The 2021 stamp features Hella Comat.
Most pilots have no desire to fly upside down – or climb straight up until gravity overpowers the airplane’s engine. But Hella loves to fly “on the edge”. Soon after becoming a licensed pilot, she took a course in Waterloo at the Gerry Younger School of Aerobatics. She is grateful to him for introducing her to a thrill-
ing style of flying. For our 2021 stamp Suzanne Wiltshire incorporated Hella in level, as well as vertical flight in her Pitts.
Hella, a humble, unassuming woman immediately was smitten with putting the airplane in unusual attitudes, a skill most pilots strive to avoid. She began entering aerobatic competitions, in which most contestants are men. In 1980 Hella Comat was the first Canadian woman to win a Canadian National Championship at the Sportsman level. Meanwhile she started to fly a Pitts Special, and first flew it solo on July 11, 1981. In 1982 she won the Canadian National Championship at the Intermediate level and progressed to the Advanced level in 1983, placing 2nd at the Canadian Nationals.
She took a break from competition during a thirty-year teaching career and while her son grew up. She continued flying, frequently introducing others to flight, as well as exploring the countryside with cross country trips.
A versatile woman, Hella also made her mark in her chosen career. A creative, dedicated teacher who modelled excellence in all she undertook, Hella modelled the value of good instruction in her lessons. Hella and her grade 6 students were selected to demonstrate to other Ontario teachers via TVO, how they were using computers and the internet with an interesting curriculum project. Unsurprisingly, the project focused on aviation, as the class tracked a 1997 re-enactment of Amelia Earhart’s 1937 attempted flight around the world. Hella later received the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence in Science, Technology, and Mathematics.
When Hella retired from teaching she returned to flying with a renewed passion. In 2006 she bought a Pitts Special S-1T, an aerobatic airplane and returned to competition. Since then, during her retirement from a stimulating teaching career, Hella has entered more than forty aerobatic competitions organized by Aerobatics Canada and the International Aerobatic Club. In 2010, 2011, 2012 she won first place in the US North-east and US Mid-American Regional Championships at the Intermediate level and then moved to the Advanced level in 2013 for fifteen more contests. These competitions require demanding and skillful flying.
As well, travelling to them requires a grueling solo effort. To compete, Hella first has to fly her tiny, Pitts relatively long distances to airports scattered throughout northeastern and central USA. For her, the main companionship is at her destinations with other competitors.
Not only has she spent half of her flying career doing her favourite style of flying, she shares her love of aerobatics by writing articles, through presentations for aviation enthusiasts, and in conversations with anyone who would like to know more about aerobatics. Hella is a wonderful pilot and teacher.
Please join us in celebrating Hella Comat, a modest, talented aerobatic pilot by buying and using these stamps which may be ordered using the attached order form. Orders will be mailed out after the July 11 launch.
You can order Hella and other women who played a role in our Canadian aviation history… stamp page link here
STAMP ORDER FORM
The East Canada Section, Ninety-Nines are thrilled to celebrate these remarkable women with the custom postal stamps.
All the stamps are available in four formats. With each order purchasers receive a brief bio which we encourage them to copy and send with correspondence when using the stamps.
Domestic Postage sheets of 50 can be used as regular letter postage, even after future rate increases – $85.
A booklet of 12 stamps is useful for those desiring a smaller quantity for regular letter postage – $24.
The Keepsake sheet features 25 regular sized stamps plus one large stamp – $45.
A limited number of First Day Covers are available for $7 each. They will be of particular interest to the stamp collectors among friends and family.
Sheets of 50 stamps, Keepsake sheets and First Day Covers may be ordered directly on the stamp order page with credit card or by printing the order form and mailing it, along with a cheque, to Bev Fraser, Box 56060, Fiesta Outlet, Stoney Creek, ON, L8G 5C9. An additional $4 cost will be required for mail orders.
Please note that these stamps are not available at postal outlets.