Unless you're an aviation enthusiast, you might not have heard of Margaret Ray Ringenberg, who died this weekend at 87. But trust us, she was awesome. A plane nut from childhood, Ringenberg had resigned herself to working as a flight attendant, when World War II allowed her to attend flight school and join the Women Airforce Service Pilots. Post-war, Ringenberg gave flying lessons and raced into her 70s, ultimately logging more than 40,000 miles in the cockpit and earning an induction into the Women in Aviation International Conference's Pioneer Hall of Fame. And if you gotta go, this is the way: Ringenberg passed away in her sleep, at an Experimental Aircraft Association event. [Los Angeles Times]
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Thank you Jezzies! I've been reading a book called Spitfire Women of WW2 by Giles Whittell which is all about the WASPs and they were inspirations, every one of them. Insanely brave (for reasons that no one can fathom today, they were required to fly without instruments). If you ever need the anecdote to crappy celebrity culture, find out about these women.
I grew up reading Jackie Soutar's biography, and there are loads of others out there, but the Whittell book is a good summary.
Oh, and Diana Barnato Walker, who died a few months ago. Total goddess.
I wish someone would make a decent film or drama series about them which wasn't all "gravy browning on your legs and gee-whizz" and showed them for the heroines they were. Awesome.