March 3-9th, 2014 marked the 4th annual Women of Aviation Worldwide Week. This event celebrates the anniversary of the first woman pilot license being issued, with the purpose of introducing more women to flight and aviation-related careers.
As a female running my own paragliding business I wanted to participate, so last year I held a draw for a free instructional tandem flight to introduce a woman to paragliding. It was a big success, so this year I wanted to do even more! In addition to the draw I contacted “Girls Fly 2-The Sky’s No Limit” who were organizing an event at the Langley Airport over the weekend of March 8 & 9.
From information on joining the Coast Guard and SAR to interactive displays from UFV that allowed girls to “build” airplane parts, the event had more to offer than just the free flights. Yes, that’s right…the event offered free flights to women and girls who had never been in a small plane or helicopter before! The smiles that weekend were huge with lots of girls begging to go for another flight. The organizers had provided a space for me so I could show another form of aviation – paragliding!
I brought an old kiting wing & had it bunched up so the participants could check out a paraglider first hand, although the fixed wing pilots shuddered at the “tiny strings” that hold us up in the air! Surprisingly the biggest hit was the harness I had brought along. Everyone wanted to try it on and run around, with lots of kids asking their parents to take a picture of them “paragliding”. It was a super fun weekend, and a great opportunity to talk about our sport as well as book tandem flights and lessons for the Moms & Dads. Thanks to events like this we can provide more positive exposure to our favourite sports…I’m already brainstorming new ideas for the event in 2015!
Owner and HPAC Instructor