Girls International Aviation Day

 Photo Courtesy of Larry Grace Photography


Minnesota led the way in the first annual Girls International Aviation Day, hosting the world’s largest celebration among all Women in Aviation International (WAI) chapters. Held by the Stars of the North WAI ( and AirSpace Minnesota, the experience brought 1,000 people to the Downtown St. Paul Airport on Saturday, September 26. The skies over St. Paul were filled with excitement as 213 young people received Young Eagles flights provided by volunteer pilots from EAA Chapters 25, 1518 and 237.


Featured trailblazers included Honeywell engineer Elizabeth Bierman, Northwest Airlines flight attendant Anne Billingsley Kerr, aerobatics and airline pilot Julie Clark, aerospace leader and astronaut Dr. Sandy Magnus, WWII pilot Elizabeth “Liz” Strohfus and Barb Wiley, first female pilot for North Central Airlines.


Julie Clark thrilled the crowd by arriving in her beautiful T-34 plane with smoke trailing, and Scott Romuld, who flies with the T-6 Thunder North American Flight Team, brought his plane to show one of the favorite planes flown by Liz Strohfus during WWII.


Participants received Logbooks that highlighted the career pathways and featured aircraft, with pages for autographs from the featured “Legends.” A new Pathways Poster was unveiled that includes this information and more. The poster will be made available to all Minnesota schools and youth groups to

help students, parents and teachers access information about the many exciting opportunities available in fields connected to flight, from healthcare to wearable technologies.


After heart-warming, inspirational presentations by the featured speakers, everyone received aviator sunglasses as a symbol that flight helps us see the world differently, and Go Boldly buttons to encourage everyone to find and pursue their dreams with confidence. It was an amazing day of blue skies, big smiles and a chance to imagine what’s possible when dreams and skills connect.


This experience was made possible by many outstanding volunteers and sponsors, including Presenting Sponsor UTC Aerospace Systems, and Category Sponsors Academy College, Cirrus Aircraft, SkyWest Airlines, Sun Country Airlines and Thunderbird Aviation.  Aircraft on display were provided by Julie Clark, Civil Air Patrol, Minnesota National Guard, Scott Romuld, Lisa and Nathan Ruedy for Valters Aviation, Thunderbird Aviation and Barb Wiley.


Browse the photo galleries here to see all the great organizations who provided displays and aircraft to help participants imagine a life where dreams and skills connect, inspired by flight.  


 All photos courtesy of Larry Grace Photography.