Langley resident Kirsten Brazier’s goal for the New Year is a lofty one. She aims to make sure 2,500 females fly for the first time.
Last year, Brazier’s “The Sky’s No Limit — Girls Fly Too” event at Abbotsford International Airport, saw 1,700 females take their first flights.
“It’s my passion to inspire more females to get into the aviation world. This work is so important, for the past few years I have set aside my own professional flying career in order to bring these special events to thousands with the end goal of improving gender diversity in aviation, aerospace, marine and defence,” said Brazier.
She has started a gofundme account under GirlsFly2 to help cover the costs associated with organizing such a large-scale event.
More than 15,000 people are expected to descend on the Abbotsford International Airport on March 12 and 13 for the free Girls Fly Too event, the world’s largest aviation outreach show of its kind. She holds three world records for the event.
For two days, 10 helicopters will take first-time fliers up in the sky. The hope, said Brazier, is to get females excited about careers in aviation.
“This year is even bigger and better. I’ve invited the navy this year, the bomb disposal unit will bring a robot and a bomb suit, RCMP tactical team will be there too,” she said.
“The event takes on a hands-on approach to capture the attention of a missing female demographic,” she points out.
There are only around 1,300 female professional pilots in Canada, as compared to 23,000 male pilots.
The numbers are even more dismal in the aircraft engineering and mechanics. In the Canadian Armed Forces, less than three per cent of top command positions are held by women.
It’s these low numbers that have irked Brazier since she started flying 23 years ago.
Brazier is kind of a trail blazer, determined to turn the tides of a male dominated field. She has had a wild ride in the skies in her flying career, which has taken her to the Caribbean, the US and deep into the forests as a bush pilot.
In 2012, while flying helicopters in Yellowknife she got permission to host a day to fly young women in an effort to see them bitten by the flying bug. With help, she flew around 421 females.
She brought it to Langley in 2014, home to many of her most dedicated volunteers. It was a huge success here but outgrew the landing strips.
Last year, she moved it to Abbotsford, home of the Abbotsford Air Show — one of the events she went to annually as a child and set the wings in motion to her career. Astronaut Wendy Lawrence made a guest appearance at the event last year. There will be other surprises this year, said Brazier.
She’s extended an invitation to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Considering his cabinet has the most female MPs in Canadian history, it seems most appropriate that he attend The Sky’s No Limit, said Brazier.
Lieut. Gov. Judith Guichon will also be attending again this year. She’s excited to share her passion for aviation and hopefully inspire female future leaders.
“There are no limits to the opportunities girls and young women can pursue,” said Guichon.
To put on the event, Brazier is in need of volunteers, male or female, and corporate sponsors. If you have a way to help go to www.girlsfly2.ca or go to gofundme page.