December 11, 1917 aviator Katherine Stinson (1891-1977) made the first nonstop flight from San Diego to San Francisco, CA. At that time the flight, 606 miles, set a new record for distance of a nonstop flight.
In July of 1912 Katherine Stinson became just the forth woman to earn her pilot's license. As a woman, finding an instructor willing to accept her as a student proved a difficult task. She finally convinced Max Lillie, who was at first hesitant, to accept her as a student.
After completing her certificate, the Stinson family moved to San Antonio, Texas where they opened up an aviation school (the school would close in 1917 when Katherine traveled to Europe with the Red Cross). Katherine, along with sister Marjorie, gave flight instruction at the family school when she was not flying at exhibitions. To this day in San Antonio the family is honored with the Stinson Municipal Airport, and Katherine is honored with Katherine Stinson Middle School.
Katherine Stinson's flying career ended while she serving in Europe as an ambulance driver for the Red Cross towards the end of World War 1. During that time she got sick with tuberculosis. While she would recover, she never did fly again from that point on. Before she was serving with the Red Cross in Europe she was supporting the Red Cross by flying in fundraising tours to benefit the Red Cross during the war.
In addition to her feat mentioned at the top, she was also the first woman to perform a loop, and the first woman authorized as a mail carrier. Eddie Stinson, inspired by his sister, founded the Stinson Aircraft Company in 1920.
A collection of bios of Katherine (and Marjorie) Stinson