Born in Pyongyang’s Sangsugu Village, Korea, Kwon Ki-ok (1901 – 1988) she was inspired to learn to fly after seeing a 1917 aerobatics demonstration by American stunt pilot Art Smith.
She was jailed twice: once for participating to the movement against Japanese occupation and once for fundraising activities on behalf of the Korean Patriotic Women’s Association.
Upon her release, she exiled in China. There, she entered the Republic of China Air Force School in Yunnan in 1923. She was the only woman in the first graduating class of 1925 and became the first Korean woman to hold a pilot license.
After World War II, she returned to Korea and was instrumental in the founding of the Republic of Korea Air Force.