Marthe Niel (1878-1928) was born Marie-Ange Denieul in Paimpon, France. Her father was a laborer and her mother, a housekeeper. The young woman was interested in bicycles and automobiles before discovering aviation.
In April 1910, she begins flying lessons at aircraft manufacturer Paul Koechlin’s flight school in Mourmelon-le-Grand (Marne). Later that year, she participates in her first aviation meeting in Reims. On August 29, 1910, she receives her pilot licence becoming the second woman in the world to do so.
In 1911, Koechlin ceases operations. This event appears to terminate Niel’s aviation career.