LONDON — The Royal Air Force is leading tributes to Mary Ellis, an aviation pioneer and World War II-era pilot who has died at 101.
As a member of the Air Transport Auxiliary, Ellis flew Spitfires and bombers, bringing the aircraft from factories to airfields. She flew over 1,000 aircraft during the war and afterward managed Sandown airport on the Isle of Wight.
She married fellow pilot Don Ellis in 1961 and they lived near the runway until his death in 2009.
The RAF’s Air Chief Marshal Stephen Hillier tweeted, “I’ll always remember her proudly reminding us … that she was older than the RAF itself! RIP Mary.”
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Red Arrows pilot Mike Ling tweeted that he hoped she was enjoying a sherry in the sky, wishing her “Blue skies, Ma’am.”