Copyright © 1998-2024 Dawn E. Monroe. All rights reserved 

 ISBN: 0-9736246-0-4

Rosella Marie Bjornson

Born July 13, 1947, Lethbridge, Alberta. As a child Rosella dreamed of being a pilot. At 17 she took her first lesson and completed her Private Pilot's License in just two months! She accumulated flying hours while she did her studies at the University of Calgary and established the first group of Girl Guide Air Rangers in Calgary.  In 1973 she was hired as a First Officer with the Canadian Airlines Transair. She was the first woman to be hired as a First officer in North America on scheduled jet equipment and the first woman to be hired by major Canadian airline. She was also the first woman to be a member of the Canadian Air Line Pilots Association. During her second pregnancy in 1984 regulations were changed to allow a pilot who is pregnant to fly. In 1990 she became the first woman to be promoted to Captain with a major Canadian air carrier. Throughout her career, she has made valuable and ongoing contributions to Canadian youth by participating in school career day. In 1990 she was featured in a poster campaign by the Alberta Government, "Dream/Dare/Do", to encourage young people to set goals and strive to achieve them. She is a member of the Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame.  (2020)

Judy Cameron

Born 1954, Vancouver, British Columbia. During her first year at the University of British Columbia Judy took a summer job doing pilot surveys at Vancouver airports and was treated to her first plane ride and she was hooked. She sold her motorcycle and paid for flying lessons to earn her pilot's license. She did the two year aviation program at Selkirk Aviation College, Castlegar, British Columbia, as the only woman in the class. Graduating as the first woman in 1975, there were not many jobs for pilots. Her first job was as a co-pilot  for a forest products company but when the company found that they had hired a woman they had her do ground jobs only, no flying. She then worked for a few months at AirWest...on the reservation desk and a replacement co-pilot. Her third job  was a flying job at Great Slave Lake with Bayview Air Services and within months she was flying with  Gateway Aviation  at Inuvik, flying the far north and as well did loading unloading, fuelling the planes in harsh northern weather. It was here that she was also able to fly passenger planes. In 1977 she became the 1st woman pilot to be hired Air Canada, and the second woman to fly for a Canadian commercial airline, and in 1997 was promoted to Captain. In 2010 the first Canadian woman Captain of a Boeing 777. In 2015 was awarded the Elsie MacGill Northern Lights Award. May 24, 2015 she retired as 37 years with Air Canada. December 29, 2021 she was named as a Member of the Order of Canada. She joined the international society of women airline pilots which began in 1978. She is the mother of two daughters. Source: The Sky's the Limit: Canadian Women Bush Pilots by Joyce Spring., 2006. (2023)

Lorna Vivian deBlicquy    3528

née Morcombe. Born November 31, 1931, Blyth, Ontario. Died March 21, 2009, Beaverton, Ontario.  While still a teenager she wanted to learn how to fly. When the family relocated to Ottawa, she soloed at 15 years of age in a Piper J-3 Cub plane at the Atlas Aviation Flying School. and earned her private pilot's license the next year. She took up skydiving and at 16, in 1947, was the first woman in Canada to make a parachute Jump. In 1952 while earning her degree at Carleton University, Ottawa, she qualified for a commercial license and took work at Spartan Air Services as a navigation clerk. She married in 1953 to fellow student Tony Nichols and moved with him when her found a job in Northern Manitoba.  Here she would fly small singe engine planes on wheels, skis, and floats between Manitoba and the Arctic. In 1956 the couple were in Sudbury, Ontario where Lorna taught English at a high school  becoming at the time a Class 111 flight instructor working part-time at Sudbury Aviation. With the end of her marriage in 1962 she returned to Ottawa working with Bradley Air Services. The following year she married fellow pilot Dick deBlicquy and spent two years in New Zealand where she worked as a flight instructor. She went on to obtain a glider license, a helicopter license and would become Canada's first woman civil aviation flight test instructor. Back in Ottawa her daughter was born. Continuing to fly she won an Amelia Earhart Award from the Ninety-Nines, an international women's pilot organization. When not considered for a position in 1975 with Air Transit she charged the company with discrimination. . Following her complaints the Transport Canada policy was changed and in 1977 she became the first woman Civil aviation inspector in Canada.  She retired in 199 and lived in Carp, Ontario. In 1994 she was presented with the Order of Ontario and the following year she was inducted into the Order of Canada. In 1996 she became a member of the Women in Aviation International Hall of Fame. She also earned the Trans-Canada McKee Trophy and the Governor General's Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case. She was inducted in the Canadaian Aviation Hall of Fame in 2014..Source: Women Pilots of Canada, Ninety-Nines online (accessed 2021)

Gertrude de la Verne - Tanner 4236

Born May 31, 1906, Mamaroneck New York, U.S.A. Died 1996, Vancouver, British Columbia. The adventuresome Gertrude was intrigued by flying. She passed her flying test on December 4, 1928 making her the third woman in Alberta to earn a flying license. She looked into flying the mail but alas it was not considered a job for a woman. She settled for a job as aviation columnist for the Calgary Herald newspaper. July 25, 1932 she married Charles Reginald Tanner and the couple had two children.  Gertrude was active in the Girl Guides and during World War ll (1939-1945)  acted as the liaison officer between a group of trained Rangers and the community. She served on the executive of the local parent-teacher association for the local high school. In 1951 her brother and his wife were killed in a automobile accident and Gertrude took in her niece. Gertrude and her husband retired to Vancouver, British Columbia. Source: The First 100 Canadian Women Pilots by Jen Eggleston online (accessed 2023)

Elizabeth "Betsy" Flaherty

Born 1881(?) . Died October 18, 1968, Vancouver, British Columbia. She worked as a buyer for the girl’s clothing department of Spencer's department store. She flew as  a passenger on Trans-Canada Airlines' first cross-Canada flight. December. 16, 1931, when she was 50, she received her private pilot license making her the oldest female pilot in Canada. In 1936, she was the oldest charter member  of The Flying Seven Canadian Women Pilots. November 1936 the club was Canada’s first all women dawn to dusk flying patrol. They took off at 6:16 a.m. from the Vancouver airport. In 1940 the Flying Seven dropped pamphlets over Vancouver urging support for the Canadian war effort. During WWII, the club members were the first aerial woman’s training centre where they trained women in parachute packing, fabric work and other aspects of airplane care. Some of the trainees joined Boeing's Vancouver plant or the Royal Air Force's women's division. Sources: Vancouver Hall of Fame on line accessed December 2012. : Daring Lady Flyers by Joyce Spring; No Place for a Lady by Shirley Render: the British Columbia Aviation Hall of Fame on line (accessed January 2013)

Helen Marcelle Harrison-Bristol

Born December 7, 1909, Vancouver, British Columbia. Died April 27, 1995, Blane, Washington, U.S.A. Helen's early education took place in England and Belgium. After her first flight she was determined to become a pilot. She took secret flying lessons and attained her license in 1935. While visiting Singapore she gained her sea plane license. In 1936 she earned a B license in the London Flying Club, England. She studied for her instructors ranking and became one of the 1st accredited flying instructors in England. IN South Africa she taught at the Cape Town Flying Club and became a flight instructor for the Royal South African Air Force. In 1939 She received her commercial pilot's license in the U.S.A.  becoming the 1st women in the world to hold a commercial pilot's license in four countries. That same year she divorced her South African husband, Louis Botha de Waal. During World War ll, even with her qualifications and flight hours women were simply not accepted as pilots in the Air Force. By 1940 she was a test pilot and Chief Flying Instructor for Cub Aircraft Company, Hamilton, Ontario. By 1942 she was the first Canadian women ferry pilot to serve in the Air Transport Auxiliary in the United Kingdom. She flew new planes to their destination overseas and throughout England. After the was she became a demonstration pilot. For the next 30 odd years she held various flying instructor positions  retiring in 1969. In 1968 she was presented with the British Columbia Aviation Council's Air Safety Trophy in recognition of her 14,000 hours as pilot-in-command without injury to passengers or crew. In 1974 she was inducted into the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame. (2020)

Eileen Magill - Cera  4235

Born April 18, 1906, Nova Scotia. Died 1964, Lennox, Massachusetts, U.S.A. The family relocated to Winnipeg, Manitoba and Eileen earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Manitoba in May 1928. Eileen was a modern woman wearing slacks, driving a car and smoking. She also wanted to learn how to fly and went to the new Winnipeg Flying Club at the Stevenson Airport (now Winnipeg International Airport) learning on a DeHavilland Month plane which had open sides.   October 28,1928 Eileen became the first woman aviatrix became the first pilot's license granted to a Manitoba woman, and only the second woman licensed pilot in Canada. She was not allowed to fly commercially nor take passengers until she had flown at least 10 hours! For her first international flight, she took off with three male pilots for a good will flight to Minneapolis in the U S. She was forced by fog to land in a field and then walk to a highway to stop a bus to Minneapolis! The Department of Civil Aviation turned down her application for a job. She quit flying and married Rene Cera and settled in Woodbridge, Ontario. The couple had one son. Source: Eileen Magill: Manitoba's First Aviatrix by George Siamandas. online (accessed 2023)

Violet 'Vi' Milstead-Warren

Born October 17, 1919 Toronto, Ontario. Died June 27, 2014 Colborne, Ontario.  When a teen growing up she wanted to be a surgeon but she had to leave school to help in her mother's wool shop. She saved all her earnings to pay for flying lessons and while learning to fly her instructor used Vi as the subject of a film Let's Learn to Fly. Vi earned her Private pilot license and when she wool shop closed Vi began her own business to pay for commercial flying lessons. With the happening of World War ll Vi became one of four Canadian women and the longest serving pilot to work in the British Air Transport Auxiliary during World War ll delivering 47 different types of airplanes from factories to military bases. It was here that she met her future husband fellow pilot, Arnold Warren (d2000). The young couple settled in Sudbury where Vi became the 1st Canadian woman bush pilot. After a couple of years in Windsor, Ontario  and two years in Indonesia the couple returned to Canada where Vi worked as a Librarian at Orenda and the Ontario Water Commission. Vi also volunteered with the Rotary Club, Meals on Wheels and at the local public school.   In 1995 she became a member of the Bush Pilots Hall of Fame. A time for Courage, a 1996 documentary featured her exploits. In 2004 she was inducted as a member of the Order of Canada. In 2009 Canada Post issued a commemorate postage stamp in her honour. In 2012 she received the Queen Elizabeth ll Diamond Jubilee Medal. She is also the holder of the Amelia Earhart Medal, the Paul Harris Medal and the Rusty Blakey Memorial Award. In 2010 she became a member of the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame. The couple established the Vi Milstead and Arnold Warren Flight Training Scholarship fund in Colborne Ontario. (2019)

Marion Alice Orr

née Powell. Born June 25, 1918, Toronto, Ontario. Died April 4, 1995, Peterborough, Ontario. Marion was fascinated with planes and flying since as a child the family swing was her 'flying machine". Earning $10.00 a week at her job, she ate very little and saved  each week to pay for her first flying lesson April 22, 1939. January 5, 1940 she received her private pilot's license and by December 1941 she had earned her commercial license. With the help of then husband 'Deke' Orr she received her instructors rating at Trenton, Ontario, at the Royal Canadian Air Force base on September 25, 1942. The next month, October 1942 she became the 1st Canadian woman to operate a flying club when she was hired as manager and Chief Flying Instructor at the St Catherines Flying Club. During world War ll, the Royal Canadian Air Force did not consider women as pilots and Marion ended up flying for the Air Transport Auxiliary (A T A) of the British Royal Air Force. The women would fly new planes to where they were needed for the war. After the War she returned to Canada working as a flight instructor. In 1950 she became the first woman in Canada to own and operate a flying club. During her career as a flight instructor she would teach 5,000 pilots. In the 1960's she became the first Canadian woman to be a licensed helicopter pilot. She was awarded the Ninety Nine Inc Medallion in 1976 in recognition of her outstanding achievements in the field of aviation. In 1981 she was named a member of the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame.

Ruth Parsons - Moore  3842

née Parsons. Born 1933, Fort William, (now Thunder Bay), Ontario. With her brothers Keith, Bud, and hank all being involved in the aviation business, Ruth grew up with flying as a part of life. As she finished public grade school she had decided that she would be a pilot. September 8, 1951 she started flying and had her first solo flight. She would become one of the first women bush pilots in northwestern Ontario. In February 1952, while still in high school, she had her private Licence and she soon became used to landing with planes on skis. Ruth was part of the local Flying Club and remembers no other women pilots. In the early days there were no flight radios and  light signals were used from the airport tower. In the summer of 1954 she was doing sightseeing flights in Kenora for her brothers and by spring 1955 she was doing sightseeing flights in Thunder Bay. She also flew in camp supplies and workers for a damn being build at Whitedog. Having attended Normal School (teachers' college), in the winters she  taught school to earn a living until Barbara Machin, who owned outposts in the area, asked her to fly for her year round. In winter they would take the battery out of the plane to keep it warm for the next flight. In 1957 she earned her Flight Instructors Rating and she attempted to start  Flying Club. In 1958 Ruth got married to an Ontario Provincial Police officer, Larry Moore, and the couple moved to Red Lake. The couple were able to purchase an airplane for their own use and Ruth became a flight instructor. They would raise three children. Source: The Sky's the Limit: Canadian Women Bush Pilots by Joyce Spring Toronto, 2006.

Daphne H. Patterson   3527

Born 1905 Saint John, New Brunswick. Died 1982, Trenton, Ontario. Daphne earned her Bachelor Degree in sciences from McGill University, Montreal, Quebec. She was New Brunswick's first female Pilot when in 1929 she earned her private pilots licence and only the seventh in all of Canada.. She went on to become Canada's first female commercial pilot in 1929. In 1931 she was the first non-military person to land at the Trenton Air Force base in Ontario. In 1937 she was the firs woman to acquire a rating as a public transport pilot which today would be called an airline pilot. She married A. J. Shelfoon. In 1942 she was the firs woman in Canada to become a flying instructor. Even though World War 11 mean there was a dier need for instructors the Canadian military refused to accept her as a flight instructor. After her divorce and the end of the war Daphne relocated to Trenton, Ontario. Source: Shirley Render. No Place for Lady: The Story of Canadian Women Pilots 1928-1992

Moretta Fenton Beall 'Molly' Reilly 

Born  February 25, 1922 Lindsay, Ontario. Died November 24, 1980.  In 1939. Molly tried to sign up with the Royal Canadian Air Force, but they were not accepting women until 1941 when the Women’s’ Division was founded.  She was one of the 1st recruits and she worked in the photographic area to get to fly.  She finally earned her pilots license after the war and in 1953 she went to England to earn a senior commercial license. In 1959 she married John Hardisty 'Jack' Reilly (1921-2003)  and that same year, 1959, she became a full time charter pilot where she was the 1st woman in Canada be a captain and the 1st woman to fly to the Arctic professionally.  She became the 1st woman to be a corporate pilot in Canada when she was Chief Pilot for Canadian Utilities Company in 1965. .She was inducted as a member of the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame in 1994. (2017)

Ellanne Roberge

Ellanne became interested in flying September 13, 1921 when an aeroplane, “The Polar Bear” arrived in Prince Rupert. The plane was being carried by train for a special flight from northern Canada back to Mexico. Unfortunately the plane was damaged in a windstorm while in Prince Rupert and the crafty Ellanne played hooky from school and obtained a souvenir of fabric torn from the wings of the aeroplane. She was hooked on flying! Ellanne too flight training in Montreal and  started flying in 1929  earning private pilot license no. 678.In 1936 she was a charter member of the famous Flying Seven Club. In November 1936 the women were Canada’s 1st all woman dawn to dusk flying patrol. In 1940 the Flying Seven dropped pamphlets over Vancouver urging support for the Canadian war effort. During the war the women ran the 1st woman’s aerial training centre training women in parachute packing  fabric work and other aspects of airplane care. Some of the trainees joined Boeing's Vancouver plant or the Royal Air Force's women's division. Sources: Vancouver Hall of Fame on line (accessed December 2012): Daring Lady Flyers by Joyce Spring; No Place for a Lady by Shirley Render: the British Columbia Aviation Hall of Fame on line (accessed January 2013)

Dorothy Wetherald Rungeling

Born May 12, 1911, Hamilton, Ontario. Died February 17, 2018, Fonthill, Ontario. Dorothy had a love of horses and she trained and showed horses. She wrote a series of instructions for traders. As a pilot she competed in Canadian and international aviation competitions including the Canadian Governor General's Cup Air Race. She held a private pilot license, a commercial Pilot license, and a flight instructors certificate. She was a member of the world wide Ninety-Nines female pilot organization. She wo the Amelia Earhart Award for her flying. In 1964 she was elected as 1st woman councellor of Petham, Ontario. In 2003 she was inducted into the order of Canada. She wrote her last newspaper column in 2013 at the age of 101! In 2014 the Niagara Central Airport was renames Niagara Central Dorothy Rungeling Airport.

Margaret Elspeth Russell -Burnett

Born 1920? Montreal, Quebec. Died Matane, Quebec. Elspeth moved with her family when she was a child to settle in Matane, Quebec. She studied at McGill University, Montreal. She learned to fly and after 150 solo hours to her credit she was the 1st of five Canadian woman to Join the British Air Transport Auxiliary. The 'ATA Girls' as women in the ATA became known were called to fly and deliver airplanes from the factory to the air fighter pilots. Women were not allowed to become fighter pilots but they learned to fly many of the 99 different planes to the fighting male pilots. Elspeth lied about her age to join the ATA in 1943 as she was not old enough to meet the 21 year old requirement. The ATA girls flew often at low altitude in all types of weather using such ground markers as railways to gain their bearings while flying with only minimal instruments. In 1945 she married ATA pilot Gerard 'Gerry' Burnett and the couple settled in Matane, Quebec to raise their son. They founded together the Matane Air Services with Elspeth doing often more than her share of the flying. She was the the only commercials woman air pilot in Quebec during her career. The business was sold in 1965. In 2002 Elspeth was inducted posthumously into the Quebec Aviation Hall of Fame.

Alberta Margaret Rutledge

née Fane. Born April 3, 1914 Edmonton, Alberta. Died December 2, 2004. As a child she always had her eyes scanning for aeroplanes. She was a female aviation pioneer who earned her pilots license in 1933 and her commercial pilot license in 1935. She organized the women pilots as the Vancouver Seven. At first the group was not allowed to participate in air shows but these determined pioneer women were soon showing audiences their skills. While working as a dispatcher for Bridge River and Caribou Airways she was often required to co-pilot flights making her the only woman commercial pilot in British Columbia.  When World War ll broke out the women attempted to join the Air Force as pilots or instructors but were only offered positions as cooks! Instead the women used their talents to raise money for training equipment and established their own flying school. In later years Margaret moved into administration at Canadian Pacific Airways where she worked for over 20 years.   In 1956 she married Keith Rutledge. Margaret Fane Rutledge was inducted the British Columbia Aviation Hall of Fame. Source: Margaret Fane Rutledge…by Tom Hawthorn. Globe and Mail January 5, 2005.

Heather Sifton  4378

née McLean. Born April 8, 1936. Died January 23, 2015, Toronto, Ontario. Heather attended Havergal College, Toronto and then studied at the College of Art, University of Toronto. She married Michael Clifford Sifton and the couple had three children. She became the owner and operator of the Buttonville Airport, Ontario and was a role model for aviation students./ She was a member of the Ninety Nine's International Organization of Women Pilots. In 2009 she receiver the Elsie Gregory McGill Award 'The Elsie',  from Northern Lights organization. (2023)

Olive Christina Stark 4016

Born 1877. Died December 31, 1927, Vancouver, British Columbia. Olive was married to an auto racer turned pilot names William 'Billie' 'Birdman' M. Stark. She borrowed boy's breeches and sat on the wing of her husband's plane and the daring couple flew over  Minoru Park, Vancouver. This made her the first Canadian woman to go up in an aeroplane in Canada. April 24, 1912 she sat in the passenger seat of Bill's curtis bi-plane. The seat was located on the lower wing of the plane! The plane was made of bamboo and spruce wood which was covered in fabric. Olive's feet dangled over the wing of the plane and she held onto the wing wires. She had already been a passenger on a  number of flights in the U.S.A. where Billy had learned to fly at Curtis Aviation School in San Diagor, California, U.S.A. On one flight her tam flew off her head and got caught in the propeller blade causing the plane to share! After her first flight in British Columbia she often flew with her husband on a plane that actually had two seats! (2020)

Roberta 'Robbie' Taylor 4363

Born 1946?, Thunder Bay, Ontario? Died June 25, 2012, Victoria, British Columbia. Robbie's grandfather had been a piolot during the Second World War and both her parents were pilots s o it was a 'no brainer' for her to take flying herself and earn her commercial pilots license when she was 20 years old. By 1978 she and her husband had moved to British Columbia where they opened Taylor Aviation. The couple raised three children. Robbie was often a test pilot for the family business. She also trained and organized volunteer pilots, navigators, and spotters for civilian air rescue searches. She co-organized the first Canadian Women in Aviation conference and founded the Canadian Rockies Chapter of the Ninety Niner's Inc. International Organization of Women Pilots. After a disastrous accident as a air passenger she earned her Bachelor and then her Master's degree in Social Work from the University of Victoria. As an instructor at the university she was and mentor who wholeheartedly encouraged her students. Active in her home community She worked with the Victoria Hope Society which supported local efforts working on addiction, substance abuse and gambling. She was also an active supporter of a clean living environment working to assure Victoria harbour was a safe place for recreation. She was a Chatelaine magazine woman of the year and in 2011  she received the Elsie Gregory Magill Northern Lights Award for lifetime achievement. The University of Victoria faculty of Social Works awards the Roberta Taylor Scholarship. Source: Obituary 2012 online (accessed 2023; The Northern Lights Aero Foundation online (accessed 2023) 

Eileen Vollick

Born 1908, Wiarton Ontario. Died September 27, 1968, New York City, U.S.A. Fascinated by aviation from childhood this daring young woman enrolled in a Hamilton, Ontario, flying school On March 31 1928 she passed the federal aviation test and become the 1st Canadian woman to earn a private pilot's certificate. Eileen soon moved to New Your, U.S.A. to make her life but she had opened the doors of aviation to Canadian women who would embrace flying careers as licensed pilots.

Gladys Walker 4275

née  Graves. Born March 16, 1895, Elgin, New Brunswick. Died 1982. By 1921 Gladys was living in Edmonton, Alberta, as a stenographer. By 1923 she was working as an executive secretary with the Alberta government.  With this job she spent three months in Europe inspecting the restoration of battlefields in France and Belgium. She also at this time visited England and Ireland.  Back in Edmonton by 1926 and enjoyed hunts and local horse showes.  In November 1927 she was the first woman to join the Edmonton and Northern Alberta Aero club. She passed her ground school test in June 1928. September 5, 1928 she married  lawyer George A. Walker. She had her solo flight in August 1929. On September 27, 1929, she passed her flying testt becoming the seventh  woman in Canada to hold a pilot's licence. In 1930 she was busy with a new daughter and winning prizes at the dog show at the July Calgary Stampede. The following year the couple moved to Montreal. George retired in 1955 and died in 1959.  Source: The First 100 Canadian Women Pilots by Jen Eggleston online (accessed 2023)

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