In 1910, the French Raymonde de Laroche, became the world’s first licensed female pilot. Seven other French women followed her, earning pilot’s licenses within the next year. Iran followed suit. In 1925, Reza Shah, formed the Iranian Aero Club and in 1939 began to advertise for prospective pilots. 630 young people signed up and to the surprise of the club officials 22 of them were women. Out of those women, 7 were admitted into the club and only three passed the requirements to join.
These three were Effat Tejaratchi, Ghodsieh Farokhzad Naraghi and Ina Ushid, who would become the first Iranian female pilots. Effat Tejaratchi’ story is the best documented.
She had a dream of becoming a pilot. When she saw the Aero Club’s advertisement she was excited, but then she realized that no other woman had ever done this before. Intimidated she went home and told her father about it. He had intervened. “What is wrong with you becoming the first Iranian female pilot?” he had asked. With his encouragement Tejaratchi had returned to the club and was surprised that the Officials of the Club praised her for applying, and the press applauded her. She became the first to qualify for a solo flight in 1940. She piloted a DH-82 Tiger Moth. She was only 23 at the time.
With the Second World War and the Allies forcing Reza Shah into exile, the Aero Club was also abandoned. It was only after the war, with the encouragement of her husband, that she returned to the Iranian Royal Air Force as a flight officer. She eventually became the Director of the Club until the 1979 Islamic revolution.
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