JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas —
The 433rd Airlift Wing ended a two-day tour supporting the Abbotsford International Airport at “Sky’s the limit-Girls Fly too,” Airshow, March 10-11 2018 in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada to celebrate a week of International Women’s Day.
The C-5M Super Galaxy and 15 crew members arrived late in the evening March 9 in British Columbia. They were joined by other Air Force Reserve Wings at the Airshow, including the 445th Airlift Wing, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio; The 514th Air Mobility Wing from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.; and the 507th Air Refueling Wing, Tinker Air Force Base, Okla. The 150th Special Operations Wing, Kirkland Air Force Base, N.M., implemented a combined showing of the Total Force Initiative, by including the New Mexico Air National Guard on the trip.
After landing, the crew prepared the massive C-5M for “show-and-tell,” with future aviators and other aviation enthusiasts.
According to The Sky’s the limit-Girls fly too website; the annual event continues to make history as the world’s largest outreach event designed to inspire future female leaders in aviation, aerospace, marine and defense. Admission was free to everyone.
“This experience was great,” said Staff Sgt. Kristine Thomas, 433rd Contingency Response Flight Loadmaster and affiliation Instructor. “I was inspired and amazed at how fearless the girls were, especially when climbing the up the ladder, into the cockpit of the C-5M.
"This was my first Sky’s the limit-Girls fly too airshow, and this was an amazing opportunity for children and young girls to be inspired to become aviators. I wish that we (San Antonio) could do something like this here; to have an airshow like this would be an amazing opportunity for young girls, to inspire and show them, that there are opportunities in aviation,” Thomas said.
Also on their website, Canada included facts regarding women in aviation; it states that 5.8 percent out of 25,413 professional pilots in Canada are women. Only 2.3 percent of the 7,278 aircraft engineers are women, which makes up only 4 percent of all technical trades, and less than 3 percent are in the top command positions in the Canadian Forces.
In a message from Premier John Horgan of the Province of British Columbia, “women should never feel as though certain careers are beyond their reach, and events like the air show are crucial in defeating the misconception that some are exclusive to men.”
Hogan also wrote, “The Sky’s the Limit – Girls fly too” outreach events, and other initiatives are aimed to change the perception and awaken new interests by providing females of all ages with fun, interactive, and hands-on introductions into the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) program based fields.”
“This airshow was great, because it inspires a new generation of aviators, and when the time comes, they will be able to replace us in these roles in the future. ‘The Sky’s the Limit – Girls fly too,’ airshow went a long way in actively getting women involved in aviation, “said Lt. Col. Gary Edwards, deputy operations commander, 68th Airlift Squadron. “The Abbotsford community was fantastic to us. It was wonderful watching all the aircrews bond quite well, and it was great meeting the local people from the city of Abbotsford and beyond who came out here to see our aircraft and meet our crewmembers.”
“The 433rd Airlift Wing’s participation in air shows provides us an opportunity to interact with our nation and foreign counterparts, and gives us the ability to develop and strengthen those relationships,” Edwards said.