July 29, 2011
By Jill W. Tallman
A sea of green could be found at AirVenture on July 29 as hundreds of women pilots converged at ConocoPhillips Plaza to participate in WomenVenture. The fourth annual gathering of women pilots at AirVenture was sponsored by Women in Aviation International.
Thursday’s clouds were long gone and sunlight and bright blue skies provided a perfect photo opportunity. Women pilots from all around the United States and throughout the world assembled a few hundred yards from the massive Boeing Dreamliner, which had landed at AirVenture just 90 minutes previously. The throngs of visitors who were queuing up to tour the 787 were an enthusiastic audience for the women pilots, who cheered and waved for the photographers poised 15 feet above the crowd in a cherry picker.
At the front of the group were several members of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP), the women who ferried military aircraft during World War II. When the group began to disperse, the WASP were mobbed by their contemporaries and graciously signed T-shirts and posed for photos.
Women in Aviation President Peggy Chabrian noted that 2011 is the 100th anniversary of the first woman in the United States to obtain a pilot certificate. Harriet Quimby earned a certificate on Aug. 1, 1911. She later became the first woman to fly across the English Channel.
AOPA Technical Editor Jill W. Tallman is an instrument-rated private pilot who owns a Piper Cherokee 140.
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