The daughter of a Parisian architect, Hélène Boucher (1908 – 1934) received the nickname “Léno” which she kept throughout her life. She went on an introductory flight in July of 1930 and received her pilot licence less than two years later in June of 1932.
In July 1932, she participated in her first air rally. The next year, 1933, she participated to the Paris – Saïgon rally but did not complete due to mechanical issues. However, she became the first woman to compete in an air race with an all-women crew when she took Miss Jacob as a passenger during the Anger 12-hour race.
In 1934, she flew the speed record over 100 km (485 km/h on average) and became thus the “quickest woman of the world”. She held the altitude record with 5,200 meters and eight other world records. In June of that year, the company Renault took her temporarily under contract in order to promote their latest car model, the new Viva Grand Sport.