outlines competitive flights in new book
By JOOP GERRITSMA, Tribune Staff
Saturday, September 13, 2003 - 09:00
- PELHAM - About 30 years after she stopped flying, Fonthill author
Dorothy Rungeling has finally written down her aviation memories.
Her new book, “The Flying Housewife,” will be launched on Oct. 16 at
the Fonthill branch of the Pelham Public Library from 10 a.m. to
Rungeling, who has published two other books in the past two years,
says many people have asked her to put her piloting memories on
paper. Hesitant at first, she finally gave in and wrote the book
She talks about learning to fly at the Welland-Port Colborne Airport
in 1949 in a rather sedate 65-hp Aeronca Champion “that didn’t go
over 100 mph.”
She instructed at the airport for several years in the mid-1950s and
after moving on to aircraft with better performance, took part in
several transcontinental races in the U.S., organized by the “99s,”
an international sorority for women-pilots.
She also participated in “five or six” international races, which
either started or finished in Welland four times, she says. There is
a photo on the back cover of her flying over the Welland Canal in
one of the races.
In both the 99s and the international races Rungeling was the first
Canadian to enter, she remembers. She won two Governor-General Cup
races in Canada twice, once for pylon racing and once for her
navigational skills. She is also the first Canadian woman to fly
solo in a helicopter.
This time there is a new angle to the book’s production. For her
first two books, “Road to Home” and “Fun to Grow Old,” Rungeling
handed the manuscript to the printer to produce the book.
This time she did all the layout work herself and produced
camera-ready pages for the printer, including scanning the about 20
photographs on her computer and dropping them into the right pages.
“It was quite an education,” she said, because the 132 pages had to
be produced to exact specifications, with the same width and depth
of text on all.
“I got mad (at the computer program) a few times” when it did not do
what she wanted it to do, she laughs. But as a teacher of computer
skills to seniors, she overcame that too.
This year Rungeling received the Order of Canada in recognition for
her outstanding achievements and service. It is Canada’s highest
honour for lifetime achievement.
For this, she will be honoured by the Town of Pelham during an open
house in the Fonthill branch of the public library on Tuesday from 2
p.m. to 4 p.m.