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Women Impacting the Aviation Industry

Historically, one of the most memorable female names in the world of aviation has always been Amelia Earhart, and in today’s modern aviation industry women continue to make history and break barriers in all fields of aviation. Whether they are managing one of the most time-efficient airline operations in the world, becoming the first black, female Airline Transport pilot for helicopters in South Africa, or advancing the field of aerospace engineering, women all across the world are having a positive impact on the aviation industry.

Take Lindie Bruyns for example, the 30 year old operations manager for FlySafair, a low-cost airline based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Bruyns is responsible for managing the daily flight operations and making sure each flight is running according to schedule, and she is certainly good at her job. In fact, FlySafair currently holds the exclusive status of the most on-time airlines in the world, an accomplishment linked directly to Bruyns’ successful management of the airline over the last 3 years.

But women aren’t just impacting the management operations side of the aviation industry, and according to Bruyns herself, “Women in aviation aren’t limited to the roles of hostesses or administrators – we can contribute to so many other areas of the industry – we simply need to be empowered to do so.”

Breaking barriers and paving the way for future generations

One such woman who empowered herself along the way to success in the aviation industry is Dr. Samantha “Sam” Magill, Ph.D. in aerospace engineering. Interested in aircraft since a very young age, Dr. Magill has been catching the attention of experts in the aviation industry since she was in high school. From Virginia Tech, to Germany, and back to Greensboro, North Carolina, Magill’s civil and aerospace engineering expertise has taken her all over the world.

Not only did she specialize in stability and control in the engineering flight test and fine-tuning of the HA-420 HondaJet, Magill also serves on the Board of Trustees of Guilford Technical Community College where she continues to push an academic affairs agenda. But Magill’s leadership in the aviation industry doesn’t stop there; she has also played a major role in Honda Aircraft’s sponsorship of the Women Soar, You Soar program for girls in high school, at EAA AirVenture.

Now what about the impact of female pilots on the aviation industry? Well, one of the women leading the way and making history at the same time is, Refilwe Ledwaba of South Africa, the first black woman to earn an Airline Transport Pilot’s License for helicopters in South Africa and join the force as its very first black operational helicopter pilot. And similar to how Dr. Magill feels a responsibility to lead the way for other women and girls aspiring to succeed in the aviation industry, Ledwaba is also doing her part as a role model. So with the goal of providing both mentorship and financial support to young women and girls seeking to earn their wings, in 2009 Ledwaba started the South Africa Women in Aviation and Aerospace Non-Profit Organization.

With women like Bruyns, Magill, and Ledwaba leading the way and making great strides in the aviation industry, there is no limit to the impact women of the future will continue to have on this once male-dominated industry.

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