Monday, September 22, 2014

Flying Classroom Launches

[news release] 

Record-Breaking Pilot Barrington Irving

Launches the World’s First Flying Classroom


Interactive Global Learning Project Engages Students,

Promotes STEM+ Careers


Washington, D.C. September 18, 2014 The Flying Classroom, the first-ever interactive STEM+ learning adventure spanning 3 continents, led by National Geographic Emerging Explorer Captain Barrington Irving, will launch from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport on Tuesday, September 23rd. Captain Irving, who holds the Guinness World Record as the youngest person to fly solo around the world, will pilot Inspiration III, a business jet provided by Executive Air Services in Miami.  Irving and his crew will visit North America, Asia, Indonesia, and Australia, exploring real life applications of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, history, geography and humanities  (STEM+) through 16 powerful ground, air, and sea expeditions. An electronic portal originating on board the plane will enable students to follow and participate in Irving’s expeditions in schools and at home on their computers and mobile devices.

"This isn't just an aircraft,” said Captain Irving. “It's an exploration vehicle for learning that will engage and teach millions of kids in ways they've never been taught before—making them part of the expeditions and research. I hope this experience will help students discover their passion for STEM+ the way my own mentor, Captain Gary Robinson, a professional airline pilot, helped me discover mine when I was 15. “

Fabio Alexander, CEO of Executive Air Services added, “My goal was to provide a transportation tool, Inspiration III (a Hawker 400XP) for this ground-breaking STEM+ initiative with American educational hero Captain Irving at the helm, to engage students to find their interest and a career path they love as they experience exciting, virtual adventures around the world.”


Inspiration III will travel to all seven continents over three consecutive school years.  Throughout each flight, students will have virtual access to Irving’s adventures through videos and a real-time storytelling blog on  Students in schools that utilize the Flying Classroom curriculum, which is aligned to the National Common Core Standards and Next Generation Science Standards, will also study STEM+ subjects relevant to each expedition as they track the Flying Classroom team.                                                                                                                              

All visitors to the site can access Irving’s travels and meetings with STEM+ experts along the way. In Montana, for example, Captain Irving will meet a chef with a bionic arm and see how the human brain can control robotic limbs through the thinking process.  In Australia, he will illustrate how to balance an ecosystem by eradicating a poisonous toad. In Palau, working with another National Geographic Explorer, he will track poisonous snakes to extract lifesaving venom.  A steady stream of challenges during each journey will invite students to solve problems that may lead them to discover a career path in STEM+. 

The Flying Classroom is supported by title sponsors Executive Air Services, the Miami-based company that supplied the jet and support personnel, and Houston-based Universal Weather and Aviation, Inc., which is providing complete trip logistics. 

Lex den Herder, Vice President, Government & Industry Affairs for Universal® said, “It was our pleasure to support Barrington’s record-setting flight in 2007, and we are now proud to support him once again as he promotes education via the Flying Classroom around the world.” 

Other sponsors include Mitsubishi Heavy Industries; Jeppesen; FlightSafety International; British Petroleum; Michael Broyard; The Gans Family; and Doug and Kaisa Levine. Educational partners include Skype in the Classroom, the National Education Association, NASA, National Geographic, and United Teachers of Dade.  

The Flying Classroom Launch at Signature Flight Support Hangar, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, will include a career fair for 650 local students from 9:30-11:00 am; a program from 11:00 am –noon featuring remarks by NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden, Jr., Congressman Sam Graves (staff), title sponsors, Captain Irving, and the departure of the Flying Classroom jet at 1:00 pm. The event is being hosted by the Aero Club Foundation of Washington, Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority, and Signature Flight Support. Photo ops and interviews will be scheduled upon request from noon - 1:00 pm.


From September 23rd through November 18th, follow Captain Irving and his team through regular expedition updates on their website, on Facebook at, on Twitter at @CaptIrving, and with hashtag #flyingclassroom.

Monday, September 15, 2014

September 25 Luncheon - Florida

[Sun 'n Fun News Release]

Leadership Lakeland Alumni Association
Aviation Luncheon

SEPTEMBER 15, 2014 - SUN 'n FUN - Lakeland, FL - “The Power of Aviation – What’s in it for me?” will be presented by the Leadership Lakeland Alumni Association on September 25th at the Lakeland Center. The event is sponsored by AmHerst Consulting, Lunz Prebor Fowler Architects, Atkins, and the Aerospace Center for Excellence. Featured speakers are Aaron N. Smith, State Aviation Manager for the Florida Department of Transportation; John “Lites” Leenhouts, President & CEO of SUN ‘n FUN Fly-In, Inc.; and, Eric Crump, Aerospace Program Director for Polk State College. Tickets may be purchased for $15.00 by visiting the Alumni Association website. Seating is limited.  

In 2010, a Florida Statewide Aviation Economic Impact Study was released stating “This FDOT study focused on measuring economic impacts associated with 19 commercial and 102 general aviation airports. In addition, the impacts of 11 military airfields were estimated in the study as were the economic impacts of various off-airport aviation-related activities. The study concluded that for all benefit categories measured, aviation in Florida is responsible for an estimated $114.7 billion in annual economic activity or output. More information on economic impacts associated with each benefit category is presented later in this summary. In addition to the $114.7 billion in annual economic impact that Florida realizes from aviation, businesses throughout Florida that rely on the commercial airlines, air cargo, and general aviation are able to increase their annual productivity by an estimated $94.5 billion. This increased productivity is a result of the added efficiency that businesses realize when they use various types of air transportation.”

Economic areas in the report included Airports, Visitors, Construction, Military, Air Cargo, Aviation Education, Aviation Businesses and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Learn more about the commitment Polk County is making to the future of aviation and the aviation education and training programs, scholarships and careers that exist in the area. The Alliance for Aviation across America reports a Total Aviation Economic Impact of $2.25 billion within 100 miles Lakeland.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

$100,000 in Helicopter Training Scholarships Available

In celebration of the Whirly-Girls Diamond Anniversary, the organization is offering the largest amount of scholarships in both volume and value (more than $100,000) in their 60 year history. The scholarship offerings include 12 different opportunities for Whirly-Girls to grow professionally, as well as an add-on scholarship for a pilot who doesn't yet fly helicopters.

For more information regarding scholarship specifics, the application process, and to download application forms, visit The application deadline is October 15, and applicants must be active members of Whirly-Girls with dues paid for 2014 (with the exception of the add-on scholarship).

Questions? Contact Charlotte Hidebrand, VP scholarships at or scholarship directors Alison Husain ( and Colleen Chen (

WomenVenture Boosts Visibility of Women at EAA AirVenture

Gone are the days when "Women's Activities" meant arts and crafts projects. Women attending EAA AirVenture 2014 had the opportunity to network and participate in a day-long roster of women-centered events, all geared toward their active involvement in the aviation community.

"Before WomenVenture, women could feel isolated in Oshkosh," says WAI President Peggy Chabrian. "Now, from the WAI Connect Breakfast to the group photo and the lunch, women experience the comradery that comes from having the WomenVenture experience." 

At WAI's breakfast on Wednesday, WAI Chapter Manager Audra Hoy announced an expanded youth outreach initiative called Girls in Aviation. In addition to a full program during WAI's annual conference - scheduled for March 5-7, 2015, in Dallas - a Girls in Aviation Day is slated for September 26, 2015. WAI's dozens of chapters will reach out to girls in their local communities with the purpose of introducing them to aviation and sharing the excitement and career opportunities in the many facets of aviation. 

In Oshkosh, the group WomenVenture photo has become a tradition, and this year Boeing Plaza was filled with hundreds of WomenVenture participants all in their purple t-shirts along with the high school girls taking part in EAA's Women Soar program. 

"We have a fantastic partner in EAA, which has committed to making WomenVenture a success," says Chabrian. "We are already exploring ideas to enhance and expand WomenVenture 2015, knowing how important this program has become for our members and other women who are part of the aviation community."

Friday, July 25, 2014

How Lunch Can Inspire Someone for Life

Andrea Coppick, WAI 6452, fell in love with flying as a young girl when a friend of her mother's took them to lunch one day in her own airplane. Building on the memory of that day of adventure, her new children's book Georgia Goes to Lunch is about a fearless 7-year-old girl who loves to observe the world from the trees and rooftops of her neighborhood. When her mom's friend shows up one day to take them to lunch, Georgia is soon swept away to a little airport and embarks on a magical aviation adventure.

Andrea's own $100 hamburger experience as a child led her to Embry-Riddle University in Prescott, Arizona, where she completed an Aeronautical Science degree and met her future husband. After graduation and a wedding, the two moved to Alaska to pursue further education and she earned her A&P through the University of Alaska Fairbanks while building time as a flight instructor. Instructing offered the perfect level of flexibility for Andrea as she raised the couple's twin daughters, so she kept it up.
In 2000, she was hired with Horizon Air, where she flew for 13 years. In November 2013, she was hired by Alaska Airlines, flying the Boeing 737.

"I have been very lucky that I have just followed my interests in aviation and never had a final goal in mind," Andrea said. "This has led me to being very happy wherever I'm ad. I don't really care what I'm flying, as long as I'm up in the air."

Andrea says she's had a lot of help through her 20 years in aviation, and was inspired by the work Women in Aviation, International does. In 2009, she started the Dare to Dream scholarship with financial support from friends and family as a way to help others along, and in 2015 will award two $3,000 scholarships through the WAI scholarship program.

Writing Georgia Goes to Lunch fulfills another of Andrea's dreams: to be published. The story shares her love of flying and, she hopes, will inspire young girls to consider careers in aviation. The book can be purchased through the WAI Store for $7.95.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

EAA's College Park at AirVenture 2014

A place for networking and entertainment for aspiring aviators ages 14 to 24, EAA's College Park  offers young people the opportunity to learn about and network with universities from all over the country all in one place during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2014.

College Park features six main areas including a career center, the Education Center presented by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the Innovations Center presented by the National Aircraft Controllers Association (NATCA), the College Park Forums presented by FedEx, the QUAD presented by Alpha Eta Rho, and an outdoor exhibit area. Alpha Eta Rho, the oldest professional aviation fraternity, will also have volunteers on hand throughout the week to answer questions and provide insight into what a future in aviation means.

Women in Aviation, International will participate in the College Social on Friday, August 1, at 5:30 p.m. in College Park, providing information on scholarships and other opportunities to young people exploring aviation as a profession. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Signature Flight Support Offers New Services for Pilots Attending EAA AirVenture

Services such as morning weather briefing and flight planning will be available in a new location for pilots at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2014, July 28-August 3 at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

EAA Pilot Services, presented by Signature Flight Support, will be located in the Federal Pavilion. DTC DUAT will be the official weather provider, and ForeFlight will have iPads on hand for pilots to explore the latest ForeFlight Mobile features. The daily weather briefing will be provided by the National Weather Service.

"We are always seeking ways to bring more information and amenities to those who fly their airplanes to Oshkosh," said Dave Chaimson, EAA's vice president of business development. "We are pleased that this year we can join with Signature Flight Support to provide essential services, as well as the little extras appreciated by pilots who fly here to be a part of The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration at EAA AirVenture."

Located in the south portion of the Federal Pavilion, EAA Pilot Services will provide comfortable seating, computers, and printers to provide the essential tools for checking weather or filing their flight plans.

EAA Pilot Services will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day of the event.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Heading to Oshkosh? Add WomenVenture to Your MUST DO List!

Photo Courtesy EAA
The annual WomenVenture gathering, designed to encourage and inspire women in aviation and those who want to fly, will welcome hundreds of female aviators on Wednesday, July 30, during the annual EAA AirVenture Oshkosh fly-in convention. If you're headed to Oshkosh, be sure WomenVenture is on your calendar!

Starting Monday, July 28, be sure to stop by the WAI booth (#2041), EAA Welcome Center, or Ninety-Nines booth (#2120) to get your free WomenVenture t-shirt so you can share your pride in being a woman in aviation all day long Wednesday!

Start the day Wednesday at the annual WAI Connect Breakfast at EAA's Nature Center Pavilion. WAI President Dr. Peggy Chabrian will fill you in on what's new at WAI, share information about several new scholarships being offered for 2015, and one lucky attendee will win a full registration to the 26th Annual International Women in Aviation Conference in Dallas, Texas, March 5-7, 2015.

Click here to register today
Tickets are $15 per person until July 23, 2014, and $20 per person thereafter and at the door.

After breakfast, head out to EAA's main display plaza for the annual WomenVenture photo at 11 a.m. You'll definitely want to be part of this growing group photo and show the world there's strength in numbers!

Immediately following the group photo, make your way to EAA's Theater in the Woods for the second annual WomenVenture Power Lunch. B-29 pilot Debbie Travis King is the keynote speaker and will share her experiences flying rare World War II bombers for the Commemorative Air Force (CAF), and more.

Click here to register for lunch
Tickets are $5 per person.

See you at AirVenture!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Air Race Classic Winners Announced

Congratulations to the 31 teams that completed the 2014 Air Race Classic, flying more than 2,300 nm across the country June 16-19, 2014. A total of 47 teams participated in the race with stops in Concord, California; Dorris, California; Elko, Nevada; Pinedale, Wyoming, Scottsbluff, Nebraska; Norfolk, Nebraska; Iowa City, Iowa; Danville, Illinois; Athens, Ohio; York, Pennsylvania; and New Cumberland, Pennsylvania.

Several WAI members participated in the race. Special congratulations to WAI members who placed in the top 10! The top 3 teams were:

No. 1: Dianna Stanger, WAI 3928; Joyce Wilson; Erin Cude
No. 2: Valdeta Mehanji, WAI 57103; Nancy Snyder, WAI 39658 (Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Daytona)
No. 3: Melody Dowlearn; Alicia Isacson, WAI 45370 (Liberty University)

Full race results are available here:

For more information on the Air Race Classic and history of the event visit

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

31 Years Ago Today: First American Woman in Space

On June 18, 1983, the space shuttle Challenger launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, with Dr. Sally Ride aboard. Ride, an astrophysicist from Stanford University became the first American woman to travel to space.

Ride was inducted into WAI's Pioneer Hall of Fame earlier this year at the 25th Annual International Women in Aviation Conference in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. 

For more information visit

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

WAI Members Elected to SAFE Board

The Society of Aviation and Flight Educators (SAFE) has elected three new directors, each for three-year terms, including two WAI members.

Sherry Knight Rossiter, WAI 4474, of Missoula, Montana; Dr. Donna Wilt, WAI 3479, of Melbourne, Florida; and Ken Wittekiend of Burnet, Texas, were elected by popular vote open to all 900 SAFE members and will begin their duties at the Society's annual meeting on July 31, 2014. 

Rossiter is currently self-employed as an aircraft broker. She has been an active part of SAFE's aviation education outreach since the founding of the Society in 2009, and has chaired SAFE's membership committee for the last two years. Dr. Wilt is currently a SAFE board member and an associate professor in the College of Aeronautics at Florida Institute of Technology. Wittekiend is the founder and owner of ProMark Aviation Services, an FBO and flight school on the Burnet (Texas) Municipal Airport, and an FAA Designated Pilot Examiner.

For more information on SAFE visit