SHE-LOGY: Women of Aviation
March 8 is not only International Women’s Day. The date also marks the anniversary of the first female to ever earn an aeroplane pilot license. French pilot Raymonde de Laroche made that achievement in 1910.
Women of Aviation Worldwide Week is an annual holiday during the week that includes March 8. This event is officially defined as “an international celebration of all women of aviation, and their contribution to the betterment of the air and space industry.”
RAYMONDE DE LAROCHE.
“After receiving her pilot license, Laroche, who became known as “Baroness de Laroche” despite not being of noble birth, traveled as far as Egypt, Russia, and Budapest in order to participate in aviation meetings. While in St. Petersburg, Russia, she was approached by Tsar Nicholas II who wished to personally congratulate her on her flight.” [Source: A Mighty Girl]
In 2010, Mireille found out that there were no events celebrating the 100th anniversary of Raymonde’s milestone in female aviation. In response, Mireille launched a global initiative called “Fly It Forward” where pilots are invited to give girls and women their first flight experience in a small aircraft. The goal is to encourage girls and women to consider aviation as a hobby or a career and improve gender balance in the industry, thereby countering the perception that the air and space fields are reserved for men. Just to give you some perspective on why this is important, at the end of 2013, just 5% of all commercial pilots were females. [Source: Women You Should Know]
Learn more about her in the blog Flight to Success.
I did not disclose her last name because she was a personal friend. She was the first female commercial pilot I’ve met, and through her, I’ve met more female pilots. She was fearless and she loved flying. Through her, I had the rare chance to be a backseat passenger on a plane that participated in an air show. If I remember correctly, our plane competed in a contest to pop the most number of balloons in the air. It was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life. It was a testament of her generosity of spirit. She was known to have that passion and gift to get people to love flying.
Two months from now, I will commemorate her 10th death anniversary. She died in a plane crash where she was the co-pilot. She continues to live on in our hearts as inspiration of courage and passion. She was a pilot, a teacher, an entrepreneur and co-owner of an aviation company. She was a great friend. And she is not forgotten. I dedicate this post to her.
SHE-LOGY is a blog project open to everyone who is interested to celebrate women this whole month of March. If you’re reading this, I extend that invitation to you to contribute post/s about the women you’d like to honor. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for reading this.