Women In Aviation Gathering Flies High

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The 18th annual Women in Aviation International (WAI) conference closed on a high note Saturday night after the three-day event broke the record books. More than 3,200 attendees packed the exhibit hall at Disney's Coronado Springs Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., and the association sold 214 booth spaces, up from last year's 180 spaces. On Saturday night, more than $375,000 in scholarships was awarded at the closing banquet. WAI also inducted three new members into its Pioneer Hall of Fame -- Major Deanna Bresseur, one of the first three women to earn their wings in the Canadian Forces in 1981; Iris Cummings Critchell, a 1940 graduate of the first Civilian Pilot Training Program at the University of Southern California; and Marie Marvingt, an Olympic gold medalist and the third wom an in the world to earn a fixed wing pilotís license. The conference gave members a chance to network, and many of the exhibitors were recruiting for engineers, managers, pilots and aviation marketing professionals. The next WAI confab will be held in March 2008 in San Diego.