Maryse Bastié

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Maryse Bastié in her early flying days.

Maryse Bastié (February 27, 1898 – July 6, 1952) was a French aviator. Born Marie-Louise Bombec in Limoges, Haute-Vienne, at age eleven Bastié's father died and her family struggled to survive. As an adolescent she worked in a shoe factory, money was scarce and an early marriage that failed left her with a child, who died young, and limited means. As a result of her marriage to Louis Bastié, a World War I pilot, she became fascinated by the new phenomenon of powered flight and was determined to become a pilot and to own her own plane. She obtained her license to fly and although her husband was killed in a plane crash (in 1926), Maryse Bastié began doing aerobatics to earn money to keep herself flying and in 1927 purchased her own aircraft, a Caudron C.109.

In the 1930s, Maryse Bastié set several international records for female aviators including for duration flying, distance, and a record time for a solo flight across the South Atlantic. Her performances earned her the Harmon Trophy in 1931. In 1935 she founded her own flying school at Orly Airport. Arthur Sanfourche, father of Jean-Joseph Sanfourche was one of her mechanics.

Maryse Bastié served in the French Air Force, rising to the rank of Captain while logging more than 3,000 hours' flying time. The government of France made her a Commander of the Legion of Honor. In 1937, she published her story under the title Ailes ouvertes: carnet d'une aviatrice.

On July 6, 1952, following a conference in Lyon, Maryse Bastié was killed when her plane crashed during take off. She is buried in the Cimetière du Montparnasse in Paris.

Posthumous honors[edit]

The "Lycée professionnel régional Maryse Bastié" in Hayange-Marspich, the "Lycée Maryse Bastié" in Limoges, and the "College Maryse Bastié" in Reims are named in her memory. The Real Estate Services division of aircraft maker Bombardier Inc. named a street in her honor in Saint-Laurent, Quebec as did the French cities of Anglet, Bron, Haguenau and Lyon.

In 1955, the Government of France honored Maryse Bastié with her image on an airmail postage stamp.

There is a memorial to Maryse Bastile in the west of Paris in a small park of the Boulevard du Garigliano M. Valin not far from the Seine.