Inducted in 2023
Christine Davy MBE
Christine Davy had already made a name for herself before commencing an aviation career, by becoming the first Australian Woman to represent her country as an Alpine Skier in the 1956 and 1960 Winter Olympic Games in Italy and the USA.
Christine Davy was born in Edgecliff, NSW in 1934 and educated in Sydney at Ascham, and Mittagong at Frensham, in the Southern Highlands.
She commenced flying lessons at the Goulburn Aero Club in 1958, gaining her Private Licence, Commercial Licence, Agricultural Licence and her Instructor’s Rating by 1963 when Eddie (E.J. Connellan – also an inductee at the Australian Aviation Hall of Fame) offered her a part time job in his Airline in Alice Springs as well as instructing at the Alice Springs Aero Club.
She was awarded the Australian Women Pilots’ Association (AWPA) Nancy-Bird Honour for “the most outstanding contribution to Aviation by a Woman of Australasia”. She flew her Tiger Moth VH-CCD (fondly nicknamed 'Charlie') to Alice Springs to commence her flying career.
E.J. Connellan had a requirement for all pilots on the regular public transport (RPT) mail operations to draw 'Mud Maps' of the routes before being cleared to operate them. These maps were then checked by senior pilots and showed features which were distinct and maybe not evident on printed versions. Each pilot had to undertake a proving flight with a qualified pilot, using their own mud maps only for navigation.
In 1970, Christine was awarded a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in recognition of her service to civil aviation. In that same year, she gained her Senior Commercial Licence – Aeroplanes, and a First Class Instrument Rating.
In 1974, Christine became the first woman in Australia to gain a First Class Airline Transport Pilots Licence (ATPL) – Aeroplanes, and the first woman in Australia to be employed as a Captain of an airline being Connair (formally Connellan Airways) in Alice Springs.
In 1977, Christine was awarded the prestigious Jean Lennox Bird Award, a British Award generally presented only to female British pilots who ‘have served aviation over a period of time in any aspect, consistently achieving goals, showing diligence to duties and encouragement to others.’
In 1980, Connair was acquired by East West Airlines and renamed Northern Airlines. Christine flew in command of F27 Fokker Friendship aircraft for Northern Airlines flying routes such as Alice Springs to Darwin and return. In 1981 Northern Airlines was disbanded. In order to continue her flying career, Christine elected to retrain as a helicopter pilot.
In 1981, Christine attained her student then, Commercial Pilot Licence – Helicopters after completing training at Bankstown on Hughes 269C aircraft. She returned to Alice Springs where she was employed by Central Australian Helicopters and flew Hughes 269C, Bell Jet Ranger and Long Ranger aircraft conducting aeromedical evacuations and charter flights.
In 1984, Christine gained her Senior Commercial Pilots Licence – Helicopters, and accepted a position with Lloyds Aviation in Adelaide undertaking work for the police and aeromedical service organisations. She also undertook search and rescue and flying tasks for various television stations. In 1987, Christine commenced flying in offshore operations in the Timor Sea, and in Devonport Tasmania, Portland and Geelong in Victoria, and Port Lincoln in South Australia.
Christine went on in 1991, to gain her Air Transport Pilot Licence – Helicopter, the first Australian woman to attain that qualification. Christine was also appointed a member of the National Pioneer Women’s Hall of
Fame in Alice Springs, recognising her achievements as a pioneering female aviator.
In 1997 Christine’s retired from flying with a total of 20,270 Flying hours. She relocated to her property in regional NSW which she shares with her dog, her horses, her cattle, and several mobs of kangaroos. In 2000, Christine was awarded the AWPA 20,000 hour badge. Christine discloses that her first love remains the DC3, which, she says, ‘always had personality because no one ever quite knew what it was going to do next’. The aircraft is renowned for being cantankerous to fly and a challenge to land, yet Christine insists ‘they simply have character’ - her love for the Dakota remains unconditional.
Christine Davy has dedicated her life to a career in aviation with an unwavering focus, and in a quiet, unassuming but determined manner. A remarkable aviator ….. a remarkable woman.