Elena Caragiani-Stoenescu was a high-flying reporter, a war correspondent, and Romania’s first female pilot. Dariana Ilie, a guest artist from Cluj-Napoca, Romania, created today’s Google Doodle to celebrate this aviator’s 135th birthday.
Caragiani-Stoenescu was born in Tecuci, Romania, on May 13th, 1887. She took her maiden flight at the age of 25 in a plane piloted by her former horseback riding instructor. She joined in the League of Aviation, a Romanian flying school, later that year. Despite completing all classes, her civil pilot licence was denied by the Ministries of Education and Civil Defense since she was the only female student at the school.
Caragiani-Stoenescu persisted and joined in France’s Civil Aviation School. She obtained her pilot licence at the age of 27, the 12th international licence for a woman and the first for a Romanian woman. Caragiani-Stoenescu became a correspondent for a French daily newspaper, flying long-distance excursions to the Caribbean and South America because Romania wouldn’t let her participate in airshows. She also worked for the Mexican Press Trust as a war journalist.
She applied to be a pilot after Romania entered World War I, but was once again denied. During the war, Caragiani-Stoenescu served as a Red Cross nurse in Bucharest, Romania. She eventually opened a health clinic in Tecuci and worked as a writer covering airline events all over the world.
Caragiani-birthplace Stoenescu’s now has a high school named after her, and she is frequently researched in Romanian aviation courses. Elena Caragiani-Stoenescu celebrates her 135th birthday today! Your perseverance and legacy have motivated women to achieve new heights.