Betty Skelton

In the years following World War II, if it rolled, pitched or zoomed, Betty Skelton may well have been behind the controls. Over the course of two decades, she broke speed records, crashed through gender barriers and demonstrated aerial acrobatics that for others would have resulted in certain death. But Skelton defied gravity for 85 years, succumbing finally to cancer on Aug. 31. She focused in her early years on planes, making her first solo flight at age 12 and her first legal one at 16. For 60 years Skelton held a pilot's license, and she logged more than 10,000 flight...

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