Nearly 10,000 youth attended Women in Aviation International (WAI) programs at airports, museums, and education centers in the United States and 12 other countries during Girls in Aviation Day Sept. 23. WAI President Peggy Chabrian said the annual day geared for girls ages 8 to 17 “introduced the girls to a variety of aviation careers.”
Pilots and aviation professionals acted as mentors during workshops that delved into the principles of flight, chart-reading techniques, air traffic control, and other aeronautical topics.
Chabrian noted that the 500 girls attending a Dallas event was twice the amount of previous years. She credited local WAI chapters, schools, the Girl Scouts, and Civil Air Patrol volunteers for the increase.
Delta Air Lines celebrated the day with a special Women Inspiring our Next Generation (WING) charter flight for 120 girls. United Airlines treated participants to a behind-the-scenes view of a major airline operating at a large airport to teach them about airport management and aviation opportunities.
In Cincinnati, girls sat in a helicopter and quizzed pilots about the cyclic and collective flight controls. In Pensacola at Florida’s National Flight Academy, participants met the female pilot of Fat Albert, the support aircraft for the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, noted Chabrian.
In Frederick, Maryland, AOPA WAI chapter members rolled out an uncovered Piper J-3 Cub fuselage that inspired questions from about 100 girls—more than 10 times the previous year’s turnout, said National Aviation Community Center Manager Mike Woods.
A green-and-gold AgustaWestland AW139 helicopter piloted by members of the Maryland State Police attracted attention when the five-bladed craft hovered to a nearby landing.
“You could feel a buzz in the air,” noted Woods. In the welcoming environment of a general aviation airport, the girls met professional women aviators who described their roles as pilots, drone operators, and educators. “It was the perfect day,” said Woods.