Wednesday, February 8, 2012

March 10: Women to fly across the English channel

On March 10, women pilots will fly across the English channel. They are doing it on March 10 because that's the day Raymonde de Laroche became the first woman to earn a pilot's license.

It would make more sense to do it on April 12 - the actual day that a woman - Harriet Quimby - flew across the Channel.

Unfortunately, that was the same day that the Titanic sunk, so her achievement was blotted out by all the coverage that the Titanic received. (Obviously, I mean unfortunate in two senses - one that the Titanic went down at all! and then that it happened on the same day as Quimby's achievement).

And I suppose that's why this event is not being held on April 12 - because of the connection to the Titanic as well...
In 1785, Jean-Pierre Blanchard and Dr. John Jeffries flew across the English Channel in a balloon carrying mail. In doing so, they established two worldwide firsts: the first crossing of the English Channel by air and the first airmail delivery. 124 years later, Louis Blériot demonstrated that airplanes could do the same thing even faster. The same year, Marie Marvingt flew her balloon from France to England via the North Sea becoming the first woman to fly between the two countries.

En 1912, Harriet Quimby took off from Dover and flew her Bleriot Airplane across the English Channel to the beaches of Hardelot Plage and proved that women were equally competent at guiding airplanes to fulfill their innate destiny: carrying things quickly and efficiently and reuniting people.

To commemorate this accomplishment and in the spirit of the events associated with Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week, on March 10 2012, all pilots are invited to part in the “Across the Channel: Women Unifying Nations” event. The communities around the airports of Headcorn in England and Le Touquet in France will welcome them with opened arms.

On March 10, 2012, between 11:00 and 16:00 UTC (11:00-16:00 U.K. local time; 12:00-17:00 France local time), volunteer pilots with the next generation of Women Of Aviation onboard their aircraft will land at one or both designated airports, Headcorn in England and Le Touquet in France.

The next generation of Women Of Aviation

At the airports on both side of the Channel, each airplane will be welcomed with a bag filled with products and local goodies offered by our partners. The pilots and the ground crew will receive the official event t-shirt. The girls and women on their first small aircraft flight for the occasion will receive a temporary tattoo stating “I’m a girl and today I flew a plane”.

The crews as well as the public will have a chance to meet Women Of Aviation, some of them renowned, and local representatives, discover the wide array of aviation careers presented by aviation businesses and associations, enjoy performances by local groups, and get a taste of the local gastronomy and culture for free.

Through a video contest, an American woman will win a trip to England and France and will be the guest of honor. The winner’s duty will be to share her observations and experience daily via social media throughout her trip.

The elected officials and other local figures will exchange remarks about their regions and their events via webcam. All participants are encouraged to carry a small flag of their country and wave in front of the cameras.

Join the celebration. Mark the 10th March 2012 on your calendar today and get ready to live a once-in-lifetime experience!

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