The first Women's Air Derby on August 13-20, 1929, was a transcontinental race as part of the National Air Races at Cleveland that was entered by 20 women flyers. While at the time there were 70 US-licensed women pilots, only 40 met the race requirements of having 100 hours of solo flight, including 25 hours of solo cross-country, a license from the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI), and an annual sporting license issued by the National Aeronautics Association (NAA). Of that group, there were 20 entrants in the Derby.
It took eight days to fly and navigate the route using only dead reckoning and road maps. Louise Thaden came in first, and 14 others who completed the race in one of the two aircraft categories were Amelia Earhart, Ruth Elder, Edith Foltz, Mary Haizlip, Jessie Keith-Miller, Opal Kunz, Blanche Noyes, Gladys O'Donnell, Phoebe Omlie, Neva Paris, Thea Rasche, Bobbi Trout (out of the competition with two forced landings), Mary von March, and Vera Dawn Walker.
1929 was also the year the Ninety-Nines women's aviation organization was born, which would enter this picture 18 years later.