Warrenton-Fauquier Airport held its annual Women Can Fly event on Saturday, June 24. Despite low ceilings in the morning and a weather hold in the afternoon, 156 people were able to experience a flight in a private plane with a volunteer pilot.
The inaugural Women Can Fly event was launched in 2013 in Virginia, co-sponsored by The Ninety-Nines, Inc. (International Organization of Women Pilots), the Virginia Department of Aviation and participating airports. In addition to free flights, attendees also had the opportunity to explore various static aircraft displays and participate in a Women Can Build activity to learn about aircraft construction and maintenance.
“We were able to introduce hundreds of ladies to some really great aspects of aviation, and those of us that have been in aviation for a while got to spend the day sharing something we love with people eager to learn more,” event coordinator Sarah Patten said.
Today, female pilots represent only 7% of the total pilot population. This low number stems, in part, from women not being aware of all that aviation has to offer. Women Can Fly aims to improve this statistic by providing information with hands-on experiences to encourage participants to fly recreationally, become a private pilot, or pursue a career in aviation.
“Judging by the smiles we saw on so many faces this past weekend, I suspect there are now a few more future female pilots in the making, and a few more faces out there that will look up and smile when they see a small plane pass by,” Patten said.
There will be another Women Can Fly event at the Military Aviation Museum on Saturday, September 9 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Complimentary flights will be available for all girls and women who register.