September 24th, 2016
I had the opportunity for the second year in a row to help with Women in Aviation International’s Girls in Aviation Day with the local chapter, Stars of the North. We had over 1,500 attendees registered with at least a few hundred signed up for EAA Young Eagles plane rides. While the weather didn’t cooperate for the rides to take off, the pilots got to teach important lessons about flight planning and being prepared to the hopeful future aviators.
Down on the event ramp, there were nearly any sort of aircraft on static display – Endeavor Airlines brought in a CRJ-900, Cirrus flew a SR-22 down from Duluth, Bemiji brought down a Queen Air, an Air Boss and Brainerd flew in a medivac helicopter, a private owner flew in his L-39 Albatross; we had an Eclipse jet, and finally a Piper trainer from Mankato with the search plane from Civil Air Patrol (and that’s just hitting the high points, and doesn’t include the grounded VFR planes and fly bys that couldn’t fly in, like Wings of the North’s P51 and Stearman, and the CAF’s historic planes!)
In addition to the statics, we had a full house to hear local meteorologist Belinda Jensen talk about her children’s book series ‘Bel the Weather Girl’, followed by keynote speaker Elizabeth McCormick – Army Blackhawk pilot, author, and overall awesome person – with whom I got to share a funny story and laugh 😎 Finally, the 2015 GIAD event was popular enough that the President of WAI had to join us for the 2016 event, to see for herself how Stars of the North celebrates the day. Thank you, Dr Peggy Chabrian, for coming to MN for the weekend!
The event was completed by exhibitors who came in to tell the attendees about what really brought us all together – aviation – and why we love the industry that we do, and how the attendees can seek out careers in the field that they will love.
The weeks leading up to GIAD were busy. Lots of prep, lots of changes to the plans we had made, and even more amazing people collaborating on ideas made this event happen.
Being able to share this passion with others makes the hard work even more worthwhile.
Thanks again to Stars of the North for holding this event, to the sponsors for making this event happen, and to the attendees for continuing to relight the excitement for the industry that I love so much.
A special thanks to JETPUBS, Sun Country Airlines, Subway, Wings Financial Credit Union, AV For You, Larry Grace Photography, and the many more generous sponsors who helped make the event possible!