This press release was received by Thirty Thousand Feet:
Calhoun Air Center Soars Above and Beyond
Port Lavaca, Texas - March 8, 2011 marked the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, in celebration, the aviation community proclaimed the entire week to be Women of Aviation Worldwide Week (WOAW). Calhoun Air Center embraced the main goal of the event which was to show females worldwide that they care capable of achieving their dreams; specifically that a career in aviation is an advantageous outlet for them.
This weekend, airport manager, Dianna Stanger offered free helicopter rides to 104 passengers from our community, of those 98 were females! “It was two fantastic days of girls and women in every age group!” commented Stanger. “Mrs. Annette Pfeil, 79 years old, was by far one of the most unique women to take flight. She had this on her bucket list to fly in a helicopter; she loved it so much she flew both days!”
Indeed, Annette returned on Sunday with her great grandson, Mason Taylor and his cousin, Ellea Boyd. Mrs. Pfeil said, “I thought, ‘This is too good to pass up!’ It was a great family experience and they’ll have a lot to say when they go back to school next week. It was a wonderful experience, I really enjoyed the ride, it’s neat to see Port Lavaca from the air, a whole different view. I loved being able to look down and see the buildings, their shapes and in the bay you could see all of the shallow areas.”
The air center emphasized the multiple options available to kids and girls. “The main goal of the event was to give back to those young women who are volunteering their time to better themselves and their communities and to introduce them to a portion of society that is severely under populated by female participants.” said flight school manager, Steve Plunkett. In fact, female aviators only make up six percent of the total pilot demographic which can be vastly improved!
They concentrated on two organizations, the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) and Girls with Wings (GWW). The EAA has a summer camp, an array of awards and scholarships for kids interested in aviation. The girls were given the opportunity to use this flight as their Young Eagles First Flight, which is a part of the EAA, and have their names entered into the world’s largest logbook plus gain access to a wealth of aeronautical knowledge tailored to youth aspiring towards a life involving aviation including scholarship funding that can be applied directly towards flight training costs.
One passenger, 15-year-old Grace Carr said, “I haven’t researched if it was possible to find scholarships, but yesterday I filled out a form for EAA Young Eagles, and the air center sent me home with a packet about learning to fly and Girls With Wings, so it\'s awesome.”
GWW opens the world of aviation up to young women and is a fantastic way for girls to find a mentor pilot in their area, follow the online education process to get active in aviation and has a scholarship program available. Both groups have fantastic websites that are gold mines of information to keep young people interested in aviation.
Dianna proudly stated, “It was an eye opener to many of the girls to ride in a helicopter. They had the opportunity to fall in love with flying; that was heartwarming to share my love of aviation with so many others who could do it too.”
Many of the girls and women had never been on a helicopter, for some their excitement was uncontrollable. Michele Kuester saw the advertisements and decided to treat her daughter to an unforgettable experience.
Michele said, “My daughter, McKinsey was in complete AWE of the whole experience. Dianna was so inspiring, so encouraging and the love she has for flying just radiated from her. When we drove away from the airport McKinsey said ‘Mom, that was soooooooo cool…when I grow up I want to be just like Miss Dianna and fly helicopters too!’ Not only did it open my daughter’s eyes to a whole new career option it was literally a once in a lifetime experience.”
Everyone at Calhoun Air Center is glad that the mission they set out to accomplish was achieved far beyond their expectations. As the girls’ left the airport, their beaming faces were overwhelming.
Calhoun Air Center - PKV
4876 FM 3084
Port Lavaca, Texas 77979