More Than 50,000 Girls Set To Discover Aviation During Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week 2017

Girls and women visit control towers

March 6 to 12, industry enthusiasts and key stakeholders will unite to welcome girls and women in their facilities and encourage them to explore the sector’s careers and hobbies, hands-on.

Girls and women visit control towersDuring the 7th annual Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week, March 6 to 12, the air and space industry will shade its enduring male-dominated image. Girls and women will be the majority at industry facilities such as airports, aerospace factories, and control towers where industry enthusiasts and key stakeholders are putting the final touches on events designed to attract and empower them.

In fact, more than 50,000 girls and women are expected to attend the Week’s official events spread out across four continents – America, Asia, Europe, and Oceania. They will meet women who chose a career in the industry, learn about past women of aviation’s contributions, visit various work environments, and try some of the activities, hands-on, including flying in small aircraft at some locations.

Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week is an extension of the original Fly It Forward® movement launched in 2010 to celebrate the Centennial of the world’s first pilot female licence earned by Raymonde de Laroche on March 8, 1910 – long before women began to march for voting rights on that very day. It aims to not only celebrate women’s accomplishments at a historically and socially relevant time of the year but also address the industry’s introduction gender gap and overall lack of gender balance by raising awareness.

Today, a boy is still three times more likely than a girl to be exposed to aviation opportunities. Industry enthusiasts and key stakeholders are uniting across borders and affiliations to ensure that girls and women get the invite and the front row seat during the Week.

Since its inception, the initiative powered the Institute for Women Of Aviation Worldwide (iWOAW) has motivated more 140,000 girls of all ages to explore the industry’s careers and hobbies. Last year, 63% of the 44,000 participants declared considering a career or hobby in the industry as a result of the positive experience.

In 2017, iWOAW is offering $15,000 worth of prizes, trophies, and scholarships to eligible participants. Furthermore, the non-profit association is waiving application fees for organizations involved in official events which seek the coveted iWOAW Certified Women Friendly designation.

Mireille Goyer, iWOAW’s Founder and President, will attend four of the Week’s official events. She will be at Del Sol Aviation in Albuquerque, NM, on March 6, at the Airbus Assembly Plant in Mobile, AL, on March 8, at the Louisiana Regional Airport in Gonzales, LA, on March 9, and at Glacier Air in Squamish, BC on March 11.

World-Record Female Helicopter Pilot to Help Remit the 2017 Fly It Forward® Awards

Jennifer Murray – first woman to fly around the world in a helicopter and first woman to fly above both poles – will be the Keynote Speaker at the Fly It Forward® Award Luncheon in Vancouver, Canada

We are proud to announce that Jennifer Murray – first woman to fly around the world in a helicopter and first woman to fly above both poles – will help remit trophies to the winners of the 2017 Fly It Forward® Challenge that will take place during Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week, March 6-12.

Launched in 2010 to celebrate the centennial of the world’s first female pilot license earned by Raymonde de Laroche on March 8, 1910, the annual global Fly It Forward® competition challenges pilots from across the world to invite girls of any age to experience flight onboard a small aircraft.

The global initiative aims to address a glaring flight introduction gender gap. In 2017, a boy is still 3 times as likely as a girl to be encouraged to try flying.

“All aviation vocations begin with a passion for flight,” said Mireille Goyer, the airline-rated pilot who founded the initiative. “It is that passion that drives individuals to chose a career in the air and space industry.”

The Fly It Forward® titles and trophies reward the individuals and communities who document introducing the most girls and women to the sensations of flight in any small aircraft during the annual Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week. Categories include airport communities, pilots, and organizers.

In 2016, pilots flew more than 1,500 hours – equivalent to four around-the-word flights – to conduct 8,418 Fly It Forward® flights in aircraft ranging from balloons to ultralights to airplanes to helicopters. To win, communities routinely introduces hundreds to thousands of girls and women to flight during the Week.

“The Challenge’s titles reward pure human goodness articulated into tangible efforts to foster a more diverse and inclusive industry,” said Mireille Goyer.

This year, as the world celebrates 80 years of female helicopter pilots, Fly It Forward® Challenge winners will receive their trophies at the May 25 Fly It Forward® Award Luncheon in Vancouver, Canada, featuring Jennifer Murray as the keynote speaker.

“I am touched and honoured that you should ask me to be your keynote speaker. All that you are doing for gender equality in aviation is wonderful and very close to my heart. Indeed, it was one of the principal motivations for my global flights,” shared Jennifer Murray.

Celebrating 80 Years of Female Helicopter Pilots in 2017

Jennifer Murray, World Record Holding Helicopter Pilot
Jennifer Murray, World Record Holding Helicopter Pilot

It was 1937 when Hanna Reitsch took the controls of a Focke-Achgelis 61 helicopter and became the world’s first female helicopter pilot. In celebration, the theme for the 7th annual Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week, March 6-12, 2017, will be “Let’s whirl. 80 years of female helicopter pilots.”

Introducing girls of all ages to helicopters has always been an important part of Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week. Since 2010, nearly 20% of the Week’s 30,074 documented Fly It Forward® flights took place onboard helicopters.

Male and female helicopter pilots from Quebec, Manitoba, the Northwest Territories, British Columbia, Washington State, and Texas have won the Week’s Most Dedicated Female Pilot Worldwide or Most Supportive Male Pilot Worldwide titles over the years. Every year in Lachute, Quebec, girls board helicopters for their first small aircraft flight and land at the Bell Helicopter factory in Mirabel to visit it. The armed forces around the globe have flown helicopters and crew at many of the Week’s events over the years.

To celebrate Hanna Reitsch’s breakthrough and highlight helicopter aviation, the Institute for Women Of Aviation Worldwide (iWOAW) will broadcast interviews of women involved in all aspects of helicopter manufacturing and operations throughout the Week and encouraged event organizers to share them with their local guests.

Moreover, Jennifer Murray, who became the first woman to fly around the world in a helicopter and the first woman to fly over both poles, will be the featured guest speaker at the annual Fly It Forward® Award Luncheon during the iWOAW Symposium held in Vancouver, BC, on May 25, 2017. She will also help remit the Fly It Forward® Challenge trophies to the communities and individuals who won them during the 7th annual Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week.

“When I launched the Fly It Forward® movement in 2010, it was to celebrate the centennial of the world’s first female pilot license in a meaningful way,” says Mireille Goyer, iWOAW’s Founder and President. “By selecting a theme based on women’s notable breakthroughs every year, iWOAW continues its tradition of celebrating women’s long and rich history of contributions to the industry and furthers its effort of restoring women’s aviation roots.”

Fly It Forward® Challenge winners will receive free access to the entire iWOAW Symposium. The 2017 edition features industry key stakeholders such as Deborah Feng, Associate Center Director, Mission Support, at NASA Ames Research Center and Aylin Ararat, Aircraft Designer and Project Director for Turkish Aerospace Industries Inc. and academics such as JoAnne Delfino Wehner of Stanford University and Catharine Marsden of Concordia University.

iWOAW Calls On The FAA To Watch Its Words

Acccording to the FAA, women involved in aviation are airmen

FAA certification standards shade gender-neutral name to take on a gender-specific name.

Acccording to the FAA, women involved in aviation are airmenNew FAA certification standards for Private Pilots and Instrument-rated Pilots came into effect today. Previously known as Practical Test Standards, the new standards got a new name: Airman Certification Standards.

In its rational for choosing a gender-specific name to replace the previous gender-neutral name, the FAA notes that it uses the terms AIRMAN or AIRMEN routinely in its publications.

Indeed, according to the latest U.S. Civil Airmen Statistics published by the FAA, out of an estimated 1,318,368 civil ‘airmen’, the number of active ‘women airmen’ certificates held at the end of 2015 stood at 222,546 including 2,289 repairmen.

As of June 2016, medical certificates issued by the FAA continue to require an AIRMAN’s Signature. Luckily for all the airwomen that pilot aircraft, pilot certificates require the Signature of Holder.

For the first time in American aviation history, the number of U.S. female commercial pilots – Commercial and Airline Transport pilot certificate holders – has decreased by 784 since its peak number of 13,925 in 2009. 105 years after Lilian Bland became the world’s first woman to design, build, and pilot an airplane, the percentage of female aircraft technicians – Mechanics plus Repairmen – stood at only 2.8% last December.

The Institute for Women Of Aviation Worldwide (iWOAW) believes that it is urgent for the air and space industry to stop routinely using words that effectively exclude half of the population and act as a barrier to the increased participation of women.

It calls on the FAA to lead the shift to inclusive phraseology starting with giving the newly released certification standards a gender-neutral name and continuing with actively adopting gender-neutral phraseology throughout its publications.

“Since 2010, the WOAW movement has effectively worked at erasing the common perception among girls and women that the industry’s technical occupations and hobbies are off-limit for them,” said Mireille Goyer, President of the Institute for Women Of Aviation Worldwide (iWOAW) and a ‘woman airman’ holding an FAA Airline Transport Pilot certificate. “It is critical that our industry becomes mindful of how it presents itself if we are to generate substantial growth to address the looming personnel shortage.”

44,000 gathered in 120 venues on 4 continents during WOAW Week 2016

Fly It Forward

120 venues in Africa, America, Europe, and Oceania hosted activities aimed at advancing gender balance in the air and space industry during the 6th annual 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.

Pink Paper Plane Day at L-3 MASOn 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 wide flight introduction gap between genders by introducing girls of all ages to flight during The Week. This year, 8,418 girls discovered flying as part of the initiative.

The annual friendly competition powered by human goodness recognizes airport communities and individual pilots who introduce the greatest number of girls to flight in small aircraft annually.

FlyItForward_Flight_Edingburg_TexasIn 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 Canadian Ingrid Kutzner 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.

JC16_52Large 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 its volunteers. It uses these measurements to award the “Most Acclaimed Organizer Worldwide” titles. The 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 awarded to the winners on May 26th 2016 in Vancouver, Canada, during iWOAW’s first annual symposium.

Aicraft_Tour_Antalya_TurkeySince 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.

WOAW. Fly It Forward“I had never flown before–and was afraid of heights. Now, I want to take lessons to learn how to fly by myself.” Lily Wright said 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.”