Kirsten Gordon and Sarah-Jane Crane

Two young women who hope to become Australia's first female fighter pilots

Trio enjoy the high life

By Ben Ruse, West Australian, June 22, 2002

THE planes have gone from wood and canvas to high-tech aluminium but a love of flying bonded women of different generations yesterday.

Nancy Bird Walton was Australia's first female commercial pilot and was introduced to two young women who hope to become Australia's first female fighter pilots.


Kirsten Gordon, Nancy Bird Walton and Sarah-Jane Crane

Kirsten Gordon and Sarah-Jane Crane, both 22, are part of the air force's training program at RAAF base Pearce, north of Perth.

Mrs Walton was taught to fly by legendary aviator Charles Kingsford-Smith in 1935 at the age of 19. She became the first Australian woman to earn a living as a pilot and took her plane to country fairs, charging passengers 10 shillings for a joyride in a Gypsy Moth.

Mrs Walton has been awarded an OBE and the Order of Australia for her aviation and charity work.

She was delighted that the air force was training women pilots and said she regretted she had been too cautious during her flying days. "If I was flying today I would love to fly a helicopter because it can go closer to the ground," she said.

Read more about Nancy Bird Walton and Charles Kingsford-Smith

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