ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Women of Aviation, the world-wide celebration is March 2 through March 8. Organizers have brought the program to the Albuquerque Sunport for the week in the hopes of introducing the field of aviation to young women. On Tuesday morning, a group of seventh grade girls from Van Buren Middle School prepared for a number of test flights they’ll likely never forget.
“It’s such a unique experience that the girls are actually being able to fly with a female pilot,” says Jasmine Gordon, event organizer from Women of Aviation Worldwide. “And they’re hearing females in the air traffic controlling station and so that’s really great for them, and so we’re trying to get them to understand that it can be either a career or a hobby.”
For students like Channing Brugh, the ride on the small plane was not only a chance to enjoy a nice cruise over Albuquerque, but discover a career path she didn’t think about before.
“At first I did not, but then it got me more interested into it to where I would want to look into it a little bit more than what I did before,” says Brugh. “I think it’s very cool, I think it’s the process of how they work, everything I just love it.”
Educators say the first-hand experience of being around the airplanes and in the airport atmosphere can do wonders for the young minds.
“I don’t think that enough women and girls know that this is an opportunity for their future – that they can actually do this and do it well,” says Nancy Schranz, seventh grade language arts teacher from Van Buren Middle School.
Organizers say they hope the program and week-long celebration continues to grow.
“We’re really excited to bring the flight forward challenge here to Albuquerque International Sunport,” adds Gordon. “It’s great for us. We have a really big competitive drive and so we’re hoping to be able to have as many girls. There is no age limit so if their mom’s, sisters, aunts would like to come, it’s a great day for the girls and they get really excited about it.”
According to 2013 statistics from the Federal Aviation Administration, women make up about 6.6 percent of licensed pilots in the United States. For more information about the Women of Aviation Week program, you can visit their website.