven’t checked but I can’t imagine that the precipitable water will be as excessive as last Thursday.  So, I doubt if we will get the 2-4 inch rains like we had then.  But, its a pretty fair bet for widespread rain with a few t’storms late Saturday night or early Sunday morning.  Won’t be surprised to see some renegade afternoon t’storms pop up in advance of the front this afternoon.

Severe Wind Probability Sat

Severe Wind Probability Sat

DAY 1 CONVECTIVE OUTLOOK 
   NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
   1239 AM CDT SAT AUG 01 2009
  
   VALID 011200Z – 021200Z
  
   …THERE IS A SLGT RISK OF SVR TSTMS PORTIONS MS DELTA/ARKLATEX
   REGIONS TO N-CENTRAL/NW TX…
  
   …SYNOPSIS…
   LARGE SCALE PATTERN WILL CONTINUE TO FEATURE MEAN RIDGE OVER W COAST
   STATES AND TROUGHING FROM HUDSON BAY TO OZARKS.  STG SHORTWAVE
   TROUGH — INITIALLY OVER WRN MN…SERN SD AND NEB…IS FCST TO PIVOT
   NEWD INTO EVOLVING CLOSE 500 MB LOW OVER NWRN ONT.  AS THIS
   OCCURS…RELATED SFC COLD FRONT — NOW ANALYZED FROM NRN MN TO SERN
   NEB TO ERN CO — IS EXPECTED TO REACH LOWER MI…ERN MO…S-CENTRAL
   OK AND TX PERMIAN BASIN REGIONS BY 2/00Z.  BY 2/12Z…FRONT SHOULD
   EXTEND NEAR LINE FROM TOL-SDF-TXK…THROUGH WEAK FRONTAL-WAVE LOW
   OVER N-CENTRAL TX…THEN WEAK AND QUASISTATIONARY WSWWD ACROSS TX
   PERMIAN BASIN/SOUTH PLAINS REGIONS.
   
 

Severe Hail Probability Sat

Severe Hail Probability Sat

  MEANWHILE…BROAD MID-UPPER LEVEL CYCLONE NOW CENTERED INVOF 36N130W
   SHOULD MOVE SLOWLY/ERRATICALLY THROUGH PERIOD…BEING ISOLATED FROM
   PREVAILING FLOW FIELDS FARTHER N AND W…BUT WITH PROBABLE NET EWD
   DRIFT.  SMALLER/WEAKER MID-UPPER LOW IS EVIDENT IN MOISTURE CHANNEL
   IMAGERY OVER BC COAST.  THIS FEATURE WILL DEAMPLIFY INTO OPEN-WAVE
   TROUGH AND MOVE SLOWLY SEWD THROUGH MEAN RIDGE POSITION…REACHING
   NRN ROCKIES BY END OF PERIOD.  SHORTWAVE PERTURBATION — WITH TWO
   VORTICITY LOBES EVIDENT IN MOISTURE CHANNEL IMAGERY — SHOULD PIVOT
   SEWD ACROSS OK/AR DURING AFTERNOON/EVENING HOURS IN SUPPORT OF
   CONVECTIVE POTENTIAL OVER CATEGORICAL RISK AREA.
  
   …MS DELTA/ARKLATEX REGIONS TO N-CENTRAL/NW TX…
   SCATTERED TO NUMEROUS TSTMS IN CLUSTERS ARE EXPECTED TO DEVELOP
   ALONG OR MORE LIKELY AHEAD OF SFC COLD FRONT DURING AFTERNOON…WITH
   POTENTIAL MAINLY FOR SVR GUSTS AND HAIL.  PRECONVECTIVE/WARM-SECTOR
   AIR MASS WILL BE CHARACTERIZED BY SFC DEW POINTS COMMONLY 70S
   F…AND WHERE CLOUD COVER DOES NOT LIMIT DIABATIC HEATING
   APPRECIABLY…STEEP ENOUGH LOW-MIDLEVEL LAPSE RATES TO SUPPORT
   MLCAPES 2000-3000 J/KG.  THIS CORRIDOR WILL BE JUST OUTSIDE SRN
   FRINGE OF STRONGEST MIDLEVEL WINDS…WHICH WILL LIMIT BULK SHEAR.
   LOW LEVEL FLOW SHOULD REMAIN WEAK AT 5-10 KT THROUGH MOST OF SFC-800
   MB LAYER…KEEPING HODOGRAPHS SMALL.  HOWEVER…SUFFICIENT UPPER
   LEVEL FLOW SHOULD COVER THIS AREA TO SUPPORT ORGANIZED MULTICELL
   POTENTIAL INVOF 50-75 KT 250 MB SPEED MAX…GIVEN EXPECTED LARGE
   AMOUNT OF AVAILABLE MOISTURE/BUOYANCY.  ANY SUPERCELL MODES SHOULD
   BE SHORT-LIVED AND DEPENDENT ON LOCALIZED/BOUNDARY PROCESSES. 
  
   …LOWER MI TO OZARKS…
   BAND OF STG-SVR CONVECTION IS EXPECTED TO FORM INVOF FRONTAL ZONE
   AND MOVE EWD ACROSS THIS CORRIDOR FOR A FEW HOURS…MOST PROBABLY
   DURING 1/21Z-2/02Z TIME FRAME WHEN MINIMIZED MLCINH IS EXPECTED.
   SWLY PREFRONTAL WINDS ARE FCST IN BOUNDARY LAYER…LIMITING BOTH
   CONVERGENCE AND LOW-LEVEL SHEAR.  HOWEVER…DEEP-LAYER SPEED SHEAR
   WILL BE FAVORABLE FROM IL NEWD…WHILE LOW LEVEL MOISTURE AND
   HEATING EACH SHOULD SHOW GENERAL INCREASE WITH SWD EXTENT.  LIMITING
   FACTORS WILL INCLUDE LACK OF BETTER SHEAR/INSTABILITY
   JUXTAPOSITION…AND MRGL MIDLEVEL LAPSE RATES.
  
   …NE GA TO CENTRAL/ERN VA…
   ALTHOUGH CONSIDERABLE CONVECTION OCCURRED OVER MUCH OF THIS REGION
   DURING PRIOR DAY…RICH LOW LEVEL MOISTURE WILL REMAIN IN ABSENCE OF
   ANY PROGRESSIVE FRONTS OR ADVERSE ADVECTIVE PROCESSES.  STG DIURNAL
   HEATING AND UPPER 60S TO MID 70S F DEW POINTS WILL CONTRIBUTE TO
   DEVELOPMENT OF FAVORABLE BUOYANCY AND WEAK CINH BY
   AFTERNOON…OFFSETTING ONLY ABOUT 6 DEG C/KM MIDLEVEL LAPSE RATES TO
   YIELD MLCAPE 1500-2000 J/KG.  LEFTOVER BOUNDARIES FROM PRIOR
   DAY…AS WELL AS WEAK TROUGH E OF MOUNTAINS…MAY PROVIDE PRIMARY
   FOCI…ALTHOUGH SOME TSTMS SHOULD DEVELOP OVER BLUE RIDGE CORRIDOR
   AS WELL.  THIS AREA WILL BE BENEATH SERN RIM OF FAVORABLE MID-UPPER
   FLOW…BUT ALSO WITH WEAK LOW LEVEL WINDS.  MULTICELL MODES SHOULD
   PREDOMINATE…WITH ISOLATED DAMAGING GUSTS AND LARGE HAIL EXPECTED.
   MORE CONCENTRATED AREA OF SVR POTENTIAL MAY DEVELOP WITHIN THIS
   CORRIDOR…BUT IS TOO DEPENDENT ON MESOSCALE PROCESSES TO SPECIFY A
   15-PERCENT PROBABILITY AREA ATTM.
  
   …INTERIOR PAC NW…
   SCATTERED TSTMS ARE EXPECTED TO DEVELOP OVER HIGHER TERRAIN OF SRN
   ORE AND FAR NRN CA DURING AFTERNOON…UNDER NERN FRINGE OF ENHANCED
   BELT OF SELY MID-UPPER WINDS CAUSED BY OFFSHORE CYCLONE.  FAVORABLE
   LOW-MIDLEVEL MOISTURE IS EXPECTED…WITH SFC DEW POINTS 50S F IN
   LOWER ELEVATIONS.  MODIFIED ETA-KF FCST SOUNDINGS SUGGEST WELL-MIXED
   SUBCLOUD LAYERS FOR AFTERNOON CONVECTION MOVING OVER LOWER
   ELEVATIONS…BENEATH MLCAPE LOCALLY TOPPING 1000 J/KG.  WEAK
   LOW-MIDLEVEL WINDS WILL LIMIT SHEAR…BUT A FEW STRONGER CELLS MAY
   PRODUCE HAIL OR DAMAGING GUSTS.
  
   ..EDWARDS.. 08/01/2009

One Response

  1. Oh, she’s a little old for you anyway, Bob. Besides, you’ve got Snow White. You can’t do better than that!

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