Jacqueline Auriol

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Jacqueline Auriol (November 5, 1917, Challans, Vendée – February 11, 2000, Paris) was a French aviator who set several world speed records.[1][2]


I Live to Fly - Auriol`s autobiography

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 of a SCAN 30 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 four 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."

Her life story was told in her 1970 autobiography I Live to Fly published in the French and English languages.

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.


12 May 1951 - Mme Jacqueline Auriol (France) achieved an FAI ratified average speed of 508.392 mph (818.18 km/h) flying a British Vampire over a 100km closed circuit at Istres, to claim the Women's World air speed record from previous holder Miss Jacqueline Cochran (USA).

21 Dec 1952 - Mme Jacqueline Auriol (France) flying a Mistral (French-built Vampire development, with Hispano Nene engine) broke her own previous 100 km closed circuit world speed record of 508.392 mph (818.18 km/h) by flying at 531.846 mph (855.920 km/h). The new record was made over the same 100km closed course, from Istres, outside Marseilles, to Avignon and back.

31 May 1955 - Mme Jacqueline Auriol (France) flying a Mystere 4N, broke the previous speed over a 15/25 km straight course world record held by rival Miss Jacqueline Cochrane with an FAI ratified speed of 715.35 mph (1151 km/h).

22 Jun 1962 - Mme Jacqueline Auriol (France) flying a Dassault Mirage IIIC achieved an FAI ratified average speed of 1,149.66 mph (1,850.2 km/h) over the 100km closed circuit at Istres, to reclaim the Women's World air speed record in that category from her great rival Miss Jacqueline Cochran (USA).

14 Jun 1963 - Mme Jacqueline Auriol (France) flying a Dassault Mirage IIIR, achieved an FAI ratified average speed of 1,261 mph (2,038.70 km/h) over a 100km closed circuit at Istres. The flight returns to Mme Auriol the women's world air speed record over a 100km closed circuit, which pilot Miss Jacqueline Cochran (USA) had gained from her in May. This was the final attempt by Mme Auriol to break the Women's 100km Closed Circuit Air Speed Record. On 01 Jun 1964, her great rival Miss Jacqueline Cochran (USA) whilst flying a Lockheed Starfighter F-104G achieved an FAI ratified average speed of 1,303 mph (2,097.27 km/h) over the 100km closed circuit, regaining the record.

Records Sources: http://www.fai.org/records https://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/index.html




  1. ^ Martin, Douglas (February 17, 2000). "Jacqueline Auriol, Top French Test Pilot, 82". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ Trenner, Patricia (March 1, 2003). "10 Great Pilots". Air & Space Magazine (Smithsonian Institution). 
  3. ^ "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. 
  4. ^ Gathering of Eagles Program
  5. ^ "FR043.03". Universal Postal Union. Retrieved 2011-01-21. 

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