Syracuse American, December 31
MIAMI, Florida, December 30 (Universal) — After ten days in the air, Frances Harrell Marsalis and Helen Richey, new holders of the women’s endurance flight record, came down to earth at 10:45 a.m. today and were rushed by ambulance from Opalocka Airport to their hotel suite to carry out their announced intention to “sleep a week.’

Exhausted from their ordeal of battling fog and storms for 237 hours and 42 minutes, the two young women climbed shakily from their plane, smiled obligingly for the battery of cameramen awaiting them, and then set out to catch up on their sleep.

Dr. Raymond Graves, their physician, examined the fliers and pronounced them suffering from exhaustion, but otherwise in good physical condition. He advised a long period of rest.

Mrs. Marsalis, who broke her own eight-day record, set two years ago with Mrs. Louise Thaden, remarked as her feet touched the ground for the first time in ten days, “All I want is a bath and a good soft bed. Besides, it’s Saturday, you know.”

Considerable fear had been felt that the two girls would be unable to make a safe landing after their long ordeal in the air, but as Mrs. Marsalis nosed her plane toward the ground for the first time in ten days, airport officials pronounced the landing perfect. Mrs. Marsalis remarked:

“My sense of depth failed me entirely. When I was up in the air I could not tell the difference between 200 and 2,000 feet without looking at the altimeter.

The girls waved jubilantly at the crowd waiting to greet them as their ship touched the ground, and said:

“We are very happy, although we are sorry that we could not stay up until 1934. We never thought seriously, though, that we could break the men’s record. We didn’t want to. Ten days in the air was enough for us.”

Piles of congratulatory telegrams, Christmas presents and offers for lecture tours awaited the girls on their arrival at the hotel, but they postponed all business decisions until they caught up on their sleep.

Mrs. Marsalis, who has twice broken the women’s endurance flight record said:

“I, for one, am through with endurance flying. I think our record will stand for a while, at least, and in any case I’m not going to try it again.”


Frances Marsalis was killed when her biplane crashed in a woman’s race in Dayton, Ohio, on August 5, 1934. Helen Richey, who became the first female airline pilot, committed suicide in 1947.

On November 2, 1929, Marsalis and 25 other female pilots gathered at Curtiss Airport, Valley Stream, New York, to form the "Ninety Nines", a women's aviation club. At the time, there were only 117 licensed female pilots.

Purpose of the club was not to compete with men pilots, but to encourage female pilots to compete without special consideration for being female.


Sheboygan Press, August 6, 1934
Will Have Last Ride When Her Body
Is Flown To New York City

DAYTON, Ohio (UP) — Frances Harrell Marsalis, famous girl aviator, was prepared today for her last plane ride.

Her body will be flown to New York and funeral services will be held at her home port, Roosevelt Field.

Mrs Marsalis, co-holder of the woman's endurance flight record, was killed yesterday when her Waco speed plane crashed while rounding a pylon during the race of the woman's national air meet at Vandalia, Ohio.

She was flying the fifth lap of the race executing daring clips in going around the pylons that had the spectators gasping. Rounding the second pylon she made a sharp turn, dipped to gain momentum, but came so low a wing tip struck the ground The plane careened crazily for more than 100 feet, then pancaked.

She was cut from the wreckage alive, but died en route to a hospital.

Helen Rickey, Mrs Marsalis' partner in establishing the women's endurance record, was in the same race and finished second. She knew nothing of the accident until after she had landed.

Mrs Marsalis and Miss Rickey set their record of nine days, 21 hours and 42 minutes at Miami on Dec 30 1933. Mrs Marsalis was 29, the wife of William Marsalis, transport flier.