Can you guess how many pilots are women? It turns out that only 6% of all pilots are women, making females severely underrepresented in aviation. To encourage women and girls to consider careers in aviation, SHD hosted our 3rd annual Women Can Fly event this past Saturday in partnership with the Virginia Department of Aviation and The Ninety-Nines, an international organization of women pilots.
Women and girls from across Virginia came out to meet with women aviators and instructors, learn about various aircraft, and get information about flight training, courses, and career options. While pilots are often the face of aviation, there are many other lucrative career options such as aviation mechanics which boasts a nearly 100% placement rate upon completion of education and training.
The highlight of the event was free flights for attendees flown by volunteer pilots. Guests participated in a pre-flight briefing to learn about the science of flight and safety precautions before soaring into the friendly skies. For many participants, this was their first time flying. Women Can Fly aims to spark interest and excitement for aviation and show women and girls a path to success in the field. From the excitement and smiles that abounded on Saturday, I think we met that goal!
Five other airports in Virginia also hosted Women Can Fly events this summer. The Women Can Fly initiative takes a state-by-state approach to improving the low rates of women in aviation. More women aviators could also help reduce the nationwide pilot shortage. If you or someone you know, is interested in learning more about aviation here are some helpful resources:
Blue Ridge Aviation – Flight instruction at SHD.
Blue Ridge Community College – Courses in aviation maintenance and commercial pilot programs.
Virginia Department of Aviation – The state transportation agency for aviation.
The Ninety-Nines – Networking, mentoring, scholarships, and opportunities for women and girls interested in aviation.
Association for Women in Aviation Maintenance (AWAM) – Dedicated to supporting the advancement of women in aviation maintenance.
Thank you to everyone who participated in the 2018 Women Can Fly event and stay tuned for details about next year’s event!