Girls In Aviation Day
My favorite flight of the year comes around each September. My daughter Addy and I go flying for no reason, no particular destination or agenda in mind – the goal is to simply go flying, just her and I. That’s right, a girls flight –all-things girls in and around the airport, the hangar and the airplane for the day.
On Wednesday afternoon, we were wheels up by 5:30 where we made an in-flight decision to fly south for a small town, small airport BBQ stop. Suddenly, our lack of an in-flight agenda was quickly derailed the moment we both realized it was dinnertime and BBQ was a quick 20-minute flight away. Who could blame us?
Addy is a natural when it comes to flying; being around airplanes, the airport environment and of course, the flying part is something she has been accustomed to since she could walk. Whether she’s inspired to pursue what I have deemed “natural” talent down the road or not, (ok, maybe I am a little biased) Girls in Aviation Day is much broader than that. Driven by a mission to promote and inspire young ladies in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, (better known as STEM), Girls in Aviation Day is observed this Saturday, September 24th as an all-day promotion of these rewarding industries – particularly aviation. On this day, the anxiety and intimidation factor associated with pursing a career or interest in a predominantly male-dominated field is set aside as young girls have the opportunity to watch, listen and interact with other women in a not-so-common capacity.
Even if this was just another flight for Addy, the reality is, is that many children may never go flying in a small airplane – much less with a female at the controls. According to the FAA’s 2015 Active Civil Airmen Statistics, women make up a mere 6% of the entire pilot population, while the number of women who go on to become professionals in the industry is astonishingly miniscule. Of the 590,000+ pilots in the U.S., a little over 6,500 women hold a commercial pilots license. Based on these numbers, Girls in Aviation Day is long overdue.
Post-BBQ dinner that evening, we climbed up to 2,500 feet where I turned to Addy and asked, “Do you want to fly?” She nodded excitedly. She reached for the side stick with both hands. She made a few shallow turns and I said, “See? It’s easy!” She looked at me and smiled as I noticeably sank further back in the seat, not flying.
For Addy it was another day, another flight, another dinner with mom. Perhaps another nagging reminder that she can’t talk all the time while flying in the airplane because mom has to talk to air traffic control – again. Hopefully a subconscious nod of inspiration and encouragement that the sky’s the limit (pun intended) and she can do whatever she wants to do and be whatever she want to be as long as she sets her mind to it.
This blog was written by Jessica Koss, Aviation Media Relations, Garmin International.
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