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Rita Maiburg21. february 2011 21:47
by Alds Riemer
The German pilot Rita Maiburg (1951-1977) became the first female captain in the western, despite some difficulties. However, managers did not believe that the passengers would trust a woman in the cockpit. For this reason she was announced as "Captain Maiburg".
Photo by Eduard Marmet
Rita Maiburg was born on 23 June 1951, the oldest of four children. Alois Maiburg architect and his wife Gertrud were her parents. She attended from 1957 to 1961 the primary school in Bonn and from 1961 to 1968 she studied modern language in a high school named Hersel near Bonn. As a schoolgirl, she dreamed of travel and flying.
Rita Maiburg began her pilot training in August 1967 with the acceptance into the " Segelflieger-Verein Vorgebirge e. V ", where she completed the A, B and C pilot testing. In the spring of 1969 she graduated from the pilot school Nordrhein-Westfalen in Bonn- Hangelar with her Private Pilot License (PPL). Rita Maiburg completed from June 1969 to November 1970 an apprenticeship in the maintenance services of the "Federal Agency for Air Traffic Control" in Cologne.
Photo by Jan Laporte
Between August 1971 and January 1972 Rita worked for a company in Munich as a co-pilot and office worker. She lost her job when the company sold its aircraft. She then reported to the employment office as unemployed in Brühl and stayed for two years without a job. In this difficult situation, she started with the financial support of a journalist a lawsuit against Germany and Lufthansa, which at the time did not train any female pilot.
In August 1976, the Supreme Court's decision was that the application would be rejected. When Rita Maiburg recieved the news of the verdict, she already had a job as co-pilot at DLT. DLT was flying for Lufthansa from Frankfurt to Saarbrücken and later that year many other routes. As early as the end of 1976 Rita Maiburg became the first and only female captain for an airline in the Western world.
When Captain Maiburg was flying the stewardesses where instructed to announce the outgoing message "In the name of Captain Maiburg I welcome you ...". The CEO of DLT, Christian von Kaltenborn said the concealment of the fact that that Captain Maiburg was a woman, was that he would not want her or any other staffmember to be mentioned individually.
"Germany's flying secret," as Rita Maiburg was called, had long blond hair, green eyes, was 1.73 meters tall and 62 kilograms. From March 1977 she flew her first twin-engine 30-seater turboprop aircraft of the type "Short 3 / 30" for which she made her captain rating for in England.
Despite her dream profession, Ritas longing for distant lands were hardly satisfied. As a regional airline pilot, she had little opportunity to fly to international destinations. By mid-May 1977 she had only travelled once to Italian port of Brindisi and once in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
The female aviator died in a car accident at a young age. On September 2nd 1977 she was on her way to the airport Münster-Osnabrück in her car in dense fog and went head-on with a truck. She was already in the early morning start at 6.30 clock in Greven near Münster, to fly their turboprop "Short 30-30 "to Frankfurt am Main. After her accident, the seriously injured Rita was in the intensive care unit of the hospital Greven. "I need to get out of here, there is no substitute for me," were her last words to understand. Although the doctors were fighting desperately for her life, Rita Maiburg died on 9 September 1977 aged only 26 years of a pulmonary embolism.
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