Women Pilots Expand Their AirVenture Presence

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photo by Mary Grady
The 2008 WomenVenture gathering featured pink shirts, whereas this year's featured blue ones.

If you want to get a bunch of pilots together, there aren't many better places to do that than AirVenture at Oshkosh, and this week women aviators worked hard to make the most of that opportunity. On Friday afternoon, the ad hoc effort called WomenVenture orchestrated its second-annual gathering of all the women pilots at Oshkosh, donning blue T-shirts for a photo shoot at Aeroshell Square. About 550 women, with all kinds of pilot certificates from student to ATP to military pilots and astronauts, showed up for the shoot, about 5 to 10 percent more than last year, according to EAA. The event is not only about building camaraderie, said Peggy Chabrian, president of Women in Aviation International, one of the organizers -- it's also meant to help the pilot community to grow. "As these women are walking around in their T-shirts, hopefully other women and children will go up to them and talk to them about what this is all about," Chabrian said. "Hopefully this event will spark interest in aviation for women. It tells them it's OK to be involved."

The WomenVenture project also featured an all-woman airshow on Friday, featuring Patty Wagstaff, Debby Rihn-Harvey, Julie Clark, and a long list of other women, and an evening program at Theater in the Woods with NASA astronaut Eileen Collins, Martha King of King Schools, the aerobatic performers, and others. Click here to learn more about WomenVenture, which also offers a weeklong educational experience for high school girls, in conjunction with the show.