Ruth Stewart landed at Davis-Monthan Airfield twice flying
a Curtiss Robin, registry NC75H. Reportedly, her airplane
is probably orange and cream.
Based in St. Louis, for her first visit on August 16, 1930, she arrived
from Douglas, AZ and was on her way to San Diego. On that
day, she was probably on her way to Long Beach for the beginning
of the 1930 Women's Class A Pacific Derby, which started on
August 17th. She placed 4th, out of the money, in the Derby, Long Beach, CA to Chicago, IL.
Her second visit was on August 24, 1931. She was inbound
from Phoenix enroute southeastward to Douglas, AZ. She could
not know that she had 133 days left to live.
Ruth Stewart, 26, was a St. Louis socialite, and wife of
Alcee Stewart, a wealthy lumberman. Photo, right, of Ruth,
left, with Jean
LaRene, courtesy of Roger
According to newspapers of the day, Ruth, and fellow pilot
Debie Stanford, 28, planned to fly a white Lockheed Vega (NC7973, left sidebar)
from New York City to Buenos Aires in an attempt to break
the standing 5.5-day elapsed time record. Ruth held a transport
license and had three years of piloting experience. She participated
in the 1930 and 1931 Women’s Air Derbies.
Anticipating their Buenos Aires trip, news articles from the
first week of January 1932 followed their moves from St. Louis
to Pittsburgh, via Terre Haute and Indianapolis, on their
way to New York. From Pittsburgh they departed for Harrisburg,
PA in foul weather. They flew abreast another airplane flown
by a pilot experienced with the Pennsylvania mountains. Yet,
their aircraft lost contact with that plane, it, “…disappeared
in a cloud bank and was not seen again.”
of The Washington Herald of January 6, 1932 was, “2 Society Women Lost on Plane Hop”. The Evening Star of Washington, DC reported, “Searchers Comb Blue Ridge
For 2 Missing Woman Flyers”. The plane was found near
the rim of Bowers Mountain, about 40 miles west of Harrisburg,
in the Tuscarora State Forest 30 miles north of the Pennsylvania
border. The Washington Post of Friday, January 8, 1932 quoted
a State aviation inspector as saying the plane either had
gone into a spin in the thick fog, or had nose-dived into
the soft earth at the end of a glide.
The following information received June 22, 2005 via the information
from Paul in Garden City, KS
"I know the following things about Ruth Stewart (Maiden
name WOERNER). She was the daughter of William F. Woerner.
She was married to Alcee William Stewart (Son of Alcee William
Stewart and Abigail Sergeant). Ruth apparently grew up in
"She was born about 1906 and died on January 7, 1932
in Tuscarora State Forest, near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
She resided with her husband at 5646 Kinsbury Avenue, St.
Louis, Missouri. She apparently had a dog named Wrinkles that
she gave to one of her neighbor's children to keep before
she attempted her flight from New York to Buenos Aires.
"Ruth was the first St. Louis woman licensed by the
Department of Commerce to fly a plane,and the second local
woman to receive a transport license. Ruth had 700 hours in
the air and had participated in two air derbies. She qualified
for a private pilot license in 1920 and a transport license
"In the fall of 1931 she and Debie Stanford (of Toronto
and Indianapolis) planned a trip from New York to Buenos Aires.
The attempt was made but failed in a crash in Pennsylvania.
Apparently her brother (Gabriel Woerner) assisted with planning
News article, left, from Paul, Garden City, KS. Dated October
29,1931, publication unknown.
News article, below, from Paul, Garden City, KS. Dated January
8, 1932, publication unknown.
News article, below, regarding Ruth's husband, from Paul,
Garden City, KS. Dated February 5, 1935, publication unknown.
Photo, below, of Ruth's childhood home, from Paul, Garden
5261 Washingtion Blvd, St. Louis, MO
UPLOADED: 05/04/05 UPDATED: