Norah O'Neill, born in Seattle, was a commercial pilot for thirty-six years, first in the Alaskan bush and then with the airlines Flying Tigers and Federal Express. She was the first woman pilot for Flying Tigers, the seventh woman airline pilot hired in the United States. She was the first woman in the world to pilot the DC-8 and to fly passengers on the B-747. She was the first woman airline pilot to land in Korea, Japan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong. Norah was one of the founders of the International Society of Woman Airline Pilots in 1978. She served as vice president of that society for two years and as historian for twenty years.
Norah gave her first career day talk to high school students in 1974. She has continued to promote careers for women in aviation as a speaker to elementary, high school and college students and at aviation conferences. She has appeared on Good Morning America and has been interviewed on radio. Articles about her have been included in six aviation books, in numerous newspapers and in magazines, including Cosmopolitan and Us. A life-size mannequin of her is displayed at the San Diego Aerospace Museum.
Norah was a contributing writer for the book Tiger Tales: An Anecdotal History of the Flying Tiger Line by LeVerne J. Moldrem; Flying M Press, 1996. A chapter of the Flying Tigress manuscript appeared in the quarterly magazine of the International Society of Women Airline Pilots.
Norah was an active member of the Society of Woman Airline Pilots, Women in Aviation, the Airline Pilots Association, the Flying Tiger Retired Pilots’ Association, Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, Planned Parenthood, and the Pacific NW Writers’ Association.
Norah was a navy brat and attended fifteen different schools before graduating from the Academy of Our Lady of Peace in San Diego. She was a finalist in the National Council of Teachers of English contest. She majored in journalism at University of California at Santa Barbara and San Diego State University. She held a BS in Professional Aeronautics from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.
Norah was the mother of a son and a daughter and lived in the Pacific Northwest. Her daughter Cameron and her son-in-law Andy are continuing to sell her book since her passing in September, 2017.