Aviation for Girls


Aviation for Girls is a special annual member publication of Women in Aviation International for Girls in Aviation Day. Articles feature young girls living their aviation dreams, career ideas, and education resources.

Issue link: https://afgdigital.epubxp.com/i/1018241

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Page 5 of 39

E ver since I can remember, I've had a passion for aerospace, mathematics, and physics, saving up to buy my first telescope at age 7. Role models like Mae Jemison, Sally Ride, Amelia Earhart, and my recent amazement with Elon Musk have helped me realize my dreams in aviation and aerospace. And, in the autumn of 2016, the intro- duction of Build A Plane club at my school provided those kinds of role models needed for exposure, connection, and knowledge. Launching the club in itself was a huge window that led many students, including me, to become a part of something that makes a big difference in our passion for aviation. When we were donated Mary Feik's plane*, a Piper Pacer 10, the club began the project. With the help from an airplane tech- nician, Joe Valla, we were able to restore the plane back to new. Every Wednesday a group of 20 British International School of Washington students, ages 12–17, piled into a bus from our Washington, D.C., location and headed to nearby Washington Execu- tive Airport. Every single one of us has been grant- ed an unforgettable experience: the opportunity to help build a plane. Walking into Hangar 32 for the first time was a jaw-dropping experience for all of us. I even recall a student, Harrison Griffiths, comment on how he originally thought we were going to be building paper airplanes. However, it has grown to so much more. "It was really inspiring to see such a large com- munity concerned with the inclusion of women, especially the youth, in a STEM field," said a friend and attendee of Build A Plane, Elena Maberry. While restoring the Piper Pacer 10, we helped restore the cockpit and rebuild the wings. One of my most memorable times was when we finally were able to put the wings on the plane. It took everyone's strength and patience and a lot of teamwork, but we were able to put them on in the end. In addition, as the club attracted professionals and volunteers, it propelled us to opportunities we wouldn't have dreamed of getting, including visit- ing Aurora Flight Sciences at Manassas Airport in Virginia. A total of eight students from BISW and the University of the District of Columbia Commu- nity College aviation maintenance program also had an amazing experience attending the Inter- national Women in Aviation Conference in Reno, Nevada, March 22–24, 2018. At the WAI conference it was helpful to be at an event full of people who have similar interests to you. Afterward, Elena commented, "It made us understand what aviation really looks like, what is attainable and possible for us as students and us as women." YOUR CORNER I'm Building a Plane! by Zahra Heuseen 4

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