Eileen Vollick is the first Canadian woman to earn her pilot's license.
Eileen Vollick worked at the Hamilton Cotton Co. as a textile analyst and assistant designer. Both from her bedroom window and on her way to work each morning, she watched takeoffs and landings at Jack V. Elliot’s Air Service and longed for the opportunity to learn to fly.
Vollick applied for government permission to learn to fly commercially and was granted permission to take flying lessons when she turned 19. While waiting for her 19th birthday, Eileen became the first Canadian woman to parachute into water.
She walked the wings of a Curtiss JN-4 (often called a "Jenny") and parachuted 2,800 feet into Hamilton Bay, which has since been renamed Burlington Bay.
When her 19th birthday arrived, Vollick officially became a student at Jack V. Elliot's Flying School at Ghents Crossing overlooking Hamilton Bay.
Despite doubts, she was determined to earn her license. She took 6 a.m. lessons before going to work at 8:30 a.m. Pilot Leonard Tripp served as her instructor and also taught her aviation mechanics. Since Vollick weighed a mere 89 pounds and was only 5 feet 1 inch tall, she used pillows to prop herself up to see out of the cockpit of the Curtiss JN-4.
On March 13, 1928, Vollick received time off from her job at the Hamilton Cotton Co. in order to take her federal aviation test. She demonstrated her knowledge of take-offs and landings on the frozen bay. In order to pass the test, the applicant had to make four landings from 1,500 feet and land within 150 feet of a designated point on the ground.
An additional landing had to be executed with the motor off and the pilot had to land within 5,000 feet of a designated point. Other requirements of the test included performing five figure-eight turns between two designated points and completing a 175-mile cross-country trip.
Vollick successfully passed the test along with 10 other male cadets of the Elliot Flying School. Eileen Vollick was issued Private Pilot Certificate No. 77 on March 22, 1928.