120 venues in Africa, America, Europe, and Oceania hosted activities aimed at advancing gender balance in the air and space industry during the 6thannual Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week, a global aviation awareness week for girls of any age, founded and managed by the Institute for Women Of Aviation Worldwide (iWOAW). 44,000 participated.
With 27 venues, France led the way for most venues in one single country closely followed by Turkey with 26. The United States, Canada, and Australia join the top 5 countries, venue-wise. New Zealand, Papa New Guinea, Angola, and Guyana celebrated The Week for the first time.
Roughly half of the official activities were organized by flight schools and flying clubs. Noticeable was the increase in aerospace factory visits, control tower tours, aviation university department open houses, and aviation museums special event offerings.
On Pink Paper Plane Day, March 8, 1,343 individuals working in teams ranging from 15 to over 500 built 11,447 Pink Paper Planes within 15 minutes towards iWOAW’s Guinness World Records attempts.
Flight is the end product of and the motivation for all air and space careers. The Fly It Forward®Challenge is a call to action urging pilots to help close the flight introduction gap between genders by introducing girls of all ages to flight in a small aircraft during The Week. This year, 8,418 girls discovered flying as a result.
The friendly annual competition powered by human goodness recognizes airport communities and individual pilots who introduce the greatest number of girls to flight.
In 2016, South Texas International at Edinburg Airport, USA, wins The Challenge’s most coveted title, “Most Female Pilot Friendly Airport Worldwide”. Dianna Stanger of Texas, USA, is named “Most Dedicated Female Pilot Worldwide” and Yves Barbeau of Quebec, Canada, “Most Supportive Male Pilot Worldwide”.
Runner-ups include Canada’s Lachute and Peterborough airports in the airport category, American Yasmina Platt and Australian Brianna Christian in the female pilot category, and Canadians Hubert Wren and Ron Haslam in the male pilot category.
Organizers of large events invest countless organizational hours to bring their planned activity to fruition. iWOAW awards “Most Productive Organizer Worldwide” titles annually to individuals who produce the largest multi-faceted flying or non-flying events. Marguerite Varin of Lachute, Quebec, Canada, won the title in the flying event category and Tusas Engine Industries Inc. (TEI) of Eskisehir, Turkey, in the non-flying event category.
Large events constitute only 20% of The Week’s direct outreach. Smaller community-building activities with special attention to quality generate the type of local and connected buzz that has the power to generate significant societal change.
Thanks to its proprietary assessment system, iWOAW identifies The Week’s activities that most effectively engage guests while generating high satisfaction levels among volunteers. It uses these measurements to award the “Most Acclaimed Organizer Worldwide” titles. The 2016 awards go to Central West Flying of Bathurst, Australia, in the flying event category and Can Erel of Ankara, Turkey, in the non-flying event category.
Trophies will be awarded to the winners on May 26th 2016 in Vancouver, Canada, during iWOAW’s first annual symposium.
Since 2010, the annual celebration has inspired girls and women to consider careers and hobbies in the air and space industry by the thousands. Consistently, 60% to 75% of them declare that they have decided to join the industry as a result of attending The Week’s activities.
With mostly stagnating women of aviation populations, inspiring is not enough. The goal is to encourage tangible action. Our survey show that 23% are more than just inspired; they are starting their training, immediately.
“I had never flown before–and was afraid of heights. Now, I want to take lessons to learn how to fly by myself,” said Lily Wright after her Glastar flight in Louisiana, USA.
The 7th Annual Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week will be held March 6-12, 2017. 30 years after the world’s first helicopter flight in 1907, Hanna Reitsch became the first woman to pilot a helicopter. To salute her accomplishment, The Week’s 2017 theme will be: “Let’s whirl. 80 years of female helicopter pilots.”
The Week’s summary video can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/9s7_ncEyMQs