Who was the first British woman pilot?

EDITH MAUD COOK 1878 – 1910

At the inquest into her accidental death, the jury was of the opinion that parachute jumps should be banned.

Edith Cook lost her life while making a descent over the city of Coventry She landed on the roof of a cycle factory and fell forty feet into the street below and she died from the resulting internal injuries.

She was attended by a Dr.Taylor who reported that she was fully conscious until she died.

Before her death Edith managed to tell the doctor that she’d made her first flight aged fourteen after she’d run away from home.

She said she’d landed on rooftops several times before and also once in the sea.

Once she’d failed to jump from her balloon and had been carried along for forty miles in a snowstorm.

She said that she loved working for Spencer Brothers, aeronauts, for whom she’d made over three hundred flights. But she would give it up and find an easier life as a pilot.

Her boss, Mr Sidney Spencer, said that Edith, who was known professionally as Violet Spencer, was a very competent aeronaut but that it was obviously better to come down in open countryside than on rooftops.

On the day in question Edith had ascended in her balloon to a height of five thousand feet and was expected to land on open ground where a large crowd had gathered to watch the display.

Edith had trained in 1909 at the French Flying school with Louis Bleriot and in January 1910 she was declared the first British woman pilot when she flew a Bleriot X1 at Pau airport. At the time Amy Johnson was seven years old and Amelia Erhart didn’t start her record breaking flying career until the 1920s.

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