Friday, January 11, 2019

Pioneer Aviator Hilder Florentina Smith 1977 Valhalla Cemetery

Hilder Florentina Youngber Smith (August 10, 1890 – January 11, 1977) was a pioneer aviator. She was one of California's first female pilots and the first woman to fly an airplane from LAX. She was a member of a flying aerial team called The Flying Sylvesters.[1]


She was born on August 10, 1890 as Hilder Florentina Youngberg. In April 1914 she made two parachute jumps using a Glenn Martin chute. On June 10, 1914 she made her first solo flight.[2]


Hilder Smith was married to James Floyd Smith. She died on January 11, 1977. She was buried at the Portal of Folded Wings Shrine to Aviation at Valhalla Cemetery in North Hollywood, California.[3]


1. Jean Adams; Margaret Kimball; Jeanette Eaton (1970). Heroines of the Sky. p. XII. Among the more piquant characters of that second decade of our century was Mrs. Hilder Florentina Smith, an Illinois woman first heard of as a member of a flying aerial team, The Flying Sylvesters.
2. Charles Paul May (1962). Women in Aeronautics. p. 52. In April 1914, Mrs. Hilder Florentina Smith made two jumps wearing a Glenn Martin chute.
3. Forever L.A.: A Field Guide To Los Angeles Area Cemeteries and Their Residents. p. 108. Portal of Folded Wings Shrine to Aviation ... Hilder Florentina Smith ...

1 comment:

  1. Hilder (grandma) was allowed by Glenn Martin (operator of the flying school where Hilder's husband, Floyd, was a flight instructor) to take flying lessons from Floyd after she agreed to be a stand-in making a parachute jump at the ceremonies for the opening of Los Angeles Harbor in the summer of 1914 (presided over by Assistant Sec'y of the Navy, FDR). I asked her at what altitude above the crowd she jumped, and she replied: 600 feet. Astonished, I then asked why, given that a higher altitude would be much safer. "Oh, no; that wouldn't do," she replied. "The crowd wanted to be able to see the fear on your face." Hilder then got her flight instruction and soloed in June, 1914. Behind "Tiny" Broadwick, she was the 2nd woman to make a parachute jump.
    Favorite Hilderisms: "Shoot him in the pants; the coat's mine" and "She was only the farmer's daughter, but all the horse-men-knew-her."