August 4, 2010
By Ian J. Twombly
Hundreds of excited and eager women (and a few men) attended the annual Women in Aviation, International celebrity breakfast last week at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis. The breakfast featured music from country star Aaron Tippin, appearances from two female astronauts, and news of new scholarships and events.
The annual breakfast is part of Women in Aviation’s extensive series of events at AirVenture, including a group photo, meetings, a booth, and more. But the breakfast was the place to be for women pilots on Friday morning as almost 300 attendees gathered for the annual event.
Tippin was especially popular, signing his hit “There Ain’t Nothing Wrong with the Radio.” He also received a standing ovation for his song, “Where the Stars and Stripes and Eagle Fly,” his patriotic anthem written after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Tippin, a longtime pilot, spoke at length about his love of aviation, and his appreciation for being invited to the breakfast.
Also at the breakfast was Jessica Cox, the popular sport pilot who learned to fly despite having no arms. ( Watch her speak about earning her certificate on AOPA Live.) Cox spoke about Able Flight, the organization that provides flight training scholarships to people with disabilities.
Female astronauts Bonnie Dunbar and Peg Whitson spoke about their journey from humble beginnings to an elite sector of aerospace. Whitson is currently the head of the astronaut office and a veteran of the space station, and Dunbar flew on five space shuttle missions.
Finally, it wouldn’t be Women in Aviation without scholarships, and the group announced two more at the breakfast. One is in memory of Vicki Cruse, who died in an aerobatic flight accident last year, while the other is sponsored by Able Flight.
Pilot Skip Gibbs regularly uses his Bonanza A36 to bring medical volunteers and supplies to remote areas of Mexico. Just before sunset, Gibbs was flying to the historic city of El Fuerte in the state of Sinaloa where LIGA International Flying Doctors of Mercy has been doing good works since 1934.
Crosswinds Aviation partners with Michigan’s Howell High School and the Young Eagles to create a GA education program.
An organization dedicated to teaching new generations of endangered whooping cranes their ancestral migration route needs new aircraft.