VIDEO: You need to know about this band of female pilots from B.C.

Oct 29, 2019

Photo: Screengrab, "Vancouver is Awesome" video

(Article by Bob Kronbauer, Vancouver Is Awesome)

In this episode of BC Was Awesome, I head to the Langley airport, then fly over Vancouver in a Cessna to bring you the story of The Flying Seven. This group of seven women not only helped change the perception of women in aviation, but in society in general.

In 1936 there were only seven female pilots in all of British Columbia. Wanting to help the war effort, they offered their services to the military, but were turned down. In fact, female pilots weren’t accepted into the military in Canada for other 40-or-so years. So this group decided to band together to let everyone know women could “do anything”, as pilot Marcia Strang (who flew with some of the Flying Seven in the 1980s) tells me.

The Flying Seven got thousands of pamphlets printed, that were effectively a fundraising effort, and dropped them all over the city of Vancouver from their planes. With the money raised they were able to buy eight training aircraft. And train people they did; Harry Pride is now over 90 years old, and he trained under Rosalie “Rolie” Moore of The Flying Seven.

Pride started flying in 1945, with Moore was his instructor. As Harry tells me, “She was a very brave woman who tried all sorts of stuff in airplanes, which a lot of men wouldn’t do” and she won a number of awards during her career. She did aerobatics, formation flying, and something called “ribbon cutting” where she would tilt her aircraft and cut a ribbon (suspended between two sticks a few feet from the ground) with the wing.

The “Dawn to Dusk Patrol” was an event that The Flying Seven are perhaps best known for. At dawn one pilot would take off, then before she landed another would take off, and so on until dusk. It was an entire day with women in the air, meant to show how safe and confident they were. As Strang tells it, they wanted to make sure everyone knew, “a woman’s place was in the sky.”

These days only 6 per cent of pilots in Canada are women, so we still have a long way to go. However there has been a lot of progress since The Flying Seven took to the skies in the 1930s.

(News Source: Glacier Media,