On This Day - April 16th

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Harriet Quimby (May 11th 1875 — July 1st 1912) was an early American aviator and a movie screenwriter. In 1912, on April 16th, she became the first woman to fly across the English Channel. Although Quimby lived only to the age of thirty-seven, she had a major influence upon the role of women in aviation.

Quimby became interested in aviation in 1910, when she attended the Belmont Park International Aviation Tournament in Elmont, New York. In 1911, she was awarded a U.S. pilot's certificate by the Aero Club of America, becoming the first woman to gain a pilot's license in the United States.

On April 16th 1912, she took off from Dover for her attempt to cross to Calais, and made the flight in 59 minutes. Her landing was on a beach in Équihen-Plage, Pas-de-Calais, about 25 miles from Calais.

Her accomplishment received little media attention, however, as the sinking of the RMS Titanic the day before consumed the interest of the public and filled newspapers.

In 2004 Quimby was inducted into the American National Aviation Hall of Fame.

The English Channel, or La Manche, which separates southern England from northern France, and links the southern part of the North Sea to the Atlantic Ocean. Is the busiest shipping area in the world.

Happily / sadly — depending on your point of view — the channel is constantly growing in width . Our question today is by how much, on average, does the channel grow each year?

The answer is here....

The Channel grows each year by 300mm, or around twelve inches if you prefer!

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