Northsider at "Women in Aviation Day" at Griffith University

Genevieve H (Year 12):

A week ago, I had the privilege of visiting Griffith University’s Women in Aviation event. I’ve wanted to be a pilot for a couple of years now, and had gotten six hours of flying hours previously, but had never met any girl my age that was also interested in flying. At Griffith, however, I was able to speak to many girls from schools all over south-east Queensland who were also considering a career in different sectors of the aviation industry.

First up, we were able to test out their flight simulators, choosing any airport in the world, as well as the time of day and the weather. Some of the students at the university were able to help us take-off and stay in the air and taught me a lot of tips on how to use the program! For most of the girls, this was their first experience at flying whatsoever, so it was uplifting to see them enjoy it so much.

After morning tea and some chatting to the chief student pilot and some other students, we were ushered over to a separate, where we were encouraged to consider not just aviation, but engineering as well. Then, separating into pairs, we had to race their drones around and through some obstacles, and the fastest team would get a prize. It was a bit difficult, at first, but my partner and I laughed the mistakes off and kept going!

After an action-packed morning, it was lovely to sit down and listen to a panel of women who work in different sectors of the aviation industry; an engineer from Boeing who previously worked for the Royal Air Force, Qantas Captain Danica Henderson who flies the Dash 8 Q200, past students who had recently graduated from a cadetship, an investigator from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau who was working on recent accidents that many of us had heard on the news, a Safety Manager in the Human Factors Sector who observes air traffic controllers, and this is only naming a few of the women we were able to hear their stories from. They shared advice with us, and a common thread between them all was that they didn’t necessarily start in the aviation industry or expect to be where they were now, but nonetheless, had a passion for the job they worked in at present. I was able to ask questions to many of them during the panel, and I wrote down their responses to consider later.

After the panel had finished, I also was able to approach Captain Danica with my friend I had met earlier and speak to her about my flying experience, how she had gotten into flying, and her experience at Griffith University ten years ago. It was overall an amazing day, where I was able to talk to so many people that I would have never met if it weren’t for this event, and it definitely encouraged me to pursue flying even more, and perhaps, at Griffith University next year. I highly recommend going to this event if you have even a shred of interest in flying, engineering, or any other job in aviation!