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Trailblazer in Flight (Paperback)

Britain's First Female Jet Airline Captain

Aviation > Aviation Biography & Memoirs Women of History

By Yvonne Pope Sintes
Imprint: Pen & Sword Aviation
Pages: 192
Illustrations: 64 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781399019606
Published: 9th May 2022



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Yvonne Pope Sintes only ever wanted to fly. But in the 1950s, very few women were allowed into the male dominated world of aviation. Whilst many women were consigned to the role of house-wife, Yvonne chose a different path. Her dream was to join the ranks of the Royal Air Force, crisscrossing international skies. Despite an awareness of the pitfalls that might await her, she embarked upon her mission. Her story, told here for the first time and in her own words, is one characterized by gritty determination against the odds, a startling level of achievement and a continually modest approach to life and her own accomplishments.

A career trajectory marked by such landmark achievements as becoming the first female Air Traffic Controller with the Ministry of Aviation, the first female civil airline pilot in the UK, and the first female jet airline captain in Britain are relayed in this inspiring autobiography.

Bomb scares, engine failures and other perilous episodes punctuated Yvonne's experience. All are enlivened during the course of the narrative. A raft of prestigious awards including the Brabazon Cup, the International Owner and Pilots Association award for best Air Traffic Controller in Europe, the Amelia Earhart memorial Scholarship for licensed pilots to advance in aviation, the Whitney Straight Award for courage and determination in pursuit of an aviation career (awarded by Princess Anne) and the British Airline Pilots Association Award for work towards air safety – all were awarded to Yvonne during the course of a spectacular career, the details of which make for a truly inspiring and engrossing read.

Yvonne has taken this opportunity to record the pitfalls and landmark successes of her career for posterity. She does so in a style that is at once both humble and immensely celebratory of a profession that has meant so much to her.

"I first met Yvonne and her husband Miguel in Mahon during September 1992 when I was researching my book on Dan-Air. It was immediately clear that she had a rare and fascinating story that deserved telling in its entirety to reach a much wider audience. I am pleased and proud to have played a small part in making that happen!" - Graham M. Simons, Editor

As featured in the Surrey Advertiser, Essence Magazine and Discover Your History

If a book about the life and times of the female commercial pilot was needed, hers is the one because of her singular place in that story.

Speed Readers

Throughout the whole book you read about [Yvone Pope Sintes]
determination and how hard she had to work for her position. Hence this is good lecture for everybody who is looking for the job of their dreams in aviation.

Aviation Book Reviews

'Remarkable' is a word that doesn't do justice to Yvonne Pope Sintes. Now retired and in her eighties, she has a CV that's simply jaw-dropping...Yvonne's story of bulldog determination will appeal to aviation enthusiasts and anyone curious to know how this modest, likeable woman smashed her way through an enormous glass ceiling.

Surrey Life

When many neglect to tell their stories, it is always a joy to read of personal experience from someone who may have been reluctant to put pen to paper but decided to share experiences through the writing of a book. The words are supported by a selection of photographs in plate sections and author has provided personal photographs from her life that would otherwise never have appeared in a book.

This is a delightful biography that will appeal to so many different readers, providing insight into aviation and technology, female achievement, personal career, and family.

Firetrench reviews

About Yvonne Pope Sintes

Yvonne flew BAC One-Elevens until her retirement to Menorca in 1980. Having returned to England in 2000, following the death of her second husband, she livesd in a retirement village in Surrey, alongside a number of ex-aviation professionals, including former pilots and airline traffic controllers. Yvonne passed away in August 2021.

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