August 2, 2013
By Alyssa J. Miller
Clad in pink shirts, more than 300 women cheered Aug. 2 at EAA AirVenture as they learned that they—members of Women in Aviation, International—were being honored with the National Aviation Hall of Fame’s 2013 Milton Caniff “Spirit of Flight” Award.
The Women Air Force Service Pilots are working toward a new honor—a float in California’s famous 2014 Tournament of Roses Parade. The group has been approved to have a float in the parade.
WAI President Dr. Peggy Chabrian announced at the WAI Connect Breakfast Aug. 2 that even with the approval, the WASPs need help to make it possible. The group is raising money to have a float built, and have only a few weeks left to raise about $100,000 to guarantee their spot in the parade, she explained. Chabrian encouraged donations to help honor these early women of aviation.
“We’re pleased to honor such a great organization,” said Ron Kaplan, National Aviation Hall of Fame Enshrinement Director. “Congratulations to all of you because it is a group award.”
The award will be bestowed in Orlando, Fla., during the group’s annual convention and twenty-fifth anniversary celebration in March 2014.
The organization’s anniversary events will kick off Oct. 4 and 5 in Prescott, Ariz., the location of its first conference. WAI members can fly in and park on the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University ramp and participate in a two-day conference that includes a private airshow for members and ERAU students and alumni. Former FAA Deputy Administrator Barbara Barrett is scheduled to speak Oct. 5.
“The Embry-Riddle Prescott campus will always be an important part of WAI’s history,” WAI President Dr. Peggy Chabrian said in a press release. “It doesn’t seem like it’s been 25 years since that first conference, but the tremendous growth of the conference and the organization continue to amaze and inspire us.”
As of Aug. 2, WAI had grown to 79 chapters worldwide and was striving to reach 80. Chapters from Zambia and Dubai are expected to form soon, the group said.
Women in Aviation International,
Red Bull Air Racing has returned for 2014, with Paul Bonhomme, twice a world champion of past years’ competitions, claiming a victory.
A documentary film tells the story of the “first to fly and the first to die for the United States in the Great War.”
AOPA President Mark Baker flew four women and girls on two flights March 4 as part of Women of Aviation Worldwide Week activities designed to introduce more women and girls to aviation.
AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.