Our Vancouver

B.C. pilot on mission to inspire girls to fly

B.C. pilot Kirsten Brazier hopes to have more gender equality in the aviation industry. Her outreach event provides free flights for women and girls

'Our objective is to draw women of all ages to the airport,' says pilot

Kirsten Brazier aims to increase the number of female pilots. 6:13

B.C. pilot Kirsten Brazier is on a mission to encourage more girls to fly.

Since 2012, Brazier has been running the annual outreach event The Sky's NO Limit – Girls Fly Too! to inspire more women to pursue flying by providing hands-on experience with planes and helicopters.

The event offers free flights to girls and women of all ages who are first-time flyers.

"They get out of the helicopter and they're smiling and they're giggling. They're just so eager to find more," said Brazier, who has been a fixed-wing and helicopter pilot for 24 years.

This year's event takes place March 12-13 at the Abbotsford International Airport.

Advanced registration for the flying spots has already been completed, but the remaining seats will be raffled off hourly during the event.

Kirsten Brazier, founder of The Sky's No Limit, Girls Fly Too, takes first-time flier Kirsten Peterson into the air in a helicopter. (Scott Lough / The Sky’s No Limit, Girls Fly Too)

There will also be other activities to help visitors learn more about aerospace and other fields.

"Our objective is to draw women of all ages to the airport, infants to grandmothers," Brazier said. "We fly as many as we can.

"When they land and they're really, really excited, that's when we show them all the cool stuff that exists in aviation, marine aerospace and defence," Brazier said.

Brazier said that only about six per cent of Canadian pilots are female — and the statistics for maintenance engineers are even lower, at 2.8 per cent.

"I just find it pretty sad that we're at this stage in modern life, and we don't have more women," she said.

 Brazier said she thinks many women aren't aware these careers exist.

"If you don't have anyone in your network who do these jobs — that drive a navy ship, that fly an aircraft, that fix aircraft or do something technical in the aviation, aerospace or marine industry, how would you even know that that's an option for you?"

In the video above Brazier explains to Our Vancouver host Gloria Macarenko why she thinks her outreach is so important.

Clarifications

  • A previous version of this story said the 2,500 flying seats had already all been filled. In fact, there are still some seats available, which will be raffled off every hour during the event.
    Jan 31, 2016 4:37 PM PT

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