• Bettina Kadner, the first woman captain in Spain

When we think of pioneering women in aviation history, names like Amelia Earhart or Sally Ride often come to mind. However, there are many other women who have left their mark on the industry, breaking barriers and defying gender stereotypes.

In Spain, one of those women is Bettina Kadner, the first to reach the rank of commander in Spanish commercial aviation.

In this post, we will explore her life, her achievements and the legacy she has left for future generations. Will you join us?

Her first steps in aviation

Bettina Kadner was born in Germany in 1947 and moved to Spain when she was still a child.

Her mother worked with airport signalling machines, which brought her into contact with aviation from an early age. Thus, when she was 12 years old and accompanied her mother to Getafe airport to supervise one of the machines, her vocation began to take shape.

And although her interest in aviation began in her teens, it was not until university that her passion for the world of aircraft was really born.

Bettina Kadner’s pioneering struggle

After obtaining her degree in Aeronautics, Bettina decided to continue her training and become a commercial pilot, passing through Cuatro Vientos (Madrid) and Alcantarilla (Murcia) aerodromes. She took her commercial pilot exam at the now defunct ENA, Escuela Nacional de Aeronáutica.

After successfully completing her studies and receiving her pilot’s licence, one of Bettina’s greatest difficulties came in 1969, when she had to fight against the legislation of the time, which prevented women from becoming commercial pilots.

Of course, she did not give up. So, a year later, she started work as First Officer on Spantax’s Fokker 27; and in 1972, at the age of 25, she became the first female Commander in Spain and the second in Europe.

Bettina’s professional career

For 15 years, Bettina Kadner was the only female commander in Spain.

In 1987, she start to work for Iberia, being first officer of DC-9, Airbus 300 and Boeing 757. Later, she would become Commander of Airbus A319, A320 and A321, until her retirement in 2006.

This promotion was a historic achievement and a major step towards gender equality in a male-dominated industry. Bettina became a role model for many female airline pilots, proving that gender should not be an obstacle to achieve their career goals and dreams.

In addition, Bettina discovered her passion for teaching, which led her to work at the former Iberia School for new pilots.

On an institutional level, in 1995, Bettina Kadner became a member of the Spanish Pilots Association, AEP; and, years later, she was the driving force behind the creation of the Civil Aviation Pilots Association, COPAC.

Bettina Kadner today

Throughout her career, Kadner has also worked as a mentor for young pilots and has participated in numerous conferences and events.

Today, Bettina is still involved in the dissemination of civil aviation in our country, especially in the search for equal opportunities in the cockpit.

Bettina Kadner has undoubtedly left a lasting legacy as the first female commander in Spain, opening doors and paving the way for future generations of women in aviation. Her passion, skills and dedication have broken barriers and defied stereotypes, proving that talent and determination can overcome any obstacle.

If you want to know more stories about famous aviators we recommend you keep browsing our aviation blog.

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