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Pilots from seven nations fly over the English Channel

March 19, 2012, Paris, Fra. - On March 10, 2012, pilots from the United States, Canada, Ireland, the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, and Switzerland, gathered at England's Headcorn Aerodrome and France's Le Touquet Airport to celebrate the centennial of the first airplane flight across the English Channel with a woman pilot at the controls, American Harriet Quimby.


March 19, 2012
By Carey Fredericks

With an objective of raising awareness of aviation's opportunities among the female population, more than 100 pilots and female passengers boarded ultra lights, modern and vintage airplanes, helicopters, and multi-engines aircraft to travel to the two airports. One third of these aircraft flew across the English Channel and, in doing so, established a new record for most females introduced to flying over the English Channel in one day.
 
Harriett Quimby, aka American pilot Barbara Ganson, led the group southbound across the English Channel in a Cessna 172. Annette Lynton Manson, British, invited Esther French – who won a video contest to represent the next generation of American women pilots at the event – to fly with her in her Eurocopter Ecureuil while Florence Leaute, a French ultra light pilot and a member of the FFPLUM, flew across the English Channel in both directions with her female passenger.
 
Concurrently, to mark the centennial of the first seaplane flight with a woman at the controls, seaplane pilot Helene Dutrieu, aka Sophie Ripoche, flew in a Seamax seaplane while Jane Planchon, Canadair pilot for the Aviation Civile, answered questions about her career and handed out stickers.
 
This event held in partnership with Airbus featured a full size ultra light simulator made available by the FFPLUM in Le Touquet and an airplane simulator made available by MAF in Headcorn to encourage the public to test try their piloting skills. In addition, pilots, passengers and the public had a chance to experience Sennheiser's advanced sound technology, learn about becoming a pilot, and discover aviation history at each airport, as well as view local craft and sample local food.
 
As part of the Le Touquet city centennial celebration, the folk group "Les bons z'enfants d'Etaples" and the city’s Jazz band formed an honor guard to welcome the crews in France. At the Headcorn aerodrome, local aerobatic pilots orchestrated a mini air show.
 
"The annual Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week celebration aims to celebrate the achievements of the women of aviation of the present and the past by taking steps to fulfill their dream: an equal share of the skies for women. Events such as this one help girls and women realize that aviation is for them too and that their presence in the field is both desired and appreciated," said Mireille Goyer, the event organizer.
 
Women uniting nations was the theme. For half a day, individuals from seven nations united to salute the achievement of aviation pioneers from two continents and inspire girls and women around the globe.
The celebration of Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week began in 2011 as the world celebrated the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day. Held annually during the week including March 8, which marks International Women’s Day and the anniversary of the issuance of the first female pilot license worldwide, Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week aims to foster diversity in aviation by celebrating women’s history, raising awareness of aviation’s opportunities among girls and women, and shaping the future by introducing girls and women to aviation through industry-wide collaboration.

The 2013 Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week will take place from March 4, 2013 to March 10, 2013. The 2013 theme will be "Women in Space" as the world will celebrate the 50-year anniversary of the first woman to fly in space.