FILE - In this file photo dated Aug. 18, 2015, showing RAF Veteran World War II pilot Mary Ellis posing with a Spitfire at Biggin Hill Airfield, England. The Second World War pilot Ellis has died at the age of 101, is is announced Thursday July 26, 2018. Mary Ellis delivered spitfires and bombers to the front line during the war as a member of the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA), flying over 1,000 planes during the conflict before moving to the Isle of Wight to manage Sandown airport from 1950 to 1970. (Gareth Fuller/PA via AP)

Britain's RAF leads tributes to aviation pioneer Mary Ellis

July 26, 2018 - 11:00 am

LONDON (AP) — The Royal Air Force is leading tributes to Mary Ellis, an aviation pioneer and World War II-era pilot who has died at 101.

As a member of the Air Transport Auxiliary, Ellis flew Spitfires and bombers, bringing the aircraft from factories to airfields. She flew over 1,000 aircraft during the war and afterward managed Sandown airport on the Isle of Wight.

She married fellow pilot Don Ellis in 1961 and they lived near the runway until his death in 2009.

The RAF's Air Chief Marshal Stephen Hillier, tweeted "I'll always remember her proudly reminding us ... that she was older than the RAF itself! RIP Mary."

Red Arrows pilot Mike Ling tweeted that he hoped she was enjoying a sherry in the sky, wishing her "Blue skies, Ma'am."

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