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These days it’s quite common to find ladies in command of commercial airliners, bizjets and combat aircraft. Thirty years ago, however, this was certainly not the case here in Australia and a female required a stubborn streak & thick skin to push through and gain acceptance in a very male dominated world.
While the situation for ladies in aviation is still not completely balanced it is significantly improved over the scene in the mid-70s. One reason for that improvement was thanks to the efforts of Deborah Lawrie (aka Deborah Wardley) who was the first female pilot with Ansett Airlines, one of Australia’s biggest airlines until it’s demise in 2001.
Deborah’s story is one of determination and a drive to achieve her goals, no matter what obstacles society and some organisations put in her path. We are fortunate enough in this episode to have had Deborah join us for a great chat about her interest in aviation, learning to fly, her early commercial days, getting into Ansett, the Australian Pilots’ Dispute of 1989 and her subsequent career working with KLM before returning to Australia where she is currently working with Jetstar as their manager of Safety Investigations (while still also flying their A320s).
It’s an incredible chat and we think that in addition to learning about Deborah’s life, you’ll also learn a lot about the Australian airline environment of the past & present.