Canadian Aviatrix #47 – Joan Bonisteel (1918-1972)

Joan Phyllis Christine Bonisteel was born on 19 August 1918 in London, England to Ernest Dickens Bonisteel (inventor of the Bonisteel monoplane) and Elsie Annie Williams.

During the first world war, Ernest was an officer with the RAF, serving in the aerial defences of London. In 1917, he went on sick leave, travelled back to Toronto to surprise his fiancée, and they got married. The couple headed back to England, where Joan was born. A month before the war ended, Elsie and Joan travelled back to Canada.

1921 census

1931 census

Toronto ON

Aurora ON











Joan was apparently a tomboy and interested in hockey, soccer and football.

On 3 January 1936, Joan passed her flying test and received her PPL, making her the 47th female pilot in Canada. She was 17 years old.

Canadian Aviatrix #47 – Joan Bonisteel (1918-1972) 

Photo: Aurora Banner (November 29, 1935)

On 5 November 1945, Joan married Alexander Beaton Campbell.

Joan died in 1972, aged 53.

The First 100 Canadian Women Pilots


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