Monday, February 11, 2013

Getting more women and girls into the air!

If you've been following any of my posts or newsletters lately, you would have noticed that I am strongly encouraging people to get involved in Women of Aviation Worldwide Week from Mar 4-10, 2013. This is a concentrated effort to get more girls and women into small aircraft and up for what may be their only flight of their lives. But it may also be the start to increasing the number of women in the aviation field, by encouraging the participants to pursue the dream of flight.

I'm not sure, but I believe that a vast majority of people think this is a good idea, no? It's inspiring for both the volunteers involved and the recipients of all of the attention. It's awesome overall for the future of aviation and aerospace, but still there is not an overwhelming response to the request for events. Don't get me wrong, there ARE events, and they are impressive.

First of all, it is not about having a week long event - only about concentrating the activities during this week to try to build a synergistic energy to promote women in aviation. Secondly, it doesn't have to be a huge airshow/rally/extravaganza. Anything you can do to help promote their mission (which is obviously compatible with the Girls With Wings mission) would be beneficial.

In fact, I was having a conversation with Natalie, one of our GWW Spring 2012 Scholarship winners, who was also a recipient of the Sennheiser Live Your Dream Scholarship more recently, about her upcoming WOAW event in Ohio.

One of the things she stressed was how she was keeping it simple, rallying the support of friends and the facilities on the airport where she did her flight training. Instead of making a big fundraising effort, she has asked the participants for $30 for a ride, but providing many other activities for free.

She says, "Aviation is truly in my heart since I saw that Cessna fly over my head at three. I was hooked! Now, I want to inspire the young future Lady Aviators within my community through this event with Woman of Aviation Week. These girls never would have had this opportunity to tour their local airport, Flight School hangar or be photographed sitting in our rental Cessna C172 G1000. These young ladies ages elementary to high school  will have a chance to fly for the first time. Many it will be their first flight ever, including any commercial flights. It is all too common for woman to not realize the great career opportunities in Aviation that could open so many great doors.   We will show that on March 9th. I have a small budget, yet, many kids excited with their parents for this day to fly! it will be fabulous! Woman of Aviation Week and Girls with Wing are incredible organizations that have opened my eyes that pilots to individuals and companies helping to inspire, motivate and give a chance to pass Aviation to the next generation. Never leaving my dream behind to earn my ticket, meeting so many fabulous Lady Aviators has given me a new positive perspective and I too, want to share my passion of Aviation with others!"  

With just a little effort, you can help this movement grow as well. Please contact Victoria via the website for her event: Women Fly it Forward.

And I've received information about another event from an organization who has decided to hold several events in June:

"Right now the 99’s, Liberty University, and the DOAV are planning three Women Can Fly events.  Women Can Fly is a newly created volunteer organization whose mission is to promote women of all ages to fly. We are pilots and aviation enthusiasts who know the exhilaration of flight, the joy of discovering new horizons, the friendships born of shared visions, with the hope that more women will fulfill their dreams by joining us.

The number of women pilots in the United States has remained at 6 percent of the total pilot population for decades. There are a few major barriers that women face with a lack of female mentors and support systems, lack of confidence in their ability, and lack of experience to just name a few. This event is to try and change these numbers. We can offer female mentors and support, as well as some experience and the confidence they need to jumpstart their own career in aviation.

In June women from all over the state will come to receive their free airplane rides. At the Lynchburg event there will be ground lessons and Simulator Rides in Frascas and CRJ-200 Simulators. We will have Guest speakers from Airlines and Military branches. We will also be promoting women mechanics with our Aviation Maintenance School. All this is to promote women to enter the world of Aviation. 

The dates of these events are set for June 8, 2013 at Warrenton-Fauquier Airport, June 22, 2013 at Hampton Roads Executive Airport, and June 29, 2013 at Lynchburg Regional Airport. Please contact them regarding if you will be able to volunteer as a pilot, ground helper, or donate as sponsorship to the Lynchburg event! Anything would be greatly appreciated!"        

I fully support any event that gets more women and girls involved in aviation. I hope you do too!