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Lady Mary Heath was a famous pioneering pilot. She was born in Knockaderry near Newcastle West, Co Limerick, in 1896. She was an accomplished sportswoman who helped introduce women’s track events to the Olympics. The 1920s was an era when the world seemed to have gone aviation mad, thanks to the exploits of Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart. In 1927, Lady Mary became the first woman to hold a commercial licence in Britain, the first woman to parachute out of an aircraft, and the first pilot to fly a small open-cockpit plane from Cape Town to London. She set records for altitude in a small plane. For much of the 1920s she was one of the best known women in the world, brave, determined, and accomplished.
The ‘Alcock and Brown 100’ Festival to celebrate the centenary next year of one of the greatest feats of early aviation — the first non-stop transatlantic flight in history, completed by John Alcock and Arthur Whitten-Brown in 1919, was launched this week in Dublin.
It certainly will be destination Westport this May as the town hosts an airshow, loop-the-loops will swirl around the sky, and pilots will conduct nifty tricks with precision and a daredevil attitude, creating a day for the whole family to enjoy along Westport Quay on Sunday, May 14.