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Flying Samaritans Founder Dead At 76

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Aileen Saunders Mellott, a co-founder of the Flying Samaritans charity and one of the top female aviators in the nation, is dead at the age of 76. Mellott died of pancreatic cancer at her Escondido home on September 25th. In 1959 and 1960, she won the Powder Puff Derby, an all-woman transcontinental air race in which she competed seven times. She was named pilot of the year by the National Pilots Association in 1961 and won the International Air Race for women in 1962. Her brother says Mellott always felt her greatest accomplishment was her work with the Flying Samaritans charity, a group of volunteers who fly to remote, impoverished areas to deliver clothing and medical care to residents. Mellott is survived by a son, a brother and two grandchildren.