William M. Stark

     WILLIAM M. STARK, Aero Club Certificate No. 110, soloed in February 1912 (Curtiss biplane), at the Curtiss school at North Island. Lieutenants Ellyson and Towers were observers. (That ought to answer the skeptics.) In April 1912, he purchased a Curtiss 75 h.p. plane and began a series of exhibition and passenger flights in the vicinities of Vancouver, Victoria and Armstrong, Brithish Columbia. He took up, in April 1912, Jimmie Hewitt, sporting editor of the Vancouver Daily Province-- the first passenger flight ever made in British Columbia. The same day he took up Mrs. Stark who appears to have been the first woman in that part of the world, if not in all Canada, to take to the air. After an accident the same year he flew but little until 1914 when he converted his machine into a seaplane. During the war, he formed the first aero club in British Columbia and used his machine for club training purposes. Several students were turned out, some of them whom later made names for themselves as war pilots.

courtesy of Steve Remington - CollectAir

Mrs. William Stark
via email from Lynne Waller, 11-03-07
Courtesy of Lynda Maeve Orr:
     Thanks for your note about Lily Irvine Martin. I have not been able to find any record of her name in the reference files we keep on aviation history.
     I found a mention of Mrs. William M. Stark as the first woman to fly in BC. Her husband was an early pilot. She flew his plane in April of 1912 as part of his exhibition flying but it is not stated where this took place - only that it was around Vancouver and other BC points. This information was in an article by Jack Stepler entitled "Vancouver's Air History." It was published in "60 Years! : Official Souvenir Vancouver's Diamond Jubilee" compiled by British Columbia Digest in 1946.
     If we find anything about Lily Irvine Martin, I'll let your know. Good luck with your search.
Lynne Waller, Archivist
City of Richmond Archives

William M. Stark died in 1942
From The Early Birds of Aviation
Roster of Members
January 1, 1993

Editor's Note:
If you have any information on this Early Bird,
please contact me.
E-mail to Ralph Cooper

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