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PHD. MBA. MHS. Type rated on A350, A330, B777, B747-400, B747-200, B757, B767, B737, B727. International Airline Pilot / Author / Speaker. Dedicated to giving the gift of wings to anyone following their dreams. Supporting Aviation Safety through training, writing, and inspiration. Fighting for Aviation Safety and Airline Employee Advocacy. Safety Culture and SMS change agent.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Most Female Friendly Airport in the United States!

 Renton Airport
March 8 1910, Raymonde de Laroche became the first woman to earn a pilot license in the world. In September of the same year, Bessica Medlar Raiche, a Wisconsin native, became the first woman to solo an airplane on the American continent.

One hundred years later, to celebrate the achievements of these trailblazing women, pilots worldwide took to the sky. We introduced 1647 girls and women to the joys of flying in 29 countries on 4 continents, thanks to Mireille Goyer --- Centennial Of Women Pilots sponsored event. 

On January 30th everyone posted their current numbers. On January 31st, we were 75 people in the lead for the world title. But despite our best efforts, we at Renton airport were unable to bring home the award for the Most Female-Pilot-Friendly Airport in the World. That title is now held by Oshawa Canada with a total of 475 flights. 

Congratulations Oshawa and all that flew--- You did great!
  • Renton Airport is 1st runner up for the world record
  • Renton holds the title of Most Female-Pilot-Friendly Airport in the United States
  • We flew 407 flights.  Remember... we didn't begin our campaign until December 5th. The rest of the world began on March 6th. I'm thinking we also hold the record for the most women flown in a given month.  
  • Renton set the current World Record for most girls and women introduced to flying in one day, at one location--- standing at 173 flights. 

Kpong Field in Ghana earned the title of Most Female-Pilot-Friendly Airport in Ghana and 2nd runner up in the World with a total of 97 flights.

The Most Dedicated Woman Pilot in the World is:

Amanda, a helicopter pilot and instructor in Seattle, WA, United States--- Classic Helicopters at Boeing Airport--- conducted a total of 119 flights. 67 of these flights took place at Renton Airport, on New Year’s Eve, thanks to  Greg Baker and  Classic Helicopters

Amanda and  Greg Baker
Allie Dunnington of Bristol, England, the 1st runner up, introduced a total of 65 girls and women to flying throughout the year in 3 countries... In a Balloon.

Flying her own Cessna 172, Lesely Page, of Oshawa, Canada, the 2nd runner up, overcame her aversion for taking passengers and introduced 54 girls and women to the joys of flying. She and her husband, Jeff Page, conducted a total of 76 introductory flights making them the most dedicated couple.

The Most Supportive Male Pilot in the World in 2010 was Andrei Floroiu of New York, NY, United States. As a part of Andre's Fly For MS campaign, with the help of Keith Siilats and their entire FLYforMS team, he introduced 157 girls and women to flying. He allowed them to leave their medical conditions on the ground, if only for a moment, as they took to the sky.

During our record setting event at Renton, on December 5 2010, Peter Morton of Renton, WA, United States, flew a Cirrus SR20 tirelessly and continued to introduce more girls and women to flying for the reminder of the year. 

Peter Morton
Peter conducted 45 introductory flights to become the 1st runner up for Most Supportive Male Pilot. 

Also, in Renton, WA, United States, Dick Smith onboard his Cessna 180, flew the first and last flights during the Renton Airport's record setting event on December 5th,  to introduce 43 girls and women to flying and is the 2nd runner up for Most Supportive Male Pilot. 

Dick actually flew 54 women. But some of our women took an airplane flight and a Helicopter flight with Emily, so he didn't get credit for all he flew. But he was our last man standing. And he was the first person who said, "Sure, I'd love to help."

Dick Smith

In the Most Unusual Introductory Flight category, people voted and selected a winner. 

With 184 votes, Clark Morawetz of Oshawa, ON, Canada conducted the 2010 Most Unusual Introductory Flight, a flight that included a marriage proposal that almost went wrong. 

183 people selected Sharon Ttinkler of Tullahoma, TN, United States. Sharon introduced her best friend to flying in a vintage Luscombe 11A and ran in some problems with the tachometer. 

103 people chose Sharon Theodorelos of Dayton, OH, United States, who conducted her most unusual introductory flight in 1930 WACO RNF.

“The ultimate winners were the hundreds of girls and women who discovered flying thanks to this campaign. May they fly forward the gift they received,” says Mireille Goyer, the Centennial of Women Pilots campaign organizer.  

“Flying gives me the feeling of being carefree and all worries seem to disappear while in the air. Kind of like a piece of heaven looking over everyone. Again, thank you from the bottom of our hearts!” said Meredith, a lady introduced to flying in Oshawa, ON, Canada.

“She's not even two. She blew kisses to the other airplanes on the way down, and talked about the flight the whole way home. I know the experience will stay with her, and with us, for a long time to come,” said Nikki who flew with her daughter in Renton, WA, USA.

All our pilots are winners!

Your contribution is etched in history and in the minds and hearts of the women you flew. In addition to our pilot winners from above, please meet the rest of the flying team. 

Emily Winter Hiller
Doug DeVries

Amanda Sargent
Mark Gaponoff

Glen Wooldridge
Tom Gwilym
Jay Sakas

Joyce Rust
Karlene Petitt

I only flew two people on the 31st -- but that gave me status to be on the pilot list. 

Thank you everyone! If you haven't already done so--- click on the names in blue to read incredible stories on these amazing people. My prize was to have the opportunity to meet you all--- and remember what it feels like to fly!

Enjoy the Journey~



  1. Congrats on being the 1st runner up, that is still a fantastic position to hold! Bravo to everyone who participated. You peeps did an awesome job!

  2. This is such an amazing opportunity for people. I'm terrified of heights (and flying) so this wouldn't be something I'd even consider doing. But I'm so thrilled to see so many people getting together to do this. You guys are amazing.

  3. Thank you so much Heather. Your following our progress and continued support is very much appreciated! Yes... Bravo to all who helped!

  4. Annikka, Thank you so much for your comment. Many pilots are afraid of heights, and many passengers are afraid of flying. But when you take control yourself--- in a little plane--- you might just fight all fears at once. I'm thinking next fly it forward event, we're getting you in the sky!

  5. Currently, there are about 80,000 women pilots worldwide. We introduced over 1,600 girls and women to flying this year. That's 2% of the total female pilot population. Renton introduced a quarter of this year's total. Congrats Renton, home to more "most dedicated woman pilots" and "most supportive male pilots" (5 out of the top 10) than anywhere else in the world!

    Why do I get the feeling that the "most female pilot friendly airport in the world" title will not escape Renton in March 2011? :)

  6. Mireille, those are amazing statistics. To think we flew 2% of the female population. One step at a time. One flight at a time. We'll get there.

    Comments on March will be left for the pilots to comment on.

  7. Congratulations! In time, a few of these young ladies will hold your seat. All will remember their first flight forever.
    --Mine was in 1957, on a DC-6, an even that steill remains fresh. Good stuff!
    Now, let's get past the competition and get back to mentoring those young women (Ahem! and young men!) in the art and science of airplane driving.

  8. Thanks Craig, DC-6... I'm jealous! Yes, we'll get back to mentoring them all. And, we have plans for more mentoring coming in March.

  9. Everyone deserves a pat on the back! Great job! Let's keep those numbers going through 2011!

  10. Wonderful wrapup, Karlene! Does this mean you'll be enjoying flying small planes for fun in the future, too? That would be awesome.

  11. Hi Linda, I'm definitely going to be flying small planes in the future. And, I'm thinking we have another event in the future.

  12. Thank you Vic!!! You're going to have an amazing event too!

  13. Well done Karlene and everyone who made this possible for Renton to be the most female friendly airport in the USA. Keep up the good work :)

  14. Karlene,
    Congratulations to you, Amanda, Peter, Dick and all your supporters in the Renton aviation community!

    Lesley Page

  15. Rafael, Thank you so much! It was... and more to come!

  16. Hi Jo, Thank you so much for your comments. I have so much to tell you about the event. And more. We'll get you over here for the next one, I hope!

  17. Lesley, Thank you so much!!! Major congratulations to you too! You did great things up there. Keep "UP" the great work!!!

  18. Congratulations to the airport and to all the pilots! :)

  19. Thank you!! Those pilots deserve it!!!

  20. Congratulations, Kudos, and Thank You for sharing your passion. I grew up in Renton and am happy to hear the airport won "Most Female Friendly in the US" award -- they've hung a big banner for passersby to see. When is the next event? :D

  21. Thank you Dena!!! Very cool sign isn't it? :)


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