February 15, 2013
By Dan Namowitz
When Dianna Stanger held up a trophy as a member of the “Racing Aces” flight team that won the 2012 Air Race Classic in a Cirrus SR22, she voiced two resolves for the coming year: prepare for the 2013 race, and continue her advocacy for women’s advancement in aviation.
A key element of that advocacy, she and her 2012 teammate Victoria Holt told AOPA, was to make scholarships and education funding available to girls who otherwise might find the door to an aviation career path closed. They cited FAA data showing that only 7 percent of pilots are women, a percentage that has not budged “in nearly a century,” they said.
That may start to change as a new generation, including university student Whitney Brouwer, sets their sights on becoming aviation professionals.
On Feb. 1, the Racing Aces presented Brouwer, a senior flight science major at LeTourneau University, with a $5,000 scholarship at the school’s Abbott Aviation Center at East Texas Regional Airport in Longview, Texas.
Brouwer, of Raymond, Minn., earned her private pilot certificate in August 2010, and has logged more than 250 flight hours, said a news release on the award. She works with the university’s flight team and at a local flight service business. Brouwer also is working toward certification as an airframe and powerplant mechanic.
This year, when Calhoun County Airport-based Stanger returns to racing, it will be with a new teammate, Joyce Wilson, a veteran of three Air Race Classics, with the pair racing as the “ Xxtreme Aviatrixx” team.
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The GAO released its report “Aviation Workforce: Current and Future Availability of Airline Pilots,” and general aviation has a strong interest in its findings.
Red Bull Air Racing has returned for 2014, with Paul Bonhomme, twice a world champion of past years’ competitions, claiming a victory.
AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.