Air & Space Smithsonian Magazine Inaccuracy

I’m late to the Facebook commenting party! However, I did read (with much interest) Katie Mullins’ post in the LadiesLoveTaildraggers Facebook group. For those not on Facebook or those who didn’t follow it, Katie posted:

“Only 555 women have completed their pilot’s license in the past 35 years! WHAT!?!”

She followed her comment with a photo and link to an article in Air & Space Smithsonian Magazine.The article indicated just that – that only 555 women have obtained pilot’s licenses in the past 35 years.

Photo: Air&Space Smithsonian Magazine

Photo: Air&Space Smithsonian Magazine

The entire article by Rebecca Maksel “Why Are There So Few Female Pilots? Identifying the barriers that stop women from flying” can be found at Air&Space Smithsonian Magazine, Why are there so few female pilots?

Ok, number #1. Before we get to the calculation error, what a fantastic picture of Amelia Earhart! Posing for the picture in 1923, she never dreamed 92 years later the world would revere, dare I say, idolize her. Whether or not Air & Space Magazine responds to publishing erroneous information, we must thank Amelia Earhart and all the early aviatrix and aviators for making this conversation possible.

#2. We all know that the creation of a mere 550 new women pilots in the last 35 years is a bunch of malarky. Several people on Facebook were diligent in their research and have proven this rather prestigious publication can make mistakes. Female pilots in 2015 are a rare breed BUT not quite that rare.

At this point, personally, I choose to give Air & Space Smithsonian Magazine a pat on the back. I want to thank them for shining light on the sad, sorry number of women who have a PPL, no matter how it came to happen. Their article undoubtedly has kicked off conversations and debates everywhere it is read. Here on LadiesLoveTaildraggers we are constantly reminded that capable, passionate, intelligent women are receiving flight training and obtaining PPL & advanced ratings. Here in our snug little world it would be easy to look the other way and be content with our own successes. But we all know that together we have the power to change the numbers. Ladies…and gentlemen, if you haven’t already made it your mission in life to introduce flying to friends, family & acquaintances, please do it now.

Tina Thomas’ comment on Facebook should inspire us all. “Continue to be a positive role model and FLY. You may not realize you have inspired someone, but it is happening.”

I welcome your comments. I am especially interested in ideas of how we as an organization can have a positive impact on increasing the pilot population, especially the female pilot population.

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