Women in Aviation Gather for Annual Conference

Yvonne Cagle, a NASA flight surgeon and Colonel of the U.S. Air Force Space and Life Sciences Directorate, with guests at the 2017 International Women in Aviation Conference. WAI

For the 28th year, thousands of female aviation enthusiasts gathered to attend the three-day International Women in Aviation Conference, which was held this time at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

“This year’s conference reflected the cutting edge of innovation and passion for aviation,” said Women in Aviation International’s president, Peggy Chabrian. “Combining technology with the traditional enthusiasm and diversity of our attendees is an ideal formula for a successful conference.”

WAI reported that about 4,500 people from 19 countries attended the conference, which featured 165 companies and organizations, as well as a long list of engaging speakers, including Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour, the first African-American female U.S. Marine Corps pilot and combat pilot; Mark Baker, AOPA’s president and CEO; and Yvonne Darlene Cagle, NASA flight surgeon and Colonel of the U.S. Air Force Space and Life Sciences Directorate.

Concurrently with the conference, WAI took the time to do some outreach to younger women in what’s been named Girls in Aviation Day, inviting girls age 8 to 17 to mingle with representatives from aviation universities and learn more about careers in aviation. The girls were also treated to a special speaker at the luncheon: aerobatic champion and airshow performer Patty Wagstaff.

As is tradition, WAI also distributed a long list of scholarships throughout the conference — 120 in all, totaling $643,274 — to help women get ahead in their aviation careers.

Pia Bergqvist joined FLYING in December 2010. A passionate aviator, Pia started flying in 1999 and quickly obtained her single- and multi-engine commercial, instrument and instructor ratings. After a decade of working in general aviation, Pia has accumulated almost 3,000 hours of flight time in nearly 40 different types of aircraft.

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