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Lady Mechanic Gladys Ingle of the 13 Black Cats Changes Planes in Mid-Air

By Natalie Josef, November 12, 2010

Though the times they are a changin’, in many ways, this is still very much a man’s world. Trust me, I know. Practically every day, I am the lone woman in traditionally male spaces. I work for a car repair website during the week, and on the weekends, I referee soccer games where you are more likely to find a four leaf clover on a turf field than a female referee. I like these spaces and luckily, most of my experiences in male dominated spaces have been wonderful ones.

The thing that bothers me though, is this. When I started to referee girls’ soccer games, they were shocked to see a female referee. Shocked. I don’t think the girls even knew it was possible. I make it a point to referee girls’ games now just so they can see that women can do anything that men can do. I think it’s important for girls to see women in leadership positions and in roles that are traditionally for men. It helps them see that they can do it, too.

While things have definitely gotten better, the world of planes, trains, and automobiles is still very much a man’s world, so I was thrilled to find this video from the 1920s showing a woman doing something most people wouldn’t even dare to.

The video shows Gladys Ingles, who was a member of the barnstorming troupe, 13 Black Cats, helping out an airplane that had lost one of its wheels. Starting on the ground with a wheel strapped to her back, Ingles goes up on one plane, walks down the wing, and then transfers to the plane with the missing wheel. She then shimmies down to the undercarriage, only a few feet from the spinning propeller, and replaces the wheel.

As one eleven-year-old girl told me on the soccer field, “You go, girl!”

 

2 User Comments

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By , November 13, 2010
Awesome!I agree that women can do anything that men can do. I believe it’s important for girls to see women in leadership positions and in roles that are traditionally for men. It helps them see that they can do it, too.It's a women power that's why women can do multitasking.
By , July 04, 2015
sure would have liked to meet Gladys Ingle. An amazing lady !