The Whirly-Girls Scholarship Fund has announced the opening of the 2024 scholarship season.
Established in 1968, the scholarship program has grown from a single US$500 scholarship to a wide range of training and development scholarships. The fund was incorporated in 1974 to oversee and administer the scholarship funds raised by the Whirly-Girls – a non-profit, educational, and charitable organization dedicated to advancing women in the helicopter aviation industry.
Women aviators and maintainers can now apply for over $500,000 of helicopter training and educational scholarships. These scholarships advance the helicopter industry by strengthening the talent pool and increasing diversity.
Scholarship sponsors include Airbus, Bell Helicopter, Erickson, Leonardo, MD Helicopters and more, including private donors.
Scholarships are available for experienced and newly certified pilots and maintainers, as well as individuals seeking their initial ratings. Courses are offered for a variety of training objectives, including turbine transitions, software use, advanced aircraft certification, commercial flight training, airline transport licenses and many more.
Past Whirly-Girls President Alison Martin said: “When the original 13 members of the Whirly-Girls founded this organization, they were the only female helicopter pilots in the world. They envisioned a place where female pilots could find support and camaraderie and help one another succeed.
“Today, our group has grown to over 2,000 members but, despite this growth, females still comprise fewer than six per cent of pilots. This cripples our industry, and our sponsors provide these career-building scholarships in an effort to advance women and aid the growth of aviation.”
Applications are open now and are due by 1 October 2023. Scholarships will be formally presented at the Whirly-Girls Annual Banquet on 25 February 2024 at the HAI Heli-Expo in Anaheim, California.