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What it Was Like to Be One of the First Female Fighter Pilots

Representatives of 28 countries flew with the ATA.

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Most notably, the ATA allowed women pilots to ferry aircraft. The female pilots nicknamed "Attagirls" [9] had a high profile in the press. Two of the women pilots received commendations; one was Helen Kerly.


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These women pilots were initially restricted to non-combat types of aircraft trainers and transports , but they were eventually permitted to fly virtually every type flown by the RAF and the Fleet Air Arm, including the four-engined heavy bombers, but excluding the largest flying boats. Hurricanes were first flown by women pilots on 19 July , and Spitfires in August One of the many notable achievements of these women is that they received the same pay as men of equal rank in the ATA, starting in This was the first time that the British government gave its blessing to equal pay for equal work within an organisation under its control.

Pilots progressed from light single-engined aircraft to more powerful and complicated aircraft in stages. As a result, pilots made progress on the basis of their own capabilities rather than according to a rigid timetable. This ensured not only that as many pilots as possible advanced, but that those who could not were still gainfully employed flying the aircraft types on which they had qualified. Once cleared to fly one class of aircraft, pilots could be asked to ferry any plane in that class even if they had never seen that type of aircraft before.

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To do so they had Ferry Pilot Notes, a two-ring book of small cards with the critical statistics and notations necessary to ferry each aircraft. A pilot cleared on more than one class could be asked to fly an aircraft in any of the categories on which he or she was qualified. Thus, even a pilot cleared to fly four-engined bombers could be assigned to fly a single-engined trainer if scheduling made this the most efficient way to get the aircraft to its destination.

The ATA trained its pilots only to ferry planes, rather than to achieve perfection on every type.

Spitfire Women of World War II

For example, aerobatics and blind flying were not taught, and pilots were explicitly forbidden to do either, even if they were capable of doing so. The objective of the ATA was to deliver aircraft safely and that meant taking no unnecessary risks. The following units were active in the ATA: [18].

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Brief Glory: The Story of A. The Forgotten Pilots p. Spreading My Wings p. Birmingham Evening Post. Sisters in Arms.

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Hidden categories: Articles containing Latin-language text Commons category link from Wikidata Use dmy dates from June He made his final flight in an SA Air Force Harvard in , before retiring in as a brigadier-general. During the Cold War, he became the commander of all Canadian forces in Europe as a lieutenant-general. With little flying experience, he travelled on an Arctic convoy to join the Polish Air Force, which was in exile in Britain, trained with the RAF and flew Spitfires from until the end of the war, according to his son Jan.

He was buried in the Polish war graves cemetery at Newark in Nottinghamshire, where he lies with fallen comrades and his uncle Stanislaw Ostrowski, a former president of Poland in exile. With the demise of so many Spitfire pilots from World War 2, how many are still alive?

Not many, of course. At least one we know of: Eleanor Wadsworth, who will turn on October She is probably the last of the Ata Girls. She lives in Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk and recently shared her wartime logbook with Pilot Magazine, showing the notable entry of a Spitfire she delivered during the war.

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One of the approximately 50 original aircraft dates back to Three of them took part in the July 10 flypast over London to commemorate years of the RAF, another will attempt a round-the-world flight next year and an SA Spitfire could be airborne again in six years if money can be found to support its resurrection.

The aircraft, adapted to take two pilots, will leave on August 19, flying west around the world to 30 countries and making stops. Ian Grace and Tony Smit, who are leading the project, hope it will fly again by , but it will take a lot of money. It was mysteriously sold to a buyer in the US but ended its life as a static display in Brazil. After the war, SA bought more than Spitfires to use as training aircraft. These were soon replaced by Harvards, and many of the Spitfires ended up as scrap.

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He was 97 when he died in July.