Ruth Elder, 73, the first woman to attempt a transatlantic flight in 1972, died Sunday at her home in San Francisco.

Although her effort to fly from New York to Paris was unsuccessful, she became a celebrity in this country and abroad.She received a tumultuous welcome in Paris and was greeted with a parade in New York.

At the time and for a number of years after, Miss Elder was known as "Miss America of Aviation." She earned what was then a fortune ($250,000) from personal appearances and two movies.

Her flight was made at a propitious time - just five months after Lindbergh had crossed the Atlantic in a solo flight to become a world hero.

But Miss Elder was less fortunate. She took from New York in a yellow monoplane called "The American Girl" on Oct. 11 with a co-pilot, George Haldeman.

They were 360 miles from the Azores when the plane's oil pressure dropped to a dangerous low. Sighting a tanker, they crash-landed in the ocean and were picked up by the ship.

Eventually, Miss Elder's fame as one of the dashing figures of the golden '20s diminished, and she withdrew from the public eye.

A number of business setbacks reduced her finances. Six marriages failed. In recent years, the once-popular aviatrix from Anniston, Ala., had been in seclusion.

Her last husband, Ralph King, a retired Hollywood cameraman whom she had divorced in 1953, and later remarried, was with her when she died.