The theme for the 21st Annual International Women in Aviation (WAI) Conference, held Feb. 25-27 in Orlando, Florida, was “Aviation: It’s a Small World,” but, by the tone, composition and look of the conference, the theme could have been “Aviation: It’s a Diverse World,” organizers said.
With more than double the international attendees than at past conferences — representing 20 countries — this year’s event drew nearly 3,000 attendees from all areas, disciplines and interests that make up the aviation community. Military, airline and corporate aviation interests were represented along with those individuals immersed in history, maintenance, research, academics, engineering, and more.
“The increased participation of individuals from all over the world added to the impact of this conference,” said WAI President Dr. Peggy Chabrian. “The diversity of participants, career paths and interests is what makes this international conference so special.”
Highlights of the conference included:
- The Exhibit Hall displayed 125 companies and organizations, representing all aspects of the aviation community.
- $678,300 in scholarships was distributed to WAI members from university students to mature members seeking a mid-life career change to aviation.
- The silent auction raised $18,315 for WAI’s Endowment Fund, bringing the total in the fund to more than $650,000. The money in the WAI Endowment Fund is used for scholarships and educational programs.
- EAA confirmed that it will host WomenVenture for the third consecutive year during the 2010 EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. WomenVenture is a celebration of women’s achievements in flight designed to attract more women to all aspects of aviation.
- Five women were inducted into WAI’s International Pioneer Hall of Fame, including Trish Beckman, who, among many accomplishments, was the first woman to qualify as a crewmember in the F-15E program; Vice Admiral Vivien Crea, the most senior ranking woman in the history of the United States Coast Guard; Suzanna Darcy-Hennemann, the chief training pilot for The Boeing Co.; Alice du Pont Mills, who received her pilot’s license in 1929 when she was 18 years old; and Kathy Sullivan, a member of the first Space Shuttle astronaut class and the first American woman to walk in space.
The 22nd Annual International Women in Aviation Conference will be held at Grand Sierra Resort and Casino, Reno, Nevada, Feb. 24-26, 2011. For more information: WAI.org.