Women in Aviation‘s 2020 conference, held March 5-7 in Orlando, hosted a record number of attendees and exhibitors, according to officials.
The conference’s total attendance of nearly 4,500 included people from 31 countries, including Nigeria, Canada, Ghana, Australia, Iceland, and others.
Attendees were 70% women and 30% men, WAI officials noted.
The exhibit hall hosted 180 separate companies and organizations, representing all aspects of the aviation community.
According to association officials, 151 scholarships were distributed to WAI members at every stage of life for academic use, lifestyle enhancement, and flight training, including type ratings. A total of $831,365 in scholarships were awarded, which put the total scholarships awarded since 1995 to more than $13 million.
The three-day conference also featured an array of speakers and education sessions.
“I was inspired to meet so many engaging members and corporations that believe in our WAI mission to continue creating and growing programs to assist with our members’ personal and professional development,” says newly appointed CEO Allison McKay. “Together we can ensure that the aviation industry has the talent needed for a vibrant and sustainable future.”
A highlight of every conference is the induction of women into WAI’s International Pioneer Hall of Fame. This year’s inductees include: Maj. Gen. Jeannie Leavitt, commander, U.S. Air Force Recruiting Service, and the first U.S. Air Force female fighter pilot; Patty Wagner, an airshow legend, multi-rated pilot, and a devoted WAI volunteer; and The U.S. Army’s First Women Rotary Wing Aviators, a group of nine female helicopter pilots who represent the first women in rotary-wing aviation to serve in the U.S. Army. These four lieutenants and five warrant officers proved women had a place in military aviation and blazed the trail forward for future generations of Army women.
Girls in Aviation Day Orlando
On Saturday, March 7, 250 girls, along with their chaperones, were hosted by more than 100 WAI volunteers, at Girls in Aviation Day Orlando at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. The girls, ages 8-17, visited 20 activity stations, heard about 10 different aviation careers from a career panel, met role models, and simply had fun while they learned about aviation, WAI officials report.
The older girls had the opportunity to meet with college representatives, including those from U.S. Air Force Academy, California Aeronautical University, Cochise Community College, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Jacksonville University, Kent State University, Liberty University, Ohio University, St. Louis University, University of Dubuque, University of North Dakota, and more. Each participant earned a WAI Aviation Girl Fun Patch.
You can view all the video from the WAI Annual Conference in Orlando, including Girls in Aviation Day 2020 and the opening conference video, on the WAI YouTube Channel.
The 32nd annual International Women in Aviation Conference will be held March 11-13, 2021, at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center in Reno, Nevada.