web 2017 WASP AT 6 JimKoepnick 5213Unique Flight School to Descend on Lancaster Airport

Empowering Women to Pursue Aviation

Lancaster, TX, June 1, 2018: The Commemorative Air Force DFW Wing will host the Girls in Flight Training (GIFT) Academy Jun 3 – 9, 2018 at Lancaster Regional Airport. A group of nearly 20 attendees will be chosen for the all-women flight training GIFT week. The event offers intensive training and a full immersion environment for both new and experienced female pilots to further motivate their aviation training. This group of women will have the chance to fly up to two times a day and participate in the on-going ground schools. They will have the opportunity to receive mentoring, join in on peer-to-peer learning and meet new instructors with different teaching techniques and aircraft in which to gain experience.

Gift Academy Inc. created the GIFT week event based on the need to reach out to women who are interested in becoming pilots, as well as for those who are already pursuing an aviation career but have felt intimidated, fearful, or frustrated while flying. “It is very exciting that we have over 15 women enrolled and over 12 of them are pre solo so we will be helping them break through the next major stage of their flight training,” said local sponsor, David Valaer, “Van Bortel aircraft (Largest Cessna dealer) and Falcon Insurance have both provided scholarships for some of the women as well, which is very exciting!”

GIFT Academy was launched in 2011 by Certified Flight Instructors Mary Latimer and Tamara Latimer Griffith. The organization provides women with the opportunity to attend flight training school, with the goal set to identify and address the various issues that cause women to abandon flight training, as well as to assist and motivate them to overcome such obstacles. This experience is also for women who are not pursuing a pilot’s license, but desire to overcome their fears without feeling patronized or belittled. While GIFT week is one of their highlighted events, those not able to attend still have the chance to visit the training school at their convenience. Gift Academy’s hope is to “create a network of peers, mentors, role models, and instructors to encourage women of all ages to pursue their goals in aviation and to overcome the obstacles that interfere with their flight training.”

The Commemorative Air Force is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Dallas, and the recognized leader of the Warbird Movement – the effort to preserve and honor American military aviation history. Since it was founded in 1957, the CAF has accrued 175 historic aircraft—the largest collection of vintage military aircraft in the world. Educational outreach programs impact an estimated 20 million Americans each year thanks to over 11,000 volunteers who support the CAF nationally and overseas.

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If you would like to receive more information about this event or schedule an interview with one of the CAF members, please visit www.dfwwing.com or contact Col. Keith Barrett at (927) 974-0142 or hkbarret@swbell.net. For information about GIFT please contact Tamara Griffith at (940) 231-0663 or giftacademyinc@gmail.com.

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