Inside General Mills - May 12, 2010

'Flying Flapper' remembered on Wheaties
May 12, 2010

When Elinor Smith Sullivan died this year, virtually every major newspaper obituary mentioned that she was once featured on the Wheaties cereal box back in 1934.

aviator elinor smith on wheatiesThat fact alone was a testament to how well-known and popular she once was – even though few remember her today.  
Elinor Smith Sullivan was a pioneer pilot, who was named by fellow fliers in 1930 as the female pilot of the year over Amelia Earhart. She died of kidney failure in Palo Alto, Calif., at the age of 98. Seventy years ago, she was celebrated in tabloids as the “intrepid birdwoman” and “the flying flapper.”

“She’s not a household word, but she probably should be because she did some really significant flying,” Dorothy Cochrane, a curator at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, told the Washington Post.

She became the youngest pilot in the world at age 16, and once flew under four bridges along New York’s East River.

Once again, Wheaties knew how to pick them.

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