In the early days of aviation, it was a man’s world. But there have always been women drawn to the skies, and they have made their mark in aviation history. Today, female pilots make up 12% of the student-pilot population.
And while that number may seem small, remember that it’s only been in recent decades that women have had the same opportunities as men when it comes to becoming a pilot.
Women in Early Aviation
Women have been involved in aviation since the early days of flight. In the United States, women were prohibited from flying airplanes until 1910. In 1916, the U.S. military began training women to be pilots during World War I.
To enable male pilots to be released for combat duty during World War II, the Women’s AirForce Service Pilots (WASP) programme was established in 1942.
In the 1960s, the U.S. government began opening up more aviation opportunities for women. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) began employing female air traffic controllers and aircraft inspectors as a result.
In 1973, Congress passed the Equal Rights Amendment, which guaranteed equal rights for all citizens, including women. This paved the way for more women to enter the field of aviation.
Women during World War II
In the early 1940s, women were recruited to fill in for men who had left for military service during World War II. As a result, the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) were created in 1942, and over 25,000 women applied. Of those, 1,879 were accepted and sent to training centers around the country.
During their service, WASP pilots flew every aircraft the Army used, including B-26 bombers. In addition, they transported troops and supplies, ferried aircraft from factories to military bases, and towed targets for live anti-aircraft gun practice. In all, they flew more than 60 million miles during the war.
While WASP pilots were not allowed to fly in combat missions or be awarded military medals or accolades, they played a vital role in the war effort. In addition, they broke down barriers for future generations of female pilots.
Women in the Modern Age
In the modern era, women have made significant progress in aviation. They have become pilots, astronauts and broken barriers in civilian and military aviation.
Today, there are several opportunities for women in aviation. For example, women can be pilots, mechanics, air traffic controllers, and more. Some organizations support women in aviation, such as the International Society of Women Airline Pilots and Women in Aviation International.
Why Women Choose Aviation
There are many reasons why women choose aviation as a career. For some, it’s the excitement and adventure of flying. Others are drawn to the challenge of piloting an aircraft. And still, others see it as a way to achieve their dreams of travel and exploration.
Whatever the reason, more and more women are choosing aviation as a career. And with the support of organizations like WAI, they will continue breaking barriers in this exciting field.
The future of aviation is inspiring, and women will play a vital role in shaping its future. We eagerly wait to see what the next generation of female aviators will achieve!