A Newsletter from the Producer of
Breaking Through The Clouds: The First Women's National Air Derby
November 4th, 2013
Welcome to the newsletter about:
Breaking Through The Clouds: The First Women's National Air Derby (BTTC).
Happy Fall to All. As I write this, the trees have turned and the temperatures are dropping. Also dropping is the price of my film (how was that for a transition?). I've decided to lower the cost of my DVD to $25 for the holidays, effective now. This price is valid on my website only. More information is below.
While I have been relatively quiet as far as getting out newsletters, I have not been quietly doing nothing. My detailed research into the women of the derby continues to inspire, motivate and intrigue. These women are not done with me yet! They were so multifaceted, talented, charming and courageous. I continue to be astounded as more information is revealed in my studies. I hope to share much of what I have learned with everyone in the near future. Below is just a taste of what I mean with some fascinating information on Claire Fahy and her family.
Also below is some information on the next generation after the women of the derby including Rosie the Riveters and a goodbye to WASP "Dot" Swain.
As an aside, I finally established a page for BTTC on Amazon. For all who are willing, I am making a personal plea for people to post positive reviews on my page. Details on how to do this are below. Thank you to any who answer my call for this.
In this month of "Thanks" & "Giving" when many of us are counting our blessings, I give thanks to all of you who are and have supported me in this journey. I also give thanks to the women of the derby who have given me so much by providing an example on how to follow one's passion. I hope everyone can find reasons in their own lives to feel blessed as well.
Producer of the Award-Winning documentary Breaking Through the Clouds: The First Women's National Air Derby. An Archetypal Images Production.
NEW PRICE FOR BTTC on WEBSITE AND HELP WITH REVIEWS ON AMAZON
NEW PRICE FOR BTTC
BTTC has a new price of $25.00 (plus S&H) for the Holidays (savings of $5.). This price is available now through the end of the year and only on the BTTC website. To order a DVD, please visit the BTTC website. If you prefer to send a check, there is an order form on the website, in the column to the right or you can email me: Heather@breakingthroughtheclouds.com. The BTTC website address is: http://breakingthroughtheclouds.com
Request for help on AMAZONListing
I finally listed BTTC on Amazon.com With guidance from fellow producer Nick Sparks (Pancho Barnes documentary), I finally figured out how to create a listing. I still have to work out the bugs a bit and learn the system but one thing is certain, the best way to get attention for BTTC is to receive positive comments and reviews in the Amazon comments section.
Therefore I am asking for help: If you like BTTC, would you please write a positive review on the Amazon site underneath my listing? Be sure to write the review on my page, Archetypal Images, and not someone else s page as some other sellers have listed my film.
I can live for two months on a good compliment ---Mark Twain
Honoring the Generation After
The Women of the Derby:
Rosie the Riveters, Dot Lewis and WASPS
WASP DOT LEWIS FLIES HOME
On Sept. 9th of this year, WASP Pilot, horsewoman, artist, mother and woman extraordinaire Dorothy "Dot" Swain Lewis passed away days shy of her 98th birthday. I met Dot shortly after I premiered BTTC and learned that she took flying lessons from none other than Phoebe Omlie. I really enjoyed talking to Dot and found her to be a real inspiration. She was a delight and touched the heart of all who knew her. She will be missed but what a legacy she left behind.
Dot's son, Albert "Chig" Lewis has spearheaded a project to get a a WASP float in the Rose Bowl Parade next February to honor his mother and all the other women who flew in WWII. If you would like to find out more and contribute to the process, here's the link to the site: http://www.fifinella.com/rosedonate.htm
ROSIE THE RIVETERS
Recently I went to an event at the Glen L. Martin Aviation Museum outside of Baltimore to meet some of "Rosie the Riveters." I learned that Glen Martin was the first person to actually hire women to work in an aviation factory during WW11. Some of the women at this event were the first to be hired so in essence, I met the very first Rosie the Riveters! Pretty cool! In their prime, they were able to get over 250 airplanes out A DAY!
These women love telling their story and want to be sure their contributions to the war efforts were not forgotten. To say they were "riveting" is an understatement.
There were several fun BTTC sponsored events over the past few months including a presentation to the American
Society of Aviation Artists at the BWI Airport in June. I created a presentation called "The Art of Producing BTTC "and showed the various artistic decisions that went into producing the film via clips. The audience was incredibly receptive and enthusiastic. I really enjoyed commiserating with the very talented and accomplished artists including National Aviation Hall of Famer Keith Ferris!
Also in June, BTTC was shown at the Enoch Pratt library in downtown Baltimore. This was sponsored by the wonderful women of the Maryland Women's Heritage Center (check them out: http://www.mdwomensheritagecenter.org) They do fabulous work. Enoch Pratt is an absolutely gorgeous library and the audience couldn't have been nicer or more supportive. Astronaut Mary Cleave was even in the audience so it was true honor!
Claire Fahy was a "maverick and very independent" says her nephew Marshall Headle as told to him by his mother and Claire's sister, Dorothea Headle. By all accounts, Claire had a large personality and drive for adventure.
Claire's exact birth date remains a bit of a mystery. Her headstone (1902), the Census Records (1901) and Claire's family all differ on the exact year she was born. The best bet is the information from Dorothea who put Claire's birth at December 25th, 1899.
One genealogy report shows that Claire worked in the Navy Reserve as a yeomanette in World War I though I am still working to confirm this and find out more details. Claire married and had a son. Later, she divorced, moved to NY and worked for Senator Calder as a secretary. It is here that she met the man who would be her second husband, Army Pilot, Lieutenant Herb Fahy. Herb worked for Lockheed and had established a solo endurance record of 36 hours and 56 minutes which was held for some time.
Herb taught Claire to fly. They had a wonderful love affair and shared the passion of the sky. When Claire entered the derby, she flew a Travel Air with OX5 motor in the light class division. Herb followed Claire during the race. Ironically, Herb had a little mishap at the Yuma airport shorty after Amelia Earhart bent her propeller there on the second day of the race. Some accounts say Herb was bringing Amelia a new propeller from LA when he hit a raised up section on a concrete circle upon landing. He was not hurt and the plane was easily fixed. It is mostly likely at the Yuma Airport where Herb heard that Claire had to make an emergency landing in Calexico after the brace wires on her plane snapped. When Herb looked at Claire's plane, he said it looked like acid had been poured on the wires and feared sabotage. Herb and Claire were well known and respected in the aviation industry so it is unlikely they were just calling foul. Claire withdrew from the race for perceived safety issues. She and Herb did not follow through with the investigation regarding the sabotage claim. They most likely thought was that it would hurt their future in aviation if they testified. Claire and Herb had plans to circumnavigate the world together and did not want to put that or other aviation plans in jeopardy.
Claire bought her first airplane for $1. in 1930. It was a Waco Biplane T-10 called Lady of the Lake. She got a job with the Detroit Aircraft Corporation and was a demonstration saleswoman for the Eastman flying yacht.
In March 1930, Herb had a freak accident. He and Claire were preparing for take off on the grass landing and had started achieving lift when his wheels hit a tree stump. The plane flipped and Herb hit his head, fracturing his skull and dying instantly. Claire escaped serious injury. Claire told her sister that if Herb ever died, she would be dead within 6 months. As it turned out, she died 9 months later in December. She, too, was in a plane crash where she fractured her skull. She performed in an aerial air show in Nevada. After the show, she took off for home. A few hundred feet in the air, Claire's motor quit. Struggling in vain to land the plane safely, she died shortly after the crash landing. Claire had begged her sister, Dorothea, to go with her to the show in Nevada but Dorothea refused saying she didn't want to buy a formal gown that would be required. Dorothea ended up living until 2010. She was 100 years old at the time of her death.
Claire was young when her life abruptly ended (somewhere between the age of 28-30). She had lived such a full life already but had plans for much more. It's hard not to think what else she might have accomplished if she had lived. For such a short life, she accomplished much, devoting her life to the progress of aviation. Claire Fahy was truly a pioneer in aviation.
The inspiring true story of 20 women who raced across America in 1929.
Follow along as headline aviatrixes Amelia Earhart, Pancho Barnes, Phoebe Omlie, Bobbi Trout, Louise Thaden and other well known women pilots of the era race across the country in the summer of 1929.
Breaking Through The Clouds: The First Women's National Air Derby provides over two hours of captivating viewing. The women's personalities shine through with original footage from the derby, much of which has not been seen in over eighty years.
Beautiful and colorful aerial recreations place the viewer in the pilot's seat.
Interviews with legendary aviatrixes Elinor Smith Sullivan, and Patty Wagstaff, noted aviation historians, and family members of the original pilots help bring the story alive.
Included are 23 minutes of bonus material discussing the challenges the women faced during the race, what the women wore and more information about the planes & navigation in 1929.
Bringing Family Together
Through BTTC, Claire Fahy & "Pop" Headle
This fall, while researching some background information on the women of the derby, I heard the familiar ding letting me know a new email had been received. When I checked my in-box, I saw that a DVD had been purchased by Marshall Headle. This name really caught my eye as I had JUST been reading information on Claire Fahy and learned that Marshall Headle was Claire's brother-in-law. I knew this could not be a coincidence so I emailed the man who bought my film.
What followed was a real treasure and the start of a beautiful correspondence. Mr. Headle responded to my inquiry and told me he is the son of the Marshall Headle I read about in my research. That makes him Claire's nephew. Claire died before Mr. Headle was born but he grew up hearing numerous stories about Claire from his mother, Dorothea Headle, who was Claire's sister. Mr. Headle's father (the aforementioned brother-in-law), known as "Pop" Headle was the Chief Test Pilot at Lockheed from 1929-1941. "Pop" Headle was very active and influential in the golden age of aviation. He was a consultant for Amelia Earhart's world flight attempt. He also tested the first Electra and at least 300 other planes Lockheed developed including Wiley Post's Winnie Mae and the first practical retracting landing gear for a plane that Charles Lindbergh flew (making the plane much faster). " And this is just the tip of the iceberg! An entire book could easily be written about "Pop" Headle's contributions to aviation.
I have been learning so much about the inter-connection of aviation's history via my correspondence with Mr. Headle and how everyone knew and supported one another during such an exciting time in aviation's history. They knew they were pioneers and part of something very exciting.
Not more than a couple weeks after Mr. Headle and I began corresponding, I received an email from another one of Claire's relatives. I assumed he knew I had been talking to Mr. Headle but he did not. His reaching out to me was totally random. When he said he had lost contact with Claire's side of the family, I was able to put him and Mr. Headle in touch with one another. It's just another one of those odd examples of the ripple effect from telling the women's stories and the lives it has touched.
I feel richer for having connected with Claire's family and even connecting those within Claire's family to one another! I hope to understand her, her personality and what motivated her more as I listen to stories that were passed down through the generations. Getting to know these women through their family and friends has been one of my favorite parts of working on BTTC. You can read more about Claire in the Pioneer in Aviation section of this newsletter.
What is Breaking Through The Clouds: The First Women's National Air Derby?
Breaking Through The Clouds: The First Women's National Air Derby is an award-winning documentary about Amelia Earhart and 19 other brave pilots who defied convention by taking to the skies and racing across the country for the first Women's National Air Derby.
With just a compass and a road map to guide them, they faced cultural stereotypes, mechanical failures, threats of sabotage, navigational challenges and endless chicken dinners. The women persevered and became pioneering legends in aviation. Their story is inspiring to anyone who has the courage to follow their own dreams.
Producer Heather Taylor had a calling to tell this inspiring story in the hopes of helping others to find the courage to search for their own path. While Heather hasn't had to deal with the endless chicken dinners like the women in the derby did, she does face the challenges of an an independent artist. By spreading the word and supporting the film, you are helping Heather and other struggling artists reach for the sky in their own way and work towards breaking through the clouds.
BTTC has only been able to succeed because of individual support! It is very much a grassroots effort so I appreciate every single comment, thumbs up, mention and email I receive. It truly keeps me going to know the film touches lives in some positive way.
If you would like to help me keep it going, here are just a few simple (and free) ideas that can make a big difference:
Post a positive comment (or thumbs up) on Amazon.com
Post a positive comment on youtube underneath the BTTC clip
Become a Fan of BTTC Face Book Page
Follow me on Twitter
Forward these newsletters, and/or sign up for my blog
All links for the social media are in this email. You can also mention BTTC in your own blog, article, podcast or to friends and colleagues.
Of course there are a myriad of other ways to help as well. The sky's the limit! If the film has touched you in some way, please feel free to email and let me know. As always, thank you!