Born as Jacqueline Marie-Thérèse Suzanne Douet in Challans, Vendée, the daughter of a wealthy shipbuilder, she graduated from the University of Nantes then she studied art at the École du Louvre in Paris.
In 1938, she married Paul Auriol, son of Vincent Auriol (who would later become President of France). During World War II, Jacqueline Auriol, worked against the German occupation of France by helping the French Resistance.
She took up flying in 1946, got her pilot's license in 1948 and became an accomplished stunt flier and test pilot. Jacqueline was severely injured in a crash in which she was a passenger in 1949—many of the bones in her face were broken—and spent nearly three years in hospitals undergoing 33 reconstructive operations. To occupy her mind she studied algebra, trigonometry, aerodynamics and other subjects necessary to obtain advanced pilot certification.
She earned a military pilot license in 1950 then qualified as one of the first female test pilots. She was among the first women to break the sound barrier and set five world speed records in the 1950s and 1960s.
On three occasions she was awarded the Harmon International Trophy by an American president in recognition of her aviation exploits. She once explained her passion for flying by saying: "I feel so happy when I'm flying. Perhaps it is the feeling of power, the pleasure of dominating a machine as beautiful as a Thoroughbred horse. Mingled with these basic joys is another less primitive feeling, that of a mission accomplished. Each time I set foot on an airfield, I sense with fresh excitement that this is where I belong."
Jacqueline and her husband divorced in 1967 and remarried in 1987. They had two sons together. In 1983 she became a founding member of the French Académie de l'air et de l'espace.
- She was awarded four Harmon Trophies in 1951, 1952, 1955 and 1956.
- She was made Grand officier (Grand officer) of the Légion d'honneur.
- She was made Grand'croix (Grand cross) of the Ordre national du Mérite in 1997.
- Honored as an Eagle in 1992.
- On 23 June 2003, France issued a 4,00€ postage stamp in her honor.
- Martin, Douglas (February 17, 2000). "Jacqueline Auriol, Top French Test Pilot, 82". The New York Times.
- Trenner, Patricia (March 1, 2003). "10 Great Pilots". Air & Space Magazine (Smithsonian Institution).
- "ORDRE NATIONAL DU MERITE Décret du 14 mai 1997 portant promotion et nomination". JORF 1997 (112): 7299. 1997-05-15. PREX9700000D. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
- Gathering of Eagles Program
- "FR043.03". Universal Postal Union. Retrieved 2011-01-21.
- Biography on the Air University website
- Jacqueline Auriol's obituary in the La Dépêche newspaper (French)
|This biographical article related to aviation is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.|