Celebrating women in airlines: NZAWA annual rally and conference

Zara Holten and Alexis Vaughan are taken through a pre-flight check with Bianca Barbarich-Bacher

The 56th New Zealand Association of Women in Aviation (NZAWA) annual rally was quite the event in June with 80 registrations received for the Queen’s Birthday meet at Mercer Airfield, south Auckland.

In addition to the usual annual rally programme, two extra days were added to foster closer trans-Tasman ties with visitors from the Australian Women Pilots’ Association (AWPA), and to run the inaugural Schools Day “to promote development of today’s youth to become tomorrow’s Women in Aviation”.

The weekend-long theme of celebrating women in airlines was evident from day one, as Pip Schofield and Thyra Bloam, both Air NZ pilots in full (with permission) uniform, addressed around 140 students from seven schools in the upper Waikato/south Auckland region.

The entire roll of Mercer and Mangatawhiri Primary Schools were introduced to principles of flight, airfield operation and basic aircraft mechanics in the morning by representatives from Ardmore Flying School, Auckland Aero Club, Air NZ Engineering and NZALPA. When I arrived in the afternoon these committed volunteers were busy inspiring intermediate and senior students from Mangatawhero Intermediate, Onewhero Intermediate, Pukekohe High School, Onewhero High School and Edgewater College.

Newly qualified Air NZ A320 Capt Thyra Bloam, assisted by McKenzie Rayes from Nelson Aviation College, ran a simulated flight circuit around the forecourt while Sandra Shalland, CFI at Auckland Aero Club, invited students to get their hands on the stationary Grumman with a cut-away engine view....


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