Opportunities in Aviation Demonstrated by New Group


Conner Woodruff, News Editor

Girl Scouts, aviation enthusiasts and Marshall University students attended a fly-in Bill Noe Flight School Saturday to learn about the opportunities in the aviation industry for women.

Marshall’s Women in Aviation chapter hosted the “Pancake Fly-In” event at the University’s flight school which included raffles, a pancake breakfast, a tour of the school and the chance to watch planes fly into Yeager Airport in Charleston.

Kristen Sayre, president of Marshall University’s Women in Aviation Chapter, talked about future events coming from the student-led organization.

“We have a lot of good stuff coming,” Sayre said. “We’re inviting a lot of people who don’t fly, who aren’t pilots.”

The Pancake Fly-In served as an opportunity to teach guests that piloting isn’t the only way to find a career in aviation.

The Women in Aviation chapter is less than a year old, with its founding in February 2022.

The Women in Aviation group also invited Girl Scout troops to visit the school’s flight simulator, learn more about the variety of careers in aviation, watch the fly-in and meet Hercules, the airport dog.

Kate Phillips, the director of Programs and Education Services for the Girl Scouts Black Diamond, said that the visit to the airport is a good opportunity to spark interest in the aviation field.

“This gives girls a great exposure to aviation and some STEM fields,” Phillips said. “Also, a pathway to career opportunities that could potentially keep them in West Virginia.”

Despite the organization’s name, the Women in Aviation chapter is composed mostly of male members. Of the organization’s 23 members, 15 are men who advocate for more women involvement in the industry.

“It’s sad that some people still think it’s a man’s world,” Chasse Stuart, outreach coordinator for Women in Aviation, said. 

“It really goes to show how supportive the industry is,” Sayre said.

Flight school instructor Brady Houser spoke about his experience being trained by female pilots.

“Definitely having a different perspective helped me out,” Houser said. “One of my instructors was a female instructor, and I probably wouldn’t have made it through instrument as I did without her.”

“Pancake fly-ins and barbecue fly-ins are prevalent in the private aircraft industry,” Ritter said. “Flying in the morning on the weekend is very popular for private pilots, and usually it involved a pancake breakfast because they’re easy to serve and pretty much everyone likes them.”

Ritter also provided an update for the Bill Noe Flight School, including the possession of several new aircrafts and the construction of a second hangar.