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Old 23rd May 2016, 22:35
  #114 (permalink)  
Genghis the Engineer
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: UK
Posts: 13,551
Harriet Quimby's Channel Crossing largely went unremarked, as unfortunately the Titanic sank the previous day, which rather dominated the headlines.

I had the privilege of knowing Ann Welch quite well for the last 10ish years of her life - she was, and remains, an enormous inspiration to me personally. One of the things that few knew about her (and Ann doubtless never saw it as anything special) is that she was one of the greatest polymaths I have ever met. Aside from her aviation achievements, and management achievements, she was also a highly accomplished artist, and she was a highly successful published author, and she tutored writing at the local college, and she was a highly regarded naturalist.

One of many AW stories - the supply is near endless. When she was president of FAI, she was off to a meeting in Europe somewhere, flying on a scheduled airliner. She asked one of the cabin crew, if she could have a cockpit visit - giving her name and saying she was very interested in aviation (now there's an understatement, if ever there was one). The stewardess went off to the cockpit bemused by this request from a rather elderly lady. She came back looking extremely impressed - "Mrs Welch, the Captain sends his compliments, and if you wouldn't mind his thanking you in person for his first flying lesson in a glider when he was 16, you'd be welcome to spend the rest of the flight in the cockpit jumpseat".

Eric Brown once described Hanna Reitsch in my hearing with the phrase "brilliant pilot, dreadful woman".

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