Locals Win Worldwide Competition by Jasmine Gordon

Archived in the category: Announcements, General Info
Posted by Joyce Rhyne on 16 Apr 15 - 0 Comments
The pilots and volunteers who organized this year’s WOAW event in Albuquerque.

The pilots and volunteers who organized this year’s WOAW event in Albuquerque.

Back in 2011, I was introduced to the Fly It Forward Challenge™ which is hosted by Women Of Aviation Worldwide (WOAW). The challenge is a week-long event which is concentrated around March 8th, International Women’s Day. WOAW conducts multiple contests and challenges to engage the female population and the industry. The annual Fly It Forward™ Challenge rewards the aviation communities and individuals who conduct the most Fly It Forward™ flights during the week. Rules designed to ensure validity of data are strictly enforced to determine the winners among events and pilots registered for the competition.

The week addresses a key barrier to women’s participation in the industry’s technical fields, namely the lack of awareness of aviation and aerospace opportunities available to them. The number of females which comprise the pilot population is a shockingly low number — 6%!

We embraced the challenge and since then have introduced over 1,525 girls and ladies to aviation via their first flight in a private plane or helicopter at three different airports in Texas: Calhoun County Airport, Victoria Regional Airport and Palacios Municipal Airport.

This year we took the challenge to the Albuquerque International Sunport in New Mexico and had the most successful year thus far! In one week our pilots; Dianna Stanger, Ramona Cox, Bobbie Lind, Zack Herrera, Art Tangen, Lanny Tobbing and Darrick Coffield were able to deliver 712 documented flights to local girls and women at Del Sol Aviation. Guests also had the opportunity to meet commercial pilots, peruse industry booths, and thanks to the Air Force’s celebration of 100 years of female pilots in combat, explore an HC-130. Albuquerque is the first event location to count slightly more female Fly It Forward™ pilots than males since the beginning of the initiative.

Over 225 students from local schools and colleges attended the event along with 258 Girl Scouts from the New Mexico Trails troops.

“This was the first time that the Fly It Forward Challenge™ came to New Mexico and I’m really glad I took the opportunity to take some of my female students there so they could experience flying in the aircraft,” said Raquel Foxx, 8th grade teacher at Van Buren Middle School. “All of the people that were there helping my students were super helpful and very nice. If you have not had the opportunity to go and do this I would definitely recommend it.”

I’m very proud to tell you our team is of more than 40,000 who participated in female-centric events organized on four continents to celebrate the 5th annual Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week, March 3rd–8th.

The countless hours of preparation paid off as our team flew away with multiple wins! Dianna Stanger of Port Lavaca was awarded “Most Dedicated Female Pilot Worldwide”. She conducted 111 flights to introduce 441 girls and women. Since 2011, Stanger has introduced 900 girls and women to flying as part of the Fly It Forward™ Challenge and has won the title 3 times. Ramona Cox was awarded the first runner-up in the same category and introduced 164 girls and women to their first flight.

Winner of the Most Dedicated Female Pilot award, Dianna Stanger with Miss Santa Fe, Ashley Fresquez.

Winner of the Most Dedicated Female Pilot award, Dianna Stanger with Miss Santa Fe, Ashley Fresquez.

We also brought back the title of “Most Female Pilot Friendly Airport Worldwide” to the US. The title identifies the aviation community that introduces the most girls and women to flying in a small aircraft during the week and was awarded to the Albuquerque International Sunport. No American aviation community has qualified for this title since Frederick, MD, won the title in 2011.

I was very excited to win the Event Organizer Contest. The WOAW organizer contest is designed to reward the most outstanding organizers, specifically the individuals who take the lead in their community and spend countless hours organizing, motivating, nurturing, and rallying their communities are priceless but too often unsung. I was also awarded first runner-up in last year’s organizer contest and “Most Creative Aviation Advocate” in 2011.

At the end of the day making a difference is what truly matters; but winning a worldwide competition solidifies all of the dedication, time and effort so many people put into making this year’s event happen! We swept the titles from Canada, Australia and other locations around the world.

We are already planning 2016’s event, can you guess where we’re headed next?!?

Winner of the Event Organizer contest, Jasmine Gordon, with Girl Scout, Aislinn Granzin.

Winner of the Event Organizer contest, Jasmine Gordon, with Girl Scout, Aislinn Granzin.

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