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Yvonne Pope Sintes

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Yvonne Pope Sintes

Old 21st Aug 2021, 04:18
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Yvonne Pope Sintes

Amazed news hasn't reached this forum given her many admirers, but the lady has died
Found out ftom a Dan Air facebook group.
She died on Thursday aged 90

Last edited by bean; 21st Aug 2021 at 04:51.
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Old 21st Aug 2021, 06:48
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Awwww... read her autobiography recently, amazing lady.
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Old 21st Aug 2021, 07:22
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She taught me to fly on a Tiger Moth in 1959. She was a wonderful teacher and a great lady. Take a look at her here:- https://www.bbc.com/news/av/uk-25547300

I know I owe her so much, not just the fact that she was a good instructor, demanding of high standards, but so kindly with it, setting me off on the right path towards good aviating. I saw her again a few years ago and, despite having had a stroke, she was still in great form. She achvieved a lot during her career, forging a path for women in a man's world, and she did it so successfully.

I send hearfelt love to her family.
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Old 21st Aug 2021, 17:32
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Met Yvonne a few times when she was with Dan. Wonderful lady and a damned good operator.
I believe she was Captain of the VERY first all female crew to fly out of the UK. Her F/O on a 1-11 out of Gatwick was a young lady who trained at Oxford when I instructed there in the early 70s. Unfortunately her name escapes me. Somebody here will know.........?
RIP to a true icon of the British aviation scene.
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Old 22nd Aug 2021, 00:01
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Charming lady. At some time in early 1965 I stepped out of my seat in a Morton's DC3 for Yvonne to take her first flight as an airline pilot. The press met us in a couple of places, with the main question being, would she wear a skirt or trousers. We were carrying newspapers. Freezing. No contest.

I recall it being the first flight carried out by a woman, but Jackie Moggridge flew a Dove for Channel as captain 'in the late 50's'. So I suspect Yvonne's flight might have been the first on an aircraft greater than 12,500 lbs.
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Old 22nd Aug 2021, 07:40
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Originally Posted by Sleeve Wing View Post
Met Yvonne a few times when she was with Dan. Wonderful lady and a damned good operator.
I believe she was Captain of the VERY first all female crew to fly out of the UK. Her F/O on a 1-11 out of Gatwick was a young lady who trained at Oxford when I instructed there in the early 70s. Unfortunately her name escapes me. Somebody here will know.........?
RIP to a true icon of the British aviation scene.
IIRC it was Marilyn Marsh Booth
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Old 22nd Aug 2021, 17:29
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Originally Posted by t211 View Post
IIRC it was Marilyn Marsh Booth
It was, t211. Thank you for the confirmation.
Recall is beginning to fail ! Age is a terrible thing.
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Old 22nd Aug 2021, 18:55
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Sintes (Pope), Yvonne Elizabeth, of Cranleigh, Surrey. Passed away on 16th August, aged 90. Beloved mother, grandmother and great grandmother. Funeral on 9th September at 2.15 p.m, at Guildford Crematorium. Live link to access the service via: Webcast View Login / Order ID: 106906 Password: beggxvqe Donations to the RNLI, if desired. Enquiries c/o Pimms Funeralcare, Cranleigh. Tel: 01483 274079.
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Old 26th Aug 2021, 08:42
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A fine obituary in today's Times. Behind a paywall, but for those who can access it, here it is:-

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/y...uary-vfw0s6m8b
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Old 26th Aug 2021, 18:38
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Lovely lady and what a pioneer, Great obit in the Times today.
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Old 30th Aug 2021, 09:25
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Here's the full obituary (with apologies to The Times, but stories like this deserve attention):
The address system of the Dan-Air flight taking holidaymakers to Tenerife in 1971 crackled into life: "Good morning ladies and gentlemen, this is First Officer Sintes speaking," came the crisp, well-spoken voice. "We are now cruising at 33,000ft and flying at 500 miles an hour."Female airline pilots were so rare that Yvonne Pope Sintes's status as Britain's first female commercial airline pilot merited a spot on Nationwide, the BBC news and current affairs programme. She was introduced to viewers as a "lady jet pilot" and questioned about why she wanted to fly and how difficult it had been to be accepted.

The answer to the first part of the question was that her heart had been set on soaring into the skies ever since 1939 when as an eight-year-old she stood in the garden of her family's home in Purley, then in Surrey, and watched the aircraft etched against the blue sky as they climbed over the trees from Croydon airport.

She grew increasingly fascinated by the different types of aircraft and was determined to realise her dream of flying one. "This is what I have always wanted to do," she said in 1965, at the time of her appointment as second officer. "Perhaps one day I will captain my own airliner."

Still today only 5 per cent of commercial pilots around the world are female, with about 1,000 women in the UK holding flight crew licences.

There were many hurdles for Sintes to overcome, both personal and professional. She was turned away by both civilian airlines and the RAF on account of being a woman. Instead, she approached her goal "the long way round, by becoming an air stewardess to begin with, then a flying instructor, then an air-traffic controller and finally some of my own pupils started flying out of Gatwick and I was invited along for a ride".

When the Nationwide reporter asked passengers for their reaction to being flown by a "lady pilot", the answers were mixed. "I'm very surprised. In a lot of ways I'd prefer it was a man, but I think she's doing a good job," replied one woman. A male passenger said, "It makes no difference provided we get a good flight", while another added: "They flew bombers during the war so why shouldn't they fly an aircraft now?" Her captain said that she was an efficient operator, though he noted that the flight crew tended to moderate their language in her presence.

Sintes sometimes recalled how she had found it difficult to be accepted. "Initially when I first started, one of the pilots said he would resign if a woman joined," she said in 2014. "Unfortunately he didn't." On another occasion she described how, having qualified, "the experienced pilots were happy to accept me and help me".

Yvonne Elizabeth van den Hoek was born in Pretoria, South Africa, in 1930, of English, Scottish, American, Dutch and Huguenot descent, and raised "with an abiding love of music". She was the eldest of three daughters of Marcel van den Hoek and his wife Iris (née Kyle). The family came to England in 1936 when Marcel was appointed overseas manager of the South African Citrus Exchange and lived near Croydon, from where her father often flew to Europe on business. During the war the family went to stay in the New Forest with friends, who sent their chauffeur. On the journey they encountered a traffic jam, and the young Yvonne was chided for saying "My father just puts his car in flying gear and goes over the top", a remark she was reminded of many years later.

Eventually the girls and their mother, who was a teacher, returned to South Africa. At school Yvonne devoured the Biggles books. "Captain WE Johns will never know what he achieved, though he did impair my knowledge of geometry, as his most recently acquired book was often read under my desk lid," she wrote.

She started a degree course at Rhodes University but did not take to academic life and in 1948 joined her father in London, her parents by then having divorced. While working at a women's magazine sorting competition entries she visited an RAF recruiting office, but they were not interested in teaching women to fly, "and I certainly wasn't interested in a ground job", she recalled. Instead, she signed up for a secretarial course.

Nevertheless, the urge to be airborne remained and after knocking on several doors she joined British Overseas Airways Corporation as a stewardess, working on flights to Europe, the Middle East and South America. On a flight back from Rio she was invited into the cockpit by the pilot Leslie Gosling, who had been a wartime instructor and who encouraged her to consider becoming a flying instructor. Meanwhile, much of her spare time was spent at the Airways Aero Club, which offered private flying lessons for airline staff, obtaining her private pilot's licence in July 1952.

She also joined the RAF Volunteer Reserve, became a member of the British Women Pilots' Association and built up the necessary flying hours to become an instructor, as Gosling had suggested. She received the Brabazon Cup for this work, one of several awards during her career.

In 1953 she married Eric Pope, a "tall, quiet and serious man", who had been her instructor at the Airways

Aero Club, though marriage meant having to resign as a stewardess. Two days before their wedding the pair were flying a Tiger Moth west of London when the fuel gauge suddenly plummeted towards the empty mark. The only possible site to set down was Windsor Great Park. "We can't land there," she cried. "I think the Queen would understand," replied her husband-to-be. They did and the problem turned out to be the aircraft's fuel gauge, which was "up to its usual tricks".

The couple had two sons, Jon, who became a lighting designer and who died in February, and Chris, who is a heating and ventilation engineer. Tragedy struck when Pope died of a cerebral haemorrhage the day after their younger son's birth.

Widowed with two small children, she found work as an instructor at a private flying club in Exeter, but when the club became unviable she successfully applied to the Ministry of Aviation to become the country's first female air-traffic controller. It was during this training that she met the most direct hostility of her career. "I was initially ostracised by most of them and pointed remarks were made when I entered the room," she wrote in her memoir Trailblazer in Flight (2013). "Studying alone in my bedroom one night, I wept out of sheer frustration. However, it just made me all the more determined to show them that I could do it."

Life became more pleasant after graduating to the control tower at Bournemouth airport, where she handled a mixture of scheduled, charter, executive, navy and light-aircraft flights. Eventually she moved to Gatwick and in her spare time resumed her own flying, often on the overnight newspaper flights to Germany or the Channel Islands, while continuing to work towards becoming an airline pilot.

Her first official flight as a pilot, on a Dakota to Düsseldorf for Morton Air Services, was on January 16, 1965 and within six months her freight flights were interspersed with passenger services. Joining Dan-Air in 1969, she soon moved on to flying De Havilland Comets before being offered a captaincy on the Avro 748, a turboprop, and, in June 1975, the jet airliner BAC 1-11. A few years earlier, in 1967, she had applied to be a pilot with British European Airways "just for fun", reproducing the rejection letter in her memoir.

While in Menorca on holiday in 1966 with her two sons she caught the eye of Miguel Sintes, a waiter who had started training as a doctor during the Spanish Civil War but had been unable to complete his studies. They struck up a correspondence and were married in 1970. He settled with her in Britain, finding work at a hospital helping disadvantaged children. A decade later the couple retired to Menorca, where they had bought a cottage on a former market garden, slowly extending it into a rambling farmhouse built to their own design. Miguel, who taught her some of his mother's recipes including paella, died in 1999 and the following year Sintes returned to England, settling in Cranleigh, Surrey.

Latterly she lived in a retirement village and until only three years ago was driving neighbours to their doctors' appointments. She kept in regular contact with her fellow former aviators through the Dan-Air Staff Association.

Sintes's last time on the flight deck was as a 70th birthday gift from her family, ostensibly a private flying lesson at Goodwood Flying School, in West Sussex. It was her first time flying a light aircraft for 30 years, but when the instructor realised who she was he simply handed over the controls, allowing her once more to enjoy the freedom of the skies.

Yvonne Pope Sintes, aviator, was born on September 8, 1930. She died of pneumonia on August 16, 2021, aged 90
And for those who would like to read more about her, her memoirs can be found at the publisher or at the South American river site....

Last edited by Jhieminga; 30th Aug 2021 at 09:33. Reason: added link to memoirs
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Old 10th Oct 2021, 23:13
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Jhieminga.

Thank you. An awe inspiring lady.
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Old 11th Oct 2021, 22:22
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Sintes sometimes recalled how she had found it difficult to be accepted. "Initially when I first started, one of the pilots said he would resign if a woman joined,"
I remember that. A real stuffed shirt.

16th? Jan 65.

What I'd always understood to be her first flight was not that night. Yvonne was there. I was there. The press was there, but I've got nothing on the 16th. Fairly typical of my logbook during Mortons. I don't recall sleeping the entire time I was there. I so wish I'd kept a journal.
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