FIRST CANADIAN CHAPTER
AVIATORS OF DISTINCTION
Margo McCutcheon’s story echoes the trials of most women pilots. As a high school graduate in the ’50s, she was offered the usual trio of career choices: nursing, teaching, secretarial work. She chose nursing because an R.N. was a ticket to aviation. She was a mother of four when her brother took her for a ride in a helicopter and she decided to make her adolescent dream come true.
“I love flying for the feeling of freedom, escapism from the real world and the need to be completely focused on something entirely different,” she says. In 1985 she teamed up with Fogle and Schiff to enter the New York to Paris Transatlantic Race. They placed first in the women’s division.
McCutcheon was also instrumental in turning the Canadian Ninety-Nines into Spies in the Sky. In 1976, they began flying pollution patrols for the Ontario Ministry of the Environment. They sweep the lakes and forests to track the source of fouled lake water and follow lonely forest roads to illegal dump sites. The low-level aerial photography they produce as evidence makes a significant contribution in the war against pollution. Today the program operates under the jurisdiction of the ministry’s investigations and Enforcement branch. It’s called Operation Skywatch.