Jean Kaye Tinsley
March 24, 1927 – April 25, 2017

Jean Kaye Tinsley passed away on Tuesday, April 25, 2017. She was a major influence to many women in the field of aviation. Jean was born in San Francisco and graduated from Lowell High school. She earned an A.B. at the Language University of Santa Barbara and a M.A. in Philology.

Jean was a pioneer woman in the field of aviation achieving many firsts for her Gender. She was a private pilot owning her own aircraft. She was Whirly Girl #118; when female helicopter pilots were few. She was the first female in the world to earn a rating in constant speed prop gyroplane and also was the first female in the world to fly the XV-15 tiltrotor aircraft. She also spent many decades as a judge, overseeing Helicopter competitions around the world. Jean was an active member of many aviation organizations, and sitting on the boards of Whirly Girls, Helicopter Club of America and the 99’s.

Jean married Dr. Clarence Tinsley, now deceased. Three children preceded her in death. Survived by 3 children: Margaret Mulchay, William Tinsley (Joy) & Martha Minot; 12 grandchildren; 8 great- grandchildren; and 1 great-great-grandchild.

There will be no funeral services as per Jean’s wishes. A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please donate in Jean’s memory to The Whirly Girls Scholarship or the Bay City Chapter of the 99’s.

See more at: sfgate obituary

Almanac article (2005)

National Aeronautic Association Award (1996)