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- Date of production 1940–1946
- Place of creation Great Britain
- Dimensions height: 11.4 cm, width: 8.7 cm
- ID no. MLP/Wojtulanis-Karpińska/1/DOK/12
- Availability on exposure
- Object copyright Polish Aviation Museum
- Digital images copyright public domain
- Digitalisation RDW MIC, Małopolska's Virtual Museums project
Stefania Wojtulanis-Karpińska “Barbara” was actively involved in all types of aviation sports, starting with her participation — as a navigator — in the National Balloon Competition in 1936. In 1938, she participated — also as a navigator — in the 8th National Air Competition; in May 1939, Stefania competed in the Ninth National Balloon Championships as a balloon pilot.more
Stefania Wojtulanis-Karpińska “Barbara” was actively involved in all types of aviation sports, starting with her participation — as a navigator — in the National Balloon Competition in 1936. In 1938, she participated — also as a navigator — in the 8th National Air Competition; in May 1939, Stefania competed in the Ninth National Balloon Championships as a balloon pilot. In the same year in June, she completed an aerobatics course on RWD-10 and RWD-17 aircraft and later, in July, she presented her skills at the 10th Sea Rally. Before the war, she had spent a total of 192 hours and 28 minutes in the air, in piloting school and RWD sport planes, balloons, gliders, and a motor-glider, Bąk.
After the outbreak of World War II, she volunteered to conduct operational flights in the Staff Squadron of the Supreme Commander of Aviation, performing liaison tasks. Following the Soviet invasion of 17 September 1939, she escaped to Romania. Until December 1939, she served as a courier, helping in escapes, delivering money and documents to interned Polish airmen fleeing to France. Then, she made her way to France, where she was promoted to second lieutenant. After the downfall of France, she escaped to Great Britain.
From 1 January 1941 — at her own request — she was appointed to the British Airline Transport Service ATA (Air Transport Auxiliary), which dealt with the delivery of aircraft from plants to airports of individual units. She was the first foreigner there (along with Anna Leska). The service required piloting skills with various types of aircraft — including twin-engine bombers — such as the Vickers Wellington. As the first Pole, she flew 1,000 hours in combat aircraft. During the war, she was promoted to the rank of lieutenant pilot. After the war, in November 1947, Stefania Wojtulanis-Karpińska was demobilized. In 1958, together with her husband, she settled in Los Angeles. She was actively involved in social activities there; she participated in the life of Polonia and veterans organizations. She was the head of the Polish Pilots Association — “Wings of the Pacific’ — in California and was a member of other organizations. She supported the Polish museum and cultural-educational institutions. Her flight books (log books) are a small part of the collection of artefacts associated with one of the greatest Polish pilots. These books contain information about all flights that she made during World War II. She spent over 3,000 hours in the air at the time, serving as one of three Polish women in the British ATA. These books constitute a unique type of document at the Museum of Polish Aviation, with an enormous cognitive and historical value.
Elaborated by Polish Aviation Museum, © all rights reserved
See the photo album of Stefania Wojtulanis-Karpińska in the collection of the Polish Aviation Museum in Krakow