Having my dad ask me if I wanted to fly at age 13 was not a dramatic moment for me. It was a simple question he asked one night after coming home from work at the then Leesburg Regional Airport in Florida. My dad–not a pilot or even involved in the business of aviation–owned a land clearing business and had just completed a project at what is now Leesburg International Airport (KLEE).
My flight lessons began on December 12, 2001, as a birthday present just one day after I turned 13. I can still remember flying over my childhood home during an awe-inspiring discovery flight, seeing the world from that perspective for the first time, and the wonderment of it all. I remember the time it took to crank the seat in the old 1970s Cessna 172 to the highest setting and pulling it as far forward as it would go so my feet could touch the rudder pedals. I remember my initial fear of letting my feet rest on those very rudder pedals; I was worried that I might crash the whole plane (only to realize later how difficult it was to press them).
I proceeded to earn my private pilot license at age 17 on August 2, 2006, with just shy of 100 hours of flight time. My experience might have been unconventional, but it has taken more than a decade to realize the significance of the whole affair. According to the FAA 2017 Active Civil Airmen Statistics, I am in the mere 7% of female pilots in the United States. This was not impressed upon me during my training because I had an incredible female flight instructor and another incredible female FAA pilot examiner. I just felt like another person learning to fly, albeit a young person. I am shocked to learn that since earning my license in 2006, the percentage of female pilots has only increased by one meager percentage point. I am even more astonished to learn how low the percentage is overall! This is one of the reasons why we celebrate Girls in Aviation Day.
Be a part of an international event by celebrating the fourth annual Girls in Aviation Day, hosted by Women in Aviation International (WAI). On Saturday, October 13, an estimated 15,000 young ladies ages 8 to 17 will get their first taste of aviation and aerospace concepts and careers through individual events hosted by pilots and volunteers throughout 35 states and 13 countries around the world.
If you are unable to attend a Girls in Aviation Day celebration, here are some fun activities you can do to inspire future female aviators:
- Schedule a discovery flight (which typically cost less than $100) with someone from our Certified Flight Instructor directory at your local airport.
- If you’re already pilot, introduce someone who’s never experienced the wonder of flight to ride along with you.
- Try facilitating a WAI Sectional Scavenger Hunt. All you need is a sectional chart or sectional print out.
- Do a science experiment, like the WAI Lava Lamp Experiment, to teach density and polarity, to those who are not quite ready to take their feet off solid ground.
- Complete a WAI crossword puzzle packed with factoids about females of flight.
- Begin training with drones or flight simulation as an entry into aviation without having to fly a plane.
Gleim is proud to sponsor Women in Aviation International and the Ninety-Nines by providing aviation education materials to distribute at their events. There are many possibilities for young women and men to become introduced to aviation, and Gleim has all the tools needed to complete training and pass the FAA exams!
To celebrate Girls in Aviation Day, Gleim is offering a 10% discount on our Deluxe Sport Pilot Kit, Deluxe Private Pilot Kit, and Remote Pilot Kit for new customers through Friday, October 19th. Use the links to order online, or if you call us, be sure to mention “Girls in Aviation Day” to get the discount.
To keep celebrating, we want to hear from women who fly. Please share your story with Gleim by contacting us online or sharing your story on our social media pages. We might feature you in a future blog!
- Your name
- The airport where you took your first general aviation flight
- How old you were when you started flying
- How long you have been a pilot
- Which certifications you have
- Your favorite aircraft to fly
- Your favorite memory as a pilot
- How Gleim Aviation helped you
Getting started with flight training is fun and easy! A 16-year-old can get a student pilot certificate and fly an airplane solo, and lessons can be flown even earlier with an instructor. For more information on flight training, visit the Gleim Learn to Fly web page or contact our Aviation Training Consultants at 800.874.5346, ext. 471.
Written by Callie Wilkes, Gleim Aviation Marketing & STEM Coordinator
About Gleim Aviation
Since 1980, Gleim Aviation’s team of pilots, instructors, writers, designers, and programmers has helped aviators pass millions of FAA knowledge and practical tests using the unique Gleim Knowledge Transfer System. Gleim is an environmentally-friendly company headquartered in Gainesville, FL.
Promotion ends October 19, 2018 at 11:59 Eastern.