Sheila Scott was a British aviatrix who between 1965 and 1972 flew her way into aviation history with more than 100 flying records, trophies, and awards. She made three solo flights around the world and set records for her London-Cape Town and Cape Town-London flights.
In 1944, she became a trainee nurse at Haslar Naval Hospital where she tended to the wounded during World War II. In London she appeared in small roles for theater, film, and television and worked as a model. In 1960, she earned her pilot’s license, bought an old biplane from the Royal Air Force, won several races, and was awarded the de Havilland and Jean Lennox Bird trophies. To pay for her flying, she became a demonstrator for Cessna and Piper aircraft.
In 1966, Sheila first flew around the world, covering about 31,000 miles in 189 flying hours. She set world records when she flew between London and Cape Town (1967) and across the North Atlantic Ocean (1967), the South Atlantic Ocean (1969), and from equator to equator over the North Pole (1971), becoming the first woman to pilot a flight circling the world by way of the North Pole in a light aircraft. After her record polar flight, she made a third around-the-world flight, earning her 100th world-class record.
She set a new time from Darwin, Australia, to London of three and a half days, beating the previous record by one and a half days. In 1967, she set 23 world records in just one year, winning the Harmon International Aviation Trophy. In 1968, she was awarded the Order of the British Empire and the Royal Aero Club Gold Medal for her outstanding achievements in aviation.
Sheila also served as the governor of the British Section of the Ninety-Nines. She wrote I Must Fly (1968), and On Top of the World (1973; U.S. title Barefoot in the Sky, 1974). She died of lung cancer in 1988.