I have written at length about my strong feelings that aviation should never be gender specific, and that the sky should be open to both men AND women. Any pilot who thinks the flight deck is no place for a woman is a neanderthal these days, and if any codger wants to pick a fight with me, all they have to do is blurt out that the damned women out to stay back in the cabin service coffee. That was not true in the days of the DC-3, and it is not true today.
By nature, lady pilots seem to have a more sensitive touch on the controls. Any time I fly commercially and hear a friendly female voice as Captain of our ship, I always tell anyone within earshot to make note of our landing, it will be a gentle greaser...and it almost always is.
The female population of this country is GA's secret weapon for success, because it is an untapped pool of future business. Girls these days are just not steered towards flying, and they should be. So today, as we head into the Christmas buying season, I have a suggestion for a gift you should consider if you have a young female on your list that has any sort of longing for the sky:
The International Women’s Air & Space Museum (IWASM) has introduced a collectible deck of playing cards highlighting women in aviation and space. Each card features a different woman, organization, or event in aviation and space. Many of the photos used to create the deck are from the IWASM archives, and feature women including Jerrie Mock, Amelia Earhart, Bessie Coleman, and Eileen Collins. Each card face features a photo and historical fact about the subject. Card faces were sponsored by individuals and organizations interested in supporting the project as well as family members of some of the earliest women aviation pioneers.I was happy to note that they included Jerrie Mock in this collection, because so often in the past, she was overlooked when people talked about famous female aviators. If you want to help out IWASM and also spark that fire in a little girl you know, here is the 411:
One thousand decks are being produced and the museum is taking orders for $10 per deck plus shipping at the museum gift shop or online store. Card decks will be shipped to purchasers in early December. You can also download a PDF order form here and mail it to the museum at: Burke Lakefront Airport, Room 165, 1501 North Marginal Road, Cleveland, OH 44114. Museum admission is free and exhibits are open 8:00 am – 8:00 pm daily. The Fay Gillis Wells Research Center and Gift Shop are open 10:00 am – 4:00 pm Monday through Friday and by appointment. Call (216) 623-1111 for more information or visit us on the web here.I have been trying to think of some young impressionable female mind I can influence with a deck of these cards. But I might just order a set anyway, because you just never know if they might one day be a collector's item.