Marking NM’s Historic Women: Katherine Stinson Otero

A woman sitting in the open cockpit of a bi-wing airplane. A man standing next to the plane is handing a woman a bag.
Photo Credit: Palace of the Governors Photo Archives
Aviator Katherine Stinson Otero on airmail route, Calgary, Canada
Photographer: W. V. Ring
Date: July 9, 1918
Negative Number 047669

Katherine Stinson Otero (1891-1977)

Katherine was the fourth American woman to earn a pilot’s license and the first female skywriter. She overcame pioneering aviator Max Lillie’s reluctance to teach her to fly, and became the “Flying Schoolgirl,” nicknamed for her youthful looks, small stature, and derring-do. Katherine marveled spectators, rolling her plane, skywriting at night with flares attached to its wings, and maneuvering risky loop-the-loops. With her family she founded the Stinson Aviation Company, designed aircraft, and operated a flight school. She was the first aviatrix to fly the Orient and set a record in 1917 for the longest West Coast solo flight.

Roadside Marker Location: Santa Fe County, US Hwy 284

You can view a county by county list of the Historic Women Mile Markers in this pdf.

March is Women’s History Month. During this month we’ll be highlighting some of the women featured on New Mexico’s Historic Women Roadside Markers. Text provided by our colleagues at New Mexico Historic Preservation Division.

You can view the locations of the Historic Women on a map interface at