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H. Keith Henry
(757) 864-6120/344-7211 (mobile)

RELEASE NO. 01-023

For Release:   April 23, 2001

Famed aviatrix to share memories and vision for future

Employees and News Media only
*Hear Elinor Smith
NASA Langley Colloquium
Friday, April 27 at 2 p.m.
"On Flying: Past, Present, and Future"
Bldg. 1202, Pearl Young Theater

Public Invited
Meet Elinor Smith
NASA Langley Open House
Saturday, April 28 from 10 - 11 a.m.
At the General Aviation Exhibit
Bldg. 1244, Hangar

* News media briefing from 12:45 - 1:15 p.m. in B.1244 (Hangar) precedes Friday talk.
Call Keith Henry at 344-7211 for Center access Friday.

In 1928, at age 16, aviatrix Elinor Smith earned national recognition as the youngest pilot to receive an official pilot's license -- and it was signed by Orville Wright. Two years later, Ms. Smith was voted 'best female pilot' by her peers -- a group that included the famous Amelia Earhart. Ms. Smith's aviation experiences in the 1920s and 30s led to many records and worldwide fame. Only a few years later, she gave it all up to marry and raise four children. Not until the 1960s did she return to flying.

The week of April 23, Ms. Smith will be visiting NASA's Langley Research Center to film part of what will become a documentary on the future of aviation. While in Hampton, Ms. Smith and a research pilot will fly a highly modified four-passenger aircraft fitted with the latest in smart aircraft technology that evolved from the NASA-led Advanced General Aviation Transportation Experiments (AGATE) program. At age 89, Ms. Smith will experience what future small plane aviators will find commonplace just a few short years from now.

On April 27th at 2pm, Ms. Smith will give a one-hour talk about her flying experiences and her vision for the future of aviation. The talk will be held in the Pearl Young Theater. Ms. Smith, one of the few surviving female aviation pioneers, will speak in the theater named for the first female professional at Langley Research Center--Pearl I.Young. This coincidence marks the significant achievements of both women in the same week that Langley sponsors 'Take Our Daughters (and Sons) to Work.'

On April 28th, during the NASA Langley Open House, Ms. Smith plans to be available to meet the public and sign autographs from 10 am - 11 a.m. in the Hangar near the General Aviation exhibit. The AGATE 1B aircraft will be one of 10 aircraft on display in the Hangar from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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