Trailblazer in Flight, Britain’s First Female Jet Airline Captain, Yvonne Pope Sintes

B1929

When many neglect to tell their stories, it is always a joy to read of personal experience from someone who may have been reluctant to put pen to paper but decided to share experiences through the writing of a book. The words are supported by a selection of photographs in plate sections and author has provided personal photographs from her life that would otherwise never have appeared in a book.

This is a delightful biography that will appeal to so many different readers, providing insight into aviation and technology, female achievement, personal career, and family.

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NAME: Trailblazer in Flight, Britain’s First Female Jet Airline Captain, Yvonne Pope Sintes
CATEGORY: Book Reviews
DATE: 180113
FILE: R1929
AUTHOR: Yvonne Pope Sintes, editor Graham M Simons
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: hard back
PAGES: 170
PRICE: £25.00
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: civil aviation, air traffic control. Pilots, first officers, captains. Comet, flying instructor
ISBN: 1-78346-267-1
IMAGE: B1929.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/ol94msx
LINKS:
DESCRIPTION: This is a very important book, not just because it is the story of Britain’s first female jet airline pilot, but because it provides an engaging reflection on life in the 1950s.1960s, and 1970s from the perspective of a woman who only ever wanted to fly.

Before 1939 there were female pilots and some of them achieved significant fame, but they were mostly young women from wealthy backgrounds who thought it wizard to fly in a plane by themselves. Even the ladies of the WWII Air Transport Auxiliary Pilots, who delivered combat aircraft to RAF airfields and collected aircraft for repairs, were mostly from the same background, but their flying was every bit as dangerous as that of the young men who flew bombers and fighters into battle. This reviewer fondly remembers a relative who flew as a female pilot delivering every type of combat aircraft to RAF frontline airfields and having to fly without ammunition in an area where German aircraft could be and were encountered. Had she served during WWI, she would have driven ambulances or nursed in military hospitals with the same courage and dedication. She and her comrades charted a new path for women. After the end of the war very few of them continued to fly and one reason for that was that neither the military nor the civil aviation operators wanted to hire women as aircrew. However, they proved in some numbers that they could fly as well as any man and they demonstrated to girls and young women that it was also within their grasp, given the determination to succeed.

The author was one of those inspired to seek a career in aviation. Although a young woman could become a pilot and could join the RAF or an airline, it was usually not as a pilot initially. Where a young man could go to the RAF or an airline and ask to become a pilot, the path for a woman was usually through other jobs first and with encouragement to fly as an instructor. Although today, an airline pilot is not far removed from a bus driver, serving well-trodden routes to a straight schedule with few periods of excitement, flying in the 1950s was a very different environment without automated systems and electronic navigation. A pilot flew off the runway and even in flight, with an autopilot available, it was still an active job that required some physical endurance, culminating in a manual landing, often in marginal conditions and close to the limits of the aircraft. Many of the planes in mainline service were either former WWII military aircraft, or new builds that were closely developed from bombers and transports. The excitement was provided by the Comet as the first jet airliner. Even the military were bringing WWII machines out of storage for the Korean War to fill gaps left by politicians spending the ‘peace dividend’.

The author describes her path to the career she always wanted and tells of her joy in flying the Comet airliner. There is warmth and affection in the story and justified pride in achievement as an award winning Air Traffic Controller, cabin crew, instructor and as a pilot to captain.

When many neglect to tell their stories, it is always a joy to read of personal experience from someone who may have been reluctant to put pen to paper but decided to share experiences through the writing of a book. The words are supported by a selection of photographs in plate sections and author has provided personal photographs from her life that would otherwise never have appeared in a book.

This is a delightful biography that will appeal to so many different readers, providing insight into aviation and technology, female achievement, personal career, and family.

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