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Qantas names First A380 after Aviation Pioneer Nancy-Bird Walton

Travel News Asia Latest Travel News Podcasts Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Qantas today honoured Australian pioneer aviatrix Nancy-Bird Walton at a ceremony to officially name the airline's first A380 aircraft after her.

"I am delighted that Nancy-Bird has agreed to have this first A380 named in her honour," said Chief Executive Officer of Qantas, Mr Geoff Dixon. "Nancy-Bird's courage, resilience and optimism represent the very best of Australia. Her story tells us of the rich aviation legacy this nation enjoys and which Qantas draws upon today."

Nancy-Bird was a pioneer of women pilots in Australia - the first woman to command a commercial aircraft and the founder of the Australian Women's Pilots Association.

She began learning to fly in 1933, when she was just 17 years old, and was taught by one of the world's greatest aviators, Sir Charles Kingsford Smith. She graduated in 1935.

"Since then, Nancy-Bird has been a tireless campaigner for women in aviation. She showed us the potential for talented Australian women and the extraordinary influence that one bright individual can exert - and most of all, the sheer joy of flying," Mr Dixon added.

The entire Qantas A380 fleet will be named after Australian aviation pioneers, including Charles Kingsford Smith, Reg Ansett, Hudson Fysh, Bert Hinkler, and the inventor of the Black Box Flight Recorder, David Warren. The full list of names will be announced on Qantas' 88th birthday on 16 November 2008.

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