A brief history of Yvonne Pope the first UK woman airline pilot

By Willie Bodenstein

08.10.2023



Yvonne Pope Sintes, who was born Yvonne Elizabeth van den Hoek on 8 September 1930 in Pretoria, South Africa, was the first female air traffic controller at Gatwick airport and later became Britain's first female commercial airline captain.



Sintes who got her wings in 1953 had a career within aviation that spanned multiple professions including time as an air stewardess, a member of the RAF Volunteer Reserve and flight instructor. In 1955 she became a co-founder of the British Women Pilots' Association. She worked at Gatwick Airport from 1960 to 1964 as the first female air traffic controller.



In 1965 she was recruited as a pilot by Morton Air Services recruited and starting in 1972, she became Britain's first female commercial airline captain. Sintes flew as a pilot for UK-based airline Dan-Air from 1975 until her retirement in 1980.






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