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New England Air Museum hosts 'Women Take Flight' event

A young visitor experiences what it's like to dress as a pilot as she suits up in a flight suit and headset during the 2020 New England Air Museum's 'Women in Aviation' event. This was one of many hands-on activities available during this year's function. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Kyle King)

Cmdr. Rebecca Waddington, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, speaks to a crowd about her experiences flying a Gulfstream IV twinjet aircraft during hurricanes. Waddington was the keynote speaker for the 2020 New England Air Museum's 'Women Take Flight' event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Kyle King)

Several service members, engineers and industry professionals were available to answer in-depth questions about their professional experiences in the aviation industry during the 2020 New England Air Museum's 'Women Take Flight' event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Kyle King)

Crowds participate in hands-on STEM activities during the 2020 New England Air Museum's 'Women Take Flight' event. Several service members, engineers and industry professionals were available to answer in-depth questions about thier professional experiences in the aviation industry. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Kyle King)

Visitors observe a static display of the Kaman HH-43F "Huskie" helicopter during the 2020 New England Air Museum's 'Women Take Flight' event. This was one of many aircraft on display during this year's celebration. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Kyle King)

WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. --

The New England Air Museum hosted their annual ‘Women Take Flight’ event on Saturday, March 7 at the museum, located near Bradley International Airport.

“The museum and I are very proud to offer this event to the public,” said Amanda Goodheart Parks, museum director of education.

The public event featured over 100 female pilots, engineers, service members and industry professionals in celebration of International Women’s Day.

One of those women was keynote speaker Cmdr. Rebecca Waddington, deputy chief at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Aviation Operations Center.  As a NOAA Commissioned Corps Hurricane Hunter, Waddington flies G-IV twinjet high altitude research jets.

“We don’t want to be recognized for being female.” Waddington said. “We want to be recognized for being good pilots and for doing our job well.”

Museum staff led dozens of activities including hands-on STEM projects for children, launching mini rockets and engineering straw gliders and parachutes.  There were close to 200 aviation enthusiasts in attendance. It was the museum’s biggest ‘Women Take Flight’ event yet.

International Women’s Day is designated as a day to celebrate the achievements of women worldwide and to bring awareness to the many obstacles that they continue to face.  

(Information from a Journal Inquirer article was used in this story.)