“Let’s Swirl. 80 Years of Female Helicopter Pilots.”
Hanna Reitsch, first woman to pilot a helicopter, 1937
Hanna Reitsch (1912-1979) was interested in aviation from early age. She began her training as a glider pilot, established multiple records as such, and was influential in helping improve aircraft designs. Later, she learn to fly powered aircraft.
In 1937, Reitsch earned a test pilot position at the Rechlin-Lärz Airfield. Later that year, she became the world’s first woman to fly a helicopter, a Focke-Achgelis Fa 61.
After the war, Reitsch returned to glider flying and helped establish gliding schools in India and Ghana.
“Too many women are not aware of women’s long and rich history of contributions to the industry,” says Mireille Goyer, iWOAW’s Founder and President. “By selecting a theme based on women’s notable breakthroughs every year, we are aiming to restore women’s roots and rebuild their aviation identity.”