October 04, 2023

Wanted: girls who want to fly

Five Clarke County girls between the ages of eight and 17 have the chance to win a free, introductory airplane ride in celebration of Girls in Aviation Day, courtesy of Mary Ellen Kimball of Osceola.

Girls in Aviation Day is an event that was started by Women in Aviation International (WAI) in 2015, and it soon came to Iowa.

WAI is a “nonprofit organization dedicated to the encouragement and advancement of women in all aviation and aerospace career fields and interests,” and Girls in Aviation Day began as a way to introduce young girls to career possibilities within the aviation field, and the people who worked within those capacities - pilots, engineers, astronauts, air traffic controllers, and more - would attend to spend time with the youth.

There were also opportunities for girls to have a hands-on experience with various elements of the aviation field, such as going into an aircraft, using test flight simulators and learning about aircraft radios.

Due to COVID, the event in 2020 had to be done virtually, and Kimball wanted to start the it again locally for area girls. Being a one-woman team, she can only take five girls in the air, and they will be chosen through an application process. Interested applicants will be selected by writing at least 50 words in response to the prompt:

“I want to fly in a private plane over my house, school, and town because___I also want to see or learn___.”

Kimball is a licensed private pilot, and member of WAI, the 99′s Women Pilots, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), and Iowa Aviation Promotion Group (IAPG).

The girls will be flown by Kimball in her Cessna 150 airplane, where they will have the opportunity to learn how a plane flies, as well as a chance to operate dual controls to fly the plane if they wish. The flights will take place at the Osceola Municipal Airport, and will be scheduled around the weather and applicants’ availability.

Applicants need to submit their short writing to Kimball by Friday, Sept. 23 at: Mary Ellen Kimball, 1015 Lake Shore Drive, Osceola, IA 50213, or by email kimball@windstream.net.

Kimball can also be contacted at 641-342-4272 with any questions or for further information.