Women in Aviation International’s chapters have been surveyed, and the results show that Girls in Aviation Day 2018 accomplished its goal of introducing a record number of girls ages 8 to 17 to the career and lifestyle possibilities in the aviation world. As in past years, Girls in Aviation Day was hosted by WAI chapters (including several located on college/university campuses) with additional participation by WAI corporate members including airlines, FBOs, aviation museums, and flight schools.
On October 13, 2018, 105 chapters and corporate members held 99 separate Girls in Aviation Day events including nine international chapters, 25 corporate member events, and 23 collegiate chapters. International events were held in 15 countries including Australia, Botswana, Canada, England, France, Germany, Ghana, India, Ireland, Kenya, Netherlands, Nigeria, Spain, United States, and Zambia.
WAI Kenya Chapter Girls in Aviation Day 2018
Drawing from the local communities including Girl Scouts, church groups, and outreach to schools, WAI estimates that more than 15,000 girls participated in Girls in Aviation Day 2018.
Pilots of all categories, including military, general aviation, and airline pilots, served as role models for the girls. Girls in Aviation Day is not just about becoming a pilot, however. Girls were introduced to many aspects of aviation including engineering, air traffic control, rotary flight, medevac operations, flight operations, airport safety, avionics, and aircraft maintenance.
One A&P taught the girls how to inspect an airplane part. At another event, the girls were shown an airplane engine on a stand, the magneto was pulled, and then the girls were shown the engine in a real airplane. “The girls had an ‘aha moment’,” it was reported.
One volunteer said that the highlight of her day was when a 9-year old girl explained perfectly how a glider could stay up in the air after she visited the four forces of flight activity station. Asked to describe the day in one word, volunteers said: amazing, fantastic, wonderful, impactful, diverse, exciting, and spectacular among other superlatives.
“The girls were full of curiosity with one participant asking the speaker why, not how, airplanes fly,” says WAI Outreach Director Molly Martin. “Her answer was, ‘If you had wings, wouldn’t you fly, too?’”
The survey of the WAI chapters that participated in the Girls in Aviation Day indicated that the majority of Girls in Aviation Day events took place at an airport with the remainder taking place at either a school or a museum.
“Sometimes I wonder whether our volunteers or our girls enjoy the day more,” says WAI President Dr. Peggy Chabrian. “We know our girls leave the day having learned much and having had fun as well. As one girl said, ‘This was the best day of my life,’ and you can’t do better than that.”
The next Girls in Aviation Day is Saturday, October 5, 2019. For further information, visit wai.org/GIAD.