Film ID: YFA 5833 Video of CALENDAR MAGAZINE: THE FLYING DOCTOR 1988 Visitor TabsDescription This Yorkshire Television production is a portrait of 74 year old Dr Helena Hamilton piloting her De Havilland Hornet Moth at Doncaster airport on a snowy winter’s day in 1988. Helena shows her passion both for flying, vowing to continue until she is no longer able, and for her beloved plane, something she’s not willing to sell at any price. The film begins with a 50 year old advertisement for De Havilland Hornet Moth aeroplanes, with a still image of one, G-AHBL. Then 74 year old Dr Helena Hamilton arrives at a snowy Doncaster airfield in her yellow MG Midget car. Inside the hangar, Helena Hamilton watches as a man swings the propeller of her De Havilland Hornet, taking instructions from her. De Havilland Hornet is interviewed in her home about how she got into flying. A photo of Helena in Burma during World War 2 her pilots licence can be seen. Then her husband is interviewed, talking about her early days, flying a Tipsy Nipper, how he was relieved when she got the safer Hornet Moth, and how she misses it when she can’t fly. Helena states that flying gives her a sense of perspective when she feels she could have done better in her job as an anaesthetist. She gets out a flying map and examines it on a table. The Hornet is pushed out onto tarmac at the airport. It is a fine day, with a light wind. Helena starts the plane up, taxis along the runway, and takes off. The camera films her inside the cabin as she flies. She mentions the inspiration of John Magee’s poem ‘High Flight.’ As she communicates with the ground , a voiceover recites the poem. With the weather changing for the worse, Helena returns to the airfield, having to make adjustments to avoid the wet grass and a sudden cross wind. One of the controllers remarks on her skill at negotiating a bumpy difficult landing. Back at her home Helena talks about her passion for flying – stating that she will continue as long as she passes the flying tests – and for her plane, stating that she wouldn’t sell it for a million pounds. On the mantelpiece are her trophies and certificates. At the end she relates how when flying on the Concorde once, she was on the flight deck and Captain Massey said that she flew “a real airplane,” clearly to her delight. End credits: Editor: Alwyn Jones Director: Tony Scull Yorkshire Television Context With only 3% of all airline pilots worldwide women, 6% in Britain, this film of 74 year old Dr Helena Hamilton piloting her a De Havilland Hornet Moth shows that neither gender or age should be a barrier to flying an aircraft. It’s 1988 in the middle of winter in Doncaster, but Helena, inspired by John Magee’s poem ‘High Flight’, reveals her passion both for flying – vowing to continue until she is no longer able; and for her beloved plane – not willing to sell at any price. Dr Helena Hamilton was born in South Australia, learning to fly in South Africa. She served on Mountbatten's staff in Burma, and was attached to the Allied Staff at the Nuremburg War Crimes Trials. On discovering that her Hornet Moth was stationed at the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment at Martlesham in Suffolk when built in 1936, Helena became Vice-President of Martlesham Heath Aviation Society. Helena died on August 24th 2001. Her Moth is still in service. At the start of the war women joined the Air Transport Auxiliary as pilots, eventually flying everything from Spitfires to Hurricane (apart from the largest flying boats). 15 lost their lives, including pioneer aviator Amy Johnson.