Hélène Boucher

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Hélène Boucher
Hélène Boucher.jpg
Born 23 May 1908
Died 30 November 1934
Guyancourt near Versailles
Cause of death
aircraft accident
Resting place
Yermenonville cemetery
Nationality France

Hélène Boucher was a well known pilot in France in the early 1930s, when she set several women's speed records. She was killed in an accident in 1934.


Hélène Boucher was the daughter of a Parisian architect; after an ordinary schooling she experienced flight at Orly and then became the first pupil at th flying schol ri=un by Henri Fabos at Mont-de-Marsan. She obtained her obtained her brevet (no. 182) aged 23, bought a de Havilland Gypsy Moth and learned to navigate and perform aerobatics. These skills gained her public transport brevet in June 1932. After attending a few aviation meetings, she sold the Moth and bought an Avro Avian, planning a flight to the near East.[1]

She rapidly showed great ability and was advised by Michel Detroyat to focus on aerobatics, his own speciality.[2] Their performances drew in crowds to flight shows, for example at Villacoublay.[3] In 1933 she flew with Jacob in the Angers 12-hour race in one of the lowest powered machines there, a Mauboussin-Zodiac; they were the only female team competing and came 14th.[4] The following year she competed in this event again, though in a faster Caudron Rafale, and came second.[5]

During 1933 and 1934 she set several world record for women, set out below; many of these were gained in Renault powered Caudron aircraft and the company Renault company took her temporarily under contract in order to promote the new Viva Grand Sport.

On 30 November 1934 he died aged 26 flying a low powered Caudron C.430 Rafale[6] near Versailles when the machine crashed into the woods of Guyancourt.[2] Posthumously, she was immediately made a knight of the Légion d'honneur and was the first woman to lie in state at Les Invalides, were here funeral obsequies were held.[2][7] She is buried in Yermenonville cemetery.[2] Parts of he press and others held Detroyat to be responsible for her death, spurring a "young, innocent girl" to such a "dangerous sport".[citation needed]

Hélène Boucher as a pilot
... and driver


In 1934 she flew the speed record over 100 km (485 km/h on average) and thus became the "quickest woman of the world". She held the altitude record with 5,200 metres and eight other world records. She held this record for 32 years.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Hélène Boucher". Retrieved 3 March 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Hélène Boucher". L'Aérophile 42 (12): p.366. December 1934. 
  3. ^ "The Detroyat-Fiesler Aerobatic Match". Flight XXV (42): p.1054. 19 October 1933. 
  4. ^ "The Angers "12 hour Contest"". Flight XXV (29): p.734. 20 July 1933. 
  5. ^ "Les Douze Heures d'Angers". Flight XXVI (1334): p.743. 19 July 1934. 
  6. ^ "Caudron C430 "Rafale"". Retrieved 3 March 2015. 
  7. ^ "Mlle. Boucher killed". Flight XXVI (1334): p.1298. 6 December 1934.