20 Feb 2013
In February we were joined by our speaker Richard Atkins and his ‘Magnificent Ladies in their Flying Machines', opening with a confession - that he likes the Ladies! He went on to introduce us to quite a few of his favourite girls, all pioneers of flight.
From Elizabeth Thible's 4000ft ascent in an air balloon dressed as Minerva in 1784, through the introduction of the internal combustion engine and into the 1940's, these brave thrill-seekers, often from wealthy families, took to the air challenging expectations, bringing with them changes in fashion, even taking combat roles in the First World War.
Marie Marvingt (1875-1963) flew bombing missions over the German trenches and went on to found the Air Ambulance Service.
Lady Mary Victor Bruce decided after flying round the world to buy a couple of planes and experimented with air-to-air refuelling.
Barbara Cartland was instrumental in the towing of gliders, orchestrating the first long distance tows, developments which later proved vital in troop carrying and the transport of heavy equipment in the Second World War.
Hanna Reitsch was a test pilot of the German V1 flying bomb.
Lydia Litvyak lead a Russian flying wing, she shot down 12 and shared seven kills.
After the talk it was easy for the members to see why Richard has a bit of crush on these truly Magnificent Ladies and their wonderful flying machines!
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