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Florence Lowe "Pancho" Barnes (1901-1975) was a pioneer aviatrix and circus stunt pilot. Her paternal grandfather was Thaddeus Lowe, the educator who proposed to President Lincoln the use of balloons in the Civil War, and thus inspired Jules Verne.

In 1929 Pancho became the first woman to fly through the interior of Mexico; but it was two years later, during another excursion into Mexico, that she acquired her nickname -- that and her butch nature.

Her fondness for Mexico also inspired her to get herself a pet chihuahua, seen here in his flight gear. In the '20s she starred in the Pancho Barnes' Circus of the Air, and that was her doing the fancy biplane stuff in the Richard Barthelmess movie The Dawn Patrol (1930).

In the 1930s and '40s she had a ranch and apartment house inside Los Angeles, and Hollywood restaurant (staffed with sexy waitresses) that attracted a steady clientelle of movie stars and other celebrities and moguls eager to hobnot with the famous flyer.

The restaurant became known as the Happy Bottom Riding Club and it was soon widely rumored that Pancho was a madame and the Riding Club restaurant a front for a bordello. She only half-denied this, insisting only that she was no madame and took no cut from whatever it might be her ladies arranged on the side.

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