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Posted Oct 27, 2011 - 04:25 PM

7th AWE Conference

The Aviation and Women in Europe Conference this year, o­n its itinerant path showcasing European involvement in aviation, was held in The Netherlands, home to aviation pioneer and aircraft manufacturer Anthony Fokker (1890-1939) and KLM (1919). Two days of events included presentations o­n space, commercial, military, general and corporate aviation, along with numerous networking and mentoring activities. Eight countries were represented: Australia, Germany, Italy, Russia, South Africa, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and the United States.

On Friday, delegates had the opportunity to try their hand at shaking cocktails at the House of Bols, after walking through the very interesting museum using all five senses, especially the sense of smell. Lucas Bols BV is the oldest Dutch company still active, and the oldest distillery brand in the world. After a typical Dutch picnic at Museum Park, it was time to take the Blue Boat Cruise to enjoy the sights and sounds of Amsterdam from the canals. We experienced the magic watching the sun set and the night lights turn o­n with o­ncoming darkness.

Special thanks to our hostess Heidi Smale of Swan Heights, the world's first high-end training program for private and corporate flight attendants. We were all treated to high quality standard hospitality, catering and professionalism. It was catering at its finest!

Graphic Artist Leentje Linders exhibited some of her paintings during the conference. Specialized in the ancient art of designing and printing of etchings, by bringing this art to perfection, she connects the present with the past. Mrs. Linders is well known in The Netherlands and abroad for her inspired and dynamic etchings of sports and for her work incorporating various aspects of aviation.

All those present enjoyed the conference and the informal setting and appreciated the many opportunities for growth available during the weekend. The amazing lineup of speakers o­n Saturday, September 24th, took us through time, from the vintage aircraft to commercial space travel, and everything in between.

JAAP MESDAG, an aviation enthusiast and part of this year’s organizing committee, showed us the ‘Early Birds’ museum collection, and relayed the dreams of the founders and volunteers to keep aviation history alive. o­n Sunday, we actually got to visit the collection and hear some of their stories from those who actually lived them!

HARRY VAN HULTEN, Experimental Test Pilot Mission Control and founder of the company Space Experience Curacao (SXC) explained how they wish to make space accessible for tourism, scientific research and for launching micro-, and nanosatellites by executing commercial suborbital spaceflights. SXC is now called Space Expedition Curacao and has recently launched its ticket sales campaign.

FRENCHEZ PIETERSZ, Lecturer of Aviation Studies at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. As both educator and inspirer, he is not afraid to share his knowledge with his students and help them create a better tomorrow.

KAREN ROSIER, Flight Attendant at KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, shared her story with us. She is now inspired to return to fly and her dream is to become a flight instructor!

FRANK M H VERSTEEGH, an Airshow pilot, has flown more than 1350 aerobatic displays in 38 countries. He is an airshow evaluator, and trains airline pilots to recover from upset situations. Frank is a perfectionist with passion and devotion, a man who does not take no for an answer. A man with a story to tell and a good sense of humor. He loves to cook, has saved lives, caught thieves and written a book for children. Frank is a specialist in risk management. Despite protocols, standards manuals and rules, accidents and incidents happen. The question is WHY? Safety systems used in aviation can be a guideline for others. Frank pointed out that there is a human factor in 75% of all accidents.

Captain DOMINIQUE SCHREINEMACHERS, a Cougar pilot for the Dutch Air Force started with the selections for the military pilot training when she was 16 years and 9 months old. She went to the USA in 2004 to become a helicopter pilot, went through Combat training and was sent twice to Afghanistan. Now, a 29-year-old captain, she has been training for new missions o­n ship operations and more national security in Holland with search and rescue operations. This time with the marines for operations against pirates in the Gulf of Aden or narcotics control in the west.

Lt. Col. JILL A. LONG, commands the 2d Air Support Operations Squadron, Rose Barracks, Vilseck, Germany and leads 65 combat airmen in their primary mission of providing tactical close air support to the 2d Stryker Cavalry Regiment, 172d Heavy Infantry Brigade Combat Team and other Army and NATO ground forces. Jill showed us how she “Lives Life o­n the Ragged Edge … and Follows Her Dreams!" How o­ne woman translated her dream of flight into a successful military career and airshow performer.

SIMONETTA DI PIPPO, first woman director within ESA (European Space Agency) and the first o­ne leading a Human Spaceflight directorate within worldwide space agencies, shared many funny stories, being “Director of the Universe” or “Director of Human Kind” just to name a few! Simonetta also shared that the International Astronomical Union named asteroid 21887 “Dipippo” in recognition of her outstanding contribution to space exploration. She is presently the President of Women in Aerospace-Europe, the European organization she recently founded, dedicated to expanding women's opportunities for leadership and increasing their visibility in the aerospace community.

From our sponsored student, Maphuthi Ndala, from South Africa: “I would like to thank you for the opportunity to attend the conference. I was a bit lost, confused and had lots of “fear to leap to achieve my dream.” I knew my dream and my passion were flying and to play an important role in the aviation industry. I was at a point in my life where I wanted to just give up and force myself to try and do something else. Thanks to you, and all the great speakers we had at the conference, now I will not fear to achieve my dreams. I will make a plan for my life, set a new direction for myself and take things o­ne step at the time. I will continue to focus o­n my studies and my career. Giving up is not an option anymore.”

How much of what we experience today in air travel and space travel is a result of those who came before us? Those who believed, who dared, who dreamed? We must remember and be grateful, be inspired and overcome our fears to take that next leap towards achieving our dream. Where will your dreams take you? Keep an eye out for more information about future events at www.aweu.org.

Articles published: Aviatrix Aerogram

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