90 years ago - the end of a gun runner?
The day after tomorrow (28 May 2023) marks the 90th anniversary of the death of German aviation pioneer Margarete "Marga" Wolff gen. von Etzdorf.
Born in Berlin in 1907 and the daughter of Prussian aristocrats, she was Lufthansa's first female co-pilot, flying on the Berlin-Breslau and Berlin-Stuttgart-Basel routes. But she became famous with her long-haul flights, beginning with the trip to Istanbul in 1930.
The flights were accompanied by emergency landings and technical problems. On the way back from a flight to the Canary Islands, Wolff’s plane was damaged in Sicily and had to be brought back to Germany by rail.
Wolff achieved her greatest fame as the first female solo pilot to Japan in 1931, although she had a serious accident in Bangkok on the return flight in 1932.
Her plan to fly solo to Australia failed with a crash landing at an airfield run by the French Mandate administration near Aleppo on 28 May 1933. There has long been much speculation about why she ended her life. It is very likely that she was involved in arms deals with the Nazis, who celebrated her as a heroine. They were in breach of the Treaty of Versailles. (ah)