gathers the Women in Aviation group for a photo at EAA
AirVenture 2010. Photo by Brett Brock.
Women in Aviation International (WAI)
members and aviation enthusiasts gathered at the WAI Celebrity Connect
Breakfast on Friday, July 30, in the Nature Center.
WAI President Dr. Peggy Chabrian
introduced special guests Bonnie Dunbar, astronaut/CEO of Seattle’s
Museum of Flight, and Peggy Whitson, astronaut/space station commander.
It was also Whitson’s first visit to AirVenture.
Country music singer and pilot Aaron
Tippin spoke about performing with the USO and his upcoming tour with
the Commemorative Air Force, the Red, White, and Loud Tour,
featuring the B-29 FIFI.
He also performed two of his hits, “Where
the Stars and Stripes and the Eagle Fly” and “There Ain’t Nothing
Wrong with the Radio.”
Jessica Cox, born without arms, talked about Able Flight, dedicated to
offering people with disabilities unique opportunities through flight
training, and how the organization helped her realize the dream of
earning her pilot certificate.
David Hartman, television anchor and
actor, and actress Elijah DeJesus, from the movie Pearl, spoke to
the group. Pearl is about the late Pearl Carter Scott, a
Chickasaw girl from Oklahoma who was once the youngest certificated
pilot in America and a commercial pilot at the age of 14.
Jim Campbell, who was once married to
Vicki Cruse and provided her with her first aerobatic ride, talked about
the Vicki Cruse Scholarship Fund, established to provide financial aid
to women pilots for emergency maneuver and aerobatic training. Vicki,
who was president of the International Aerobatic Club and an aerobatics
champion, died in a plane crash in August 2009.
Many Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP)
attended, along with the modern-day women Air Force pilots. “I’m
impressed by the initiative of women pilots to get together and inspire
others,” commented first-time WAI breakfast attendee Capt. Cheryl “Score”
Buehn, F-16 pilot and T-38 instructor pilot.
Maj. Caroline “Blaze” Jensen, also an
F-16 pilot and T-38 instructor pilot and first-time attendee, said, “This
is a great atmosphere! I love the camaraderie and the desire to foster
and promote women flying.
“It’s wonderful to see women helping
other women achieve their goals and encouraging them to just go for it!”
Prizes given away included a pair of
VehaloHD sunglasses (a $250 value), Voyager Flight Software System from
Seattle Avionics (valued at $499), and a full-registration to the 22nd
Annual WAI Conference (valued at $329) in Reno, Nevada, February 24-26,
Then it was off to AeroShell Square where
all female pilots gathered to take the third annual WomenVenture photo.
WAI is located at Booth 2041 in Exhibit