Laura Ingalls was a highly successful female pilot of the 1930s with several unusual records to her credit. Daughter of a wealthy New York City family, Ingalls learned to fly in 1928. In 1930, she performed 344 consecutive loops, setting a women's record, and she shortly broke her own record with 930 loops. She also did 714 barrel rolls breaking both women's and men's records.  

Ingalls held more U.S. transcontinental air records during the 1930s than any other woman, including a transcontinental record of 30 hours east to west and 25 hours west to east (round trip from New York to  Los Angeles), both in 1930. In 1935, she became the first women to fly nonstop from the east coast to the west coast and then immediately broke Amelia Earhart's nonstop transcontinental west-to-east record with a flight from Los Angeles to New York in 13 hours, 34 minutes.  

Her most well-known flights were made in 1934 and earned her a Harmon Trophy as the most outstanding female aviator of the year. Ingalls flew in a Lockheed Orion from Mexico to Chile, over the Andes Mountains to Rio, to Cuba and then to New York, marking the first flight over the Andes by an American woman, the first solo flight around South America in a landplane, the first flight by a woman from North America to South America, and setting a woman's distance record of 27,358 kilometers (17,000 miles). In 1936, she placed second behind Louise Thaden in the prestigious Bendix Trophy Race. In 1939, Ingalls became an outspoken member of the America First Committee, an isolationist movement, including illegally dropping leaflets advocating U.S. non-intervention in the European war from a plane over the White House. She then planned a flight to Berlin to ostensibly search for peace, but was arrested on charges of aiding the German government in the US. In 1942, she was convicted of acting as an unregistered paid agent of Nazi Germany and served 1 year, 7 months, and 15 days in prison.