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Ruth Reinhold  (b. 1902, d. 1985)
Ruth Reinhold Phoenix Airport, 1930s, hangar and tower. The Left Seat
Restaurant now sits in this location.
Ruth Reinhold, a pioneer female aviator, learned to fly at Phoenix's Sky Harbor International Airport in 1933 at the old north terminal (where the Left Seat Restaurant is now located). After obtaining her commercial and private pilot's licenses, she co-owned Associated Aircraft Service, flew charter flights around the U.S. and taught flying classes for 35 years. Her students included World War II Civilian Training Program pilots, Barry Goldwater and members of his family. She was Goldwater's personal pilot for 20 years.

Region: Phoenix and Central Arizona
Theme: Women at Work

Born in Boston, Ruth Reinhold studied fine arts at Boston University and the University of California, Los Angeles. After moving to Phoenix in 1933, she began flying lessons at Phoenix's brand new airport, Sky Harbor. While pursuing her pilot's license, she worked for Copperclad Airlines which allowed her a discount on the training. She also performed bookkeeping assignments and assisted with the maintenance of the planes. Once she obtained a commercial and a private pilot's license, she began her flying career full time. She later wrote in her book, Sky Pioneering, "It was believed then that most women would not endure the rough language used by male pilots while teaching novices, and that a lady instructor would attract the patronage of more females."

Prior to World War II she co-owned Associated Aircraft Service which demonstrated and sold aircraft, and she flew charter flights around the country. During the war she trained pilots to fly four-engine bomber planes in the Civilian Training Program. Ruth spent 35 years teaching students to fly, including Barry Goldwater and other members of his family. She was Goldwater's personal pilot for 20 years, and flew him during his 1958, 1968 and 1972 U.S. Senate campaigns, as well as his 1964 presidential campaign. She also held positions on the Phoenix Aviation Advisory Board, the Arizona Department of Transportation board, and the Arizona Department of Aeronautics Board. The OX-5 Club awarded her the Amelia Earhart Pioneering Achievement Award for 35 years of dedication to aviation. She wrote a book that told the history of aviation in Arizona, called Sky Pioneering, and became a member of the Arizona Women's Hall of Fame and the Arizona Aviation Hall of Fame.

The Left Seat Restaurant, which is located where the North Terminal once stood, is open to customers during business hours.

Photo Credits:
Ruth Reinhold - Courtesy of the Arizona Historical Foundation, ASU Libraries
Phoenix Airport, 1930s - Courtesy of Sky Harbor Airport Museum

 

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