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More than 1,100 girls and women take flight for the first time during the 2012 WOAW week

More than 1,100 girls and women take flight for the first time during the 2012 WOAW week
Harriett Quimby, aka American Barbara Ganson, with American women pilots to be, Elizabeth Williamson (left) and Esther French (right)

Pilots from 7 countries piloted ultra lights, homebuilts, single and multi-engine airplanes, as well as helicopters to introduce a total of 1,104 girls and women to the joys of flying during the second annual Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week held from March 5 to 11, 2012 – a 40% increase of flights over the preceding year.

In 1912, Harriet Quimby became the first woman pilot to fly across the English Channel and Hélène Dutrieu became the first woman to pilot a seaplane. To celebrate the centennial of these ground breaking achievements, a ground breaking aviation event was held on March 10, 2012.

The commemoration event involved simultaneous celebrations at two airports in two countries located in two time zones and pilots from multiple countries introducing girls and women to flying above the English Channel using aircraft of various categories. More than 100 pilots and female passengers took part of celebrations at England’s Headcorn Aerodrome and France’s Le Touquet Airport.

Meanwhile, all across North America, pilots joined in the celebration by taking girls and women from their community for their first flight in a small aircraft. 1,063 flight introductions were documented on March 10, 2012 alone.

More than 1,100 girls and women take flight for the first time during the 2012 WOAW week
Up and away in Yellowknife, NT, Canada

In Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada, 27 local businesses as well as the Canadian military rallied around helicopter bush pilot, Kirsten Brazier, to provide static displays as well as funds and logistics to allow four of Trinity Helicopters’ pilots – Kirsten Brazier, Megan Tyler, Derrick Robinson, and Robert Ferlisi – to take over 400 local girls and women on their first small aircraft flight and, in doing so, earned the Yellowknife Airport, the coveted “Most Female-Pilot-Friendly Airport Worldwide” title.

The four pilots also took top positions in the “Most Dedicated Woman Pilot Worldwide” and “Most Supportive Male Pilot Worldwide” categories. These categories were a Canadian sweep with Lesley Page of Oshawa, Ontario, earning the second runner up position of the women category while Hubert Wren and Ron Hasman of Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, tie in the second runner up position of the male category.

More than 1,100 girls and women take flight for the first time during the 2012 WOAW week
If there is cake, it is a party, right?

Making a difference in one’s own community is an essential characteristic of Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week activities. In Frederick, Maryland, USA, pilot Victoria had to put pilots and passengers on a waiting list due to the overwhelming enthusiasm.

Nearly 60 more girls and women flew for the first time than did in 2011. The total, 244 introduction flights, helped Frederick reestablish itself as Most Female-Pilot-Friendly Airport in the United States and earned it the first runner up position worldwide. Frederick was also home to the Most Supportive Flight Instructor Worldwide and first runner up in the category, Ron Herold and Richard Finati, respectively.

More than 1,100 girls and women take flight for the first time during the 2012 WOAW week
All onboard in Peterborough, ON, Canada

In Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, Cathy Montgomery, an ultra light flight instructor, hosted a Fly It Forward® event. Pilots from around Southern Ontario introduced 213 girls and women to flying placing Peterborough in the second runner up position of the Most Female-Pilot-Friendly Airport Worldwide category. Peterborough was also home to two women friendly flight instructors, Cathy Montgomery and Leigh Ehrmann.

Overall, no airport had more women friendly flight instructors than Boise, Idaho, USA, did. Three of Ponderosa Aeroclub’s instructors, Jennifer Christiano, Tanis Partee, and Rick Laytham, earned a position on the podium in their respective women friendly flight instructor categories. Meanwhile, Worland, Wyoming, was home to the Most Dedicated Female Flight Instructor Worldwide, Mary Ann Dach.

More than 1,100 girls and women take flight for the first time during the 2012 WOAW week

The Spirit of Women Of Aviation Worldwide award that rewards the woman that undertook the most women of aviation activities within the year was awarded to Lesley Page of Oshawa, Ontario, Canada, who not only personally offered many flights to girls and women throughout the year but also gave speeches in her community about Women Of Aviation and mentored several event organizers.

An early extreme weather season whipping lines of thunderstorms across southern Texas prevented Calhoun Air Center from defending its various titles on both days of their 2-day planned event while seasonal weather kept Oregon grounded.

In partnership with Airbus and with the support of our generous sponsors, many prizes were awarded to participants. Four pilots each won a Sennheiser S1 Digital headset. One pilot won a one year subscription to Baron’s Quicklink Wings Elite Plan, while another won Barry Schiff’s entire collection of books. Other prizes included Aircraft Spruce gift cards, OSRM courses, Powder Puff t-shirts, and Windtee books. The winners of the FFPLUM flight coupons will soon take their first flight lesson in ultra lights while the winners of the writing and art contests will select a flight school and type of aircraft for their first lesson.

“I so enjoyed the experience….I can’t wait to fly again,” said Karen, Frederick, Maryland, USA. In fact, 92% of our feedback survey respondents said that they would consider becoming involved in aviation as a result of the experience.

Congratulations to everyone who participated!

The 2013 Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week will take place from March 4 to March 10, 2013. The 2013 theme will be “Women and Space” as the world will celebrate 50 years of women in space.

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