‘Girls in Aviation Day’ aimed to attract new recruits


Recruiting new generations of girls and young women to aviation and aerospace was the aim of the latest Girls in Aviation Day (GIAD) staged last week by FBO specialist Sheltair and Women in Aviation International (WAI).

A series of events at Sheltair’s Florida and Georgia FBOs introduced girls and young women (age eight to 17) to a range of careers on offer in aviation and aerospace. Allison McKay, CEO, WAI, said: “We know that introducing the next generation to positive female models in all areas of aviation will help move the needle to break barriers for women in all aviation and aerospace careers.”

Former NASA astronaut Nicole Stott, Air Race Classic pilot Bunnie Ambrose, Lakeland Operations air traffic controller Chelsie Baskins and Sheltair president Lisa Holland were four of the 20 guest speakers. The event also featured exhibits including aircraft tours, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) activities, mentorship opportunities to provide career information and ground-support workshops.

During the day, five young women received Ketty Skelton Scholarships, worth $4,000 each. Awarded by the Tampa Bay Aviation Association (TBAA), the scholarship is designed to support their career development within the industry.

WAI has more than 15,000 members dedicated to encouraging and advancing women in aviation and aerospace. This year’s event was the eighth annual GIAD aiming to bring more young girls into the industry. McKay said: “With the generous support of WAI corporate sponsors, dedicated WAI chapters and corporate members, we are … opening doors of previously unimagined opportunities in aviation and aerospace for girls around the globe,” McKay added.

Lisa Holland, president, Sheltair welcomed the opportunity to introduce a new generation of women to aviation: “Having our Sheltair network host and sponsor Girls in Aviation Day echoes our shared mission with Women in Aviation International: Empowering the future generation of aviators begins today by supporting and encouraging all who have their sights skyward.”

Sheltair also supports other educational programmes, including Embry Riddle’s Project Liftoff, aimed at developing a leadership pipeline by recruiting high-performing students from diverse backgrounds and Aerospace Centre for Excellence’s (ACE) project Skylab, the aerospace STEM educational facility. It is also co-founder of the Future Takes Flight Scholarship Program, which aims to award six annual $5000 scholarships to aspiring pilots, aviation technicians as well as students to continue education, with Avfuel.

The next generation of women aviators stand with an Airbus helicopter on Girls in Aviation Day 2022.