Fly WOAW Colorado 2018
We started out the week rough, loosing Monday to high winds. We kicked off Tuesday with better weather and had over 28 different pilots/aircraft throughout the week. One pilot, is aviation royalty and our Celebrity pilot, Debby Rhin-Harvey. She is the most decorated acrobatic pilot, male or female. Dianna Stanger is always the highlight of our event. Everyone loves her and the helicopter. She is so dedicated to the mission of this event and spends all year looking forward to this week. She has the most infectious energy and smile and makes every flight feel like it is the best. From start to finish, her energy and enthusiasm to make this a memorable day for the participants, never waivers. She flies for up to 7 hours a day for the entire week and maintains her excitement from the first flight to the last.
The event was epic and well organized. We received two proclamations during the week from two city Mayor’s. Loveland, CO and Fort Collins, CO. Our event was picked up on local radio, television and by multiple print media.
It took a great team of pilots, volunteers, airport staff and support to have such a successful and safe event. Northern Colorado Regional Airport, Deb Montgomery and Jason Licon were phenomenal in giving us the space and resources we needed to achieve this epic achievement. Their contribution and efforts are beyond measure. They certainly deserve the Most Women Friendly Airport award, hands down.
We had a total of 1,714 girls and women walk through the event and register. We were able to fly 1,694 (526 flights) of those in aircraft. We had four means of tracking those numbers and the survey shall be the fifth. We flew 262 Tuesday, 226 Wednesday, 252 Thursday, 291 Friday, 284 Saturday and 379 on Sunday.
We gave out souvenir medallions after we verified that their surveys were completed. We did have some trouble with the site not allowing the surveys to upload. We took screen snapshots of those surveys and will send those by email for validation and to be counted. We also have a photo of everyone who registered.
We had four generations fly with us, beating the previous 3 generations record. Leah Sebade, age 93 and her daughter, grand daughter and great grand daughter. Leah was an original Rosie the Riveter. She built airplanes in WWII. What a joy and privilege it was to take her on her first helicopter flight. We also had two 3 generations of family attend our event.
A 5 year old, that wants to be a helicopter pilot, attended our event. Her mom does not know where the desire comes from, as they have no aviation in their family. So we of course made that flight come true and nurtured that dream. Another rewarding experience was that we were able to give a flight to a women with Cerebral Palsy. Her care taker, who is to be somewhat invisible, was brought to tears that we were able to make that experience happen for her and her daughter.
We had a few United Captains join our event in uniform to speak with the girls and ladies, and two military women come in uniform to inspire. We had static displays for the participants to explore. An airport fire truck, an EMS helicopter and the Civil Air Patrol aircraft. We had a selfie station which had many aviation clothing items, hats and props that they had fun trying on. We provided a “Thank You” station that provided boards they could write notes to their pilots.
There were 14 vendors on site with information and items to pass out. These included the Civil Air Patrol, AIM Community College, Aviation division, two fixed wing flight schools, The Whirly-Girls, AOPA, Colorado Department of Transportation Aviation Dept., the Forest Service Aviation Division, the Air Force Academy and Angel Flight. CDOT brought a Red Bird Simulator to the event which gave all participants a chance to virtually fly.
We had 3 celebrities in all. A volunteer pilot, a participant and a visitor. Debby Rhin-Harvey, Leah Sebade, aka Rosie the Riveter and Dagmar Kress.
We could not have achieved such an amazing and safe event without all of the wonderful pilots, volunteers and airport support. This is the first event I have organized and it exceeded all of my expectations. I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of such a monumental event that will inspire girls and women to take flight. We may never know how we touched lives or how those interactions may change their trajectory, but I have no doubt it did.