Helene Dutrieu seen in her
Gnome powered Farman biplane.
Daniel Brackx Collection
Dutrieu was born at Tournai, Belgium on 10 July 1877 as
daughter of a Belgian Army officer. Being a very libertine lady (not an easy
attitude at the end of the 19th century) Hélène was a sportswoman (bicycle &
motorcycle champion) who took up flying as a new sport.
Having received an introduction to flying on a Santos-Dumont "Demoiselle"
in December 1908, she went on to learn to fly at the Farman School.
She was the first female pilot to carry a passenger in flight (19 April
1910) and as marked on our table of the first 100 Belgian pilots, she received
licence n°27 on 25 November 1910 as the first Belgian, female pilot. She was the
first holder of the Coupe Femina, which she won by setting women's duration and
altitude records and later on she participated in many exhibitions and meetings
throughout Europe and North America.
In 1913 she won the French Legion of Honneur, the first female pilot
decorated. In 1922 she married Pierre Mortier and took on the French
nationality. In later years, she became the Vice-President of the women’s
section of the Aero-club of France. Hélène Dutrieu died in Paris on 26 June
1961 at the age of 84 after having enjoyed a fascinating life.
12/08/10 10:06 Daniel