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Turi Widerøe (born 23 November 1937) was Norway's first female air transport pilot. The daughter of aviator Viggo Widerøe, she was originally educated as a book designer. She later took a pilot's education, and, employed by Scandinavian Airlines System, became the first female pilot in a larger airline in the western world. After ending her flight career she worked for numerous cultural institutions such as the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, Gyldendal, Oslo Nye Teater and Riksteatret.


Personal life

She was born in Oslo as a daughter of Viggo Widerøe (1904–2002) and Solveig Schrøder (1914–1989).[1] Her father was a noted aviator who founded Widerøe's Flyveselskap, a regional airline in Norway, in 1934. She was also a niece of noted engineer Rolf Widerøe.[2]

Between 1972 and 1975 she was married to artist Karl Erik Harr. They had two children.[1] She currently lives in Majorstuen near Frogner stadion in Oslo.[3]


In 1958 she graduated as a book designer from the Norwegian National Academy of Craft and Art Industry, following a four-year education. In the same year she was awarded for her design of Solveig Christov's book Valgets brodd. She worked two years for the printing press Grøndahl & Søn, and from 1960 to 1964 she edited National Association of Norwegian Architects's periodical Byggekunst. She then took her private pilot's license in 1962. After a brief time working various jobs in Inner Troms, she acquired her commercial license in 1965.[1] She flew the de Havilland Otter seaplane and later Twin Otter for Widerøe's Flyveselskap,[4] first as co-pilot, from 1966 as captain. Her aviator father reportedly viewed her career choice with slight dismay. In 1968, she was employed by SAS (Scandinavian Airlines System). In 1969, she was certified as co-pilot on Convair 440 Metropolitan[1] and became the first female pilot in a larger airline in the western world.[5] She also flew SAS' first jet aircraft, the Caravelle, and the DC-9 before she ended her flying career.[4]

In 1974 she wrote a 40th anniversary history of Widerøe's Flyveselskap, published as two articles in the Norwegian Airline Pilots Association's magazine Cockpit Forum. She had taken the initiative to Cockpit Forum's predecessor magazine Interno. In 1979, following the end of her flying career, she was given a fellowship in the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation. She worked as a secretary and presenter there from 1980 to 1986, and from 1986 to 1988 she was an editor in the publishing house Gyldendal Norsk Forlag. She then held various consultant jobs.[6] She was information director in Norsk forbund for fjernundervisning for some time,[7] and around 2000 she worked with public information for Oslo Nye Teater and Riksteatret.[1] She was also involved in Foreningen det nasjonale flymuseum, opposing the establishment of the Norwegian Aviation Museum in Bodø.[8] In 2006 she took a master's degree in history at the University of Tromsø.[9]

In the 1970s she was involved in a legal case which gathered media attention. She filed a police complaint on the "less corteous" behavior of a cab driver in October 1970, and the cab driver was given a NOK 200 fine as well as loss of his cab licence. This decision was upheld by Oslo City Court in 1971.[10] Verdens Gang's news coverage spawned a series of letters to the editor.[11] The cab driver appealed to the Appeals Selection Committee of the Supreme Court of Norway, and the case was accepted for trial in the court of appeal.[12] In September 1971 it surfaced that the prosecuting authority dropped the case, leading to a withdrawal of the City Court indictment.[13]

Awards and legacy

Her first uniform is displayed in the National Air & Space Museum in Washington, DC.[1] She was awarded the Harmon Aviatrix Trophy in 1969[3] and the FAI Paul Tissandiers Diploma in Paris in 2005, on the 100 year anniversary of the aviation organization.[4] Some forty years after her pioneering work, there is still a lack of female pilots in Norway.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Larsstuvold, Ulf. "Turi Widerøe". in Helle, Knut (in Norwegian). Norsk biografisk leksikon. Oslo: Kunnskapsforlaget. Retrieved 4 October 2009.  
  2. ^ Larsstuvold, Ulf. "Viggo Widerøe". in Helle, Knut (in Norwegian). Norsk biografisk leksikon. Oslo: Kunnskapsforlaget. Retrieved 4 October 2009.  
  3. ^ a b "Jubilanter" (in Norwegian). Aftenposten. 23 November 2007.  
  4. ^ a b c "Turi Widerøe hedret av FAI" (in Norwegian). Norsk Aero Klubb. 18 October 2005. Retrieved 4 October 2009.  
  5. ^ a b Giving, Trine Rom (27 May 2007). "Flyselskapene er kjønnsverstinger" (in Norwegian). E24 Næringsliv. Retrieved 4 October 2009.  
  6. ^ Henriksen, Petter, ed (2007). "Turi Widerøe" (in Norwegian). Store norske leksikon. Oslo: Kunnskapsforlaget. Retrieved 4 October 2009.  
  7. ^ Larsen, Rolf L. (13 April 1989). "Satellitt til undervisning" (in Norwegian). Aftenposten: p. 3.  
  8. ^ Pedersen, Kjell (5 October 1992). "Bergenser leder flymuseumsforening" (in Norwegian). Bergens Tidende: p. 39.  
  9. ^ "Det samfunnsvitenskapelige fakultetet (SV-fakultetet)" (in Norwegian). Bladet Tromsø. 23 January 2007.  
  10. ^ Mathiesen, Jan Schjelderup (8 February 1971). "Sjåføren mister alt" (in Norwegian). Verdens Gang: p. 9.  
  11. ^ Moen, Jørgen Fr. (26 February 1971). "Turi Widerøe – drosjesaken" (in Norwegian). Verdens Gang: p. 30.  
  12. ^ "Drosjesjåføren og Turi Widerøe: Saken for lagmannsrett" (in Norwegian). Verdens Gang: p. 10. 20 April 1971.  
  13. ^ "Tiltalen er trukket tilbake" (in Norwegian). Verdens Gang: p. 7. 2 September 1971.  


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