One name always comes to mind––Amelia Earhart––when thinking about female aviators. But, hundreds of women have made their mark by taking flight over the last century around the world.
On Sept. 23, past and present fabulous flying females were recognized as part of Women in Aviation International (WAI) Day 2017. That same day, Girls in Aviation Day activities also took place around the globe, including here in Corpus Christi with area Girl Scouts exploring the possibility of becoming aviators or finding a related field that supports the industry.
Over 70 girls from 17 different troops with the Girl Scouts of Greater South Texas (GSGST) crawled inside aircraft used for training Del Mar College (DMC) Aviation Maintenance Technology majors during local activities at the Corpus Christi International Airport (CCIA) in the Del Mar Hangar. Activities ranged from learning about aerodynamics and weather patterns that impact flight to Girl Scouts getting their hands on the controls of different aircraft and the CCIA’s fire truck to learning more about HALO-Flight and their critical life-saving mission. DMC faculty and students and representatives from CCIA, the National Weather Service and HALO-Flight taught these sessions.
Saturday marked the second year that DMC, CCIA and GSGST collaborated to offer this opportunity.
“Girls in Aviation Day allows young girls to connect, explore, experience and become inspired by the aviation and aerospace industry and the many routes that the field can offer,” saaid Cristin Klaus, DMC Aviation Maintenance Technology instructor and program coordinator and one of the event organizers. “As a young girl, my grandmother earned her pilot’s license and exposed me to her passion for the skies and anything that flies. Although I didn’t follow the same route, that exposure led me to my final destination to teach Aviation Maintenance Technology at Del Mar College.”
Klaus noted that many different fields are related to aviation including jobs as pilots, mechanics, air traffic controllers, dispatchers and meteorologists or working in airport fire and rescue, avionics, non-destructive testing, Geographic Information Systems or aeronautical engineering, among other fields.
During Girls in Aviation Day, organizers assigned each Girl Scout to one of five flights (groups named after airlines: American, Southwest, United, Delta and JetBlue), who then followed their flight schedule for 40-minite sessions that exposed them to many career possibilities.
This year marks the third WAI Girls in Aviation Day around the world. While local girls didn’t earn an official Girl Scout badge for participating, organizers gave each girl a commemorative CCIA patch for completing the day’s activities.
A statement from the GSGST said, “The program gives Girl Scouts an opportunity to explore and discover their interests in STEM fields. Girls in Aviation teaches our girls that the sky is the limit and encourages interest in aviation as a career.”
On Sept. 19, Mayor Joe McComb issued a proclamation declaring Sept. 23 as Girls in Aviation Day in Corpus Christi, recognizing the contributions women have made in the aviation and aerospace industry and encouraging young women to pursue careers in these fields.
“We feel like we have a responsibility to showcase the world of airports and aviation to young people in our community,” said CCIA Chief of Public Safety John Hyland. “There are so many exciting avenues to explore, and we have them all here for these girls to experience.”
IN THE PHOTO: As part of exploration activities during Girls in Aviation 2017 at the Corpus Christ International Airport, Girl Scout Jaycee Gonzalez gets behind the controls of a helicopter used by DMC Aviation Maintenance Technology students for training at the Del Mar Hangar.