Women in Aviation

On January 3, 1921, one of America’s most famous pilots, Amelia Earhart, took her first flying lesson. After just six months, she purchased a second-hand Kinner Airster biplane for $2,000— the equivalent of about $30,000 today— and took to the skies. Over a decade later, now with an updated Lockheed Vega 5B  aircraft, this aviator became the first person to fly solo across the Pacific from Honolulu, Hawaii to Oakland, California. In 1937, after having her twin-engine Lockheed rebuilt, the now world-famous pilot, Amelia Earhart embarked on what would become her last flight, aiming to circumnavigate the globe.

Tragically on July 2, 1937, Amelia and her navigator, Frederick Noonan, were reported missing near Howland Island in the Pacific.  Although no proof of their fate exists, Amelia remains a hero and pioneer to this day, inspiring men and women alike to captain aircraft and embark on great adventures. But some may wonder, if Amelia Earhart were here to see the modern landscape of aviation, would she be pleased with what she saw?

Aviation Statistics Men vs Women

After Amelia’s disappearance, the world seemed to forget just how influential a woman’s efforts had been. For many years, it was almost taboo for females to serve as anything more than a “stewardess” aboard a plane. With time, perspectives began to change, but even today, there is still a considerable imbalance between male and female pilots. Here are some statistics according to Women in Aviation International (2020 data) illustrating how few women are involved in aviation as pilots: 


Females in aviation statistics


From this data, we can gather that nearly 92 percent of all pilots nationwide are male. At the end of the day, the world needs more dedicated, qualified female aviators. 

A Promising Future

You may notice on the chart above, the highest percentage of females in any given category is found on the student line. This means that more and more females are taking interest in aviation careers than in years past. However, that number still needs to double or triple in order to tip the scales, thus finding a more appropriate balance.

In the year 2000, 11.61% of students were female, meaning that there has been a 2.5% increase over the past two decades. While any increase is cause for optimism, it isn’t quite enough. For this reason, organizations such as the Women in Aviation (WIA), in partnership with federal agencies such as NASA and FAA are making a strong push to promote women in the aviation industry. In many ways, there isn’t a better time for females to fly than right now. We are seeing positive change on the horizon! 

FLT Academy’s Role

As one of the top-tier flight schools in the west, we share in this commitment to inspire and empower female pilots. Our dedication to excellence in every facet of instruction gives future aviators tremendous opportunity within the industry. We have seen many female students realize their dreams of becoming pilots, embarking on long, rewarding careers. Here are the words of just a couple:

“Going into the aviation industry and becoming a pilot was the best decision of my life. With it being a more male-dominated field and being very young in the industry, it definitely got intimidating at times, but it also motivated me to work harder and show women can be just as good of a pilot or better.”

– Jenna Odekirk

“Ever since I started flight training, I have been one out of maybe two or three women in my class. Sometimes I was the only one. At first, it was a bit intimidating, but I’ve been lucky enough to work with really fantastic instructors, students, and admin that have made me feel comfortable and have helped cultivate my love for Aviation. Now I work as a flight instructor at FLT Academy, and I get to work with many other women who I really look up to. I am glad that I have had such wonderful people to help guide me to achieving my aviation goals.”

– Shannon Hendrix

When all is said and done, we are here to encourage any female with an interest in flight, to come visit with us. If you have any questions regarding our school or our flight programs, please contact us today.