and one woman’s pilot training journey.
Only seven percent of pilots are women. I’m here to help fix that.
Only seven percent of pilots are women. Under-represented much?
As a means of raising awareness around the shortage of women in aviation, I became the first documented woman to pilot an airplane among all 49 continental US states and broke the existing speed record for flying among the lower 48. The flight is complete, but my goal remains: to help raise awareness about the incredible gender imbalance in aviation.
For those who’d like to learn more about how to financially back women in aviation, I recommend consulting fundraising groups like The Ninety-Nines and Women in Aviation International. To comply with the FAA’s charity fundraising guidelines, this page is only about education and awareness.
Since the beginning of aviation, women have kicked ass and taken names. Katherina Paulus invented the parachute. Katherine Wright helped fund the Wright Flyer. Hélène Dutrieu spied on the Germans aloft in WWI. Beryl Markham flew from Europe to North America solo non-stop in 1936. So why are so few pilots women? Perhaps a lack of access and opportunity. What can we do to fix it?
My first solution: set a good example. I have the immense privilege to take the time off for and fund my own training, but I understand that doing so for many others poses a huge risk or won’t be so easy. Hopefully, by publicizing my training, I’ve help show people what challenges to expect, provide a taste of what it’s like and, with any luck, show yet again that anything a man can do, a woman can do
better at least as well.
the flight plan
Open the sidebar on the left to view a list of pins. Blue pins indicate the planned routing. Yellow involve other training locations. Green indicate a landing on the record attempt. Red indicate unplanned detours. Click on the pins for descriptions and updates. Prefer a sectional?
The routing was optimized to minimize mileage; I touched down in all 49 states as efficiently as was reasonably possible. Runway condition, fuel/supply availability, likely climate, aircraft range and—most importantly—safety were all accounted for. I flew two planes: first, a Cessna 172N with a 180 horsepower engine upgrade and second a Cessna 172K XP with 210 horsepower for takeoff and 190 sustained horsepower. Why two planes? Halfway through the journey, the first one required additional maintenance—all part of using what are essentially antique aircraft.
read, watch & listen
How can you help? Help spread the word. I’ve collected some resources below that cover the history of female aviators, the challenges women face professionally in aviation and what we can all do about it. Read it, then share with your friends. Have more ideas or more content? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
movies & tv
articles & research
- The Real Reason There Are So Few Female Pilots – The Points Guy, Mar. 2020
- Why Are there So Few Women in Aviation? – CNN, Nov. 2019
- Meet The 34-Year-Old Female Pilot Who Wants To Reinvent Jet Charter – Forbes, Mar. 2021
- The Future of Women in Aviation: Trends in Participation in Postsecondary Aviation Education – David C. Ison, 2010
- Women in the Aviation Industry – Maureen Mutisya, 2010.
- How This Female Gulf War Veteran Champions The Next Generation Of Women In Aviation – Forbes, Oct. 2020