EDITH LITCHFIELD DENNY, the daughter of Goodyear’s President logged many hours at the controls of the first three Goodyear Blimps. She held the record number of hours flown by a woman in Blimps for many years and planned to get her Lighter-than-Air Licence.
Edith lived in Canada so long, we considered her one of our own.
She met her lifelong partner, a young Purdue graduate Wallace Denny while he was on course training to fly the Goodyear Blimps in Akron, Ohio. They were married in 1930 and left their wedding reception in the “PILGRIM”. Wally Denny earned his wings in both Balloon and Lighter-than-Air. His licenses were signed by Orville Wright.
Right, Edith Denny with a C-180 CF-HOH in 1964. (photo courtesy of the Edith Denny Collection)
Edith settled down to raise a family of two girls and a boy. She postponed her plans to get her Lighter-than-Air Licence, but at every opportunity she would still fly the airships, be it hunting coyote in Arizona, sightseeing in Miami or just local flights around Ohio. After moving to Toronto in 1938, Wally got his fixed wing Private Licence. Edith still had a fear of aeroplanes, in exact opposite ratio to her faith in Blimps.
In 1949, she made a decision to learn to fly. After the first few hours of sheer terror, she became hooked on flying and finally got her Private Licence to fly fixed wing.Wally bought a float plane in 1958 so that they could fly to their cottage in Temagami and share their flying adventures together once again.
They both held their Multi-Engine Instrument ratings, Land and Sea by 1960 in their Piper Aztec CF-SKY. The Denny Magic Carpet flew them all over the Continent, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, every Province in Canada, from the North to the South, to Chile, the circumference of South America, across the Andes and all the Caribbean Islands.
Edith contributed a great deal to the 99s organization, both in Canada and the U.S. While she was a member-at-large in the early sixties, she reactivated the First Canadian Section in 1966.with 25 members.
Right, Wally and Eddy, with CF-SKY. (photo courtesy of The Edith Denny Collection)
Without her dedicated efforts, we might have remained dormant. She served as the Governor for two years. Edith held several International positions with the 99s Executive Board in 1969, 1970, 1971. Traveling extensively, she established the Columbia Orchid (South American) Chapter and Finnish Section, sponsoring members in Sweden, Kenya, Ecuador and the Philippines. Edith was a Director of COPA, a member of AOPA, NAA, Wingfoot, Lighter-than-Air Society and the Australian Airwomen’s Association.
In 1978 Edith was presented with a Commemorative Plaque from the First Canadian Chapter before leaving to retire in Litchfield, Arizona. She was sponsored in the Forest of Friendship that same year and said it was the highlight of her flying career. (Edith remained a member of First Canadian Chapter.)
The Denny’s were both members of the United Flying Octogenarians (UFOs) – the most exclusive aviation club in the world. The only requirement is that a solo flight be made on or after one’s 80th birthday. An annual meeting is held in conjunction with the AOPA Convention in the U.S.
For her 50th birthday, Wally gave Edith a course in aerobatics. She never failed to marvel at the sheer joy and challenge of flying. Her legacy to us all, was her enthusiasm and love of aviation.
The Denny’s celebrated their 70th Wedding Anniversary in October, 2000.
Edith died January 23, 2001 in her 91st year.