‘Fly it forward’ challenge promotes women pilot centennial

Time is running out for 2010 intro flights

December 2, 2010

Men and women across the world are celebrating the Centennial of Licensed Women Pilots this year by giving introductory flights to girls and women. As the year draws to a close, Delta Air Lines A330 pilot Karlene Petitt is putting up $100 for a drawing to motivate pilots to take a woman flying before the end of the year.

To be eligible for the drawing, participants must take a nonpilot girl or woman flying, write up a flight report with photographs of their logbook and passenger, and e-mail the documentation to Petitt and Mireille Goyer, organizer of the Centennial of Licensed Women Pilots events.

Raymonde de Laroche became the first woman to earn a pilot certificate on March 8, 1910. Goyer launched the events in 2010 to celebrate the centennial and to encourage more women to become pilots by introducing a record number of nonpilot girls and women to flying during the year.

“All the hard earned breakthroughs would not have been possible without their strong will power and the open mindedness of those men who supported their efforts,” Goyer’s website explains. “As we, today, stand in receipt of this legacy, let's gracefully pay it forward to the next generation of women pilots. Let's introduce a record number of women to aviation.”

Participants who register their flights on the Centennial of Licensed Women Pilots website will be eligible for awards for the woman pilot who introduced the most nonpilot girls and women introduced to aviation in 2010, the most unusual introduction flight of a nonpilot girl or woman, and the “most female-pilot-friendly airport in the world in 2010”—the airport with most nonpilot girls and women introduced to aviation.

With her sights on the latter category, Petitt is organizing an event at Renton Municipal Airport in Washington state to offer free flights to nonpilot women. Goyer is encouraging pilots around the world—men as well as women—to show support for the local effort by conducting introductory flights at their home airports.