Setting Sights on the Sky

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Girls in Aviation Day

Inspired to dream big and be bold! More than 200 Girl Scouts joined the Fly Kansas Air Tour at the Museum of the Kansas National Guard and the Combat Air Museum to learn about the opportunities for women in flight. Girls in Aviation Day was an exciting event held on October 1st in Topeka, KS that connected girls to women in aviation who were able to share their experiences as pilots, mechanics and women in the Air Force. It was a day of questions, curiosity and exploration.

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The day started in the Museum of the Kansas National Guard with talks and Q & A sessions with female pilots and mechanics who gave girls a quick glance into what life is like in a career in aviation. Mechanic Summer Walters talked about careers in aviation that don’t focus on flying – like repair and making sure the planes are safe. The girls also learned about a cadette program that helps girls with interest in aviation learn about flying while still in high school. Girls had tons of questions – including asking why it’s important to be able to run a mile, what jobs were like and why there are types of uniforms.

After chatting, the girls got to spend time asking pilots about the types of plane they fly on outside under a KC-135! How exciting! They also got to spend time doing a STEM activity about the forces of flight and event explored helicopters, army jeeps and other aircraft and military equipment.

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The experience was incredible and Madeline from Troop 1494 in Lenexa summed it up by saying “I’ve had an amazing time. All of the planes are so cool and the women who work for the Air Force are so inspiring.”

At lunchtime the girls moved to the Combat Air Museum and enjoyed their food inside the museum or sitting under the shade of planes! Then it was on to exploring planes and a hot air balloon brought in by the Fly Kansas Air Tour. Pilots stayed by their planes to answer questions and girls got to sit in a brand new Blackhawk helicopter. “[The Combat Air Museum] is right at the end of the runway, so girls get to see planes land, talk to the pilots, learn about the planes, ask all the questions they like and tour the museum,” Kevin Drewelow, the Director of the Combat Air Museum said.

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The event was so important that Kansas Governor, Sam Brownback attended and spoke to the importance of women in aviation.  The Director of Aviation for the Kansas Department of Transportation, Merrill Atwater said: “People think aviation is a guy’s profession, but women are often better aviators than men. The person who put this tour together is a woman named Lindsay and she’s a flight instructor and pilot. We want girls to know there are wonderful careers in aviation and that you can see the world from 5,000 feet above.”

The event is important to the museums because they know they can make a lasting impact by inspiring the women of tomorrow to get involved in flight. “Women have been involved in aviation from day 1. Think about Katherine Wright. You always hear about the Wright brothers, but you don’t hear about the Wright sister and what she did to help her brothers. Women have been under represented and under publicized and we’re trying to help correct that,” Kevin Drewelow said.

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What an amazing experience for girls. Thank you to the Museum of the Kansas National Guard, the Combat Air Museum and the Fly Kansas Tour for inspiring girls to fly! If your troop experienced Girls in Aviation Day, share your experience in the comments below!

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