neta-snook-southern

Neta Snook Southern at the Douglas Museum, 1981.

Neta Snook Southern (1896-1991) was the first female pilot in Iowa, the first aviatrix to run her own aviation business and the first woman to run a commercial airfield.

Neta is best known as the woman who taught Amelia Earhart to fly.  Twenty four year old Amelia had promised her parents that she would only learn to fly from a woman.  Only a year older than Amelia, Neta was in charge of Los Angeles’s Kenner Field.  The two became life long friends. 

And yes, her close friends called her Snookie. 

Neta Snook Southern, age 84, emerges from the Flight Simulator for Advanced Aircraft at Ames Research Center. Southern, one of the first women pilots, was Amelia Earharts flight instructor around the year 1920. In marked contrast with what she saw at Ames, Southern said her old plane was made of wood and cloth, had no gas gauge, and the instrument panel consisted of an altimeter and a dollar watch hanging from a hook.