Local News

Sky Is Limit For Future Female Aviators

Posted March 18, 2003 1:48 a.m. EST

— Two brothers built a plane and developed powered flight nearly 100 years ago. Since then, it has been a male-dominated industry. But that is changing.

Patty Wagstaff, a well-known aerobatic pilot, hopes to inspire young girls to take flight.

"Opportunities for women in aviation are definitely opening up. There's no question about that," she said. "There are a lot more students, a lot more girls that know there are opportunities in aviation."

Opportunity is what an exhibit at the Wright Brothers Memorial is all about. For 10-year-old Josie Carmona, it is an opportunity to gear up for a future of flying helicopters.

"After this I wanted to fly Apaches, but now that I think about it, this is really heavy," she said of the military aircraft.

For most of the girls attending the exhibit, it is their first chance to see, touch and learn what its like to pilot the machines.

"It would be very powerful. You would have a lot of power in your hands and have control and feel like you can actually do something because you can work something like that," Carmona said.

"It might be only 1 percent of the girls that come today that are inspired to do something, but that 1 percent has at least been exposed to it. So I think that's the really important thing," Wagstaff said.

As the sun sets on the first 100 years of aviation, a new day will dawn for women in aviation.

"I think everybody can see in 100 years of aviation we've come a long way in aviation. It's truly amazing," Wagstaff said.