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AWE Research: European Women in Aviation "Firsts"
Posted May 22, 2006 - 12:05 PM


AWE Celebrates European Aviation Many people think of aviation as composed almost entirely of pilots. They overlook the great non-flying group of workers who are necessary to build the planes and keep them running.

Too often little attention is paid to individual talent. Instead, education goes o­n dividing people according to their sex, and putting them in little femminine or masculine pigeonholes.

Knowledge is the first step towards progress. Please help me in compiling this list, our way of saying thankyou, by giving public recognition, to these ladies who have paved the way.

Jeanne Genieve Labrosse Garnerin o­n the 10th November 1798 at Jardin de Tivole, Paris became the first woman to solo in a balloon.

Aida da Acosta, first woman to solo in a dirigibile, France 1903.

Shell in Europe. 1909 fuelled Bleriot's cross-channel flight. Department in London fuelled to airlines such as KLM.

May 1920 KLM had the first scheduled airline between Amsterdam and London. 4 months later Amsterdam – Hamburg – Copenhagen. 1924 regular service to Batavia, Java.

In 1961, Turi Wideroe became the first female commercial airline pilot for a major airline outside the Soviet Union (there are unconfirmed reports of a women pilot for Aeroflot in the 1950's). Wideroe flew for Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS). Although American Helen Richey was briefly hired by Central Airlines in 1934 and flew the first commercial flight by a woman, she was never given permanent status as a regularly scheduled pilot.

Elizabeth Overbury, UK, was the first woman airline pilot in the western world to fly a pure jet passenger airliner with a scheduled service in 1967.

Nancy Bird of Australia became the youngest commercial pilot in the British Empire at the age of 19 in 1935, in Sydney.

Two of the most outstanding women in British aviation history were two Irish women: Mrs Sophie Elliott Lynn and Lady Mary Bailey. Amy Johnson soon followed, becoming England's most famous women pilot.

Dorothy Spicer, UK, became the first all round fully qualified female ground engineer as well as pilot. She joined forces with Pauline Gower, who had both a Commercial Pilot's Licence and with Navigator's Certificate and Wireless Operator qualifications. They started what was to become a very professional and highly successful airtaxi business.

Hilda Beatrice Hewlett first fixed wing woman pilot to be licenced in the UK. Set up her own flying school in Brooklands.

M.me Marie Madeine Sophie Armant Blanchard in 1811 was the first woman to fly in Italy.

Rosina Ferrario, Italy's first woman pilot.

First four women airline pilots in Europe: Jacqueline Camus, FR; Elizabeth Overbury, UK; Turi Wideroe, NL; Fiorenza de Bernardi, IT.

Maria Concetti Micheli first Italian woman to obtain a helicopter pilot's licence.

Miss Gagliardi was the first to earn a degree in aeronautical engineering in Italy.

Hanna Reitsch in 1933 flew a Grunau "Baby" powered by a Keller 15HP Engine from Hirschberg to Berlin Tempelhof, thus becoming the first pilot ever to fly a powered glider over a certain distance. She was also the world's first woman helicopter, rocket and jet aircraft pilot.

Marga von Etzdorf Germany's first woman airline pilot.

Thea Rasche Germany's first woman hydroplane and aerobatic pilot.

Margrit Orlowski-Budert of Germany, ferry pilot with 65 Atlantic crossings and 10 world records to her credit.

Valèrie Andrè, France's first woman helicopter pilot.

Marcelle Choisnet, FR, International glider champion and first woman in the world to be awarded the International Diamond Insigna and the Lilienthal Medal.

Jacqueline Camus France's first woman airline pilot.

Baroness de Laroche of France, in 1910, first woman to receive a licence as a pilot.

Adrienne Bolland first French woman to loop-the-loop and in 1924 was the record holder for 212 consecutive loops with a C127.

Bessie Coleman, first Black person in the world (male or female) to become a pilot, 1921 France. Because of Bessie Coleman ... we have overcome the barriers within ourselves and dared to dream.

Madelyne Delcroix, 1968 at the age of 20 flew her Zlin to victory in the World Women's Aerobatics Championship. 

Juan de la Cierva, as a young spanish mathematician in "The Theory of Autorotation" described the habits and character of a paddle-winged airplane, which at the time had never existed. The beginnings of the autogiro so start in a book: a contraption which should posses high speed in flight and a low speed, with control, in landing.

1973 Danielle Rouchy. First European woman to fly a gyrocopter.

 
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