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High-flying event aimed at girls returns for sixth year

Organizer of Girls Take Flight says there is a dire need for more women in the aviation industry

Hundreds of young girls and women will have the opportunity to take to the skies during Girls Take Flight. (Photo by Jeff Page)

By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express

Despite tremendous strides made to achieve equality in today’s workplace, there are still many professions that remain male-dominated.

The aviation sector is one of these, and Lesley Page wants to see that change.

Six years ago, Page created Girls Take Flight, an annual event that aims to turn the minds of young girls and women to the possibility of pursuing a career in aviation.

Page says only about six per cent of all pilots are women, a rate she says has stayed constant for decades.

However, Page notes the number of new pilots coming into the sector is down across the board.

“It’s not just important to get more women, but this is targeting an underrepresented demographic,” she says.

The problem doesn’t just exist with pilots, as there are far less female air traffic controllers, aviation mechanics, and aerospace engineers as well.

But Girls Take Flight, and other like-minded events have begun to draw the attention of girls and women, according to Page.

Last year, almost 800 people attended the event, held at the Oshawa Executive Airport.

Girls Take Flight is set for Sunday, April 27 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The event is geared to girls and women ages eight to 25 and is presented by The First Canadian Ninety-Nines, an international female pilot organization, and Durham Flight Centre.

Girls and women can participate in a complimentary free flight. Registration for flights will open April 15.

Page says guardians such as mothers and aunts are welcomed to fly with younger girls.

The event will feature a variety of aircraft on display, including a Q400 from Porter Airlines supported by an all-female crew.

Another highlight is a video featuring information and advice on how to become a pilot.

Page says this will include information on the steps to becoming a military pilot, attending flight school or an aviation college.

There will also be indoor displays featuring exhibitors such as Air Georgian, NAV Canada, Transport Canada, COPA (Canadian Owners and Pilots Association), and the Royal Canadian Air Cadets.

There will also be an opportunity for younger attendees to apply for a scholarship.

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