Kirsten Brazier is organizing a Women of Aviation World Wide Week event here in Yellowknife called “Skies No Limit - Girls Fly Too” and she is doing it all by herself.
Brazier said that only around five to six per cent of pilots in North America are women, something she wants to change.
“I’ve lived all over the North, bush flying on both floats and skis, and a lot of the time, in fact, I would say most of the time, I’ve been the only woman for a great distance around me,” she said. “I just find that really disappointing.”
Brazier attributes the low numbers to women not seeing it as a possible career for them and she hopes the event next month will open girls up to the idea.
She said girls ages eight to 19 will have the chance to take a free helicopter ride to show them the joys of flying.
“There’s something really incredible that happens when you put someone in an aircraft that they’ve never flown in before and it’s just the most magical thing,” she said. “It’s just like a Disney experience. You can’t even put it into words, but it usually results in a huge smile.”
She hopes to take 500 girls for a ride during the event.
CJCD Mix 100 News
Not that long ago, someone asked if I had heard of Women of Aviation Worldwide Week. I hadn't, so I checked out the link I was given: http://www.womenofaviationweek.org
Imagine my surprise when I discovered the initiative is being run by a Canadian, and fellow Ninety-Nine! The Ninety-Nines, for those who don't know, is an international organization of women pilots and I am a member.
Mireille Goyer was spurred into action after the centennial of the first woman pilot to be licensed in the world (March 8, 1910), came and went without notice. You can read about her here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raymonde_de_Laroche As you browse the WOAW website, remind yourself often that one woman's passion to make a change, and make a difference is the driving force behind all you see. Mireille has inspired and motivated many women to remember our roots, examine the persisting shortage of women in aviation and to participate in this worldwide initiative to increase women's awareness of this exciting place to be!
Those of us in professional aviation are usually acutely aware of how rare we are, and it's fair to say that most of us do our best to mentor and support those around us. But whatever we're doing isn't enough, because the number of professional women pilots in both Canada and the US remains steady at 5-6%. In other countries, and other trades the number is even lower. Transport Canada doesn't publish numbers for Aircraft Engineers, but the FAA does and the numbers indicate only 2% of licensed engineers are women. From personal experience, working across Canada as a bush pilot for the past 17 years, female engineers are few and far between and I'd say our numbers are at least that low. A representative of the Canadian Forces stated that the female representation of the average Air Force unit is only 3% - clearly the shortage of women is across the board.
On March 5-11, 2012 - across the world, and incorporating the anniversary of the first ever licensed woman pilot, and International Women's Day - is Women of Aviation Worldwide Week. The goal is for women everywhere to set up an event - big or small - and introduce women to any aspect of aviation.
My WOAW event in Yellowknife consists of challenging the Fly It Forward title for Most Female Friendly Airport in the World. You can read about how to earn this title on the WOAW website. The invitations have gone out through the schools, on the airwaves and by word of mouth - my goal is to fly 500 girls by helicopter in one day! The objective of the whole event is education and outreach. I want to inspire and excite the girls attention and interest with the free helicopter ride, paid for by local sponsors, but once there the girls will meet a powerful cadre of women leaders, including Tracy Medve, President of Canadian North. On hand will also be a static display of aircraft and crews for the girls and their families to interact with. Soon I will be able to release the information regarding Canadian Forces involvement - they are working hard to supply the aircraft, crews and VIP I have requested. Anyone who is in Yellowknife on that day is welcome to attend - girls between the ages of 8-19 must register in advance for a free helicopter ride as well as provide a signed parental consent form available on the event website.
You can read about my Yellowknife, Northwest Territories event here: http://www.girlsfly2.ca I encourage any woman involved in aviation anywhere in the world to do us all proud and arrange an event - big or small - to participate in Women of Aviation Worldwide Week!
If anyone is in Yellowknife and would like to volunteer their time on Saturday March 10, please pm me!
http://www.cbc.ca/video/#/Radio/Local_S ... 2200943516
Jesus, even I'm a bit cynical at times but.....seriously man?EDITED
Sounds like a great way to introduce young women to aviation. Most of the other female pilots that I know have parents involved in aviation, maybe programs like this would help bring in those who would never have been exposed to it otherwise. Good stuff
Why throw out such a negative comment on a thread about getting young people involved in aviation? Everybody wins here. The local sponsors contribute to their community and likely benefit from having their name associated with the event; Kirsten is contributing to her community, getting involved with local young people, being a positive influence and role model, and yes.....logging some time; and most importantly, some young girls are getting some exposure to aviation and possibly a future career.CLguy wrote:EDITEDmy goal is to fly 500 girls by helicopter in one day! The objective of the whole event is education and outreach. I want to inspire and excite the girls attention and interest with the free helicopter ride, paid for by local sponsors,
It's all GOOD!
In all we flew 418 girls on the day of the event, and a total of 422 in conjunction with the event. On April 4, I will be able to announce whether we were successful in winning The Most Female Pilot Friendly Airport in the World Trophy for the Yellowknife airport.
My helicopter was turning and burning for 6 hours and 15 minutes that day (I only got out once for a quick pee while someone held the controls), and it never got tiring to watch each new load of girls transformed by their experience. Some of the younger girls sang for the whole 10 minute flight, others giggled and laughed, some were simply quiet with awe.
Nav Canada was great to work with - we had several meetings about how best to conduct the continuous flights of four helicopters - and the advance planning paid off in spades. We were able to operate smoothly all day without delay, and without impacting other aircraft operations. Not bad considering we collectively did over 90 flights.
The girls got to sit in the cockpit of the 737, the Jetstream, the DC-3 and the Aurora. Unfortunately two other aircraft donors neglected to staff their aircraft with crew, which was disappointing, but the girls never noticed. The Aurora crew was fantastic, and it was nice to get a personal tour at the end of the event since I was busy flying all day! We had several really neat VIPs chatting up the girls as they waited for their free flight.
Soon the domain http://www.girlsfly2.ca will point to a website hosting all the pictures as well as a promo video from the event, and the site will serve as a permanent outreach to girls/women in the NWT/Nunavut (or anywhere else for that matter) where girls can reach out for information, and find out about available scholarships. On that note, it looks like the event raised enough money to fund a scholarship, and I will be able to confirm this shortly.
I've already been approached by several sponsors to do this again next year! A lot of people contributed to making this a successful event, and I am pleased beyond words to see the positive effect being part of the event had on everyone. Hopefully more people will be willing to organize an event - big or small - for Women of Aviation Worldwide Week next year and if you're in Yellowknife next March, please volunteer!