Nancy-Bird Walton

The Angel of the Outback.

Nancy-Bird Walton in front of a Qantas aircraft

"My God, it's a woman!"

There’s nothing like the freedom of the skies. So in a time when opportunities for women were limited, one chose to soar high above it all to the place where she felt truly free. That woman was Nancy-Bird Walton. 

This pioneering pilot first got her licence at the age of 18 in 1933, bought a plane and then toured regional NSW. Taught by the world’s most celebrated aviator, Charles Kingsford Smith, Nancy’s spirit of courage and determination saw her steadfastly pursuing her dreams.

Nancy was a pioneer not just for women, but for everyone. Who else can say that they operated their own passenger airline, started an outback ambulance service or played a vital role in the volunteer effort during the Second World War? Known for her generous spirit, Nancy was also often referred to as the “Angel of the Outback” for her work with the Royal Flying Doctor Service. 

And no matter how many surprised passengers she heard say, “My God, it’s a woman!” as she hopped down from the cockpit, her love of flying without limits stayed with her until the fine old age of 93. 

We are proud to have named our first A380 after this inspiring aviation legend.

- Nancy-Bird Walton, Aviation pioneer