by Andreea Minzat, 11th A class from ''Alexandru Papiu Ilarian'' Highschool Dej, Romania
|Elena Caragiani - 1st Romanian Woman Pilot (www.google.ro )
Elena Caragiani-Stoenescu was the first woman pilot in Romania, and is my heroine because she was a very special person and also a very courageous one. She was born on 13th of Mai 1887 in Tecuci, Romania, and was the daughter of a famous doctor of that time. Elena took her license in laws in 1913 and was the first woman in Romania to have graduated the school of law. But in the same period she simply fell in love with piloting, with aviation, and was the first woman to enroll in the school of aviation. She was fascinated by aviation and was witness at the historical flight of Aurel Vaicu, a pioneer of the world's aviation. In 1912 she achieved her first flight together with captain Mircea Zolileanu.
Though she was such a skilled and intelligent woman, she had to cope with the prejudices of the time and, in spite of all her qualities, the Romanian authorities permanently refused to give her the piloting license. So she left Romania for France and there she attended the Civil School of Aviation in Mourmelon le Grand, and after taking the theoretical exam, in 1914 she was given the International Brevet of Pilot by the International Aeronautics Federation. There were about 14 women pilots in the entire world at that time and that makes me even more convinced about Elena's heroism. She was hired as a reporter at a great newspaper in France and she used the plane to get to the remote places, and considering this an act of courage for that time, the owner of the newspaper hired her as a reporter, so Elena wrote the first "plane articles" in the world's press. During the World War I she worked as a volunteer nurse for the Red Cross, because the Romanian authorities again refused to give her a plane to pilot. Between 1917-1829 she worked as a journalist in France and got missions in the USA, Mexico and Africa, and due to the hard times and the diseases of the time, she became ill and she died at 42 years old. For me and for many other girls she will remain a model of ambition, diligence, devotion and she will always be my heroine.