Ok - so, in 2018 it's not unusual to have a woman do anything that a man does. But if you go back to the 1960s you would find quite a different story. The law said at the time that a woman could be refused a job simply because of her sex. A female pilot who applied for a job with British European Airways . She was snapped at as she went into the room "We are not doing stewardesses today." When she countered him and explained that she was there as a piliot. The Doctor refused to carry out the examination. The would be pilot got a letter saying that it was not British European Airways' policy to emply females!
Delphine (Deli) Gray Fisk says a similar thing happened to her - "The reference to BEA was probably me - no medical involved! In 1969, with ALTP obtained, I simply applied to BEA who responded with 'it's not our policy to employ women pilots'. Friend Norman Tebbit cheekily used this letter in maiden speech to launch as an MP!"
Smaller UK airlines like Autair and Skyways did employ women pilots. Dan - Air was among the first anywhere in the World. At one time six pilots in the company were women. We would love to hear from you if you were one of the women who we sadly only have names for Get in touch with us here
Where possible we have included a biography of the Pioneering Ladies.
Originally working as cabin crew for BOAC in the 1950's, she started flying through membership of the Airways Flying Club and also joined the RAF Volunteer Reserve. She became a full-time flying instructor after her first husband died, leaving her with two young boys to bring up. A spell as an Air Traffic Controller at LGW followed, and Yvonne eventually joined Morton Air Services (then a BUA subsidiary) as a pilot on DC-3s. This eventually led to captaincy and Yvonne left Mortons shortly before they were fully absorbed by British United, to join Dan-Air. Initially flying in DC-3s and Ambassadors, she moved to jets on the Comets and gained her captaincy on 748's in 1970. Marilyn Booth was often her First Officer on the 748s, so all-female crews were common even back then. Yvonne became the UK's first Female Jet Airliner Captain on 16th June 1975, when she commanded a Dan-Air BAC One-Eleven from Gatwick to Heraklion. Followed by the DH Comet, her favourite.
Deli Gray Fisk:
Fascinating stuff! Malcolm Brownlie sent me a link to the website.
PPL aged 18, CPL aged 19 and ALTP at 21
1968 Deputy CFI at Thurston Aviation
Joined Skyways in 1970 on the HS 748
1972 Dan Air took over Skyways and joined Comet fleet
Converted to B727 in 1974
Following the demise of Dan - Air, and the ensuing legal battle, became founding director of start-up airline, Europe Elite in 1995, flying B757s to Kazakstan & Uzbekistan from Heathrow. Several ex Dan - Air staff were involved but, sadly, the full funding never materialised.
1997 became involved in politics. Stood in '01, '05 & 2010 as a candidate for UKIP
Hope this helps,
Delphine (Deli) Gray Fisk
Dan-Air was a pioneer in employing female pilots their airliners fleets (although there was no actual official policy - they just employed qualified pilots, regardless of gender). Yvonne was soon followed by the aforementioned Marilyn Booth, Elizabeth Overbury, Deli Gray Fisk and many many others.
YVONNE POPE (SINTES)
MARILYN MARSH - BOOTH
DELPHINE (DELI) GRAY - FISK
Yvonne Pope (Sintes)
Yvonne Originally worked as cabin crew for BOAC in the 1950's, she started flying through membership of the Airways Flying Club and also joined the RAF Volunteer Reserve. She became a full-time flying instructor after her first husband died, leaving her with two young boys to bring up. A spell as an Air Traffic Controller at London Gatwick followed. Yvonne eventually joined Morton Air Services (then a BUA subsidiary) as a pilot on DC-3s. This eventually led to captaincy. Yvonne left Mortons shortly before they were fully absorbed by British United, to join Dan-Air. Initially flying in DC-3s and Ambassadors. She moved to jets when she trained on the Comet fleet. Yvonne gained her captaincy on 748's in 1970. Eventually Yvonne gained command on the Comet. She became the first woman in Europe to fly as a Captain on a Jet Aircraft. She also gained command on the BAC 1-11.
Marilyn Marsh - Booth
Marilyn began her career as an Air Stewardess on Britannia airways. She trained as a pilot at the Oxford Aviatioon Academy and joined Dan Air as a First Officer on the 748s. She often worked with Yvonne Pope so, All-female crews were common place with Dan - Air even back then. Marilyn went on to fly the Comet. After Dan - Air Marilyn emigrated to Australia where she worked with Sunbird Airways and Ansett Australian airlines. She is now retired.
Elizabeth Gained command on the HS 748. She began her career working for Autair on their fleet of the same type. To gain her pilots licence she worked three jobs. Autair later became Court Liine where Elizabeth stayed until the company collapsed in 1974. She then joined Dan - Air flying the HS 748
Delphine (Deli) Gray Fisk
Delphine began flying as a child. Initially as a glider pilot where she broke records by flying solo and obtaining her PPLat 18 years old. Her Commercial Pilot's Licence was obtained at just 19 years old and her ALTP at 22 years old. Having paid for her training Deli was the deputy CFI at Thurston Aviation. She then joined Skyways, on the HS 748 in 1970 Where she gained command of the type. Two years later Dan - Air took over Skyways and Deli was promoted to the Comet fleet, and in 1974, the Boeing 727 gaining Captaincy on both types. She stayed with Dan - Air until the BA takeover. Deli was one of the main campaigners inthe legal battle for compensation for the unfair treatment of Dan - Air flight Deck crew when they made redundant with unfavourable terms.
Deli was appointed managing Director of a short lived Airline Elite Europe. She flew Boeing 757s to Kazakstan and Uzbekistan from Heathrow
In 1997 she became involved in politics. Initially as a Conservative Party member she stood in the '01, '05 and 2010 General Elections as a candidate for UKIP.
A brief look at Shireen's biography will tell you that she has had an incredible life. After joining Dan - Air as a First Officer she went on to command the BAC 1-11 and Boeing 737. After the demise of the airline she went on to British World Airways where she worked as the Flight Safety Officer on the BAC 1-11 from 1993 to 2004. After that she went to Jet2 where she flew the Boeing 737 for a further two years. Shireen had a complete change of career in 2006 when she decided to train to become a Doctor of medicine. She trained for this at St. George's Univercity in in America. She now workes for the NHS in the UK
Gill hails from Irelandand began flying as a young woman aged 20 . Initially her flying was on the Tiger Moth! After gaining her Private Pilots Licence 1957. She flew tourists around Bournemouth on pleasure flights for her first job flying. It was in 1957 that she entered the Christchurch Aero Club National Air Race. She was beaten at the last mile by another female pilot Sheila Scott. He next job was with Tyne Tees Air Charters flying Rapides and Austers. A car accident meant Gill was unable to fly. So she used her time to working as a petrol pump attendant to pay for further training. She then joined Hunting Clan on the DC 3. She flew with Gregorys before joing Skyways on the HS 748. Dan - Air's subsequent take over of Skyways saw her work with Dan Air until her retirement.
We are looking to find more about Clare. In 1966 she was flying cattle for Dan - Air on a part time basis. She was a first officer with the Dakota at the time. We have discovered that she also had the distinction of flying minature horses from Sardinia. As a free lance pilot she worked on the De Havilland Dragon. Her work involved arial photographic work. If you have any more details please contact us
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