THE LATEST THINKING
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'I Hart Flying' Gives Women an Opportunity to Fly
Its founding member, Rachelle, is hoping that a $5,000 scholarship will get women excited about aviation.
For Rachelle, piloting was never a direct career path that she would have considered — but that quickly changed seven years ago, when a flight instructor reached out to her on Facebook to offer her a free flight.
Soon after that, Rachelle caught the aviation bug. She is a world-renowned pilot and has flown a multitude of aircrafts in her career span already, including helicopters and jets.
"I never thought I would be a pilot. Now, I could never imagine myself not being one," Rachelle told The LATEST. "It is such an incredible experience to be able to share such a unique opportunity with other people. I mean, that's the closest thing to freedom that one can get.
It was from that single opportunity seven years ago that shaped Rachelle's life to what it is today. And now, with the gratitude built from that specific chance, Rachelle is aiming to give back.
I HART FLYING, Rachelle's new non-profit organization, was founded this year and was created with the intent to not only provide aviation opportunities for women endeavoring to be pilots, but also to increase the number of female pilots in general.
There is a pilot shortage — and the percentage is even worse when looking at the numbers in regards to women (less than 5 percent). "Even from a very young age, women and young girls do not know that these career opportunities are available to consider," Rachelle said. She hopes that her new foundation will get women excited about flying and aviation.
I HART FLYING will provide a $5,000 scholarship to a female U.S. citizen between the ages of 18-26. Applications were open all of October and closed in early November. In that span of time, Rachelle received an overwhelming 200 applicants. The process is still ongoing; next will be interviews among the finalists before Rachelle chooses one.
Though her foundation's first run has been a success so far, Rachelle does not want to stop there. She wants to provide more scholarships for different age ranges, and in different sums — because the more women she helps to learn how to fly, the better.
"Having a solid foundation, having longevity and being able to help and touch as many people as possible through this process … This isn't about me. This is genuinely about giving back, and ultimately not about me. This is about helping other people," Rachelle said.
For more information about I HART FLYING, visit the foundation's website and socials.
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