Sunday, August 21, 2016

Women Can Fly at HWY

Remember how I mentioned event planning a few posts ago? That doesn't even scratch the surface on how I spent a large amount of my free time this spring! For a few years now, my home airport has hosted a Women Can Fly event designed to get more girls interested in aviation. (Girls make up only 6% of pilots in the US, and I can't count how often I'm the only girl around when I go to different airports. We definitely need more ladies in aviation!) I've been lucky enough to help out as an exhibitor in the past, but this year I was given the chance to step up and run the whole thing.

I luckily had some of the contact information from previous years, as well as a rough idea of how everything was set up, but it was definitely a learning experience. I had to almost start from scratch on a few aspects of the event (including marketing, which was a big ball of fun), but I kept really good notes, so next year should be much easier. There were some hiccups along the way (including the food falling through a week before the event, which was fixed by an incredibly generous airport buddy), but a pile of volunteers came out of the woodwork at the last minute and the day of the event finally arrived.

Getting started in the morning up at the flight line. We were lucky enough to have the Air Boss from the Flying Circus running the flight operations, and we had some fantastic volunteers keeping the pilots and passengers organized and safe. We really lucked out with the weather, too...the clouds were a bit low in the morning, but high enough to fly, which somehow kept all of the transient traffic away for a few hours. We basically had the airport to ourselves for the morning!

My friend Naomi was manning the ATC table in the exhibitor hangar. I grabbed her for a little while so she could check out the flight line. She put this on the table while she was away.   :)     (Huge pet peeve of controllers - making a transmission, only to hear "BLOCKED" in return, meaning someone transmitted right on top of you and nobody heard what you said.)

For as much as I pulled my hair out in the weeks leading up to the event, it was a huge success. I honestly couldn't have asked for it to go any better, and I have all of the fantastic volunteers to thank for that. I didn't fly during the event, since I figured it would be better for me to be on the ground to deal with issues as they popped up, but there really were no issues. I spent most of the day going back and forth between the hangars and the flight line, checking to see if people needed anything, and the answer was almost always, "No, we're good!". By the end of the day we had 134 people show up to attend the preflight briefing, but actually wound up giving nearly 160 rides because we had such good capacity and a wide variety of aircraft that some girls got to fly in a couple types of planes (and we snuck a few of our volunteers up on flights, too!).

Mark stopped by after work, and I was able to end the day by getting him his first helicopter ride. Banu had spent the day flying rides in her R44 (which was really popular!), and offered to take us up before she went home.

We did a loop right over our house, then came back to the airport. It was really fun to be just above the trees, then come back in to the ramp at such an unusual (for me!) angle.   :)

Our event photographer, Alex, was taking pictures all day and generously donated them all for us to use however we wanted. I made an online album that I shared with all of the volunteers; you can check out the pictures by clicking here. It was really cool to get the chance to put together an event like that, and I can't wait to do it again next year! (Especially since now I actually know what I'm doing.)    :)

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