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Contents / NEZIHE VIRANYALI, pilot

A plucky 80-year-old pilot describes her feelings as she conquered the skies.*

“I was a Turk from Bulgaria. I felt an affinity with aviation already when I was very little. When I saw Bulgarian planes fly over the city from time to time, I was dying to jump on a plane and fly myself. As I got older, that love grew and became irresistible. Articles also appeared in the Turkish papers encouraging young girls to become aviators and strengthening my already existing enthusiasm.
“But the actual occasion that propelled me into aviation as a profession was the indescribable impact made on me by Sabiha Gökçen, Atatürk’s adopted daughter, when she set off on a tour of the Balkans. She flew over Bulgaria as well.

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