Grace Hall Pugh

Grace Hall Pugh
Grace Hall Pugh

Time Period


Subject Categories

Business, Education, Sports

Notable Facts

First licensed female pilot in the state of Vermont on March 13, 1938. One of the main instructors at Fli-Rite School of Aviation in Burlington, Vermont, a company she co-owned with her husband, Harold Pugh.

Personal Information

Date of Birth


Date of Death


Primary Residence




Historical Significance

Grace Hall Pugh, became interested in flying in 1931 after her stepfather, Arthur Ashley, became manager of the Burlington Airport. The next year, she took out a student permit to fly, and on March 13, 1938, she became the first licensed female pilot in Vermont. In order to get her license, issued at that time by the Department of Motor Vehicles, she completed ten hours of dual training and fifty hours of solo time. She named her own plane, "The Mouse."

While serving as office manager at the airport, she became a ground school instructor for an aviation school with bases in Burlington, Swanton, and Plattsburgh, New York. This transition to teaching flight was a natural step, for she had worked as a teacher before becoming a pilot.

In 1934, Grace Hall married Harold Pugh, who had just become the new manager of the Burlington Airport. He soon turned over a large class of aviation students to her, due to her experience and expertise in teaching. Soon after, Harold Pugh established the Fli-Rite School of Aviation, which grew greatly prior to WWII, increasing to 120 students in 1939. Pugh was one of the primary teachers in this school.

After Grace Pugh died in 1996, photographer Shirley Chevalier named her aerial photography company "Fli-Rite" in honor of the successful business that Grace and Harold Pugh ran in the early 20th century.


  • Pilot
  • Teacher
  • Office manager
  • Ground School instructor
  • Co-owner of Fli-Rite

Additional Information (Bibliography)

  • Aviation Firsts Link

  • "Grace Pugh, first woman in Vermont to earn a private pilot's license"

  • "Vermont's First Woman Pilot"

  • Vermont in the Air

  • "Not Afraid to Fly"

  • The Vermont Book of Days Link