AirSprint | Celebrating Women In Aviation

A Celebration of Women in Aviation

One of AirSprint’s key tenants is to be a good corporate citizen. To give back to the communities we live in while also fostering relationships through respect and fairness.

Aviation is an exciting industry. It’s one of those things that gets into your blood – and once it does, it will be there for life. AirSprint Private Aviation is proud to support women in the field and the organizations which are helping their dreams come true.

The Waterloo Wellington Flight Centre 'Girls Can Fly' event is taking place on Saturday, May 14th from 10 am to 4pm in their facilities, located at the Region of Waterloo International Airport. It is a free educational event that promotes women in aviation and offers free flights for girls aged 8 to 18 yrs.

AirSprint | Commited to the Community

In the Canadian aviation industry women make up only about five percent of all pilots*. In the United States and the UK women make up only about four percent of all pilots. While this number is growing, it’s doing so at a slow pace and with Boeing predicting a need for 635,000 new pilots in the next twenty years, the opportunity for women in the aviation sector has never been greater.

AirSprint proudly employees 117 pilots 12 of which are women**. For most of our pilots, the desire to become a pilot started at a young age.


In the Canadian aviation industry women make up only about five percent of all pilots. In the United States and the UK women make up only about four percent of all pilots*. While this number is growing, it’s doing so at a slow pace and with Boeing predicting a need for 635,000 new pilots in the next twenty years, the opportunity for women in the aviation sector has never been greater.
 
AirSprint proudly employees 117 pilots 12 of which are women**. For most of our pilots, the desire to become a pilot started at a young age.
 
“I was 13 in Air Cadets when I heard about the opportunities available within Air Cadets to pursue a private pilot license scholarship,” said Vancouver based pilot Nina Shan. “From there I participated in weekend flying with Cadets and fell in love with it then. The first time I decided I wanted to become a pilot and pursue it as a career was when I flew solo for the first time in a glider plane.”
 
“My father was always supportive of me becoming a pilot. He would take me to the airport to watch airplanes takeoff and land on the weekends. It was inspiring from a young age to see and hear the planes and wonder where their destination might be,” said Shan.  

For pilot Kelsey Nattall, the love of adventuring started at a young age.
 
“I think the first moments that sparked my interest is when I was still very young, probably around 5 years of age. I was a very active kid and loved to climb trees, I always enjoyed the view from above, and as I became older, I found out there was a job that could continuously give me those views,” said Nattall.

Heather Post, Legacy 450 Captain knew she wanted to become a pilot when she was a teenager. After going up for an intro flight in Kanata, she fell in love with flying.

For these women, their love of flying only grew as they got older and their experience has lead them to becoming pilots for AirSprint where Shan currently flies a Embraer Legacy 450 and Nattall flies the Cessna Citation CJ3+.
 
“My most memorable flight would be my first solo as a glider pilot. I was overwhelmed with excitement and nerves at first, but when I was released from the tow plane at 3000 feet and took my first turn, I knew this was something I could do for the rest of my life,” recalls Nattall.
 
Shan remembers one of her first flying experiences as stressful but rewarding.


Meet some of AirSprint's Women in Aviation


“On my very first flight in a small two-seater aircraft I remember being so scared I didn’t even want to talk to my friends who were congratulating me. The first solo flight is usually about 15 minutes of taxiing and 10 minutes of flying, so it’s not long. I remember telling myself to focus and don’t screw it up. Just have to focus for 25 minutes! It was so nerve wracking and tense but the feeling after shutting down the plane was amazing. Though it was just a short flight I felt like I had just gone through hours’ worth of stress. It was such a rewarding experience,” said Shan.
 
Ultimately, there is nothing stopping any young girl from becoming a pilot. Legacy 450 First Officer, Karen Smiley from Calgary says even though there will be bumps along the way, they are worth it.

Legacy 450 | Heather Post (PIC) and Karen Smiley (SIC) over the Caribbean.

When asked what would be the number one advice she'd give to young girls dreaming of becoming a pilot, Heather wants girls to remember not to give up, leave doubts behind and let their confidence shine through! Also she wants girls to know that they can be a pilot and a mother too!

Heather's son, Hayden visits her after one of her flights in Midland.

“What I love about my career is that I feel I am part of a team. There are going to be good days and hard days. Remember to enjoy the journey because even the hardest struggles are now some of my fondest memories. An open mind, positive attitude, and a healthy work ethic will get you almost anything you want in life,” said Smiley.
 
Sentiments echoed by Nattall.
 
“There is no goal too big or dream too high to achieve. If you put your mind and heart into it, you are already halfway there. Make sure you work hard and don't let any failures set you back, failure is our best teacher.”


ASP 2022 Legacy450 CFASV TNCM SintMarteen 5x5

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For more information on women in aviation, to talk to female pilots and check out a real flight centre, visit the Girls Can Fly: A celebration of women in aviation event Saturday, May 14 at the Waterloo Wellington Flight Centre or visit the Waterloo Wellington Flight Centre website.

* As of 2018. ** As of May, 2022

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