2015 Air Race Classic: Inspiring A New Generation Of Female Aviators
May 6, 2015
KMUW, Wichita Public Radio
A Service of Wichita State University
On a warm, windy morning in Derby just south of Wichita, a small group of elementary school girls and their mothers gather around a white plastic table inside a huge aircraft hangar. To their right is a white plane. A propeller the size of a hula-hoop sits motionless on the nose of the aircraft. They’re discussing a book they just read about the legendary pilot, Amelia Earhart.
Just like these girls, Amelia Earhart grew up in Kansas. One of the first female pilots in a male-dominated field, she’s remembered for her groundbreaking achievements, both in aviation and for women. And today, these girls are going to meet and fly with young women with skyward dreams just like Amelia Earhart.
Their attention is dramatically averted from the book discussion as the sound of an engine beckons them to the open end of the hangar. Two Cessna 150’s, just like the plane inside the hangar, land on the strip of black runway and taxi outside. One has a green stripe; the other has red. Tiffany Brown and Taylor Humphrey, the two female pilots that will fly with the girls, greet them next to their plane. One of the pilots, 18-year-old Taylor Humphrey steps out of the red one. Tiffany Brown exits the other. At 27 years old, she was recently promoted to Director of Aviation for the Kansas Department of Transportation.
Together, they are team TNT, and they are planning to compete this summer in an annual competition called the Air Race Classic. But today, their goal is to teach this group of energetic schoolgirls that women can, and should, pursue careers in aviation.
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