Female Flyers

Oct 03, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lanka may boast of having had the world’s first woman prime minister and her daughter as the island’s first female president, but few women have made a career in aviation. The country’s first female military pilot flew Spitfires in World War 2 but an attempt by a young woman to join the air force more recently failed for reasons that had nothing to do with her flying skills.

However, the future for women in Sri Lankan aviation seems to be taking a turn for the better with a female air traffic controller set to become the country’s chief air traffic controller.

And a few young women have qualified as pilots or joined flying schools.

There are now several women working as air traffic controllers and a few pilots but no military pilots or aircraft engineers, Ashanthi Fernando, one of Sri Lanka’s few female pilots, told a meeting of aviation enthusiasts recently.

The inaugural meeting of the newly formed Sri Lanka Aeronautical Society (SLAeS), whose aim is to kindle public interest in aviation, heard that Sri Lanka’s first female military pilot, Amy Jonklaas, flew Spitfires in World War 2.

And Sri Lanka had female air traffic controllers before India d