Delta Airlines celebrated International Girls in Aviation Day in a big way.
For the fifth year in a row, their WING (Women Inspiring our Next Generation) flight took off with an all-female crew and 120 female passengers ages 12-18. The flight took the girls from Salt Lake City to NASA in Houston in honor of their goal of “closing the gender gap in aviation.”
Since 2015, Delta has been working to expose girls to careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) through the WING program.
Beth Poole, General Manager of Pilot Development, helped start the WING program and has helped plan the annual flight each year since then. She said, “We know representation matters. At Delta, we believe you have to see it to be it. We’re taking ownership to improve gender diversity by exposing girls at a young age and providing a pipeline so that 10 years from now, they will be the pilots in the Delta cockpit inspiring generations of women who follow.”
Once the girls arrived in Houston, they got the chance to learn at NASA.
They toured NASA’s Mission Control Center, Building 9, Johnson Space Center and Space Center Houston. Karyanna H., an 11th grader at Jordan Technical Institute, was excited to be a part of the program and said, “I never would have thought I would have had this experience. I’m really grateful for my parents who have made this possible and inspired my love of aviation. It’s such an exciting time to be in STEM. There’s so much left for us to discover.”
The WING flight was many of the girls’ first time flying, but after taking part in it they see a future for themselves in the sky.
Katelyn J., a 12th grader from Advanced Learning Center said, “It didn’t seem realistic to go after a career in aviation, but today I realized, ‘Hey, I can do this too.'”