In a note to a friend before she died, Evelyn “Bobbi” Trout wrote
that 30 days after her passing, her friends and family were to gather
in a hangar to celebrate her life -- and keep it light.
That’s exactly what happened Sunday at Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena
Airport as about 200 people, young and old, gathered inside a hollow
World War II-era hangar to celebrate the life of Trout, a pioneering
aviator who did much of it by the seat of her pants over the skies of
Glendale and Burbank.
Trout died Jan. 24. She was 97.
Outside the hangar, just before four World War II vintage AT-6
training planes flew over to honor Trout, her nephew Brook Trout
exclaimed, “For Bobbi!” and the crowd toasted her with champagne cups
held in the air.
Trout was known as a trailblazer who piloted legendary flights in
the late 1920s and early 1930s over Glendale and Burbank. She is also
credited with helping pioneer the aviation age in both cities while
paving the way for women in flight.
“She was always pushing the envelope, both in her exploits as an
aviator and in everyday life,” her nephew Brook said as the rumble of
modern aircraft boomed though the hangar.
In 1929, Trout took off in her plane -- the Golden Eagle Chief --
from what was then Grand Central Air Terminal in Glendale. In that
flight, she broke the altitude record for light aircraft when she
eclipsed 15,200 feet. She was the last surviving participant of the
first women’s transcontinental race, also in 1929. That race included
her friend Amelia Earhart. And in 1930, Trout won the woman’s air
race at what became the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport. The crowd
Sunday included several women from what was known as the Women’s Air
Force Service Pilots, who during World War II, were the first women
to fly and be trained on military aircraft.
“When I was 7 years old, I heard on the radio that this woman was
going to try to stay up in the air as long as she could,” said
Margaret “Pinke” Weiss, a former women’s service pilot. “I was
LAPD patrol helicopter pilot Officer Terri Lincoln also attended.
“People say to me, ‘Oh, you are such a pioneer,’ but when I look
at Bobbi Trout I say, ‘Now there’s a pioneer.’ I know how hard it’s
been for me. Imagine how hard it must have been for her,” Lincoln