Alyssa Miller

Adding to the ranks of aviatrices

February 9, 2012 by Alyssa Miller, AOPA Online Managing Editor

Women comprise a small portion of the total number of active pilots: only 42,218 of 627,588 active airmen certificates are for women, according the latest U.S. civil airmen statistics from Dec. 31, 2010.

We can help change that statistic and boost the pilot population by introducing more women to aviation and encouraging women who are currently in training. From my narrow perspective, 2012 seems to be getting off to a good start.

I met Jennifer Mastoris, a 17-year-old high school senior, shortly before Christmas. She was eyeing her private pilot certificate while I worked toward my flight instructor certificate. Both of us were training at Mad River Air at Grimes Field in Urbana, Ohio. She earned her private pilot certificate Jan. 8.

Just a few weeks ago, I attended a winter survival clinic in Marion, Mont., and bunked overnight in an icy fuselage with private pilot hopeful Donne Rossow, a student at Rocky Mountain College in Billings. She’s working toward her private pilot certificate and hopes to someday fly F/A-18s.

When I learned of Jennifer and Donne’s new accomplishments, I couldn’t help but look forward to March 10, the Women Fly It Forward event AOPA is participating at its home airport in Frederick, Md., to see how many women we can take flying that day. It’ll be a chance to perhaps introduce some women to general aviation flying for the first time. Hopefully the bug will bite so we can continue adding to the number of female pilots and pilots overall.

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