Rosella Bjornson,Canada’s First Female Commercial Airline Pilot stamped Into History

Rosella Bjornson,Canada’s First Female Commercial Airline Pilot stamped Into History

Canada’s First Female commercial Airline Pilot was recognized recently with a commemorative stamp featuring her image.

who grew up on a farm between Champion and Carmangay and graduated from County Central High School, was presented  with the stamp, which includes a picture of her when she first started Flying Commercially in 1973 and another when she became a captain in 1990.

In an interview with the Advocate, she modestly said she didn’t feel different about being recognized on the stamp, but added she was very honoured.

An International Organization of women Pilots called the Ninety Nines designed the stamps, which were made possible through Canada Post’s Picture Postage program.

The event was held at the Lethbridge Airport’s Air West Flight School on her birthday, and marked the 50th anniversary of her First Official Flying lesson at the flying club in Lethbridge.

When her parents bought her the flying lesson for her 17th birthday in 1964, Bjornson said she was thrilled.It was exactly what she wanted.
Her father, Ken Bjornson, was a flying farmer who took to the skies recreationally.
Dad flew us everywhere, said Bjornson’s sister Grace Klitmoller, who lives in Champion.
As Ken was a flying farmer, he would often bring his family to events, including conventions in the U.S.
We got to do things most girls don’t get to do, said Klitmoller, adding having a Flying Farmer for a father was interesting.

It was through Bjornson’s experiences with him that she picked up her passion for Aviation.
In 1973, she was hired as a First Officer with Transair, Canada’s fourth largest airline at the time, making her the first woman in Canada to hold that position.

She continued to pursue her career and was promoted in 1990 to the position of captain, again making her the first woman in Canada to hold that role.
Getting up in the sky and looking back down on the earth at the landscapes, as well as the inherent feeling of freedom that comes with soaring up high, are what she enjoys most about flying.
It has become easier for female pilots to take to the skies since Bjornson became the first in Canada to do so commercially, but it remains a challenge that requires determination, she said.
Although there remains a minority of female pilots flying commercially, the barriers also apply to young men, said Bjornson.It’s a lot of hard work.
It’s like getting a university education  it takes a lot of effort and self motivation.
The field is also highly competitive and expensive to get into. 

Although retired from commercial flying since Sept. 2004, Bjornson, who now lives near Sherwood Park just outside Edmonton, still enjoys taking to the skies with her Cessna the same one her father had on the family farm.

It still flies well. Airplanes don’t wear out so long as they are properly maintained over time, said Bjornson.

She also works with Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame, which has an office at the Reynolds Alberta Museum in Wetaskiwin.
Although she couldn’t make it out this year, Bjornson still tries to fly to Vulcan for the annual Fly In Breakfast when she can.

Rosella Bjornson graduated from County Central High School,
A picture of her first  flying in 1973,
Rosella Bjornson became a captain in 1990,
Rosella Bjornson Reveal Image Through Canada Post’s Picture Postage program,
An International Organization of women Pilots,
Transair Canada’s fourth largest airline at the time,
Rosella Bjornson,Canada’s first female commercial Airline Pilot,

Mohini Porwal [ B Sc] Trainee News Editor
Trainee News Editor