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.

WOAW Week 2015 — 40,000 participate and 7,343 Fly It Forward® flights are awarded

TimeSquare_0315More than 40,000 (42% of the 96,000 participants to date) participated in female-centric events organized on four continents to celebrate the 5th annual Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week, March 3-8. Additional celebrations sprouted spontaneously around the globe.

The week addresses a key barrier to women’s participation in the industry’s technical fields, namely the lack of awareness of aviation and aerospace opportunities available to them. Aviation enthusiasts and organizations invite girls and women to visit local airports and industry facilities to experience for themselves the thrill of aviation.

Fly It Forward® event in OshawaA passion for flight drives all air and space vocations. Pilots reported 7,343 Fly It Forward® flights during the week bringing the total number of Fly It Forward® flights since 2010 to 21,656. Attendees had the opportunity to explore various aspects of aviation including touring control towers, exploring aircraft manufacturing plants, trying various aviation activities, and meeting role models (https://youtu.be/fd9T1MXluAg).

IWOAW conducts multiple annual contests and challenges to engage the female population and the industry. The annual Fly It Forward® Challenge rewards the aviation communities, training centers, and individuals who conduct the most Fly It Forward® flights during the week. Rules designed to ensure validity of data are strictly enforced to determine the winners among events and pilots registered for the competition.

Fly It Forward® flight in Albuquerque with Dianna StangerThe “Most Female Pilot Friendly Airport Worldwide” title identifies the aviation community that introduces the most girls and women to flying in a small aircraft during the week. No American aviation community has qualified for this title since Frederick, MD, won the title in 2011.

This year, Jasmine Gordon rallied the support of Del Sol Aviation and Cutter Aviation based at Albuquerque International Sunport, New Mexico, USA, to deliver 712 documented flights to local girls and women. Guests also had the opportunity to meet commercial pilots, peruse industry booths, and thanks to the Air Force’s celebration of 100 years of female pilots in combat, explore an HC-130. Albuquerque is the first event location to count slightly more female Fly It Forward® pilots than males since the beginning of the initiative.

IMG_1758Lachute Airport, Quebec, Canada, earned the first finalist position for “Most Female Pilot Friendly Airport Worldwide” and St Andrews Airport, Manitoba, Canada, the second finalist position.

The “Most Female Pilot Friendly Training Center Worldwide” title identifies the training center that motivates the most Fly It Forward® flights at its business location. Two Canadian training centers, Durham Flight Centre in Oshawa, Ontario, and Brampton Flight Centre in Caledon, Ontario, won the first and second position respectively. Australia’s Central West Flying, in Bathurst, New South Wales, took the final spot on the podium.

Fly It Forward® flight in BathurstGender unbalance in aviation begins with unbalance at the introductory level. Only one out of three young persons offered a flight introduction in a small aircraft is a girl. Fly It Forward® is a call to action to address the flight introduction gender gap. Only a pilot can introduce someone to flight. On average, each Fly It Forward® pilot conducts 5 flights to introduce 5 to 30 females to flying depending on aircraft seating configuration.

However, some individuals go well beyond averages. In fact, Dianna Stanger of Olivia, Texas, USA, singlehandedly conducted 111 flights to introduce 441 girls and women. She wins the “Most Dedicated Female Pilot Worldwide” title. Since 2011, Stanger has introduced 900 girls and women to flying as part of the Fly It Forward® Challenge and won the title 3 times.

We did it - another Fly It Forward® flightTalking about being a female pilot is one thing. Stanger demonstrates her passion and inspires those around her. When asked about her favorite part attending the Albuquerque event, Kelley replied: “The flight and the pilot! We got to ride in the helicopter with Dianna, and she was so down to earth and fun”.

Ramona Cox of Torrance, California, USA, is the first finalist in the female pilot category. Australian, Diana Jemson of Strathalbyn in South Australia reaches the podium for the second year in a row.

Witnessing that women do pilot aircraft is important but so is seeing that men are welcoming and supportive of women entering the industry. That’s why IWOAW rewards male pilots who conduct the most flights as well.

Female military pilot fly it forward®Canadian Luc Bougie of Mascouche, Quebec, and Australian Matt Norgrove of Bathurst, New South Wales, share the “Most Supportive Male Pilot Worldwide” title. Australians Dave Caroll, Gary Pengalis, Chris Stott, Bryan Clements and Nick Wills of New South Wales share the first and second finalist positions.

Title winners will receive trophies and plaques within the next few weeks (see full list of winners).

The 6h annual Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week will take place, worldwide, March 7-13, 2016.

Pink Paper Plane Challenge at MALTEPE University in Turkey

WOAW Week 2014 – 26,000 attend and 5,703 take flight for the first time

Girls fly in Langley, BC, during Women Of Aviation Week

During Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week 2014, March 3- 9, entrants in the Fly It Forward® Challenge organized activities that drew more than 26,000 attendees in 96 locations on four continents. Pilots flew approximately 1,000 hours to introduce 5,703 girls and women to flight in a small aircraft.

The Fly It Forward® Challenge held annually as part of the Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week celebration offers a fun incentive for aviation enthusiasts to share their passion with girls and women unfamiliar with the industry. More than $12,000 worth of prizes and trophies were available through the various challenges, contests, and drawings.

Studies seeking an explanation for the meager percentage of females involved in the industry’s technical fields found that a key barrier to the participation of women is the perception that the industry is ‘for males only’. As a result, qualified candidates do not even consider the air and space industry as an option.

Changing perceptions and sparking vocations is the goal of the week. The Fly It Forward® Challenge encourages entrants to offer girls and women with no prior connection with the industry, an opportunity to try various aviation activities, hands-on.

In 2014, activities at Fly It Forward® events included practicing air traffic control, using rivet guns to make souvenir key chains, exploring aircraft mechanisms, learning about various aviation careers or hobbies, meeting outstanding women of aviation, and experiencing the magic of flight in a small aircraft.

Kirsten Brazier who organized the event in Langley, BC, Canada, elevated the concept to a level never accomplished before. Leading more than 200 volunteers, Brazier coordinated a record setting 1,310 first flights, which makes the Langley Regional Airport, the Most Female Pilot Friendly Airport Worldwide in 2014, and makes Brazier, the winner of the Event Organizer Contest’s $1,000 prize.

Not surprisingly, Frank Walcher, co-winner of the ‘Most Supportive Male Pilot Worldwide’ title, flew at the Langley Regional Airport and so did the first runner-up, George Tecklenborg.

However, the Calhoun Air Center in Victoria, TX, USA, led the charge to bring some world titles back to the United States, world title-less since 2011. Two of the pilots contributing to the Calhoun Air Center’s success, Dianna Stanger and Tom Keane, stand at the top of the podium in their respective categories: ‘Most Dedicated Female Pilot Worldwide’ and ‘Most Supportive Male Pilot Worldwide’.

Calhoun Air Center conducted more than 460 first flights at three locations, including 299 at its Victoria location to win the ‘Most Female Pilot Friendly Training Center Worldwide’ title. Moreover, Victoria, TX, USA, is first runner up for the ‘Most Female Pilot Friendly Airport Worldwide’ title.

Overall, Canada maintains its lead by winning two thirds of the titles with two schools in Ontario winning first and second runner up spots in the training center category and Lachute, QC, reaching the second runner up position in the airport category.

Australia took the challenge for the first time in 2014. Due to overwhelming enthusiasm, events quickly doubled or tripled in size as compared to the original plans, leading two Australian pilots, Diana Jemson of Strathalbyn, SA, and Euan Harrison of Caloundra, QLD, to reach the podium in their respective categories.

“When I launched the Fly It Forward® Challenge to celebrate the centennial of the first female pilot license worldwide in 2010, just 310 girls and women went on a first flight during the week,” says Mireille Goyer, President of the Institute for Women Of Aviation Worldwide. “In five years, the number of first flights during the week has increased by more 1,800%. Today, the celebration has become, without a doubt, the world’s largest annual female aviation gathering.”

The 5th annual Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week will take place, worldwide, March 2-8, 2015.

In 1915, Marie Marvingt, third woman to earn a pilot license worldwide, flew a bombing mission over a German military base in occupied Metz and became the first woman to fly in combat. She received the Croix de Guerre for her heroic action.

To celebrate the centennial of Marvingt’s accomplishment, Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week’s theme in 2015 will be: “Serving with honor: 100 years of female pilots in combat”.

Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week Addresses Pilot Shortage

Girls fly too during Women Of Aviation Week

From March 3 to March 9, 2014, events organized to celebrate Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week took place in 9 countries of 4 continents and drew more than 31,000 girls and women to aviation facilities.

Events complying with Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week event’s standards aim to foster gender balance in the air and space industry by specifically engaging the female population and introducing it to the many aviation-related opportunities available to them with the goal of improving gender balance in the industry.

Currently, approximately 2% of all aircraft mechanics are females, less than 6% of all pilots are females, and the percentage of female aeronautical engineers hovers around 10%.

Two thirds of the events included free first flight experiences for girls and women who had never flown in a small aircraft before. During the course of the week, more than 5,500 females discovered the end product of all aeronautical activities, flight.

Studies after studies have demonstrated that the key barrier to women’s participation in the industry is the perception that the industry is for males only. As a result, qualified candidates do not even consider the air and space industry as an option.

Changing perceptions and sparking vocations is the goal of the week. The exit poll conducted among all the girls and women registered to go on a flight experience points to success.

When asked whether they had considered seeking information about aviation activities before hearing about the Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week event they attended, 72.94% of the respondents said ‘no’.

However, after the experience, 79.87% of the respondents said that they would consider undertaking an activity for pleasure or for a career in aviation. Close to 90% of these respondents wanted to become a pilot but some preferred to consider aircraft maintenance, aircraft construction, and air traffic control.

Scott Weaver, manager of Leading Edge Aviation, a flight school in Utah reported that out of the 26 women who went on a discovery flight, three had already signed up for flying lessons.

“Year after year, the Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week initiative has been proven highly effective,” says Mireille Goyer, President of the Institute for Women Of Aviation Worldwide, a not-for-profit association that manages the Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week outreach initiative. “However, many industry key stakeholders continue to be reluctant to engage the female population as a solution to the much talked-about pilot shortage.”

“I was surprised by the reluctance of the Boeing Co. and Alaska Airlines to get involved,” reflected Bob Hoffman, organizer of the 2014 Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week event in Twisp, WA.

“It is a shame that Stansted Airport or any other near us in [the] UK didn’t participate,” lamented Jane Newson on the week’s Facebook page.

Aviation records fall during Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week 2013

Astronaut Pam Melroy celebrate 50 years of women in space during Women Of Aviation Week

From March 4 to March 10 2013, over 2,100 volunteers across four continents – Africa, Asia, America, and Europe – introduced more than 17,000 girls and women to the opportunities available in the air and space industry as part of the Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week celebration, held annually during the week of March 8, anniversary date of the first female pilot license worldwide.

Fly It Forward® event 'Girls Fly Too' in Yellowknife
Helicopter pilot, Mary Ellen, gives a preflight briefing

Studies have demonstrated that a key barrier to women’s participation in the technical fields of the air and space industry – approximately 12% overall; 5% for pilots – is the lack of awareness of the opportunities available to them. Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week aims to foster diversity in aviation by celebrating history, raising awareness, and sparking vocations among the female population.

Nothing can spark aviation vocations like experiencing the magic and sensations of flight in a small aircraft. Many of 74 events included an invitation for girls and women to try flight in a small aircraft.

Fly It Forward® flight in Collingwood
A first flight changes perspectives

333 pilots flew 109 types of aircraft for more than 1,500 hours – enough hours to fly 12 times around the globe in a small aircraft – in order to introduce 5,316 girls and women to flying. For reference, the largest female airline pilot rated population resides in the United States and totaled 5,818 in 2012.

Friendly competitions held as part of the Fly-It-Forward® Challenge reward aviation enthusiasts that excel at enticing their local female population to discover the air and space industry.

The most coveted title, ‘Most Female Pilot Friendly Airport Worldwide’, is awarded annually to the airport community that offers and documents the most female first flight experiences in approved aircraft throughout the week.

In 2012, more than 400 flights allowed Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories, Canada, to win the title. The top three contenders in 2013 orchestrated more than 500 flights each.

Fly It Forward® flight St Andrews, MB, Canada
Fun in St Andrews, MB, Canada

Led by event organizer, Jill Oakes, the St Andrews Airport Community in the greater Winnipeg area, Manitoba, Canada, wins the ‘2013 Most Female Pilot Friendly Airport Worldwide’ title with a whopping 680 documented introductory flights in approved aircraft.

80 local businesses and associations supported the event that offered far more than just flights to the close to 3,000 attendees. Prominent Women Of Aviation were on hand to inspire and answer questions, instructors operating 4 simulators gave hands-on experience to the girls and women, local flight schools and associations informed attendees about the next steps, and potential employers presented all the options available.

Oakes won the $1,000 training prize awarded to the organizer responsible for the event yielding the most effectiveness and outreach overall. Number of flights, number of volunteers, number of women who take the next step and amount of press coverage are a few of the criteria to win the prize.

“The end result is about 40 gals signed up for ground school,” said Oakes.

Kirsten Brazier organized the 'Girls Fly Too' Fly It Forward event
Kirsten Brazier returning after one of her many flights

Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada, is the first runner up in the category with 634 flights and Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, the second runner up with 517 flights. Frederick, Maryland, USA, retains its honorary title of ‘Most Female Pilot Friendly Airport in the USA’ with 342 flights.

Female pilot friendly regions stood up as well. The province of Ontario in Canada was responsible for more than 1,400 flights; Washington State totaled more than 400 flights between events in Seattle and Twisp.

Acknowledging that creating excitement is only the first step to increasing diversity in aviation, the Institute for Women Of Aviation Worldwide created a new title in 2013: ‘Most Female Pilot Friendly Training Center Worldwide’. This title is awarded to the training center that fosters the most female introductory flights during the week.

Waterloo Wellington Flight Centre, based at the Kitchener-Waterloo airport in Ontario, Canada, won the world title with 517 flights. The first runner up is Calhoun Air Center based in Victoria, Texas, USA. Rounding out the top three is Rockcliffe Flying Club in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Astronaut Pam Melroy at the Frederick Fly It Forward® event
Astronaut Pam Melroy and an astronaut-to-be

“Engaged individuals at all levels is what has made the Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week initiative the largest female outreach aviation program ever created,” says Mireille Goyer, founder of the initiative and President of the Institute for Women Of Aviation Worldwide.

While the average number of introductory flights per pilot was 15, one third of the pilots went beyond the average. The ‘Most Dedicated Female Pilot Worldwide’ and the ‘Most Supportive Male Pilot Worldwide’ titles salute the most prolific pilots.

Bush pilot, Kirsten Brazier, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada, initiated 180 girls and women to flying to earn the ‘2013 Most Dedicated Female Pilot Worldwide’ title for the second year in a row. First and second runners up were respectively, Megan Tyler, Northwest Territories, Canada, and Dianna Stanger, Port Lavaca, Texas, USA.

To win the ‘Most Supportive Male Pilot Worldwide’ title, Frank Roberts of St Andrews, Manitoba, Canada, flew 302 girls and women. Geoff Furniss and Glen Sibbeston, both from Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada, took the first and second runner up positions.

Many prizes offered by the partners and friends of the Institute for Women Of Aviation Worldwide were distributed to pilots, volunteers, female first time flyers, and contest winners.

New records were set in all categories and constitute the new reference numbers to win a title during the 4th annual Women Of Aviation Worldwide to be held from March 3 to March 9, 2014.

On September 9, 1913, Pyotr Nikolayevich Nesterov was the first pilot to perform an aerobatic maneuver, the loop. For this he was disciplined with ten days of close arrest, ostensibly “for risking government property”. A few months later in May 1914, Lidia Zvereva, the first Russian woman to earn a pilot license, became the first female aerobatic pilot worldwide when she performed a loop in a Morane airplane. To honor all female aerobatic pilots, the week’s 2014 theme will be: 100 years of female aerobatic pilots.