Thank you to everyone who helped show almost 100 local girls, in Madrid, the opportunities available in the aviation industry. Girls learned from role models and industry experts, including: pilots, aircraft mechanics, flight attendants, air traffic controllers, and more!
Girls in Aviation Day (GIAD), Madrid, was a Women in Aviation International event, sponsored by Delta Air Lines, Inc.
According to Plane and Pilot Magazine statistics, in December 2017, only 6.71% of FAA pilot certificates were held by women in 2016, and only 2.28% of FAA-certified mechanics were women in 2016.
GIAD has sought to inspire or expand an interest in aviation, showing girls what is possible.
Vanessa de Velasco, Founder of Aviadoras
Keynote Speech, Video and Transcript
Welcome everybody. Thank you very much. My name is Vanessa de Velasco. Believe it or not, I used to be a girl like you, a long time ago. Sorry for my English. I am going to try to communicate with you as well as I can. When I was a girl, I used to think I wanted to do a different job. I wanted to be an actress. I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to be a singer. Even a top model. And for sure, I wanted to be a pilot, since I was little, a little child. So, I was lucky because my father, he was a pilot too. And I knew what what was aviation, because I was so accustomed to seeing, so used to seeing my father going out and going to fly and I liked to see him going out.
I remember my first solo flight, the first time I flew alone, and it was great. I was 17 years old. I couldn’t drive, but I was flying. And it was amazing. It was a great sensation, a great feeling. And then I remember the first time that I did my first trip alone. I was so excited. I was so nervous. I had to go from Madrid to Salamanca, to cross the mountains with my airplane. And I was nervous and I really was thinking that I wasn’t going to be able to do it. And you know, girls, what happened. I didn’t do it. I was there, I crossed the mountains. And I got so nervous and I was thinking, “I’m not going to be able to do it. I’m not going to be able to do it.” So I quit. And I said, “Okay, I am going to go back. I know where is my home. I know where is my airport. And I’m going to go back.” So I went back.
And I felt so bad, you know, when I went again to Madrid. It was wrong, terrible, because I felt ashamed. I felt like I couldn’t be a pilot, never in my life. I was just only 17 years old. And my instructor, he was a man, and he came and he said, “Vanessa, very good. Now you are going to fly alone every flight.” And I said, “No, no.”
And I started to fly alone again. And I started to think, “I have to believe in myself. I have to believe in me. I have to talk with my friends about my fears and about feeling that sometimes we feel that we are not going to be able to do some things.”
Everyone has that feeling, everybody, girls. And it is important for you to talk with each other. To say, “I am feeling happy. I am feeling sad.” Be female partners. Be partners with your friends. And do you know what I did. Now, I am flying an Airbus 340. It weighs 256 tons. I help people traveling all around the world, girls and boys. And I am so happy with that.
That’s why we created Aviadoras. Mar Alguacil, she’s here with me. She created it with me. We started it together and we felt that this was important because we have to be brave. We don’t have to be perfect. We have to be free. We don’t have to be perfect. We learn about our errors. And we all have errors. But the thing is that you have to enjoy the way. And while you are doing the mistakes, you have to think, okay I am going to do it better next time and I am going to help this other girl or this other guy and tell him or tell her that everything is going to be great. Like my instructor did with me, when I got lost.
So Aviadoras is the first and unique movement of female pilots in Spain. Thank you very much for Delta for hosting this. Thank you very much Christine and Angel. This has been great. I am so happy to be with you girls and parents. I just want to invite you to join us. We need help. We need volunteers too. So girls, you are welcome to be pilots and help us if you want. And I just want to say, thank you. Follow your dreams. And enjoy the path. Thank you very much.
Once again, thank you, Women in Aviation International and Delta Air Lines. Thank you, AC Hotel Coslada Aeropuerto, for hosting us. Thank you, Aviadoras, the first and unique female pilot movement in Spain. Thank you, USA Girl Scouts Overseas for supporting STEM programs, and its Chief Executive, Stefanie Ortiz-Cidlik for attending our event. Thank you, Boeing, for donating the balsa wood gliders, as well as raffle items. Thank you, Sundowner Aviation, for filming videos for continuing education (see related posts, below). Thank you to the following supporters for raffle donations: One Plane Jane, Base Turn, Paula McLain, and Patrick Smith. Thank you, presenters, for sharing your expertise and time. Thank you, volunteers, for your time and for helping the event run smoothly, and donors, for making the event possible with catering and supplies. Thank you, families, for supporting your children and bringing your daughters to this event. Thank you, girls, for showing up, willing and eager to learn and have fun!
Christine & Angel
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