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Past Meeting

Anna Walker - Honouring the ATA Pilots of World War Two

ATA Pilots
First eight women pilots with Tiger Moths
Crown copyright

Many of you will know about the Air Transport Auxilliary (ATA) and its pilots (including women) who ferried aircraft in World War Two. Anna Walker told us more about these brave pilots who flew without ammunition in all weathers.

How the ATA came to be formed
How ladies achieved equality
A typical day for an ATA pilot
What happened after World War Two

We invited some ATA lady pilots (from 70 years ago!) to join us, together with ladies from the British Women Pilots Association and the British Women Racing Drivers Club.

Anna Walker

Hurricane over Duxford
Anna in a Hurricane over Duxford
© 2009 Richard Paver
Anna Walker is believed to be the only lady Hurricane pilot since the 1940s!

She grew up in Brazil in the 1960s with Ayrton Senna! Still in her teens she was driving and fixing trucks & Caterpillar tractors, flying planes & gliders, and accumulating cups for racing go-karts & cars. She was also spending as much time as possible with F1 drivers (Fittipaldi, Moss, Piquet, Stewart) and accumulating 1000 hours flying time.

Once in her twenties, Anna was pioneering Submerged Arc Welding for the oil industry but having mastered five languages and lived in seven countries, she is now settled in the UK and in a career in aviation.
Anna Walker
After winning three out of every four aerobatics competitions which she entered Anna has been able to fly valuable historic aircraft including the Harvard, Beech Staggerwing, Bücker Jungmann, P51 Mustang and of course the Hurricane of the Historic Aircraft Collection. www.HistoricAircraftCollection.ltd.uk

She has qualified in glacier flying in the Alps, operates her own business offering banner towing, film work and stunt flying (see www.SkyTricks.com), and she instructs everything from ab-initio flying to advanced aerobatics.

The Air Transport Auxiliary

ATA Logo With the outbreak of the Second World War, it became apparent that most of the male population were either working in strategically important reserve occupations or being called up to fight for their country.

Britain needed pilots to ferry new aircraft to service airfields and military bases across the country, from both manufacturers airfields and maintenance units. It was not deemed viable to use fully-trained RAF pilots to ferry the aircraft, so the next best option was reluctantly accepted, this was to take on civilians who held a pilots licence.

The ferrying organisation was to employ over 150 women during its four-year period of operations, the quota of men to women being about four to one.

The womens role was to deliver the aircraft quickly and safely then to return home as rapidly as possible, ready for the next delivery. Most of the aircraft had no instrument flying capability and one of the instructions given to the women was that it was advisable for them to fly as low to land as possible so that the British troops could recognise them and assist in their clear passage across the English countryside. Read more...

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