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Ruth Nichols holds more than 35 women's aviation records. In 1924 she was the first woman licensed to fly a hydroplane, and in 1927 she was one of the first two women licensed to fly transport planes. She set a transcontinental speed record in 1930, beating Charles Lindbergh's record set earlier that year. She was the only woman to hold simultaneously the women's world speed, altitude, and distance records for heavy landplanes. At the commencement of World War II, Ruth saw the need for mercy flying and founded Relief Wings, a humanitarian service to provide relief flights for both natural disasters and wartime support. She died in 1960.
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