Women take flight at Air Museum

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Girl Scouts visit the Air Museum. Submitted photo

The New England Air Museum will hold its annual Women Take Flight event on Saturday, March 9, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in commemoration of Women’s History Month and in conjunction with Women of Aviation Worldwide Week. Visitors of all ages are invited to celebrate women’s contributions to aerospace history through a variety of hands-on activities, special events, and lectures. 

This year’s keynote speakers include Shaesta Waiz, Founder and President of Dreams Soar, Inc. In 2017, Waiz became the youngest woman to fly solo around the world in a single engine aircraft when she completed a journey that took her to 22 countries in 145 days. Born in an Afghan refugee camp, Waiz is the first female certified civilian pilot from Afghanistan, and was the first person in her family to earn undergraduate and graduate degrees, both from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Waiz will speak about her experiences at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., and will be available to meet with visitors from 2:30-3:30 p.m.

Additional keynote speakers include Mary Anne Cannon, vice president of commercial programs at Pratt and Whitney in East Hartford; and Kristi Fleischmann, managing director of Acrojet Aerospace Solutions in Stratford. With more than 29 years of experience at Pratt and Whitney across engineering, quality, and operations, Cannon currently manages several Pratt and Whitney product lines including the PW4000, PW2000, PW6000, JT9D and JT8D engines. Cannon will speak about her career in aviation at 2:30 p.m., and will be available to meet with visitors from 1-2 p.m. Fleischmann’s aerospace career began in the Air Force where she commanded missions in the C-141 and trained pilots in the supersonic T-38 Talon. She currently works to solve aerospace industry challenges using innovations in flight training with her company Acrojet Aerospace Solutions. Flesichmann will speak about her career in aviation at 12:30 p.m., and will meet with visitors from 11a.m. – noon.

Women Take Flight offers visitors the opportunity to meet women pilots, engineers, and industry professionals from the 103rd Airlift Wing of the Connecticut Air National Guard, the 439th Airlift at Westover Air Reserve Base, Bombardier Hartford Service Center, Collins Aerospace Systems, Kaman Corporation, Milestone C, New England Section of the 99s, Pratt and Whitney, Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, Society of Women Engineers Hartford Section, TAC Air Bradley International Airport, University of Connecticut Storrs’ Mechanical Engineering Department, the Wright Sister Engineering Club, Women in Aviation Connecticut Chapter, and the Connecticut Women’s Transportation Seminar.

Women Take Flight will also feature hands-on STEM activities for children, flight simulators, and climb-aboard experiences in historic aircraft, including a Lockheed 10-A Electra— the same model aircraft that Amelia Earhart flew during her attempted around the world flight in 1937.

Women Take Flight is supported by Jet Support Services, Inc. Additional support is provided by Peerless Precision, Inc, a woman-owned company, as well as the Sheraton at Bradley International Airport. Food and beverage will be available for purchase compliments of Kane’s Market. The event is open to the public, and all lectures, events, and activities are included with general admission unless otherwise noted. Discounted admission is available for pre-paid groups of 10 or more with advance reservations. Additional information is available on our website at www.neam.org or by calling (860) 623-3305.

Women Take Flight will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and the museum will close at 5 p.m. Admission is $15 for ages 15 to 64, $14 for seniors 65 and up, and $10 for youth ages 4 to 14. New England Air Museum members and children ages 3 and under are admitted free of charge. The New England Air Museum is located in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, adjacent to Bradley International Airport.