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2020 Oklahoma Women in Aviation and Aerospace Day

Monday, November 30, 2020

Mission: Opportunity

STATEWIDE – A century ago, the State’s earliest true municipal airport appeared in 1920 on land leased to Oklahoma City. Only a year earlier, Tulsa's first private airport was founded by former military barnstormer and New Zealand native Duncan McIntyre. When we look back to that time, the globe was just recovering from an 18-month pandemic of the Spanish flu, yet Oklahomans were dreaming of tomorrow by planning for the future.  The vehicle to launch our growth was the airplane, and building airports was essential to support growing cities.

A century later, Oklahoma is considered an aerospace and aviation powerhouse, with 108 public-use airports supporting a $44B annual economic impact generated by 1,100 aviation and aerospace companies. Though our industry and world have been challenged with a novel virus this year, our missions continue to move forward.  While aircraft design remains center stage for the majority of our transportation needs, today’s leaders are focusing on spacecraft and unmanned aerial systems to meet future transportation needs of both people and cargo.  Women are leading this charge developing strategies and formulating plans that will propel us through our current challenges and position our nation - and the world - for a future of opportunities beyond earth’s boundaries.   Today women are represented in all sectors of our industry - from commercial airports to military installations to the growing space sector. Women are turning wrenches, engineering avionics, piloting rockets, and some are leading us into this century’s most consequential transportation development – commercial space flight.

In honor of the significant impact women have made to aviation in our State and to our industry, the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission in community partnership with Tulsa International Airport will commemorate the state’s fourth annual Oklahoma Women in Aviation & Aerospace Day with a Zoom forum in lieu of their usual in-person luncheon. They will welcome honored guests, Kathy Leuders, Associate Administrator, Human Exploration and Operations and Janet Karika, Principal Advisor on Space Transportation to the Administrator.

“I’m excited that we are able to continue the tradition of this event with speakers who demonstrate transformative leadership of the world’s most prestigious space exploration program,” said Alexis Higgins, CEO of Tulsa International Airport.  “I look forward to joining our audience as we celebrate the success of women who came before us, recognize the influence of women in our industry today, and commit to investing in activities that inspire future leaders in aviation and space.”

The virtual forum, reserved for Aviation and Aerospace enthusiasts and personnel, will provide an amazing opportunity to learn more about the journey of two of our nation’s brightest minds, what prompted them to pursue a career path with NASA and how we can advocate on behalf of Aviation and Aerospace to encourage children of all ages to dream big and find their passion in our exciting industry.  

“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 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.

“For the safety of Oklahoma’s aviation and aerospace community, this year the event is virtual. The challenge to adjust our program has allowed us the latitude to reach more people, and we are encouraging public school educators, colleges, and companies to utilize the forum to share the event with their students and employees,” said Ardies.  

The event is free, and participants may register at

Last Modified on Apr 13, 2023