Editor: Thank you, Monique Tamminga, for the wonderful front page article (The Times, Feb. 25) on what promises to be one of the most exciting aviation events ever to touch down in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley.
On Saturday and Sunday, March 8 and 9, hundreds of girls and women who have likely never flown in small planes before, will take off from Langley Regional Airport for a spin in The Sky’s No Limit — Girls Fly Too!
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 (March 8, 1910).
The Sky’s No Limit – Girls Fly Too! is a unique event designed to inspire women and girls’ interest in the aviation industry by taking them up in the air to experience firsthand the joy of flight and giving them an interactive introduction to the aviation industry.
From 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., I and other female aviators will pilot helicopters and fixed-wing craft to take hundreds of girls and women — we are anticipating around 1,500 — for free flights above Langley.
Members of renowned Fraser Blues Formation Demonstration Team will be among the pilots. To be eligible, passengers cannot have flown before in a small plane; commercial airline flights are OK.
But while the free flights are for eligible females only, the entire community — guys too — is invited to explore aircraft, meet the crews, visit with outstanding women in the aviation industry, and enjoy educational activities, contests, and displays.
I have been a bush pilot for more than 20 years, and my goal is to encourage more girls and women to think about working in a fascinating and lucrative industry that has traditionally been dominated by males.
I hope that this event will inspire women and girls to seriously think about careers as pilots, air traffic controllers, mechanics, or aeronautical engineers.
As a matter of interest, less than two per cent of aircraft maintenance engineers are women and less than six per cent of commercial pilots are women. In the Royal Canadian Air Force, about three per cent are women, and among aerospace engineers, less than 10 per cent are women.
The pace at which people have registered is exhilarating, but there are still a few days for people to register at www.girlsfly2.ca.
In 2012, this event won the Yellowknife Airport the title of ‘Most‐Female‐Pilot‐Friendly Airport Worldwide’ and became the largest single event of its kind in the history of Women of Aviation Worldwide Week. (WOAW is a global outreach initiative centered around International Women’s Day and promotes the advancement of women in the aviation and aerospace industries).
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.
I’m expecting 1,500 passengers and as many as 3,500 other participants at Langley Regional Airport, and anticipate that this will be the largest event of its kind ever held in Canada.
Visit facebook.com/SkysNoLimitGirlsFlyToo and follow us on Twitter @GirlsFly_Too.