March 19, 2013
By Benét J. Wilson
Attendance at the twenty-fourth annual International Women in Aviation conference in Nashville, Tenn., March 14 through 16 reached a new record, with 3,375 registrants representing all segments of the aviation community.
“That’s a new record for us—up 25 registered attendees from last year’s new record. Of course, we missed many of our military and FAA colleagues, so, yes, sequestration affected our conference,” said WAI President Peggy Chabrian. “But, as always there’s no more upbeat and enthusiastic group than our attendees.” Convention attendees came from the United States and 14 other countries, including Nigeria, Canada, and Ghana.
AOPA was one of 114 exhibitors in a hall that was packed every day. Among those in the hall were representatives from the all-female Air Race Classic; the Abington Co., sellers of a female flight watch; and the Professional Women Controllers Inc. The hall also featured long lines of potential pilot candidates at booths including United Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, FedEx, Alaska Airlines, Horizon Air, Southwest Airlines, and JetBlue Airways.
WAI offered more than four dozen educational sessions on topics including inspiring the next generation of aviators, staging your career for success in the aerospace world, beyond the runway—why general aviation means business, setting the stage for mentoring relationships, and African American women in aviation history.
The organization gave out 80 scholarships to WAI members valued at $497,575, including $6,000 awarded by AOPA and the AOPA Foundation. The popular silent auction raised $12,000 for WAI's Endowment Fund, which funds scholarships and educational programs.
WAI also inducted Mary Silitch, the first woman editor of a national aviation magazine and Karen Brannen, the first woman Marine jet pilot, into its hall of fame. Also inducted were the founding WAI board members.
The twenty-fifth annual International Women in Aviation Conference will take place at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando, Fla., from March 6 through 8, 2014.
AOPA eNewsletter and Social Media Editor Benét J. Wilson joined AOPA in 2011. She is working on her private pilot certificate.
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