Friday, March 13, 2015

Men flood Women in Aviation conference; get in there ladies!

Neelam Mathews
March 12, 2015
Detailed figures of women in aviation who hold US flight, mechanic (aircraft engineers) and dispatcher certificates and licenses are available because the Federal Aviation Administration is the only regulatory body to break out numbers by gender.
The latest statistics on the FAA Airman Certification web site shows the number of women in commercial aviation – who hold commercial certificates and airline transport ratings – is rising. Where women just a decade ago made up 2% of airline transport rated (ATP) pilots, they now make up 4%. “That’s double in a decade. University flight schools in the US are typically 10-15% female in their student composition. But many of those students, particularly the women, choose different careers,” says Amy Laboda, one of 16 founding board members (emeritus) of Women In Aviation International (WAI), a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing networking, mentoring and scholarship opportunities to women and men striving for careers in aviation.
Laboda notes that “airline flying [is] simply not for everyone”, and that WAI “still see flight school dropout rates in the US of as much as 70%. It is an expensive course with less pay and benefits at the end of it than ever before.”
While pilot work rules have strengthened in light of recent aircraft accidents, the path to achieve an ATP has consequently become much tougher for women, especially those who might be juggling child-rearing to boot.
The International Society of Women Airline Pilots puts the number of women captains flying for major international airlines at between 450 and 500. “Those are just captains. They are, however, beginning to distinguish themselves. One of American Airlines’ Dallas/Fort Worth chief pilots is Kathi Durst (former US Air Force). Memphis, Tennessee-based FedEx has Airbus 300/310 fleet captain Dolores Pavletic. UPS has captain Gloria Hatcher managing Flight Operations Compliance/SMS implementation, and the list goes on,” notes Laboda.
Will the gender mix in aviation ever be 50/50? “I doubt I’ll see it in my lifetime. But I certainly see more and more women in the cockpit of commercial aircraft today when I walk through an airline terminal,” says Sanjiv Kapoor, COO of Indian budget carrier SpiceJet, which is actively recruiting women pilots......
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