Parachutist Tiny Broadwick of Vance County

Tiny Broadwick with parachute on back, c.1913-1922. Image from the State Archives.On June 21, 1913, Tiny Broadwick became the first woman to jump from an airplane. Remembered as the “First Lady of Parachuting,” Broadwick still holds a place in The Guinness Book of World Records for her achievements as a parachutist.Born Georgia Ann Thompson in Oxford, Broadwick was married at 12, a mother at 13 and abandoned by her husband soon thereafter. After attending a carnival in Raleigh and seeing Charles Broadwick parachute from a balloon, Georgia joined his “World Famous Aeronauts.” Soon after, she became Broadwick’s adopted daughter.

At just over four feet tall, Georgia was nicknamed “Tiny.” She thrilled audiences by jumping from a swing attached to a balloon. As the novelty wore off for crowds, the Broadwicks moved their act to flying machines.

After her first jump in 1913, Tiny demonstrated Charles’s pack parachute for Army officials in 1914. They were impressed with what they called the “life preserver of the air.” Tiny retired from parachuting in 1922, after completing more than 1,100 jumps.

She is the only female member of the Early Birds of Aviation, and her parachutes are housed at the North Carolina Museum of History and the Smithsonian Institution.

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