Jacqueline Auriol

Jacqueline Auriol

Jacqueline Auriol

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Jacqueline Auriol (November 5, 1917, Challans, Vendée – February 11, 2000) was a French aviatrix who set several world speed records.


Born as Jacqueline Marie-Thérèse Suzanne Douet in Challans, Vendée, the daughter of a wealthy shipbuilder, she graduated from the University of Nantes then she studied art at the École du Louvre in Paris.

In 1938, she married Paul Auriol, son of Vincent Auriol (who would later become President of France). During World War II, Jacqueline Auriol, worked against the German occupation of France by helping the French Resistance.

She took up flying in 1946, got her pilot's license in 1948 and became an accomplished stunt flier and test pilot. Jacqueline was severely injured in a crash in which she was a passenger in 1949--many of the bones in her face were broken--and spent nearly three years in hospitals undergoing 33 reconstructive operations. To occupy her mind she studied algebra, trigonometry, aerodynamics and other subjects necessary to obtain advanced pilot certification.

She earned a military pilot license in 1950 then qualified as one of the first female test pilots. She was among the first women to break the sound barrier and set five world speed records in the 1950s and 1960s.

On three occasions she was awarded the Harmon International Trophy by an American president in recognition of her aviation exploits. She once explained her passion for flying by saying: "I feel so...
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