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Posted Sep 11, 2009 - 08:23 AM

5th AWE Conference

Sponsored students Luca Guidoni and Rachel Gibson speak of their unique and inspiring experience during the 5th Aviation and Women in Europe Conference in Ferrara, 4 - 6 September 2009:

Luca Guidoni: The Women in Aviation conference in Ferrara was an opportunity to listen to the stories of many people who have pursued a career in aviation, all through their own different paths but with a common goal: realize the dream of flying. I particularly enjoyed the atmosphere amongst the participants, which was most often friendly and welcoming, although professional when it needed to be. I believe this is a reflection of the aviation world in general as most of the time it seems to be the case with all people involved in this sector. I was amazed to see so many people with impressive qualifications and experience so willing to share their story and give advice to those who are wishing to undergo their same footsteps.

As usual in these events, there are always numerous things to be learned and an equal number of things being discovered. The most important discovery I made at the conference was that an aviation related career can occur in a vast number of possibilities, some I did not even think could possibly exist: whether through operation as flight crew, engineering, teaching, business management or a mixture of them all, working in aviation is possible and just a matter of creating o­ne’s own opportunities.

Many of the speakers dedicated at least a small portion of their speeches to opportunities, and what I learned from all the experiences is that o­ne should always chose to endeavor in new experiences and keep all opportunities open, as you never know where you will end up being in a few years. Leaving doors open as possibilities is also the key to this year’s conference’s main theme: change. Change allows for flexibility, meaning that a career can easily move o­n if o­ne of the roads taken is suddenly blocked, since there are many new opportunities still vacant at the horizon. I was amazed in hearing what the speakers were able to achieve, often through abrupt changes in their life that they did not even think possible in the remote future. However, all of them had a particular trait in common: love for aviation and passion for flying, that is ultimately what thrusts o­ne’s aspirations and motivates to work towards achieving this goal.

All of the stories heard portrayed an important message: if you are passionate and determined about something, with hard work and motivation it is almost certain that the set goals will be reached. It also allows you to have strong aspirations and aim for the best, giving you the power to work towards your objectives. Overall, I believe this represents o­ne of the key focuses of Women in Aviation, which as I have seen works towards making sure that this statement is and will remain valid for everyone, regardless of gender or personal background. The o­nly distinction between people in the aviation community should be their passion towards the subject and attitude in the execution of their profession, allowing each person to fulfill his aspirations through hard work and dedication, with equal opportunities for everyone. It is for this reason that I encourage Women in Aviation to continue organizing these conferences and events, hoping to be personally present at future appointments!

A great addition to the conference was the way it was tied in with the “Ferrara Air Venture” event at LIPF airfield. My suggestion for future conferences would be to continue creating and expand similar event-associations in order to combine the valuable experience of the conference’s speakers with the more “hands o­n” experience of flying and flight operations available when similar events are organized.

Rachel Gibson: I would again like to say thank you for providing me with the opportunity to attend the conference as a sponsored student!  It was fabulous!  When you asked if I thought there were any improvements that could be made from the point of view of a sponsored student, I was pretty stumped, as I couldn't really think of anything.  The  o­nly thing I remember from when I attended my first conference as a sponsored student at Gatwick was that when the conference finished and I left I wished I had been more forward and spoken to more people; asked them all those hard questions about training etc.  When I came to Ferrara I was confident and keen to approach everyone, but your first conference can be pretty overwhelming as a student when you have all those experienced pilots around.  To cut a long story short I think the o­nly improvement could be that the sooner the students are introduced to the attendees formally the better.  I found o­nce people knew who we were they made extra effort to come see us and share their advice, which is always taken as very useful.

AWE09 appears in Italian magazines: Volare, Aviazione Sportiva, Aviation for Women Magazine


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