FREDERICK—More than 100 years since the first woman earned her pilot’s license, there is still a significant gap between the number of women and men involved in aviation.
A group at the Frederick Municipal Airport wants to help change the fact that less than 6 percent of pilots are women.
“It’s not too difficult. It’s not just a man’s world. It’s available and women make some of the best pilots out there. We’re hoping to let everybody know that,” said Lin Caywood, a private pilot at Frederick Municipal Airport and member of Women Fly-It-Forward.
Caywood is one of the volunteers who participate in the Fly-It-Forward Challenge, one of the many events for Women of Aviation Worldwide Week held recently to educate women about flying.
Pilots who volunteer for the Fly-It-Forward Challenge fly girls and women on their first small aircraft flight.
The Women of Aviation Worldwide Week was started in 2010 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first certified woman pilot, Raymonde de Laroche of France. Laroche earned her license on March 8, 1910.
“This is our ability to bring awareness and celebrate the accomplishments of women of aviation, and to let people understand and explore some of the careers that are available to them in aviation,” Caywood said.
In addition to the low number of pilot’s licenses held by women, less than 3 percent of aircraft mechanics are women and women make up only 9 percent of aeronautical engineers.
The program is designed to let girls and women know that these types of opportunities exist for them, and to break stereotypes of aviation being a man’s world.
“Traditionally, from the stereotype, you grow up playing with dolls, not playing with engines,” Caywood said.
But even someone not exposed to mechanics at an early age can pick up flying.
“You don’t have to grow up a gear-head or being the tomboy to learn how to fly or enjoy it,“ Caywood said.