Nancy Bird Walton was born in Sydney in 1915. In 1933, at the age of 17, she became the youngest Australian woman to gain a pilot’s licence. One year later she obtained her commercial licence. When she appeared for one flight, one passenger said "My God, it’s a woman", which became the title of her biography and a standard catchphrase. In 1937-38 she operated a charter service in Queensland followed by a 2 year world tour studying civil aviation. In 1950 she founded the Australian Women’s Pilots’ Association. She won the Ladies Trophy South Australian Centenary Air Race from Brisbane to Adelaide in 1936 and came 5th in the All Women’s Transcontinental Air Race, America in 1958. She was appointed AO in 1990. Nancy Bird Walton died in Sydney on 13 January 2009 at the age of 93. She was given a State Funeral in St Andrew’s Cathedral, Sydney on Wednesday 21 January 2009. The new Qantas A380 named for her flew over Sydney during the funeral.
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