Betty Miller (pilot)

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Betty Miller (born April 6, 1926) is the first female pilot to fly solo across the Pacific Ocean, which she did in May 1963.[1] Specifically, she flew from Oakland, California, USA to Brisbane, Queensland, 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 fly solo from Oakland, California to Honolulu, Hawaii which she did in just over 17 hours.[3] She started the first leg of the epic flight on April 25th.1963 from Oakland California and took over 17 hours to reach Honolulu. On May 5th, she left Honolulu for the second leg of her flight to Canton Island, next Fiji and then New Caledonia. She landed in Brisbane, Australia, on May 13 1963, Betty climbed out of the plane wearing a cotton dress and high heels to the cheers of a large crowd. 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 Chuck) as well as an office manager.[3][2] In 1961, she became the first woman to solo fly a Hughes Model 269A helicopter, and also helped set physical standards for female astronauts that are still used today by those participating in physical tests at the Lovelace Clinic in Albuquerque, New Mexico.[2]

Betty now lives in Bountiful, Utah.

Betty Miller timeline

From Salt Lake City Tribune May 26th. 2015

1950 • Went to Wendover Airfield to work for the Civil Aeronautics Administration, precursor to the Federal Aviation Administration. She met her husband Chuck Miller there in 1951.

1952 • Qualified for a pilot's license.

1953 • Earned her trainer instructor's license.

1954 • Started Santa Monica Flyers flight and ground school in 1954 in California with her husband. She worked as an instructor, dispatcher, bookkeeper and maintenance scheduler. The business started with 23 students and graduated more than 4,000 new pilots.

1961 • Set physical standards for women astronauts in 1961 at the Lovelace Clinic in Albuquerque, N.M. She participated in physical tests that are the basis for present day testing.

1961 • First woman to solo a Hughes Model 269A helicopter.

1963 • Became first woman to fly solo across the Pacific Ocean, taking a Piper Apache plane from Oakland, Calif., to Brisbane, Australia. President John F. Kennedy presented her with the Federal Aviation Administration's Gold Medal for Exceptional Service in honor of the fight and was recognized by President Lyndon Johnson as Aviatrix of the Year with the presentation of the Harmon International Trophy.

1968 • FAA Women's Advisory Committee chairwoman.

1969 to 1976 • Worked as flight instructor for Cessna Pilot Center in Honolulu, Hawaii.

1973 • Participated in the Second World Helicopter Championships in England.