'Women Can Fly' Event in Lynchburg Encourages Girls to Become Pilots

Lynchburg, VA - Amelia Earhart once said, "The most effective way to do it, is to do it," and that call to action was echoed by the group "Women Can Fly" at an aviation event in Lynchburg Saturday.

The group teamed up with Liberty University's School of Aeronautics to put on the Hill City's first ever Women Can Fly event at the Lynchburg Regional Airport.

Women Can Fly is a volunteer-run organization whose mission is to encourage women to become pilots. Currently, about 6 % of active pilots are female, and the group hopes events like this one will inspire more women to get involved in aviation.

Aviation experts were there to teach women of all ages everything about flying.

"It's really about empowering people--young girls. Really widen their horizons. It's really targeted toward all women, but we want to start with them young," said Susan Brogan, the chair of Women can Fly.

And up to the horizon they went. Pilots took up the participants on a free plane ride to show them what it takes to fly a plane.

So we decided to find out for ourselves, and we took off on a Beech Baron. At 3,500 feet in the air, the pilot gave reporter Claudia Rupcich complete control of the plane.

Our videographer was worried the whole time, but we made it back on the ground safely with a new appreciation for pilots.

Girls felt proud and extremely excited holding up that "first flight" certificate.

"It was really funI think we flew over our house. I think it was a great opportunity," said Ameliah Knopp, a 12-year-old who rode on a plane.

Organizers say seeing the girls' smiles after they get off the planes is the best part.

"That makes all the work that goes into it worth it. To see somebody that inspired. To see someone to think for the first time, 'Hey maybe this is something I can do. Maybe this is something that's not so far out of my reach," said Amanda Spence, a dispatcher and alumnus at the LU School of Aeronautics.

You can find out more about Liberty's aviation program on the school's website.

Find out more about Women Can Fly.

If you're interested in a free plane ride, you can call 434-582-2183 to schedule a ride with LU's pilots.