Born Hazel Lucile Ramos to Portuguese immigrants on November 22, 1929, near Cayucos, California, Hazel Smothers has a long history as a helicopter pilot and in general aviation.
Within the collection, she is referred to by her birth name, and by her married names. She was married to Ebert “Al” Jordan 1947 – 1966, Dick Johnson 1966 – 1973, and Robert W. Smothers 1986 – present. She received her private pilot certificate on October 19, 1961, helicopter license on January 1, 1968, and multi-engine rating on March 24, 1970. She attained her commercial pilot’s certification (#1513114) on January 31, 1977 for "Airplane, single & multi-engine, Land" and "Rotorcraft and Helicopter".
Hazel Smothers was a member of the Ninety-Nines, an international organization of women pilots, and became the 122th member of the Whirly-Girls, an international women’s helicopter pilots association upon obtaining her license. She participated with fellow pilot Wanda Ewing in the 1969 All-Woman Transcontinental Air Race (AWTAR), known popularly as the Powder Puff Derby, winning their class in a Cessna 172.
She was a founding member of the “Posse-Ettes”, a wives’ auxiliary of the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Mounted Posse and was an active member from the late 60’s through early 70’s. From 1968-1972, she assisted the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s and Coroner's offices with aerial search and rescue and body recovery missions piloting helicopters and small aircraft owned by Dick Johnson and herself. She received attention in the local and national press for piloting her pink Bell 47G helicopter, used for many of those missions.
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