14 January 2009

RIP: Nancy Bird Walton AO

Australian aviation pioneers Nancy Bird Walton (right) and Jean Burns

Nancy Bird Walton AO OBE DStJ
16 Oct 1915 – 13 Jan 2009

ZUI this article from NEWS.com.au:
FAMED Australian aviation pioneer Nancy Bird Walton has died aged 93 just months after fulfilling her dream to see the launch of the Qantas super jumbo named in her honour.

The National Living Treasure, as named by the National Trust of Australia in 1997, died from natural causes at her Mosman home on Sydney's north shore about 2pm (AEDT) today.

Taught to fly by Charles Kingsford-Smith at age 17, Ms Walton became Australia's first commercially-licensed female pilot two years later.


With support from her family, Ms Walton purchased her own Gypsy Moth aircraft and flew around NSW, promoting aviation and taking passengers into the skies.

At age 19 she was hired to operate an air ambulance service throughout outback NSW, ferrying medical staff, the injured and expectant mothers.


Ms Walton's aviation achievements include founding the Australian Women Pilots' Association and serving as its long-term president, and Emeritus patron of the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

Her lifetime of dedication to aviation was acknowledged with an OBE in 1966.

She became a Dame of the Knights of Malta in 1977 and in 1990 was awarded an AO by the Australian Government.

In September last year, she was further honoured when Qantas named its first A380 aircraft "Nancy Bird Walton".


Ms Walton is survived by her daughter Anne Marie, son John, grandchildren Scott, Anna, Paul and Baron, and great grandchildren Lachlan and Zoe.

Wikipedia also has an article, here.

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