Hewlett, Hilda Beatrice (1864–1943)

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Hewlett, Hilda Beatrice (1864–1943)

New Zealand aviator and aircraft manufacturer. Name variations: Hilda Beatrice Herbert, Grace Bird. Born on Feb 17, 1864, in Vauxhall, London, England; died on Aug 21, 1943, in Tauranga, New Zealand; dau. of George William Herbert (Anglican vicar) and Louisa (Hopgood) Herbert; m. Maurice Henry Hewlett, 1888; children: 1 son, 1 daughter.

Adopted pseudonym Grace Bird and went to Mourmelon-le-Grand aerodome in France to study aeronautics (1909); opened flying school with Gustave Blondeau at Brooklands, Surrey (1910); became 1st British woman to obtain pilot's certificate (1911); formed Hewlett & Blondeau Ltd to manufacture airplanes (1914), and employed 700 workers producing 10 different types of planes. (during WWI, Hewlett & Blondeau supplied more than 800 aircraft); following the war and closure of the company, settled in New Zealand (1920).

See also Dictionary of New Zealand Biography (Vol. 4).

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Hewlett, Hilda Beatrice (1864–1943)

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