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The Australian WAI Chapter launched its inaugural Girls in Aviation Day (GIAD) event in Canberra, ACT. The hugely successful event featured key industry aviation and aerospace organisations, an array of presenters and guest speakers with varied and diverse aerospace backgrounds. The day was concluded by an unprecedented behind the scenes tour of Canberra International Airport, featuring a RAAF Hawk127 and its female aircrew, a tour of Airservices Aviation fire brigade facilities and an interactive tour of the Canberra Airservices Control tower.

The sold out event was well received by the participants, ranging from the young and curious to women seeking a challenging career change. The attendee’s were able to connect, interact, network and be inspired by everyday individuals working in all facets of aviation, breaking down the career gender bias across the industry.

The opening address for the day was delivered by Australian Chapter President Tammy Augostin, who spoke about the theme for this years GIAD event ‘You Cant Be What you Cant See’. 

“In order to bring the next generation of girls and women into the industry it is imperative to have every day role models present and actively involved in the aviation community, so that young women can identify with these roles.” Augostin said.

Aspiring commercial pilot Alex Stewart, who currently holds her RAAus Pilots certificate at the age of 15, (But too young for a drivers licence), spoke about her journey so far and encouraged the audience to dream big even at a young age. Alex is a truly remarkable young lady, who defies the challenges in aviation with her undeniable passion and determination.

FLTLT Katherine Innes (34SQN Pilot) spoke about her experiences within the Australian Defence Force, sharing the many opportunities that had been made available to her by following a career with the Royal Australian Air Force.

Annie Lane, Operations Manager of  Nova Systems Canberra, shared her diverse background, beginning her career as an aeronautical engineer with the RAAF, Annie then moved into a consultancy role with Nova Systems.  Annie highlighted the great diversity of aviation and shared how you are able to move across different disciplines in the industry.

PLTOFF Antonia Flocco commanded the Hawk127 aircraft into Canberra for the event.  Antonia shared with attendees the incredible opportunities that have been made available to her during her time with the RAAF.  The Hawk127 is used as a primary training aircraft prior to moving up to the F-18 Super Hornet.  The girls were given the opportunity to get up close and personal with the jet trainer and many photo opportunities were taken.

Iain Martin, an Air Traffic Controller with Airservices Australia, hosted the tour around Canberra International Airport, sharing his stories and jovial phonetic alphabet song with the group, which totally engaged and entertained the his audience. With over 35 years of experience, Iain was able to share key information on various careers which females could easily pursue.

The Australian Chapter would like to recognise the significant contributions of the following supporting organisations.

Corporate Members: Airservices Australia, Boeing Flight Services and RMIT.  Along with Canberra Airport, Nova Systems, Department of Defence, RAAus and Goulbourn Flight Training Centre for their enthusiastic participation with our first GIAD event.