Born in Wisconsin, Bessica Medlar Raiche (1875 – 1932) was a proto-feminist. She drove an automobile and wore bloomers. She was also a musician, a painter, and a linguist, and participated in swimming and shooting.
She married François Raiche and together, the newlyweds built the pieces of a Wright type biplane in their living room and assembled it in their yard. On September 16, 1910, in her homemade flyer, Bessica Raiche made the first solo airplane flight by a woman in the United States and became the first woman to solo in an airplane she built worldwide. Bessica and François Raiche went on to build two more airplanes as part of their successful cottage-industry aviation engineering business, the French-American Aeroplane Company.
In 1920, the Raiche’s lived in California. Bessica was a qualified physician, one of the first women specialists in obstetrics and gynecology in the U.S., and Frank was practicing as a lawyer.