Stamp Honours First Female Airline Pilot

Rosella Bjornson, Canada's first female airline pilot, has had a stamp issued in her honour.
Rosella Bjornson, Canada’s first female airline pilot, has had a stamp issued in her honour.

The first Canadian female airline pilot has had a stamp struck in her honour.

Rosella Bjornson joined Transair as a first officer in 1973 and eventually became the first Canadian captain for Canadian in 1990.

Along the way she helped Transport Canada formulate policies to allow an easier transition for female pilots who followed.

“Of course, when i started, there were no policies in our contract that dealt with pregnancies,” she said. Since pregnancy is not an illness, she couldn’t take sick leave. She instead had to take a leave of absence. Pregnant pilots are allowed to continue to fly through their sixth month under doctor’s supervision thanks to policies Bjornson helped develop.

The Ninety-Nines commissioned the stamp through Canada Post’s Picture Postage Program.

Bjornson, now 67, retired 10 years ago as a 737 captain for Zip. She owns a Cessna 170 that she flies regularly from her farm near Edmonton.

She is now the executive director of the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame and continues to promote aviation to women.

“I want young women to realixe they have opportunities and I want to encourage them to pursue a career that will help them achieve their full potential and provide a degree of independence,” she told the Edmonton Journal. “I hope they sort of see me as and example and say ‘If she can do it, I can do it too.'”