Women in Aviation International

February 28, 2010

Women in Aviation, International 2010 Conference Was All About Diversity

The theme for the 21st Annual International Women in Aviation (WAI) Conference, that concluded in Orlando, Florida, on Saturday, February 27, 2010, was "Aviation: It's a Small World," but, by the tone, composition and look of the Conference, the theme could have been "Aviation: It's a Diverse World."

With more than double the international attendees than at past Conferences, the annual Conference drew nearly 3,000 attendees from all areas, disciplines and interests that make up the aviation community. Military, airline and corporate aviation interests were represented along with those individuals immersed in history, maintenance, research, academics, engineering, and more.

"The increased participation of individuals from all over the world added to the impact of this Conference," said WAI President Dr. Peggy Chabrian. "The diversity of participants, career paths and interests is what makes this international Conference so special."

Conference highlights include:

* Attendance reached nearly 3,000 women and men, including more than double the number of international attendees. The international attendees represent 20 different countries.

* The Exhibit Hall displayed 125 separate companies and organizations, representing all aspects of the aviation community.

* $678,300 in scholarships was distributed to WAI members at every stage of life from university students to mature members seeking a mid-life career change to aviation.

* The WAI silent auction raised $18,315 for WAI's Endowment Fund, bringing the total in the Endowment Fund to more than $650,000. The money in the WAI Endowment Fund is used for scholarships and educational programs.

* EAA confirmed that the organization will host WomenVenture for the third consecutive year during the organization's 2010 EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. WomenVenture is a celebration of women's achievements in flight designed to attract more women to all aspects of aviation.

Among the distinguished keynote speakers was FAA Administrator J. Randolph Babbitt who told the gathered attendees, "Everyone in this business needs to step up and make safety a front and center focus, and I can't think of a better place to do it than here. This is the most marvelous mentoring center I think I've ever seen, so this is a great place for us to take this message and send it."

WAI President Dr. Chabrian and Administrator Babbitt renewed a Memo of Understanding. It confirms the continued agreement between the FAA and WAI to support each other's efforts in the aviation industry. The FAA provides WAI with resources for aviation education and employment while WAI helps to promote the FAA messages of career opportunities within the agency and the FAA's education programs throughout the membership.

Five women were inducted into WAI's International Pioneer Hall of Fame including Trish Beckman, who, among many accomplishments, was the first woman to qualify as a crewmember in the F-15E program; Vice Admiral Vivien Crea, the most senior ranking woman in the history of the United States Coast Guard; Suzanna Darcy-Hennemann, the chief training pilot for The Boeing Company; Alice du Pont Mills, who received her pilot's license in 1929 when she was 18 years old; and Kathy Sullivan, a member of the first Space Shuttle astronaut class and the first American woman to walk in space.

Added Dr. Chabrian, "The most frequent comment I hear is about the positive spirit of the people who attend our Conference. Once again this year, everyone's passion for aviation was displayed in their enthusiastic approach to learning, mentoring and expanding their aviation knowledge and advancing their aviation careers."

The 22nd Annual International Women in Aviation Conference will be held at Grand Sierra Resort and Casino, Reno, Nevada, from February 24-26, 2010. For more information, visit www.wai.org.


Note to Editors:

High-resolution photographs of all aspects of the Conference are available to the media at photo.wai.org.
Please contact Amy Laboda at for photographs without watermarks.

For more complete conference information or quotes contact:

Connie Lawrence
Women in Aviation International
937-839-4647 Phone
937-839-4645 Fax