I've said it before, and as the pilot community dwindles, now seems like the perfect time to say this again:
The key to sustained growth in GA and increased student starts is to attract more women and young girls to the left seat of the training aircraft out at the local field on the edge of town. The gender gap in GA is so wide, it's as if females were not welcome in our skies. That – to be sure – would be a false statement.According to Women In Aviation, International (citing FAA figures), of the nearly 700,000 active pilots in the United States, less than six percent are women and only slightly more than two percent ATP rated. Women account for only 2.13 percent of the more than 540,000 non-pilot aviation jobs in the United States.
Now there was a day – back when movies had but two colors, black and white – when most male pilots thought that the cockpit was no place for a lady. Sure, they could shoot rivets into WWII warbirds...but actually flying them was out of the question. Those chauvinistic attitudes were alarming, and today, they have been reduced to just an ugly part of aviation history.
I am not the only one who thinks cultivating more female pilots is GA's secret weapon. There will be thousands of like-minded people in Orlando, Florida this weekend who will gladly jump that bandwagon:
The 18th Annual International Women in Aviation Conference will be held from Thursday, February 15 through Saturday, February 17, 2007, in Orlando, Florida. This year's Conference will take place at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort at Walt Disney World®. With the theme of "Imagining Your Future," participants in the 2007 WAI Conference will be immersed in the tactics and strategies necessary for successful aviation careers. More than 3,000 women and men from all segments of the aviation industry are expected to attend.If you live anywhere near ORL and have an interest in seeing that GA gender gap close a bit, your appearance at the WAI conference would be appreciated.