Helen Harrison-Bristol

Helen Harrison-Bristol (December 7, 1909 - April 27, 1995) was a pioneering Canadian female civil aviation instructor and the first Canadian Air Transport Auxiliary ferry pilot during Second World War. Helen Marcelle Harrison Bristol was born in Vancouver, British Columbia on December 7, 1909 and educated in England and Belgium. Whilst still a child she was sent to St Mary’s School in Calne, Wiltshire, England. During her residence in Eastbourne, she went on her first flight and decided to become a pilot. She secretly took flying lessons until she received her A licence in 1935. While visiting Singapore, she qualified for her seaplane rating. She obtained her B licence at the London Aeroplane Club in April 1936 and in October qualified for her instructor’s rating. Soon afterwards, she moved to South Africa and settled in Somerset West. She acquired additional instruction at Johannesburg, South Africa before returning to England in 1935 to qualify for a commercial pilot's license. Her total commitment to aviation was made in 1936 when she became one of the first women pilots to receive an instructor's rating in England, and promptly returned to South Africa.

Personal details

Date of birth
December 7th, 1909
Date of death
April 27th, 1995 at age of 85
Place of death


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