Helicopter Pilot

I am Rosemary Arnold from Downunder in Australia. I started flying in 1962
and first soloed on my 28th birthday. In 1965 I became Australia's first
woman helicopter pilot, WhirlyGirl #99 and first in the Southern Hemisphere.

I became a Commercial Pilot in 1967 but no-one would employ a married
woman with four young children, so I bought an old helicopter, painted it
with colorful flowers and employed myself. It was a four-seater Bell 47J2A
that we called the Triple Happy Helicopter. My four children were my ground
crew when we went barnstorming and I carried more than 5,000 joyriders at
Air Shows and country fairs. Maximum in one 8-hour flying day was 267
passengers, and record was 75 take-offs in one day's flying.

Recently I have written a book to salute the pioneer women pilots in
Australia. It is called "
First Females Above Australia - the first 100 years of
Australian women pilot firsts", featuring 100 short bios and photos of
women pilots from 1909-2009. I plan to distribute this book to schools, and
to motivate women of all ages with these inspiring stories.

When I was only eight years of age my hobby was to carve model airplanes
out of soft balsa-wood and then hang then from my bedroom ceiling on
threads. I had 24 flying up there like a squadron. I was made to leave school
at age 15 without completing my education but at age 70 I managed to
graduate from University with a Bachelor of Aviation Degree, which I
completed in only 18 months. One week later I was asked to become a
University Lecturer in Aviation History and four other aviation subjects. Thus
my passion for aviation history and setting the record straight, for those
who paved the way to make it easier for others.

I don't currently fly as much as I used to do, but I am still in the air, for I
became a Marriage Celebrant, and conduct airborne ceremonies in a 7-seater
helicopter above Sydney Harbor or above Melbourne in a seaplane. My
business is called
Chapel in the Sky.

In Australia there is strong prejudice against women in men's jobs, so I
faced a great deal of opposition when I went out to do a charter job, being
told "you won't do at all, you're a woman". When doing joyrides the men
would shout out "it's a woman pilot, we'll all be killed". I had to be very
strong with my positive-thinking and my belief in my ability to keep going,
and I never had any accidents in an airplane or a helicopter. My guardian
angels were busy though.

Now that people think I am old, I mostly keep to writing books about aviation
and speaking to those interested in becoming pilots. I have a new husband
who owns a Cessna 172, and he had his first helicopter ride when we got
married in a helicopter, flying above Sydney Harbor. We actually met on the
World's Longest Blind Date when we flew in his C172 across Australia and
back, taking 18 days, covering nearly 8,000 kilometres, flying for 44 hours.

One great highlight in my life was to fly in a Hughes 500 across the United
States of America, when there were two Hughes 500s which were the first
off the assembly line for commercial use in the World. We flew from Culver
City, California to a Helicopter Conference in Florida. I met so many important
helicopter people and the WhirlyGirls, who are still my friends.

Aviation is a great way to spend your life, for there is always something fresh
and new happening; you are never too old to fly if you keep a healthy
lifestyle, and the friends you make will last a lifetime. In spite of the
hardships I encountered in my early flying career I would not have changed a
thing, for it made me strong in my persistence to stay there for the
long-haul.

I believe I was meant to fly even though there was no family influence; on
the contrary, my parents disapproved as did my children's father, my then
husband. Apart from flying I have always kept a broad spectrum of interests,
which has kept me interested and interesting. Flying gives you wide horizons,
and develops a strong, reliable character.

My next book is "Hovering Matilda" about my fascinating flying experiences,
both in Australia and other countries. My public speaking career has been
constant since 1965 and I love to inspire and motivate others. I love to
share my ideas on goal-setting, time management, and positive-thinking to
audiences of all ages. I feel I am a walking-talking example of what you can
achieve, whatever your circumstances and whatever your age.

I do hope I haven't written too much, but I think you can tell that I just love
telling people about flying, so I hope it interests you?

My websites:
www.helicopterweddings.com.au
www.firstfemalesaboveaustralia.com
www.chapelinthesky.com.au
www.longestblinddate.com
Using aviation to entertain
and educate girls about
their limitless
opportunities...
Using aviation to entertain
and educate girls about
their limitless
opportunities...
Using aviation to entertain
and educate girls about
their limitless
opportunities...
TM
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Using aviation to entertain
and educate girls about
their limitless
opportunities...
Using aviation to entertain
and educate girls about
their limitless
opportunities...
Using aviation to entertain
and educate girls about
their limitless
opportunities...
TM