Community Papers

The sky's no limit when 'Girls Fly Too'

Total exhilaration could be seen on the faces of young girls who participated in Yellowknife
Total exhilaration could be seen on the faces of young girls who participated in Yellowknife's The Sky's No Limit - Girls Fly Too organizer Kirsten Brazier is bringing the award-winning event to Langley Regional Airport on March 8 and 9 to introduce women and girls to the possibilities of a career in aviation.
— image credit: Brenda Norris

Look up, way up… and you might see something that transforms the way women and girls view the world of aviation – and their futures.

The Sky’s No Limit – Girls Fly Too! is a unique event designed to spark women and girls' interest in the aviation industry by taking them up in the air to experience the joy of flight first-hand and giving them an interactive introduction to the aviation industry.

A celebration of Women of Aviation Worldwide Week (WOAW), The Sky’s No Limit – Girls Fly Too! will be held for free at the Langley Regional Airport on Saturday and Sunday, March 8 and 9, which coincides with Women of Aviation Worldwide Week (WOAW).

From 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., women and girls of all ages who have never flown in a small aircraft will enjoy free flights, thanks to community-minded partners such as R.D.M. Enterprises and other local businesses.  The entire community (guys too!) can explore aircraft, meet the crews, visit with outstanding women in the aviation industry, and enjoy educational activities, contests, and displays.

The event organizer is Kirsten Brazier, a 20-year bush pilot, whose goal is to encourage more females to think about working in a fascinating and lucrative industry that has traditionally been dominated by males.

“Studies show that one of the major barriers to more women getting involved in aviation and aerospace is the perception that these industries are reserved for men, so they don’t even consider it,” Brazier said.

“We want to change that. We want girls and women to seriously think about careers as pilots, air traffic controllers, mechanics, or aeronautical engineers.”

International Women's Day has been celebrated since 1911, but for women in the aviation and aerospace industries this date has even earlier significance as the anniversary of the first licensed female pilot worldwide, on March 8,1910. WOAW is a global outreach initiative centered around International Women's Day that promotes the advancement of women in the aviation and aerospace industries.

Women of Aviation Worldwide Week aims to awaken women and girls’ interest in aviation by celebrating the contributions of females to the aviation and aerospace industries, promoting the opportunities available to them, and welcoming them to airports around the world.

“Basically, we provide girls and women with an in-depth, inside look at what's behind the fence and under the hood at the airport in a fun and participatory way,” Brazier said.

At Langley Regional Airport, that means giving first-time female flyers a chance to go up in a helicopter or a Navion aircraft piloted by members of the Fraser Blues Formation Demonstration Team. Advance registration is required, and those who have previously been on airline flights are eligible. Register now at www.girlsfly2.ca

“The look on their faces says it all,” said Kirsten. “When they become airborne, you can see the excitement and exhilaration in their eyes. For some, that spark can ignite a passion for flying that can lead to a rewarding career they may not have previously considered.”

“This is an exciting opportunity to attract an underutilized sector to a field that has many in-demand jobs,” said Langley Regional Airport manager Guy Miller.

“Our airport, for example, is home to 54 businesses and employs over 260 people. There are many opportunities here and in airports around the world, and we look forward to showing local women and girls all that is available to them.”

Brazier, a Township of Langley resident, is an Airline Transport-rated fixed‐wing pilot and commercial helicopter pilot with more than 20 years of flying experience. Dedicated to getting more women involved in the aviation industry, she previously staged two similar and highly successful The Sky’s No Limit – Girls Fly Too! events in Yellowknife.

In 2012, the event won the Yellowknife Airport the title of 'Most‐Female‐Pilot‐Friendly Airport Worldwide' and became the largest single event of its kind in WOAW history. Last year, the Yellowknife event won five international awards, welcomed more than 2,300 participants, and introduced 634 girls and women to flight, courtesy of local sponsors.

Brazier hopes to achieve the same success in Langley by welcoming 5,000 participants to the airport and making the event the largest of its kind ever held in Canada.

On Feb. 3, she appeared before Township council to speak about the event, which she hopes will attract attention and participation from throughout the region.

“Langley Township has a thriving aviation industry and Langley Regional Airport is at the heart of that success,” said Township Mayor Jack Froese.

“It is a world-class centre for the aviation and aerospace industry and the perfect place to host this unique celebration of Women of Aviation Worldwide Week.  Our airport is a hub for transportation, employment, and education and there is a lot to inspire the girls and women who participate in The Sky’s No Limit. Maybe one day they will be working here themselves.”

Visit facebook.com/SkysNoLimitGirlsFlyToo and follow us on Twitter @GirlsFly_Too.

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