This article was translated by John R. Bopp
BBC World broke the news to us. Margot Duhalde was born in 1920 into a Basque-French family in Río Bueno, in southern Chile. At 16, she started taking flying classes at the Chilean Flying Club, and at 18, she was given the title of pilot, though she had few job opportunities given the mentality of the day.
In 1939, she volunteered at the French Embassy in Santiago de Chile to join the fight against the Nazis. In 1941, she went to London to the offices of Charles de Gaulle’s Free French Forces, but they wanted to dedicate her to tending to injured pilots, so she decided to join the Royal Air Force, despite not speaking English.
She was part of the Air Transport Auxiliary, or ATA, squadron, where 168 women participated throughout the war, one for every eight male pilots. There, she flew over sixty different types of planes, including fighters and bombers, among others.
After the war, she returned to Chile at the beginning of 1947, where she was a private and commercial pilot for Lipa-Sur Airlines.
Soon after, she became the first female air traffic controller in Chile, and worked as the control tower chief for the national Air Force, a post she held for over four decades.
Chilean pilot Margot Duhalde has died this past Monday at the Chilean Air Force Hospital.
BBC – 6/2/2018 – Gran Bretaña
“Volamos igual que ellos”: la extraordinaria historia de la primera piloto de guerra de Chile, Margot Duhalde, que combatió en la Segunda Guerra Mundial junto a las fuerzas británicas
Los hombres dijeron siempre que las mujeres no iban a ser capaces de volar esos aviones”, recordó hace unos meses Margot Duhalde, la primera piloto de guerra de Chile, que piloteó aviones junto a la fuerza aérea británica para luchar contra los nazis en la Segunda Guerra Mundial. “Y después tuvieron que agachar el moño nomás, porque en realidad volamos igual que ellos”, dijo con una sonrisa en declaraciones a la cadena de noticias AFP, pocos meses antes de fallecer, este lunes en Santiago de Chile, a los 97 años.