Helen Richey

Helen Richey was 32 years of age, having logged 1800 hours when she applied for the British Air Transport Auxiliary. She was an active Ninety-Nine at the time and a close friend of Jackie Cochran. She held a Commercial license with an instructor's rating. Richey traveled with the first group of American women arriving in England in March 1942. When Jackie Cochran left as acting Commander of the American women, Richey took over those duties. She left her duties in the ATA in January of 1943 due to health reasons. After Richey arrived home she then joined the WASP, graduating in class 43-W-4.

Richey was a pioneer in the aviation world. She was the only woman to train Army pilots and the first woman hired to pilot a scheduled airliner (Penn Central Airline) and the first woman to be sworn in as a United States air mail pilot, both occurring in 1934. She also suffered the discrimination of male pilots in not being allowed to join the Airline Pilots Association, which in turn limited her flying with Central Airlines. Richey died in 1947 from an apparent overdose of sleeping pills.

Go to the Top of the Page

Copyright © 2001 US Trade Inc. All rights reserved