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Arts & Culture

Beyond The Powder: The Legacy Of The First Women's Cross-Country Air Race

A 1929 racer heads to her aircraft.
Courtesy of Hemlock Films
A 1929 racer heads to her aircraft.

Airs Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018 at 11 p.m. on KPBS TV

Beyond The Powder: The Legacy Of The First Women's Cross-Country Air Race follows the 2014 Air Race Classic racers as they make their way across the country, while telling the story of the original race of 1929, also known as the Powder Puff Derby.

2014 Air Race Classic racers Susan Beall and Lyn Caywood.
Courtesy of Hemlock Films
2014 Air Race Classic racers Susan Beall and Lyn Caywood.

The first Women’s Air Derby in 1929 was flown from Santa Monica, California to the finish line in Cleveland, Ohio kicking off the National Air Races.

The eyes of the country watched as these brave women made history flying cross-country, breaking into a competition that was thought to be for men only.

They encountered sabotage, death, and all the difficulties of flying at the dawn of aviation.

1929 Cross Country Air Derby winner Louise Thaden.
Courtesy of LA Times / Hemlock Films
1929 Cross Country Air Derby winner Louise Thaden.

Today the Powder Puff Derby continues as the Air Race Classic.

The modern day racers carry out the legacy of the original racers with their adventurous and rebellious spirit.

Showing that they were more than just their make-up, the original Derby contestants have inspired those flying today to truly push beyond the powder.

"It is just plain inspiring, making us all feel like we were right up there with them as they continue to blaze a trail across the sky"Nancy Parrish - Wings Across America

"Beyond The Powder" is on Facebook.

A DVD or Blu-ray of this film is available for purchase.

Credits:

Produced by Hemlock Films and Western Reserve PBS, and is directed by Kara Martinelli. Narration is provided by actress Michaela McManus.

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