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Amelia Reid - California's First Lady of Aviation

Our founder, Amelia Reid, started what was then called Amelia Reid Aviation, in 1960. She devoted her life to the preservation and advancement of aviation. Her passion for flying sparked in 1939 after a flight in a Taylor J-2 Cub with Evelyn Sharp, Nebraska's first female pilot. As a student at Kearney State College in Nebraska, she took her first flying lessons. After finishing her Master’s degree in Mathematics at San Jose State University, holding a position as Programming Mathematician at NACA (now NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Field), Amelia pursued her aviation dreams.

Amelia Reid - early photographs

In 1939, Amelia’s father-in-law and four other pilots had opened Reid-Hillview Airport (RHV). Amelia earned her Commercial Pilot Certificate and instructor rating in 1960, and the Amelia Reid Aviation FBO was founded at RHV soon thereafter. Her first aircraft was a Taylorcraft L-2, a former military observation plane, she acquired for $350.00. This airplane, N50839 is still available for training and rental!

Over the course of 60 years, she logged over 55,000 flight hours, some of which included air show performances. She was known for her Cessna 150 Acrobat low-level routine called “Butterfly” for its graceful, slow maneuvering. Her FAA-issued Air Show waiver read, "1) Maneuver Limitation—Solo-no Limitations; 2) Altitude Limitations—Level I Surface”. Even at the age of 76, Amelia continued to fly in air shows, including one in Santa Rosa.

Amelia Reid, award winning instructor

Amelia instructed over 4,000 students in the art of stick and rudder flying and aerobatics. Among her students are legendary air show pilot Sean Tucker, and aviation writer Rod Machado. She was a dedicated mentor to her students and peers—instructing six days a week, bookkeeping at her FBO, maintaining warm relationships and guidance, and upholding the standards and practices at Reid-Hillview Airport.

FAA Certificates:
Commercial Pilot Certificate
Air Transport Pilot

FAA Ratings:
Flight and ground instructor
Gliders
Single- and multi-engine land and sea aircraft
Cessna Citation CE-500 business jet

Honors and Awards:
Flight Instructors Hall of Fame
AOPA Lawrence P. Sharples Award

Read Michael Heffner's description of a training flight with Amelia in 2000.