Father: Col. L G Bird DSO, OBE, of The Old Farm, Beech, nr Alton, Hants
Ed. Manor House, Limpsfield
WAAF ASO from 16 May 1940 to 31 Jul 1941
Postings: 5FPP, 15FPP, 4FPP, 6FPP
Class 4+ pilot
6 accidents, 3 her fault:
- 15 May 1942, her Spitfire BR236 ran into an umarked soft patch when landing, and nosed over
- 26 Jun 1942, she stalled Albacore L2174 attempting a forced landing, after the windscreen became obscured with oil
- 18 Nov 1943, after taking off in Anson R9757, she bent down to retrieve a Form 700, inadvertently pushed forward the control column, and wrecked the undercarriage in the subsequent crash.
- 15 Mar 1944, a spectacular-sounding crash in Hudson III T9426; on take-off, due to insufficient speed the port wing dropped and hit the ground, and the aircraft cartwheeled. However, she was held 'not to blame'.
- 17 Jul 1944, she was unable to correct the take-off swing of her Spitfire IX PL162, ran off the runway, ground-looped to avoid some workmen, and nosed over
- 16 Apr 1945, a jeep ran into her Mosquito VI HR136 while she was taxying, and damaged the starboard undercarriage
"An extremely sensible, keen and good pilot on whom one can rely ... must guard against giving a wrong impression by her difficult manner" - Margot Gore, her C.O.
Awarded her RAF 'Wings' in Sep 1952, the first of 5 women (all ex-ATA pilots) to do so when serving with the short-lived (1 Feb 1949 - 1954) Women's Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (WRAFVR). The others were Benedetta Willis, Jackie Moggridge, Freydis Leaf and Joan Hughes
In 1956, Veronica Volkersz wrote that Jean was one of only 7 women flying commercially: - "Jean Bird flies a Miles Aerovan on aerial survey" - and concluded that "The tragedy is that for women, commercial aviation is now - except, possibly, in Russia - a closed field."
[The others were Jackie Moggridge, Monique Rendall, Suzanne Ashton, Zita Irwin, Diana Barnato-Walker and Freydis Leaf]
d. 29 Apr 1957 in the crash of Miles Aerovan 4 G-ASIF belonging to Meridian Air Maps. "... evidence was given that the aircraft had been fitted with an incorrect spare part"
Full biography here: Jean Bird - Wikipedia
Download ATA Pilot Personal Record (.zip files):