Dini Petty forged her mother’s signature on a permission form for skydiving lessons when she was 17. By age 22, Dini Petty was flying above Toronto, Canada as the first female traffic helicopter pilot who was also giving traffic reports while flying.
Dini was tapped on the shoulder in a Toronto restaurant to fill a flying reporter role as part of the competition between Toronto radio stations at the time. Not only was she to report on the traffic but Dini was to be trained as a pilot and to do the job solo. Most of the other stations were using a 2 person crew – pilot and reporter.
Dini clocked up 5000 hours in a pink Hughes 300 in the traffic reporter role. In that time she had a number of scares which she talks about in the interview.
After that much time over Toronto reporting on what would sometime be the same traffic build ups every day Dini made the career jump to a television news anchor and then host of her own daily talk show that ran on Canadian TV for 10 years.
As a young female pilot in the 1960s Dini faced some resistance to the status quo and perceptions at the time – from being taken seriously when reporting mechanical issues to regulator concerns about flying while pregnant. That she was a talented pilot and very persistent helped to change the opinions of those that she worked with.
Dini tells the story of a rescue search that she was involved in that makes for a great human factors and CRM case study when looking back at the chain of events.
Video – Dini Petty interviewing Harrison Ford
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