Retired Air Canada pilot Captain Judy Cameron has been named to the Order of Canada by the Right Honourable Mary Simon, Governor General of Canada.
The Order of Canada is one of the country’s highest civilian honours. Its Companions, Officers and Members take to heart the motto of the Order: Desiderantes meliorem patriam (“They desire a better country”).
Cameron became the first female pilot hired by Air Canada in April 1978 at 23. She was the first woman to graduate from Selkirk College’s Aviation Technology Program in 1975. Throughout her flying career of 40 years and more than 23,000 hours, she has flown the DC-3, Twin Otter, Hawker Siddeley 748, DC-9, Lockheed 1011, Airbus 320, Boeing 767 and Boeing 777 to the far corners of the world.
She became a captain in 1997, and 2010 became the first female captain in Canada of a Boeing 777, the largest aircraft in Air Canada’s fleet.
She retired in 2015, received the Elsie MacGill Northern Lights award in the Flight Operations category that year, and in 2016 was chosen by the 99s (International Organization of Women Pilots) to be on its Canadian postage stamp.
Today, Captain Cameron continues her volunteer work mentoring and supporting the next generation of female pilots with the Northern Lights Aero Foundation.
In 2019, Air Canada launched the Captain Judy Cameron Scholarship in her honour to help the next generation of women follow in her trailblazing footsteps. To date, Air Canada has awarded eight scholarships to help young women pursue non-traditional professional aviation careers as commercial pilots or aircraft maintenance engineers.