Women in Aviation & Ladies Who Fly!
Here at Island Air Express, we are very proud of our students, who come from all walks of life. Men, women, young, old – there is no profile of what an “ideal” pilot looks like, and we celebrate all of our students!
There is one group we would like to highlight today: women pilots. According to the FAA’s most recent Civil Airmen Statistics, only 6.7% of pilots worldwide (including student pilots) are women! The percentage is even lower in fly-for-hire pilots – only 5.1% of pilots with at least a Commercial rating are women.
Many explanations exist, and some even point the finger at the flight training environment. And oftentimes, we start to believe that we actually can’t fly. I often engage other women at air shows, fly-ins and other aviation-related events. I’ll always ask them, “Do you fly? Do you want to learn?” And it’s amazing how many women just look at me like, “Huh? Why would you even ask me that question?” It’s never occurred to them that they COULD fly. That’s something for their husbands/sons to do.
Even for those of us who want to learn, it seems that many of us are affected by the same thoughts:
- I’d love to learn, but I’m a mom with small kids at home. It would be impossible for me to learn.
- I’m afraid I wouldn’t be any good at flying. It seems too complicated and science/math heavy.
- It’s so expensive to learn to fly. Maybe I’ll do it one day, but I don’t have the money right now.
- I’m not sure I’m prepared for the “boys club” that aviation can be.
- I’m too old to learn to fly now.
If you’ve ever thought any of these things, reach out to me. Funding is available. Camaraderie and support are available. And trust me, there are plenty of strong and capable aviatrices out here who are prepared to stand by you and support you every step of the way in your flying career, and welcome you into our most favorite hobby!
My First Solo!
I can say first hand that at Island Air Express, no bias against women exists. In fact, I could not have asked for a more supportive and generous team than the one that exists at IAE.
Mr. Jarmon has made special trips in to the office to come meet with me at all hours of the day, and Ron has agreed to fly with me last minute to most of the fly-ins in the region. Not to mention Stuart, who continues to agree to get in the airplane with me despite my, ahem, questionable landings.
In addition, I have had the support of the Ninety-Nines, Inc., who have awarded me the Fly Now Award. The Fly Now Award is available to student pilot members of the Ninety-Nines women pilots organization who are working toward their first pilot license. I am so grateful to my chapter, the Emerald Angels of the Gulf Coast, for nominating me and to the Ninety-Nines International for awarding me the scholarship!
I am proud to say that on April 25th, I had my first solo flight! I swear it was the smoothest landing I have ever made (and ever will). And no one was there to enjoy it but me!
I am looking forward to earning my Private Pilot license by this summer, and I will continue immediately to earn my Instrument rating. Eventually, I would like to hold Commercial SEL and MEL certificates and fly as a career!
Resources for Women in Aviation:
- Me! Reach out to me to talk about flying, or your hopes of getting started in aviation. Whether you’re a high school student, a mommy of 4, or 65 years young, there is never a better time to reach out than the present! Contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll be happy to give you my cell number if you’d like to chat via phone, too!
- The Ninety-Nines, Inc. – International organization of women pilots
- Emerald Angels of the Gulf Coast 99s – Our local chapter of the 99s!
- Southeast Section of the 99s – The Emerald Angels of the Gulf Coast is part of the Southeast Section of the 99s. The section and its other chapters award a number of scholarships each year.
- Women in Aviation International – Organization for all women in aviation including pilots, ATC, mechanics, and more!
- Institute for Women in Aviation Worldwide – A private, nonprofit global alliance of organizations and businesses dedicated to fostering gender balance in the aviation industry
- International Society of Women Airline Pilots – An organization for women airline pilots who award scholarships to women earning CFI, CFII, and MEI ratings.
- Association for Women in Aviation Maintenance – An organization for women and men who support the advancement of women in aviation maintenance. They award multiple scholarships for A&P training!
Do you know of any other good resources for women in aviation? Leave them in the comments!