Women and girls encouraged to take flight at SHD

Published: Jun. 15, 2019 at 7:15 PM EDT
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Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport partnered with the volunteer organization Women Can Fly on Saturday afternoon to offer a special aviation education day for women.

The airport is one of six others in the commonwealth to give participants a closer look at different aircraft, meet pilots and learn about the different parts of a plane.

According to the Center for Aviation, women only represent 7% of pilots.

The goal of Women Can Fly is to encourage women of all ages to fly.

"I love the motto 'women can fly,'" Stephanie Dean, a participant said. "I think that's a fantastic thing for women to hear and for girls to hear."

Those participating were also given the unique opportunity to fly in a small plane. Before takeoff, each potential future pilot was also taught safety procedures for each aircraft.

Rachel Ridder, a volunteer pilot for the day, said she grew up in an aviation family and she believes events like this truly inspire the next generation of female pilots.

"When I was growing up, I went to aviation camp and I was like the only girl in my class," Ridder said. "It's really exciting to know that this is a career option for girls and that they have the opportunity to come out and fly."

There are still other opportunities around Virginia this month and later this year to take part in Women Can Fly. For more information click

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