After the death of parents, Atatürk adopted her when he visited Bursa in 1925 and gave her the surname of “Gökçen”.
Having studied at Çankaya Primary School and Istanbul Üskudar College for Girls, Sabiha Gökçen enrolled in Civil Aviation School "Türk Kusu" (Turkish Bird) of Turkish Aeronautical Association in 1935 and was awarded with High Gliding brevets in Ankara.
Gökçen was sent to Crimea, Russia along with 7 male students and completed her education of gliding.
She enrolled in Eskişehir Military Aviation School in 1936 and assumed the title of “The First Female Combat Pilot” by successfully completing her duties with fighter and bomber airplanes. In 1937, she was awarded with “9 number Jeweled Medal” of the Turkish Aeronautical Association as she is the first female pilot of the association.
Gökçen, who completed a Balkan tour with her plane as the guest of Balkan states in 1938, was appointed as the head teacher to Turkish Aeronautical Association’s Türk kuşu. She successfully continued her duty until 1955.
Sabiha Gökçen, who flew with total 22 different bomber and acrobatic airplanes throughout her life, was the owner of many awards and she also received International Aviation Federation Gold Medal in 1991.
Having been chosen as one of the 20 aviators who put their stamps on world aviation history in the Eagles Meeting held in America in 1996, Sabiha Gökçen was the first female aviator to be awarded this prize.
Sabiha Gökçen died at the age of 88 on March 22, 2001. Sabiha Gökçen is a source of inspiration for all female pilots in the world and her legend will continue to live with us.