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Girls Can Fly event encourages women and girls to get involved in aviation

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In an effort to promote women in aviation, thousands attended the annual Girls Can Fly event Saturday hosted by the Waterloo Wellington Flight Centre (WWFC).

Plane enthusiasts were welcomed to tour the flight centre at the Region of Waterloo International Airport, meet some of the women pilots and learn more about the industry.

“We have Jazz, Porter and Sunwing Airlines all here with big planes,” said Julie Mudry, marketing and communications manager with WWFC. “They are having tours of the cabin, as well you can sit in the cockpit, you can get a photo with the pilots. All female crews are here so we really want to inspire the young people, specifically girls in the community.”

Though all were encouraged to attend, girls aged eight to 18 were also invited to take part in a free flight.

“We have about 275 young ladies going up in planes and helicopters. We had a registration in late April and it filled up in about eight minutes so all spots were full and our waitlist was full,” said Mudry.

Though a final tally of attendees isn’t available at this time, organizers believe thousands came out.

“Last year we saw about 1,500 [people], I think this year there’s definitely more. I would said at least 2,000,” said Mudry.

The Waterloo Warbirds were also there for the event doing flyovers throughout the day.

“It’s to raise awareness for the industry,” added Mudry. “Before I started here, I didn’t even know that we did pilot training in Waterloo Region… We have about 700 students at our flight training centre here so it’s good for people to know that we are here and that this is a career choice.”

The weather helped with the turnout but according to Mudry, many families attended to try out something different.

“It’s something new. Some kids, they’ve never sat in an airplane before or went for a flight,” she said. “It’s really cool to see their faces and their smiles. Specifically the girls when they come off their flights, they’re just glowing and that’s what we’re all here for today. That is the goal, to just inspire this next generation.”

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