Valley Regional Airport Hosts Women Can Fly Event

‘The World From A Different Angle’
Valley Regional Airport Hosts Women Can Fly Event
Daily News-Record  6/17/19
WEYERS CAVE — Although her father’s a pilot, Rebeca Haun doesn’t pass up the opportunity to jump in a plane for some sightseeing.
She said she enjoys seeing the Shenandoah Valley from up above.
“It’s nice to see the world from a different angle,” said Haun, 18, of Rockingham County.
On Saturday, Haun was among about 200 women of all ages and girls as young as 8 to participate in the annual Women Can Fly event at Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport in Weyers Cave.
Founded in 2013, Women Can Fly is a Virginia organization aimed at getting more women interested in becoming pilots. Women represent only 6 percent of the total pilot population in the United States, according to the organization.
This is the fourth year that SVRA has been a host site.
Heather Ream, the airport’s director of marketing and communication, said the event leaves many young girls excited about flying.
“When people get off the plane, their smiles, and the joy on their faces, makes it all worth it,” she said.
She said the event has proven to be successful over the years.
“We’ve had a number of people start flight training,” she said.
During the last month, Women Can Fly events have been held in Hampton Roads and Roanoke. On June 22, an event will be held at Shannon Airport in Fredericksburg, and on June 29, at the Warrenton-Fauquier Airport.
Pilot Rachel Ridder, 28, of Nelson County, volunteered to fly some of the women.
Ridder, whose father and brother are both pilots, started flying five years ago. She said she loves introducing flying to younger girls.
“The earlier you get the bug the better,” said Ridder, who wants to be a commercial pilot.
Carlie Floyd, 32, of Timberville, brought her two daughters, Abigail, 11, and Rylie, 8, to fly. It was the trios’ first time flying.
“It was amazing,” said the mother. “It’s a great thing to get females involved in.”
Stephanie Dean, 25, of Harrisonburg, has flown before, but this was her first time sitting in the front and observing the controls.
She said that when most people think about pilots they don’t think about women. She said she hopes that changes.
Dean said she is considering learning how to fly.
“The curiosity is there,” she said. “I’d love to learn more.”