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HER STORY

Evelyn "Bobbi" Trout
Pioneering and Record-Setting Aviatrix Extraordinaire
By Warren K. Deem

One afternoon in 1918, a sixth-grader walking home from school heard an unfamiliar sound. Growing louder to a roar, the noise came from overhead. She looked up and exclaimed, "An Aeroplane!" She rushed home to describe what she had seen, to her sweet Aunt declaring, "Someday I'm going to fly an aeroplane." At age 12, Evelyn Trout had made up her mind to become a flyer. Born on January 7, 1906 in Greenup, Illinois, Evelyn had her first flight at age 16. Between then and the last time she piloted an airplane in 1984, she became one of the nation's most illustrious female aviators--breaking numerous records and becoming very much a part of aviation history.

Bobbi's mother In 1920, Evelyn and her mother joined her father in California. Evelyn, working in the Trout family service station in Los Angeles, told a customer of her dream of becoming an aviator. By coincidence, the customer, W.E. "Tommy" Thomas, owned a Curtiss Jenny. He asked if she would like to go up for a ride. An exuberant "Would I?" answered his question. Evelyn enjoyed every minute of her first airplane ride, taking off from Rogers Airport in west L.A. on December 27, 1922. From that moment, everything was directed at becoming an aviator.

About 1928, screen star Irene Castle had her hair "bobbed"-cut short. It became the rage, and Evelyn decided that was the right hairdo for her. When friends teased her about the new look, she said, "Just call me Bobbi." She has been Bobbi ever since. (It was about this time Marlena Dietrich, Pancho Barnes, and Bobbi Trout were setting the style for slacks.)
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