Blackpool's first female pilot thought Squires Gate was a 'fine airport'
Following on from last week’s feature about the early days of flying shows, this week we look at how The Gazette reported the story of Blackpool’s first female pilot to be based at Squires Gate airfield
The Gazette archives from 1950 reported a story about Blackpool's first female pilot.
Miss A P Chapman had joined the resort’s airfield as the first woman to be based there. She was working for Air Navigation and Trading Ltd, a Blackpool owned charter company. She had flown 24 different types of aircraft, including the latest RAF fighters.
She came from Hereford and during the war, she was in the Air Transport Auxiliary, flying aircraft from factories and maintenance units to RAF bases.
The Gazette stated that to become fully qualified, Miss Chapman had to undergo the ‘same tests as male pilots’.
The 31-year-old passed with flying colours and became a fully qualified commercial pilot. She also held a navigator’s licence and had done continental as well as British flying.
Mr Russell Whyam, a director of ANT said at the time: “Miss Chapman will be occupied in all types of flying, charter, schedule and pleasure.”
The woman of the hour, on her first day said: “I’m looking forward to a lot of happy hard work here, Squires Gate is a fine airport.”
However Miss Chapman was not the only female pilot to be associated with Blackpool.
Famous American aviator Amelia Earhart was flown from Londonderry to Stanley Park Aerodrome in 1932, the day after she became the first woman and only the second person, to fly across the Atlantic alone. And it was from Blackpool that English aviator Amy Johnson, whose name was taken for a street name in Blackpool, made her ill-fated flight to RAF Kidlington in 1941. She plummeted into the Thames and tragically died.