Female Pilots of the Air Transport Auxiliary

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Temujin
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Female Pilots of the Air Transport Auxiliary

Post by Temujin » Wed Dec 05, 2018 9:35 pm

The Air Transport Auxiliary employed 168 female pilots during the Second World War.

Attached is a terrific article on them, full of pictures

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/arti ... fires.html
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First Lieutenant Maureen Dunlop sits at the controls of her Spitfire fighter plane in September 1944
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A group of British and American fliers pictured at White Waltham Airfield, Berkshire, in 1942

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Re: Female Pilots of the Air Transport Auxiliary

Post by georgetanksherman » Fri Dec 07, 2018 5:09 pm

I have found one American Female Pilot that was killed while flying and delivering aircraft around England, she was with the No. 12 Ferry Pilot Pool, flying a Miles Master, W9029, on the 22nd of May, 1943. While in flight, the prop came off, trying a forced landing, she hit a house at Littleworth, England and was killed. She hailed from Greensboro, North Carolina.

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Re: Female Pilots of the Air Transport Auxiliary

Post by Ludford 101 » Fri Dec 07, 2018 5:50 pm

This article is so full of mistakes it's ridiculous.

At the top of the page they ID Maureen Dunlop as a "First Lieutenant", then further down they call her, properly, "First Officer"

ATA ranks and their RAF equivalents:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_Trans ... iary#Ranks

But what really stood out was the re-enactor photo with the caption "On the job: An ATA pilot performs the final checks in the cockpit of her Percival Proctor at Thame". Nail polish? Hardly.

The American sounds like Mary Webb Nicholson.

http://www.airtransportaux.com/members/nicholson.html

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British Air Transport Auxiliary

Mary Webb Nicholson (1905-1943)

Mary Webb Nicholson was born on July 12, 1905 in Greensboro, North Carolina. She attended Greensboro Women's College and Guilford College, studying music. She also studied business in Portsmouth, Ohio. Her passion for flying began when she took her first plane ride in 1927 at the Tri City Airport in North Carolina. However, it wasn't until 1928 that she had the opportunity to learn to fly. As she later told aviation historian Glenn Buffington, "I had no money to begin my flying lessons in '28, and when the Raven Rock Flying Service in Portsmouth, Ohio offered to give me free instructions in return for parachute jumps to advertise the school, I accepted the proposition and made three jumps during the six months I was there. I also did the office work for them."

Later Mary returned to North Carolina where she worked as a bookkeeper and stenographer at a local hospital to earn the money she needed to continue flying. In 1929, she received her private pilot's certificate with 26 hours of flying time, becoming the first woman licensed pilot in North Carolina. Shortly thereafter, Mary also became the first woman in North Carolina to receive both her commercial and transport licenses. She took advantage of every possible opportunity to fly, including barnstorming and flying in air shows throughout the south. Mary set the light plane altitude record for North Carolina in 1931, when she flew a Curtiss-Wright Junior, complete with 45 horsepower motor, to 15,200 feet out of the Miller Municipal Airport in Winston-Salem.

Mary became a charter member of the 99's when the organization was formed in 1929. Amelia Earhart appointed Mary to serve as Governor of the Southeastern Section in 1932, which Mary continued to do for several years. In 1937, Mary moved to New York City to be the personal secretary to Jacqueline Cochran. During this time she was also elected Governor of the New York-New Jersey chapter of the 99's.

Mary was instrumental in helping Jacqueline Cochran set up a group of American women pilots to ferry airplanes for the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) in England during World War II. She herself was thrilled to join the last group of women pilots who went over to participate in the war effort. After initial flight training in Canada, Mary traveled by barge with several other women pilots to England. She was stationed at Maidenhead, in Berkshire, England. In May of 1943, shortly after being promoted to Second Officer, Mary was ferrying a Miles Master when, due to mechanical difficulties, the propeller flew off her plane over Worcestershire County. In poor weather conditions, she made an emergency landing in a farm field. Unable to avoid hitting a farm building, Mary's plane crashed and burst into flames. A nearby farmer attempted, unsuccessfully, to rescue her. Mary was the only American woman in the ATA to lose her life in the war.

Mary's passion for aviation lives on in her family. Her first flight student was her brother Frank, who also flew in the war and went on to become a commercial airline pilot. One of Frank's sons and a daughter also fell in love with flying and continue to fly today.

Article submitted by Lauren Nicholson Scott and Mary Nicholson Walton, neices of Mary Nicholson. Please contact mdwalton1@comcast.net if you would like more information on Mary Nicholson's life.

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Re: Female Pilots of the Air Transport Auxiliary

Post by Phil » Mon Dec 10, 2018 12:26 pm

The nail polish is chipped. But seriously, I was going to host this gallery in a post, do we know what Maureen Dunlop's actual rank was? As well as corrections to any other photo captions or facts in the article?

Plenty of info on Mary Webb Nicholson here,

http://www.afleetingpeace.org/the-ata/i ... -ata-women
Mary was posted to No. 12 Ferry Pool (Cosford) on the 22nd of May 1943.

That same day, the 22nd of May, Mary was killed when her Miles Master W9029 crashed at 17:00 hours at Littleworth Norton, Worcestershire. According to an eye-witness, the airscrew came away from the aircraft before it crashed and burst into flames.

Later technical analysis showed that a failure of lubrication to the propeller reduction gear caused a ball race to fail, and the propeller and reduction gear flew off. On gliding down the aircraft struck some farm buildings. Mary was deemed to be 'not at fault' for the incident.

Her funeral was on the 29th May. Pauline Gower is named as 'Senior Pilot to attend' on the official forms for the funeral, but Giles Whittell (via Ann Wood) states that "Gower failed to attend the funeral, even though Nicholson had been based at White Waltham. Sometimes, just when they most needed to be warm, the Brits could be breathtakingly chilly."
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Re: Female Pilots of the Air Transport Auxiliary

Post by Phil » Mon Dec 10, 2018 2:21 pm

As it turns out that lead photo is not Maureen Dunlop but Jackie Moggridge.

https://www.facebook.com/39316691081310 ... 876716467/
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Re: Female Pilots of the Air Transport Auxiliary

Post by Phil » Mon Dec 10, 2018 4:21 pm

I've added a brief post and gallery. Please let me know if you discover any errors in the captions.

https://wartimes.ca/2018/12/10/the-spit ... auxiliary/
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