Historical Figures

Hélène Boucher, feminist aviator

Hélène Boucher (1908 – 1934) was a French aviator who broke numerous speed records. She also campaigned for women's right to vote, alongside Adrienne Bolland and Maryse Bastié.

Aviator in honor of test pilot Jean Hubert

Daughter of Élisabeth Hélène Dureau and Léon Boucher, architect, Hélène, nicknamed Léno, was born on May 23, 1908 in Paris. Very young, she was passionate about aviation and collected photos and articles. After leaving Paris with her family during the First World War, she studied at Lycée Montaigne and then at Collège Sévigné.

In 1930, test pilot Jean Hubert, a friend of Hélène's brother, died and Hélène decided to become an aviator in his honor. She had her first flight on July 4, 1930 and took lessons from the pilot Henri Farbos from 1931. She obtained her tourist pilot's license on June 21, 1931. In June 1932, after a hundred hours of flight and a night flight, Hélène Boucher becomes the fourth woman to obtain her license as a professional public transport pilot.

Aviator career

She immediately buys a plane and begins to participate in rallies and demonstrations. In September 1933, she began doing aerial acrobatics with aerobatic champion Michel Détroyat. In 1934, she broke several speed records.

The same year, Hélène became involved with feminist movements for women's rights, notably alongside the activist Louise Weiss and the aviators Maryse Bastié and Adrienne Bolland.

On August 30, 1934, during a training flight at Guyancourt aerodrome, his plane crashed and Hélène Boucher, seriously injured, died in the ambulance which took her to the hospital. She will be decorated with the Legion of Honor posthumously.