Gainsborough: Speaker at the Gainsborough and District Ladies Luncheon Club was Britain’s first female fighter pilot

Members of Gainsborough and District Ladies Luncheon Club were full of admiration and respect after hearing this month’s guest speaker.

Wednesday, 19th March 2014, 3:04 pm
Gainsborough and District Ladies Luncheon Club

Jo Salter, Britain’s first female fighter pilot and one of only five women fighter pilots in the world.

Jo began her talk, ‘A Birds Eye View’, by asking her listeners to imagine being in control of £25m of screaming metal, flying at 600mph at treetop height.

At the age of 13 Jo had ambitions to be a hairdresser and took all the right steps to achieve this ambition only to be thwarted by her mother, a child psychologist, who, in Jo’s words, interfered with her life by making her change her course of studies from home economics and needlework to physics, chemistry and mathematics.

However, her future was to be changed once more after she was introduced to a new revelation called Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) where she was advised to study engineering.

Joining the RAF and now with a passion to fly, Jo graduated in 1989 and went to Cranwell for Officer training.

Jo went on to tell of the discrimination she was subjected to and the difficulties she had to overcome because of her sex and how she dealt with it to achieve a highly successful career flying Tornados, Chipmunks, Jet Provosts amongst other types of plane.

She recounted many amusing anecdotes and experiences including the difficulties facing a female wearing an anti-g suit.