because the woman's place is wherever the woman is...

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Marga von Etzdorf

The daughter of a Royal Prussian military officer who left her orphaned when she was four, Marga von Etzdorf was remarkably athletic from a young age. In fact, she had mastered fencing, horseback riding, and hockey before she was out of her teens. So looking for new horizons, von Etzdorf decided to learn how to fly.

Satisfying all the criteria to complete a very rigorous licensure process, including 10,000 air miles, von Etzdorf was grilled by five examiners for three hours before they agreed that she passed, despite being self-taught since women weren't allowed to train at German flight schools. Over time, she added commercial flying, gliding, and aeronautics to her bag of tricks, and won momentary salutes for making a 12-day journey over Siberia to Japan.

But when a landing with the wind in Syria went bad, the twenty-five-year-old pilot went into a quiet room at the airport and shot herself. Very high achievers sometimes find themselves unable to accept falling short of perfection. An unattainable standard can bring down even an in-your-face woman.

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