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.
Flight Training Editor Ian J. Twombly joined AOPA in 2003 and is an instrument flight instructor.
A touch of history, affordable flying, unique sightseeing, a good meal, and a community of pilots: Isn’t that what general aviation is all about?
Getting the job done on the local and national levels requires long-term planning, a hands-on approach, and keeping the effort moving, said Sean Collins, AOPA’s Eastern regional manager.
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