Betty Miller (pilot)

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Betty Miller is the first female pilot to fly solo across the Pacific Ocean, which she did in 1963.[1] Specifically, she flew from Oakland, California to Brisbane, Australia, to deliver the plane (a twin-engine Piper) to a buyer.[2][3][2][4] The flight also made her the first woman to solo from Oakland, California to Honolulu, Hawaii.[3] The total elapsed flying time for the flight over the Pacific was 51 hours, 38 minutes.[4] In recognition of her flight, she received the Federal Aviation Administration’s Gold Medal for Exceptional Service from President Kennedy, and later President Johnson presented her with the Harmon International Trophy for Aviatrix of the Year (1963).[2]

Pilot Max Conrad suggested she make the flight over the Pacific and helped design the extra gas tanks for the plane.[3][2] William Piper, who manufactured Piper airplanes, also helped her plan the trip.[2]

She had been flying since 1952 and had become the 38th woman ever rated as a helicopter pilot.[3] She was also an instructor, dispatcher, bookkeeper and maintenance scheduler at Santa Monica Flyers flight and ground school (which she co-founded with her husband) as well as an office manager.[3][2] In 1961 she became the first woman to solo a Hughes Model 269A helicopter, and also helped set physical standards for female astronauts that are still used today by participating in physical tests at the Lovelace Clinic in Albuquerque, New Mexico.[2]

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