MOLINE, Ill. — A Quad Cities event this weekend is hoping to get more women to take flight.
According to federal aviation authorities, around 90% of pilots are men, and thousands of them will be retiring in the next few years.
"This is what I'm passionate about," Quad Cities Aero owner Summer Kuehl said. "I knew from the first time I went up in the air this was something I really wanted to pursue."
Kuehl has run her aviation school since 2020.
Girls in Aviation Day is set for Saturday, Sept. 24, and the Quad Cities International Airport in Moline will host its second annual event to promote women in the field.
"I just get excited anytime I have the opportunity to be around and inspire young girls to pursue aviation," Kuehl said.
It will include more than a dozen vendors with activities, simulators, planes and airfield equipment.
"Hopefully with Girls in Aviation Day, we can do that for some young girls in the Quad Cities," Kuehl said.
An all-female flight crew from the Illinois Army National Guard's 106th Aviation Regiment based in Peoria will be on hand.
"It's kind of one of those things where you get out of it what you put into it," Kuehl added. "If I saw another lady in aviation when I was younger, I would have pursued it a lot sooner."
According to Women in Aviation International, less than 10% of pilots, maintenance workers and airline executives are women.
"The pilot shortage is going to be a thing," Kuehl said. "So, we're going to need all hands on deck. And if we can get some ladies inspired to pursue aviation, all the better."
Kuehl said this will show girls a wide range of positions in the aviation field, not just becoming a pilot.
"It lets that person see that, 'If she can do it, I can do it,'" Kuehl said. "Just having somebody as an inspiration is important."
Girls in Aviation Day will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the airport's cargo facility. To register, click/tap here.
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