Sept. 27, 2023
Ensuring that young girls recognize the opportunities available to them in aviation is key to diversifying the industry in years to come – that was the message from NBAA staff and member companies participating in Girls in Aviation Day (GIAD) events around the country.
Many GIAD events took place Sept. 23, but the celebration continues throughout September and October.
“Most aviation professionals are excited to share our love of aviation with others, but it wasn’t until 9 years ago when Girls in Aviation Day was born through Women in Aviation that so many of us had a chance to share that passion for aviation with young people in our own backyards,” said Jo Damato, CAM, NBAA’s senior vice president, education, training and workforce development.
“As a young girl in New Jersey, I didn’t have any modeling,” she added. “Now, we provide that to girls around the country and it’s just so exciting to be part of.”
GIAD is geared toward girls ages 8-17 with more than 120 events in the U.S., and in countries as far as Australia and Zimbabwe. More than 16,000 attendees took advantage of the 2022 events. A free Aviation for Girls app supplements the live events with year-round educational content and scholarship information.
Lyndse Costabile, founding member of Aviation Influence, Inc. highlighted the importance of business aviation’s expanding role in GIAD events.
“Most youth tend to think ‘Southwest Airlines, Delta, United, American Airlines’ when they think about aviation; at our event – where a majority of general aviation aircraft and business jets are on display – they have an opportunity to talk with business aviation professionals about the aircraft and what their jobs entail,” said Costabile.
Costabile organizes the Greater Delaware Valley Girls in Aviation Day event, one of the original and largest GIAD events in the United States. This year’s event was planned to take place at Atlantic Aviation’s Philadelphia Northeast Airport (PNE) location with over 1,000 expected in attendance this year. Unfortunately, weather from a potential tropical storm caused organizers to postpone the event for spring 2024. NBAA will provide details on a new date for the event as they become available.
Not only do girls have an opportunity to see different aircraft and talk with pros, but they also have an opportunity to build paper airplanes, fly drones and flight simulators, learn how to read a sectional chart and participate in other hands-on STEM-related activities. Vendors and exhibitors participate for free but must offer a STEM-related learning experience.
“The girls are always so excited to visit the various booths,” said Jan Planten, NBAA’s manager, air traffic services. “I strongly encourage business aviation professionals to get involved. It feels good to provide opportunities for girls to learn from women who love aviation.”