Kitson wins First-to-Solo challenge

During the 2013 Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week — March 4-10 — that attracted more than 17,000 girls and women to air and space facilities across four continents, pilots flew balloons, ultralights, airplanes, seaplanes, and helicopters to introduce 5,316 girls and women to the magic of flight in a small aircraft with the hope to spark many vocations.

More than 77% of the girls and women attending said they would consider undertaking an activity in aviation for pleasure or for a career as a result of their experience.

To encourage them to take the next step, the Institute for Women Of Aviation Worldwide holds an annual First-to-Solo Challenge to reward the first eligible girl or woman that solos with a prize.

The 2013 prize package worth more than $700 includes a Sennheiser S1 Passive headset, equipment needed for the cross-country phase of training, gold plated pilot wings, and Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week gear such as the official all-season jacket and the official backpack.

St Andrews Airport located in the greater Winnipeg area, Manitoba, Canada, won the 2013 “Most Female Pilot Friendly Airport Worldwide” title when the aviation community rallied around event organizer, Jill Oakes, to introduce 680 girls and women to flying during the week. Among the lucky first time flyers was Lindsay Kitson.

“I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of flight, but never imagined I could actually do it myself,” said Kitson in the form required to become eligible for the First-to-Solo Challenge. “I realized that the only reason I had never tried was because I was afraid people would laugh at me for wanting to. And once I realized that, then I couldn’t not try.”

At the time, Kitson was planning on starting flight lessons at the beginning of April. Instead, she began flying lessons at Harv’s Air, one of the iWOAW Certified Women Friendly Training centers, just two days after her first flight.

On April 17, Sandra Proulx, an experienced Harv’s Air Class 1 flight instructor, knew that Kitson was ready to fly the Cessna 152 alone. So, she stepped out of the airplane to watch Kitson fly and land the airplane on her own perfectly.

“I’ve always loved teaching, and sharing my love of flying with others is why I’m still instructing 9 years later,” said Proulx. “Lindsay has been very focused in getting her flight training done. She always comes prepared for her lessons and is very active in her learning. We are working at basically a full-time schedule. I anticipate that if things continue, we should have her private pilot flight test completed by the end of the month.”

“We congratulate Lindsay Kitson, Sandra Proulx, Harv’s Air and the entire St Andrews Airport Community for this amazing success,” says Mireille Goyer, President of the Institute for Women Of Aviation Worldwide. “While many believe that a never-ending string of scholarship offerings will foster aviation vocations, we, at the Institute for Women Of Aviation Worldwide, are demonstrating that vocations are born from passion instead. It is our true privilege to reward passionate individuals with a can-do attitude with the many prizes that our member-partners and friends make available annually to participants of Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week.”

On May 5, the St Andrews Airport community is holding an award ceremony from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Lyncrest Airport to celebrate its multiple achievements in association with Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week and present its trophies to the public.

The Institute for Women Of Aviation Worldwide (iWOAW) is a not-for-profit consortium of businesses and organizations from around the world whose mission is to foster diversity in the air and space industry through outreach, education, and advocacy.

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Above: (left to right) Lindsay Kitson and Sandra Proulx

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