Edna Rudolph Paul Made Aviation History
Edna Rudolph Paul Made Aviation History at Age 21



In 1931 Edna Rudolph Paul made aviation history when she was the first women to set a world altitude record by climbing to an altitude of 13,924 feet. Ms. Paul's aircraft was a two seat fabric aircraft powered by a 45 horsepower engine. The aircraft was unheated, provided no supplemental oxygen, lacked radio equipment and it was in an open air cockpit. Ms. Paul reported "military people" took oxygen at 10,000 feet, but she and her male passenger didn't have any on board.

"I was asked if I'd like to do an altitude test. But you had a different license to try for it. I didn't know it was an attempt for a record. I flew a very small plane, more like a glider...."  "We had plenty of clothes on, but it was cold.... we had no real instruments, only an altimeter, a gas gauge and a 'turn and bank and level indicator."

"It took a couple of hours to get to up over 13,000 feet. They took a special, sealed barometer with them that was sealed and sent to Washington for verification."

At that time Ms. Paul's story ran in the New York Times, being photographed with Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart. "I thought it was so funny they put my picture with them because they were so famous. I thought the editors had an open space on the page and that my picture fit it just right is why they used it."

Paul began learning to fly in 1929.


Edna Paul holds a certificate naming her a record-holder pilot from the The National Aeronautic Association