Aviation store owner LAPilotGirl is celebrating women pilots and student pilot scholarships aimed at encouraging women and other underrepresented groups to pursue their dreams of aviation. As a member of the Los Angeles Chapter of the 99s, the International Organization of Women Pilots, LAPilotGirl deeply understands the importance of encouraging and celebrating women pilots, who have long been underrepresented in aviation spaces. Not that they’ve been absent. From early aircraft designer and builder E Lillian Todd in 1906 to Helen Richey, who, in 1934, became the first woman to fly as a pilot for a US commercial airline, women have been present in roles across the aviation industry since the very beginning of flight. They have not been equally represented, however. Only six percent of the total pilot population is women, to show one example. Because of the extra challenges they face as women in an industry dominated and often controlled by men, a number of organizations have popped up to support the needs of women pilots and women elsewhere in the aviation industry.
One such example is the Ninety-Nines, which was founded in 1929 when a group of women pilots recognized a need for mutual support, to encourage the advancement of women in aviation. They also wanted to create a central office that would collect and store information about women in aviation. While membership in this organization was initially limited to women who were licensed pilots, they have recently opened membership to include women with student pilot certificates, as a way of continuing to encourage the next generation of women pilots. With chapters serving women pilots around the world, the 99s have provided many women pilots the support they need to thrive. LAPilotGirl, who designs and sells pilot apparel in addition to being a private pilot, has stayed active in her local chapter by organizing fly-in meetups for chapter members at various Southern California airports. This became especially valuable during the COVID-19 pandemic when members were looking for safe ways to connect with each other. For her efforts, LAPilotGirl was recently awarded the LA99’s first Pilot of the Year award, recognizing a member with outstanding contributions to the community.
In addition to organizations supporting women in aviation, there are also events celebrating them, such as the annual Women in Aviation conference, which has been running for over thirty years. This conference features keynote addresses, social events for guests to meet and network with each other, seminars for all kinds of information and conversations about being a pilot, and the awarding of scholarships and recognition to significant women in aviation. Events like this one can be great opportunities for women in aviation or women who are interested in aviation careers to meet other women in aviation, hear from great speakers about aviation related topics, and talk to companies and organizations that are interested in hiring and supporting them in their careers as aviators.
Thanks to the efforts of many, the number of women in all aviation related careers has been steadily increasing for the last two decades. This progress is hopeful, but there is still a long way to go before the aviation industry reaches anything resembling gender equality. LAPilotGirl hopes to continue to encourage and support the cause of women in aviation through her involvement with the Los Angeles 99s, including both her work as a fly-in chair and as the webmaster of the Palms to Pines Air Race that the LA99s are organizing. The Palms to Pines Air Race is another great celebration of women pilots, as it is a race with a 40 year history of women pilots competing to fly from Southern California to Central Oregon. LAPilotGirl also sells aviation t shirts and other products with designs expressing her love of aviation, such as pillows, mugs, and mouse pads. Anyone interested in learning more about LAPilotGirl or shopping her collection of aviation themed apparel, home goods, and office items can visit her website or contact her for more information about her products.
SOURCE: Press Advantage [Link]
LAPilotGirl, Los Angeles based female private pilot, aviation themed products online shop www.lapilotgirl.com
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