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Meet Miss Ruth Parsons, lady bush pilot

The Story

It's 1957, and a woman earning a living as a pilot is "a rarity", as Hal Ivey tells us in his introduction to his conversation with Ruth Parsons.  She comes from a family of bush pilots, and although she is a qualified teacher, she has left that career for the one she loves: flying bush planes.  They discuss how she came to earn a living bush flying, the difference between it and other types of flying and her other interests.  Would she recommend it to other young ladies as a career?  "Yes, definitely, it's a great deal of fun".

Medium: Radio
Program: Assignment
Broadcast Date: Feb. 20, 1957
Guest(s): Ruth Parsons
Host: Bill McNeil
Interviewer: Hal Ivey
Duration: 5:46
Photo: The Sky's the Limit, by Joyce Spring.

Did You know?

• According to an interview conducted by Joyce Spring for her book The Sky's the Limit: Canadian Women Bush Pilots, Ruth Parsons married in 1958 and went on to have three children. In spite of her wish to continue flying as a career, she did go back to teaching. In 2006, the year of the book's publication, she had held a pilot's licence for 53 years. Her son carried on the family tradition as a bush and airline pilot.

• At the time of this interview, Ruth Parsons was seemingly the only woman flying commercially as a bush pilot. There are a number of women who are credited with firsts in the world of flying. They include:

• Lorna deBlicquy (1931 - 2009), who marked many milestones during a lengthy career flying, including first female civil aviation flight inspector in 1977, and the McKee Trophy, awarded in 1993.

• Rosella Bjornson, born in 1947, who was the first woman to be hired as first officer on a passenger jet when she was hired by Transair in 1973. She retired in 2004 from Air Canada, having along the way become the first woman captain of a scheduled airline in 1990.

Marion Orr (1918-1995) was the first Canadian woman to own and operate a flying club. She was one of five Canadian women to fly with the Air Transport Auxiliary in England during the Second World War, and the first Canadian woman helicopter pilot and instructor. She was inducted into the Aviation Hall of Fame in 1982.



Pioneers in the Sky: Bush Pilots of Canada more