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Bountiful woman made aviation history in 1963

Utah pilot celebrates the 50th anniversary of first solo flight by a woman across the Pacific.



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wharton@sltrib.com

Twitter @tribtomwharton

At a glance

Betty Miller timeline

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.

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