Strathalbyn first-timers join women of aviation worldwide

WHEN pilot Diana Jemson decided to run a free flying day to celebrate Women of Aviation Worldwide Week, she did not expect to have such an overwhelming response.

“We wanted to introduce more women to aviation - numbers have been declining,” she said.

“We had 56 ladies, which meant 56 flights between six pilots.” 

Diana, a pilot since 2006, ran the only registered Women of Aviation Worldwide Week event held in South Australia on March 9.

“As kids, we lived behind Moorabbin Airfield in Victoria and every weekend my brothers and I would ride our bikes there, dreaming of flying,” she said.

“Now I’m the chief flying instructor of my own school - it’s proof anyone can do it.”

The Fly-It-Forward experience seems to have work - Ms Jemson said eight women indicated they wanted to learn to fly and one even showed interest in joining the RAAF.

“To have a few more flyers out there would be fantastic,” she said.

With passengers ranging from seven to 69-years old, the pilots were kept busy on the day, running 20-minute sessions from 9.30am to 4pm.

The flights went from Strathalbyn to Milang, along Lake Alexandrina to Mosquito Point, towards Langhorne Creek and back to Strathalbyn.

“In most cases, the pilots flew their own planes, and we burnt 465 litres of fuel - about $1000 worth,” Ms Jemson said.

She said without the ground crew and sponsors such an event would not have been available.

Chief flying instructor Diana Jemson prepares Jeannie Gregory for one of the many flights taken on the Fly-It-Forward day earlier this month.

Chief flying instructor Diana Jemson prepares Jeannie Gregory for one of the many flights taken on the Fly-It-Forward day earlier this month.