The Spitfire Sisters

While we're looking at women in aviation, this UK documentary tells the story of the remarkable ladies who flew for the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) in World War Two, nicknamed the Spitfire sisters.

Many women today may never know war or discrimination in the way these women did during World War Two in Britain. By order of the King, women were not allowed to be involved in combat, much less be members of the Royal AirForce transporting aircraft to troops fighting in the war.

Started by one woman who had to prove [to bureaucracy] she indeed could fly, she was then able to assemble a fleet of eight female pilots. As these women continued proving their worth during the war the fleet grew and became instrumental to the RAF.

Unfortunately, it was not until 2008 that the ATA was recognised as an organisation by 10 Downing Street which followed a statue in White Hall Westminster, erected in 2005 in honour of the women of WW2. Many of the women involved had passed away before they were formally recognised for their contribution to the war and aviation at large.

These unsung heroes just wanted to contribute to the war and did not seek recognition for it, but as this excellent documentary about the Spitfire Sisters states that not only were they instrumental in the RAF efforts during the war, they paved the way for women in aviation and combat today AND were also paid the same as their male counterparts. While gender equality still has a long way to go (women in aviation still only represent 6% of the industry) I don't dare think of what battles we would need to have without these women having proved their capabilities at the time they did.

The film is 50 minutes, it's informative, interesting and great to listen to the women interviewed still speak with a fire in their belly. These [extra]ordinary women deserve your attention.

Heleana is a force of nature. The founder of In Venus Veritas and The Petrolette, and a co-founder of Rising Sun Workshop. Heleana shares her love of vintage cars, riding motorcycles, and (not-so-secretly) dreams of flying planes and piloting a riva aquariva (a la Sophia Loren) very fast through the canals of Venice. Supportive and connected, community is her lifeblood, and she is as real as they come.