Dawn Bartsch

Dawn, as a very young girl had only one goal in mind and that was to be a pilot. Ten months after beginning training under the watchful eye of Vancouver U-fly’s Michaud brothers, Dawn received her commercial license endorsed for night flying, instrument flying, sea planes and instructors rating, all in 10 months after her first hour of instruction.

A pilot interview with Canadian Pacific ended with an offer of a stewardess position. Each step of her flying career was met with resistance in the male dominated industry. Instructing was the only avenue open to her and even then, not without strife. Jobs were offered at half the rate paid to male pilots until she proved herself, an insurance company initially refused to insure the aircraft she would be flying, backing down only under pressure from her employer.

Flying Cessna 180’s and Beavers out of Dawson City, Yukon in the 1950’s and 60’s established her reputation as a competent “Bush Pilot” and those who flew with her became strong supporters. Serving the native village of Old Crow, above the Arctic circle in the 1950’s quickly established Dawn as their favorite pilot as they watched, to there surprise, a girl pilot arrive with their mail and groceries. For over 10 years, Dawn flew Cessna 180’s, Beaversand DC3’s, landing on winter ice strips and summer sandbars until the Old Crow airport was completed in 1972.

In 1992 flying a Cessna 421, Dawn, as pilot in command, flew the the length of Russia on her first around the world trip. That was followed in 1994 with another around the world ICAO sponsored trip from Montreal - Vietnam - Montreal. Around South America in 1996 and the 1997 World Air Games long distance race from London to Turkey in which we won a Bronze medal. The 2001 London to Sydney event, then crossing the Pacific to Hawaii and home.

One bent nose wheel in 13,000 hours is a record to be proud of. Well done.