December 21, 2010
By Dan Namowitz
As a Dec. 31 deadline approached for an airport to earn recognition from the Centennial of Women Pilots as the Most Female-Pilot-Friendly Airport in the World, Oshawa, Ontario, reclaimed top honors from Renton, Wash., by giving 262 introductory flights so far this year. Renton pilots have given 184 flights. Kpong Field in Ghana has given 97 flights.
Oshawa accomplished its top-flight performance by introducing 118 girls and women to flying on Dec. 18. Two weeks earlier, Renton had established a one-day record for “most girls and women introduced to flying in one day and one location” with 173 flights, pushing its yearly total to 184. Renton still maintains the one-day record.
The year 2010 is the centennial of the year in which Raymonde de Laroche of France became the first woman to earn a pilot certificate worldwide, on March 18. The introductory-flight events are part of the worldwide Centennial of Women Pilots campaign that seeks to introduce a record number of girls and women to flying “as a salute to the women pilots of the last hundred years as well as an encouragement to girls and women everywhere to discover the joys of flying,” said a news release from the organization.
Oshawa private pilot Lesley Page organized the local event, enlisting 13 pilots and 15 volunteers from Oshawa and Buttonville (CYKZ), with support from municipal officials, airport personnel, and local media.
Page and Oshawa City Councilor Bruce Wood previewed the event on KCDO radio. ( Listen to the lively interview).
Other awards to be issued in the centennial event include Most Dedicated Woman Pilot, Most Supportive Male Pilot, and Most Unusual Introductory 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.
The board of Pennsylvania’s Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority will wait 120 days before making a final decision to close Braden Airport, citing community concerns.
The GACE Flying Club, which grew from a club for Grumman employees, prides itself on offering members low-cost, safe flying and social events.