Women in Aviation International (WAI) congratulates Wally Funk, Lifetime WAI Member #26, for getting one step closer to fulfilling a lifelong mission to become an astronaut. This week, Blue Origin’s Jeff Bezos released a video on social media personally inviting Wally as an honored guest on New Shepard’s first human space flight on July 20. She will join Jeff Bezos, his brother Mark Bezos, and an unnamed auction winner on the flight.
Wally is a 1995 inductee to the WAI Pioneer Hall of Fame recognized for her many firsts throughout her career. She graduated first in her flight training class at Stephens College, and went on to excel in the flying curriculum at Oklahoma State University. At age 20, Wally was the first woman ever hired to flight instruct at Fort Still, Oklahoma. In the 1960s, she was one of 25 women chosen to undergo preliminary astronaut testing for a privately funded project called the Women in Space Program which tested female pilots for astronaut fitness. Later known as the “Mercury 13” – thirteen American women successfully underwent the same physiological and psychological screening tests as the male astronauts selected by NASA for Project Mercury, but they never flew to space. Wally was the youngest graduate of this program.
For the 13th year, women attending EAA AirVenture will enjoy a show within a show as a host of WomenVenture activities take place. EAA WomenVenture is an annual celebration of women from all facets of the aviation community.
Activities are scheduled during the week of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh (July 26-August 1) to provide women the opportunity to connect with other women who love aviation and build camaraderie within the EAA and WAI communities.
WAI’s Connect Breakfast, co-sponsored by Avemco and United Airlines, takes place on Wednesday, July 28, starting at 8 a.m., and is held at the Paul H. Poberezny Conference Center (PHP Tent). This event features two female members of the Orbis MD-10 Flying Eye Hospital, pilot Cyndhi Berwyn and mechanic Valerie Sudberg, who will share their stories about volunteering for the global effort to end avoidable blindness in this state-of-the-art flying teaching hospital.
Women in Aviation International (WAI) is thrilled to offer 47 new scholarships in a variety of aviation career pursuits thanks to a generous $250,000 grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. Details of the scholarships will be posted at WAI.org on March 1, 2021.
Dynamic group of women to inspire attendees March 11 & 12, 2021
Women in Aviation International members and conference attendees will no doubt connect with the stellar roster of speakers scheduled for the 32 nd Annual International Women in Aviation Conference, March 11-12, 2021, from the convenience of one’s home or office.
“Although we are disappointed that we can’t meet in person, this virtual conference has allowed us to assemble a dynamic group of keynotes from all over the world,” Allison McKay, WAI CEO says. “We are excited that our virtual two-day gathering will enable more of our members to take advantage of the inspiring content, educational opportunities, and networking events.”
Women in Aviation International shares the broken-heart of a deeply troubled nation and world. Together, we face the continued challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic multiplied by the most recent (but not isolated and not new) tragic events of injustice and violence which highlight the divisions and injustices specifically facing our sisters and brothers of color. We wish our members and their families health, safety, and peace – to which we all have the inalienable right, regardless of the color of our skin. At WAI, we strive to encourage, empower, and educate all those whose interests...
Group to work towards encouraging more women to consider careers in aviation
Women in Aviation International (WAI) is proud to announce the appointment of WAI CEO Allison McKay to the newly formed Women in Aviation Advisory Board. The 30 board members were appointed today by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao and will sit for approximately two years.
WAI brings fun, engagement, and inspiration to all in the absence of in-person Sun ‘n Fun 2020
In lieu of the annual WAI Connect Lunch held at Sun ‘n Fun each year in Lakeland, Florida, Women in Aviation International (WAI), will hold a virtual Connect Event on Friday, May 8 at Noon EDT. Sponsored by Piedmont Airlines, the panel features an impressive lineup of female leaders and role models in aviation, with stories that are as inspiring and captivating virtually as they would have been in person at #SNF20.
Fundraising, Strategic Planning, & Workforce Development Are Priorities
The WAI Board of Directors is pleased to announce Allison McKay will join Women in Aviation International as CEO on February 18, 2020, and is responsible for the future strategic vision of the 14,500-member strong organization while overseeing the board of directors, professional staff, and daily operations. She previously served as vice president of the Helicopter Association International Foundation since 2015 commissioning the first academic study of staffing projections for the rotorcraft industry as well as creating a workforce development initiative. Allison will draw from more than 20 years of experience in the development and implementation of highly strategic initiatives with other aviation companies including Safran USA and B/E Aerospace.
Already impressive speaker roster augmented further for 31 st Annual WAI Conference
Amber Smith, combat helicopter pilot and author of Danger Close: My Epic Journey as a Combat Helicopter Pilot in Iraq and Afghanistan has been confirmed as a speaker for the 31 st Annual Women in Aviation International Conference, augmenting an incredible roster of speakers. Amber joins Secretary of the U.S. Airforce Barbara Barrett, Stephanie Chung, JetSuite president; Col. Eileen Collins, NASA astronaut; Maj. Gen. Jeannie Leavitt, U.S. Air Force; and Joan Robinson-Berry, Boeing Global Services vice president & chief engineer, as keynote speakers for the March 5-7, 2020, Conference at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
Boeing Donates $50,000; Fund Will Increase Scholarships & Youth Outreach Programs
A generous $50,000 gift from The Boeing Company, in addition to several donations from individual WAI members, during the recent 30th Annual International Women in Aviation Conference in Long Beach, California, has helped the organization to reach its goal of $1 million in its Endowment Fund.
The fund enables WAI to expand the 2020 scholarship program, which will be available online July 1, 2019 (for which applications are due November 12, 2019). At the WAI 2019 conference, 156 scholarships were distributed to WAI members at every stage of life for academic use, lifestyle enhancement, and flight training including type ratings. A total of $875,065 in scholarships was awarded putting the total scholarships awarded since 1995 to more than $12 million.
WAI members seek to inspire and stand for encouragement, continued education, and a whole lot of fun! If you’re a lover of all things aviation and aerospace, and enjoy sharing your passion with others, we’d love to have you! Membership includes job search opportunities, scholarship opportunities, access to mentors in your industry, and much more.
We’re stronger in numbers! WAI is strong because of the dedication and volunteerism of our members. Whether you share your passion for aviation locally through chapter activities, lend a hand at WAI events across the country, or sponsor scholarships and outreach efforts, you help inspire others to reach for their dreams.