March 07--A group of local female pilots will celebrate International Women's Day by offering free airplane rides to women and girls on Saturday, introducing them to the fun of flying.
The event coincides with Women of Aviation Week, which is March 4-10. The pilots volunteering at the event are members of Rio Grande Norte and Albuquerque chapters of The Ninety-Nines, an international group of women pilots founded in 1929.
The women will give 15-minute rides in a single-engine aircraft from 8:30 a.m. to noon at Double Eagle II Airport on the West Side. Ninety-Nines member and event spokeswoman Susan Larson said attendees will need to register for a time slot and can do that at the event or beforehand at womenof aviationweek.org/events. Click on the "events" tab at the top of the page.
Larson of Santa Fe said the event will target high-schoolage and adult women. She said the goal of the event is to introduce the women and girls to possible careers in aviation, as well as the world of flying in small airplanes.
Larson has been a pilot for 34 years. It was on a commercial flight from the San Francisco Bay area in California to Oregon that she first got the idea to become a pilot.
"We were landing on the runway and I looked over and saw a small plane," she said. "I told myself if I had to do this trip again, I was going to fly myself." Larson signed up for lessons shortly thereafter.
Tandra Hicks of Rio Rancho was 50 when she decided in 2008 to become a pilot. The family took a vacation to Florida and while there had a chance to take a sightseeing tour in a small aircraft. After seeing how much she enjoyed the flight, her husband suggested she sign up for classes.
Hicks is one of the pilots volunteering her time Saturday and hopes to ignite the passion for flying in someone else. "When I did my first solo flight, I experienced a peace I cannot describe," she said. My husband and mom call it my happy place."
Women take flight -- girls, too!
WHAT: Free rides in a single-engine aircraft for women and girls
WHO: The event is being hosted by the Rio Grande Norte Chapter of The Ninety-Nines
WHEN: Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to noon
WHERE: Double Eagle Airport, 7401 Paseo del Volcan
CALL: 690-6903 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information
Copyright 2013 - Albuquerque Journal, N.M.
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