A Rare Challenge At The Gliding Grand Prix

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And although 19 percent of the Air Force's pilots are women, there are probably lots of female military "firsts" left. But it's sometimes a little surprising, in this day and age, for the powder-room door to open for the first time in civilian flying. However, Mette Pedersen, of Denmark, will be the first woman to compete against men in the New Zealand Gliding Gran Prix Jan. 21 to Jan. 27. Now, even Pedersen, the current world women's champion, seems to wonder why there's been a gender gap at this level. "Physically, there is nothing limiting me to performing as well as the men," she noted. But there was also some giddiness there. "Being a girl in a man's world is always special," she said. Pedersen, who's 28, has been gliding for 15 years and has a BSc in chemical engineering. She's left the lab to devote all of her time to training, competing and instructing young pilots at her club. The New Zealand competition will take place at Omarama and the final three days are open to the public.