Eileen Vollick, Canada's First Female Pilot

scotto

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Feb 15, 2004
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#1
I first heard about Eileen Vollick from one of our history moderators (Fred) who has done some research on Canada's first female pilot who was a Beach resident. I have come across this website which explains some of the history and I will leave the rest to Fred.


"My home at that time was on the Beach, and from my bedroom window I could see the activities going at the aerodrome, the cutting down of trees, the dumping of load after load of cinders, to make the track or runway, the building of the hangars, and finally the installing of the planes. Each day as I drove my car past the aerodrome a small still voice whispered “Go ahead, brave the lion in his den and make known your proposition to him. “

Read More;
http://www.womeninaerospacehistory.com/tag/curtiss-aeroplane-and-motor-co/
 

scotto

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#3
Where was Ghent's Crossing?
I didn't notice Ghent Crossing in the article? Anyway while I recall hearing the term, I don't know where it was located. On a map from 1875, a large section of land on the opposite side of the harbor is owned by John Ghent, would this have something to do with Ghent Crossing.


 
Dec 1, 2004
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#4
That makes sense because in the article from the link, the following sentence appeared and if she could see the airfield from her bedroom window, then it had to be very close.

Early in March, 1927, Jack V. Elliot, pioneer of commercial aviation in Canada, opened his school and clubhouse at a place called Ghent's Crossing, overlooking Hamilton Bay.
 

scotto

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#5
That makes sense because in the article from the link, the following sentence appeared and if she could see the airfield from her bedroom window, then it had to be very close.

Early in March, 1927, Jack V. Elliot, pioneer of commercial aviation in Canada, opened his school and clubhouse at a place called Ghent’s Crossing, overlooking Hamilton Bay.
So it was in there, I didn't want to post any of Fred's research but correct, she lived at 80 Beach Blvd which was (it's not there anymore) directly across from Ghent's land shown on the map.
 

scotto

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#6
Unacquainted with fear
How Eileen Vollick became the first Canadian woman to earn a pilot's licence.
Written by Marilyn Dickson
— May 17, 2018


After completing high school, Eileen Vollick became a textile analyst and assistant designer with the Hamilton Cotton Company. In 1927, from her home at Van Wagner’s Beach just outside Hamilton, a fascinated Eileen watched the building of Jack Elliott’s Air Service aerodrome at Ghent’s Crossing, the first flying school in Canada where civilians could learn to fly. “From my window I could see the activities going on at the aerodrome, of making the runway, the building of hangars, and finally the installing of planes.”
Observing the Curtiss JN-4 biplane’s early flights from her apartment window, Eileen became obsessed with a desire to fly, even though the option wasn’t open to her.

Vollick believed that “a flyer must never make acquaintance with ‘fear’ if he or she wants to become a successful pilot.” Soon after her first few flights, she demonstrated her bravery with a feat that few other pilots would be prepared to repeat.
“As proof that my sense of fear is small, I took the parachute jump from the wing of the plane into the waters of Hamilton Bay, from an altitude of 2,800 feet [850 metres]. It takes a great deal of confidence to walk the wing of an airplane and jump into space, especially when the controls are in the hands of a strange pilot. But I felt no fear.”
In a later interview, Eileen’s sister Audrey recalled that as she and their mother were watching the parachute jump they realized that the boat that was supposed to pick up Vollick was not in position. Vollick released her parachute and then swam a considerable distance before the boat retrieved her. Audrey also remembered that Jack Elliott was not pleased to have lost a parachute.

Newspaper reports of Vollick’s jump, and of her ambition to be the first woman pilot in the country and to fly across Canada, prompted some interesting letters. A Vancouver woman sought advice on behalf of her son who wanted to fly. A young Sudbury woman naively asked if Elliott’s school paid Vollick a salary while she was learning to fly.

Whole article;
http://www.canadashistory.ca/explore/women/unacquainted-with-fear

Credit Pamela McLaughlin
 

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