British Women Pilots’ Association pays tribute to Freydis Sharland, founder chairman and distinguished World War 2 Spitfire pilot in Air Transport Auxiliary
Pauline Vahey, Chairman of the British Women Pilots’ Association has paid tribute to Freydis Sharland, who died at the age of 94 on 24 May
“Freydis Sharland was the first chairman of the British Women Pilots Association when it was established in 1955 and she has maintained close links with us ever since. She will be sadly missed.
“She was an inspiration to all women pilots, a brave and fearless aviator, who distinguished herself in the World War 2 Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA), flying every class of aircraft except four engine bombers. After the war she continued her support for women in aviation.”
Freydis had learned to fly at Cambridge before the war, but had a total flying experience of only 26 hours and 10 minutes when she joined ATA in 17 February 1943. By the time she left ATA at the end of October 1945 she had flown 607 hours and 25 minutes in ATA service, had flown 38 different types from a Lysander to a Wellington (and everything in between). Being based at Hamble, Spitfires were her bread and butter, and she ferried 110 Spitfires. In 1953 she delivered a plane on her own to Pakistan as a freelance commercial pilot.
Beyond the ATA years Freydis was a Women’s Junior Air Corps then Girls Venture Corps (GVC) officer for many years then subsequently on the GVC Aviation Panel. Even when retired she continued to support youth flying in the Girls Venture Corps, which until 1982 was the only organisation catering for girls flying. The WJAC / latterly GVC owned a series of aircraft which provide flying experience to its cadets, using its own pilots, such as Freydis and fellow ATA pilot, Diana Barnato. She continued to fly her own microlight until 2000.
For further information contact: Pauline Vahey, Chairman, BWPA (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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