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Girls in Aviation Day 2022

GIAD 2022 Recap

The Women in Aviation International Central Florida Chapter hosted approximately 150 people including students from local area High Schools, volunteers, sponsors & exhibitors. Space Florida graciously allowed the use of NASA Flight Op’s hangar (RLV) and helicopter apron. We shared this space with NASA’s new fleet of Airbus H135 helicopters, the F-104 Starfighter's & Sierra Space’s Low Earth Orbit Habitat, currently under development.  The RLV hangar is located at the historic Shuttle Landing Facility also known as the Space Florida Launch and Landing Facility at the John F. Kennedy Space Center.

The girls were greeted at the KSC Visitors Center, received their name badges and boarded a bus to the Flight Operations Administration Building. Once they arrived, each received a warm welcome from Chapter volunteers & their Team Leaders. Team Leaders checked them in and gave them a welcome kit which included sunscreen, sun glasses, patches, hand sanitizer, and other amazing swag provided by sponsors and supporters. The girls then made their way into the RLV hangar for a safety briefing and welcome speech by Kelly Dollarhide, Manager of Space Florida Operations and Chapter President, Laura Spolar.

The morning started with Team Leads guiding their participants through a stunning array of static displays and vendors. The Army National Guard landed a CH-47 (Chinook) mid-morning, which was a huge hit. We had an Advent Health Flight 1, and EMS Team arrived in their Airbus Eurocopter 145; Florida Tech brought both a Piper Archer & a Citabria. Florida Highway Patrol got one of their surveillance aircraft-Cessna T206H, along with two FHP Patrol Vehicles, and Flight Training Professionals brought in a Cessna 172 Skyhawk with the G1000 Avionics Suite. The girls could tour the static displays, talk with the crewmembers, ask questions and get hands-on with the aircraft.

     The girls, volunteers, and exhibitors enjoyed Firehouse Subs along with the drinks & snacks sponsored by United Airlines and Zarrella’s graciously donated pizza for the break room. During lunch, the Embraer Foundation provided a keynote speaker, Jamie Beam, who inspired the girls with her story of how she went from barista to a Sealant Lead.

    After lunch, the girls had six hands-on activities to enjoy. Each group, with its Team Leaders, rotated through the six activities. 

     Adacel provided Air Traffic Control Simulators.

     Advent Health Flight Nurse Team took blood pressure/oxygen levels, showed the girls, and talked about how they get patients on the board/gurney, hook up an IV,  and prepare a patient for transport.

     Brianna Finocchiaro and her Team from Southwest Airlines walked the girls through a runway numbering activity. This fun, informational hands-on training allowed the girls to understand how runway numbers are assigned according to their compass directions.

    Florida Highway Patrol provided specialized goggles that simulated different degrees of impairment. One set of goggles affects a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.8-1.4, and the other 1.6-2.0, over the legal limit of 0.8. The girls then tried to walk a straight line. This activity was quite challenging. It was also a good opportunity for the girls to experience first-hand the effects of impaired driving in a controlled environment.


Two team members from the United Airlines All-Female Aircraft Maintenance Technician Competition Team, ChixFix, worked with Technicians from Constant Aviation to show the girls how to use safety wire pliers for safety wire hardware & why it is required on specific fasteners. They also showed the girls how to use a multimeter and check for continuity on test connectors.

     Censys had a paper plane creation station where the girls put a paper airplane together and got to fly it.

      Unmanned Safety Institute (USI) showed off its latest Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) Sentaero Drone. The girls had the opportunity to fly the drone on USI’s simulator.

     Nate from Sierra Space talked about some of their projects and shared information concerning their low earth orbit habitat.

     The girls were able to meet and talk with many industry professionals, female student pilots from the Florida Institute of Technology, a female Multi-Engine Instructor from Flight Training Professionals, as well as military personnel from the Army National Guard, the US Space Force 45th Security Forces Squadron, engineers from United Launch Alliance, engineers from Sierra Space and members of our WAICFL chapter. To finish the day, the girls were treated to a bus tour of the Kennedy Space Center and an opportunity to view Atlantis inside the KSC Visitors Center.

     This event was extra special since we were able to introduce not only aviation but also aerospace to our local attendees. With KSC, NASA, Blue Origin & SpaceX in our backyard, we want the girls to see first-hand the endless opportunities available to the

We want to extend a sincere thank you to all our Sponsors! Thanks to Sterling Helicopter, Airbus, Sheltair, United Airlines, Flight Training Professionals, Nexgen Enterprises, International Society of Women Airline Pilots (ISA+21), Southwest Airlines, Constant Aviation, Embraer Foundation, Orlando Sanford Flying Club, American Airlines, Give.Local.Love, the Kennedy Space Center Visitor’s Complex, Zarrella’s Italian Wood-Fired Pizzas, and Space Florida! 

     A huge thank you to our volunteers and our Chapter GIAD Planning Committee. This would not have been possible without your time, devotion, and passion for providing a safe, well-organized, and informational event.


Click on the logos to learn more about our GIAD 2022 exhibitors

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Image by Diego PH

Thank you

Space Florida was created through the State to strengthen Florida’s position as a global leader in aerospace research, investment, exploration, and commerce.

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Image by Diego PH

Thank you

Space Florida was created through the State to strengthen Florida’s position as a global leader in aerospace research, investment, exploration, and commerce.

Thank you to our sponsors

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Sterling Helicopter

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United Airlines

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Flight Training Professionals

Embraer Foundation



Orlando Sanford Flying Club

OSFC is graciously donating 6 discovery flight certificates to be used at the Orlando Sanford Flying Club.

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Constant Aviation


Mel's BGC  Give.Local.Love


Zarrella's Italian & Wood Fired Pizza

Delaware North

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