2020 Oklahoma Women in Aviation and Aerospace Day Virtual Forum; Mission Accomplished

"Mission: Opportunity." Mission: Accomplished! Over 450 participants from 9 countries registered to watch the 2020 Oklahoma Women in Aviation and Aerospace Day virtual forum featuring Lt. Governor Matt Pinnell, Secretary of Transportation, Tim Gatz, Secretary of Commerce, Sean Kouplen, Janet Karika and Jody Singer of NASA, and State Director of Aeronautics, Grayson Ardies. Hosted by Alexis Higgins with Tulsa International Airport, the event Q & A was moderated by Tonya Blansett with the Tulsa Air and Space Museum. 

In honor of the significant impact women have made to aviation in Oklahoma and to the industry, the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission in community partnership with Tulsa International Airport commemorated the state’s fourth annual Oklahoma Women in Aviation & Aerospace Day with a Zoom forum in lieu of their usual in-person luncheon. They welcomed honored guests, Janet Karika, Principal Advisor on Space Transportation to the Administrator and Jody Singer, Director of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

“The history of Oklahoma Women in Aviation and Aerospace Day began in 2017 when the Aeronautics Commission presented a bill to the Oklahoma legislature, and it was enacted into law, to officially recognize the contribution of Oklahoma women in the State’s aviation and aerospace industry December 9th annually,” said State Director of Aeronautics, Grayson Ardies. “The past four years have been celebrations of nearly a century of aviation accomplishments by women in our industry.”

The date marks the birth of the famous Chickasaw aviator, Pearl Carter Scott, of Marlow, Oklahoma.  Scott learned to fly at the age of 13 under legendary aviator Wiley Post. She became the youngest pilot in the United States with her first solo flight on September 12, 1929, the same year that Amelia Earhart established the female pilot group, the Ninety-Nines.

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation provided video and streaming service support for the event.

“As a state we’ve enacted policies and incentives to ensure the viability of Aviation and Aerospace and to attract more high-paying aerospace jobs. and, we’ve ensured compatible development around our airports, including our military airports, such as Vance and Altus Air Force Bases, which are economic engines across our state,” said Secretary of Transportation, Tim Gatz.  “Oklahoma maintains 120 miles of runways at 108 public airports. Our air transportation system, much like our roads, highways, and bridges, are critical to the infrastructure of our state, and I am proud to have the Aeronautics Commission in the Transportation cabinet. We congratulate them on their successful event.” 

“This event was a testament to the resiliency, innovation, and determination that women demonstrate every day in their roles in aerospace and aviation,” said Alexis Higgins, CEO of Tulsa Airports. “Moving from an in-person event that hosted hundreds of attendees, to this year, garnering the same international attention, has shown that this event continues to be an inspiration for our future leaders.”