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Do Women Pilots Have A Place In Aviation?

by John M. White |  | 1 comment

When I first began my flying career it was very rare to find women involved in aviation in any capacity. However, over the years more and more women have begun to discover what a great career flying can be. The truth is that women have been involved in aviation since the very beginning. In 1908 Madame Therese Peltier of France becomes the first woman to fly an airplane solo and the first woman to receive a pilot's license. In the United States on September 2nd 1910 Blanche Stuart Scott, without permission or knowledge of Glenn Curtiss, the airplane's owner and builder, removes a small wood wedge and is able to get the airplane airborne -- without any flying lessons -- thus becoming the first American woman to pilot an airplane 5 years after the first flight by the Wright Brothers. WASP Pilots From WWII


Jacqueline Cochran was an early female pilot who took a very strong stand during World War II to convince President Roosevelt and General Hap Arnold of the value of women pilots to the war effort. Her first assignment was to fly in England ferrying aircraft to forward air bases freeing up male pilots for aerial combat. In 1943 the WASP (Womens Airforce Service Pilots) came into existence on August 4th, training 1,074 women to fly military aircraft and support the war effort. Of these, 38 women pilots died flying during World War II. In 1977 these women were recognized with veteran status, and given the Congressional Gold Medal in 2009. Unfortunately, many of these women left aviation never to return after the conclusion of the war.

Female Student Pilots

Over my career I had the privilege of flying with a number of women who were pursuing their pilot's license, all of whom completed their training and won their Private Pilot's license. Each of these students were unique, but among the most determined and dedicated students I ever had. For example, I recall one of my female student pilots who had figured out she was getting close to solo. In a startling conversation she informed me that she - not I - would determine exactly when she should solo! Of course I went along with this, and she went on to receive the best compliments from an examiner I have ever received for one of my recommended students.

Barriers To Completing Flight Training For Female Student Pilots

Max Trescott, 2008 National CFI of the Year, wrote an interesting article discussing the barriers women encounter in completing their flight training titled "Female Student Pilots – Barriers to Completing Flight Training". In this article Max concludes that flight schools should provide extra attention and support to female student pilots and consider matching female students with female CFIs when possible.

A Successful Woman Pilot Is Interviewed

For example, you can read my post and listen to my podcast interview about "Who Else Would Like To Fly For The Regional Airlines?" where I interview Susan Sherman, a young woman who flies for Horizon Aviation, a regional air carrier. Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7 ps: Don't forget to sign up for our newsletter "All Things Aviation" here!

Comments (1)

  • Adam on June 24, 2019

    I think it’s great more and more women are discovering aviation and the joy that it can hold. When I entered the service in 1996 in the four years that I was there I don’t ever remember seeing a single female fighter pilot. Now I actually see them a lot. I think it’s an awesome thing. Women are just as capable of flying as men are in my opinion and I feel that in the future we will more and more female’s behind sticks/yokes of an airplane.

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