"I hit a man once. Socked him in the nose ... and it bled.
He said that women weren't good for anything but having babies ...."
-- Aline "Pat" Rhonie, quoted in a 1940 news article
While no one advocates fisticuffs by either gender, women of the Golden Age of Flight had to be assertive above and beyond the call. By all accounts, Aline Rhonie, AKA Pat Rhonie, Mrs. Peter Brooks, Aline Rhonie Hofheimer, Aline Rhonie Brooks, was self-assured and confident as she moved through her productive and varied life in and out of aviation.
She came to our attention when she landed at Tucson and signed the Davis-Monthan Airfield Register on Tuesday, March 20,1934. Please refer to her biographical link, below, for details surrounding that landing, including the airplane she flew, who she was with and the circumstances of her voyage.
Of the 42 female pilots who signed the Register, Aline "Pat" Rhonie (she signed the Register as "Mrs. Peter Brooks") combines the good traits of many of her sister signers. She ranks high among them in hours and miles flown throughout her life in aviation. She stands out in her humanitarian activities on behalf of the French and British just before the outbreak of WWII. She received an English pilot's license in 1936 and was the first American to obtain an Irish Commercial license in 1938. She was a member of the Aero-Club de France.
Aline Rhonie Album Cover, One of Five (Source: Hofheimer Family)
New York Times, December 23, 1950
On the U.S. side of the Atlantic, she was a member of the WAFS as well as of the WASP. She was an aircraft owner and operator, and used her machines for both pleasure and on behalf of her humanitarian work. Later, according to one newspaper account, she was an entrepreneur (right) and served as president and CEO of the Allison Radar Corporation.
She was a fine artist of considerable skill and repute, who has to this day a robust Web presence in that endeavor. She was also an accomplished and competitive horsewoman. Between 1930 and 1973, the New York Times published about two dozen articles about her achievements in these activities. Other newspapers published dozens of others.
Above, the cover of one of pilot Rhonie's five albums. These large albums held photographs, news clippings, letters, pamphlets and other printed items. Unless otherwise noted, her materials were scanned at 300dpi, and, other than cropping, sizing and optimizing
the images for Web display, they are unretouched in any way.
Most of them are published nowhere else but here at www.dmairfield.org.
Born August 16, 1909 in York, PA, pilot Rhonie flew West on January 7, 1963. Across two decades of her life she received awards and certificates of appreciation from the British, French and United States governments. She held and mutually respected a wide network of friends, among them some of the movers and shakers of Golden Age aviation.
The Aline "Pat" Rhonie Photograph and Document Collection presents 85 items. I have organized them into eight reasonable
categories to make her Collection more efficient to implement online,
and to make it easier for site visitors to work through the
Throughout her Collection, the images are displayed without much technical commentary.
Rather, hyperlinks take you to further information, where
Please click on the red CATEGORY to direct your browser to the items.
PORTRAITS -- We are fortunate to have more or less formal portraits of Aline Rhonie across the 54 years of her life. This section presents seventeen of these portraits.
WEDDING -- Rhonie was married twice. This section includes seven photographs and news articles which focus on her and her second husband, Peter Brooks.
CERTIFICATES & CARDS -- This section contains twelve images of various citations, memberships and awards. The dates span the 1930s to 50s.
HUMANITARIAN ACTIVITIES -- This section presents ten images, mostly news accounts, which document Aline Rhonie's efforts to recruit female pilots for air ambulance and ferry duties, and for recreational canteen funding in Europe during the early days of WWII.
LETTERS -- This section presents sixteen images of personal letters to Rhonie. They are remarkable with respect to the people who signed them.
ARTWORKS & GOLDEN AGE AVIATION HISTORY MURAL AT ROOSEVELT FIELD -- Besides oils and watercolors, Rhonie's artistic opus magnum was a large, fresco mural painted on a hangar wall at Roosevelt Field. This section presents ten images that document the production of the mural, views of the final product and news articles.It also offers a PDF download of a 25-page booklet that maps and identifies all of the people and aircraft represented in the mural.
CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL, WAFS & WASP -- This section presents ten images that document Aline Rhonie's services in the WAFS and WASP.
OBITUARY -- This section presents three announcements from near her date of death, January 7, 1963.
Aline Rhonie's photographs, letters, news articles, certificates and other artifacts are shared with us by her niece, Carol Roberts via the Hofheimer family. Below, Ms. Roberts and your Webmaster on October 19, 2010. I am grateful to her and her husband, and their cat "Quigley," for their good cheer and hospitality while we reviewed and digitized the Rhonie Collection.
Your Webmaster and Carol Roberts, October 19, 2010
Your Webmaster holds one of pilot Rhonie's five photo albums, while Carol Roberts holds the Congressional Gold Medal awarded to all WASP in 2010 (see details and the medal in the section above).
THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 12/11/10 REVISED: