About Us

Whirly-Girls International is a nonprofit, educational and charitable organization dedicated to advancing women in helicopter aviation.

The organization’s goals include the promotion of women in the helicopter industry through the following:

  • Providing scholarships to women in rotorcraft aviation
  • Offering networking, camaraderie, mentoring, educational, and career support
  • Providing a strong presence at rotorcraft and aviation themed events
  • Creating an ever-growing and supportive social media presence
  • Showcasing a platform for the exchange of information among women in the industry
  • Advocating for community acceptance of rotorcraft through public education and awareness of rotorcraft utility and versatility

Founded in 1955 by Whirly-Girl #13 Jean Ross Howard Phelan, Whirly-Girls International became incorporated as the Whirly-Girls Scholarship Fund, Inc. in 1974 to oversee and administer the scholarship funds raised by the Whirly-Girls and their supporters. The Whirly-Girls Scholarship Fund, Inc. is a federally tax-exempt 501(c)(3) public charity that facilitates the disbursement of a variety of scholarships valued, in some recent years, at more than $175,000 USD.

Whirly-Girl #13 and 12 other charter members representing women helicopter pilots from France, Germany and the United States were the first to call themselves the “Whirly-Girls.” The intention was to develop an organization where female helicopter pilots could share their experiences, information, and find camaraderie. As of 2022, there are more than 2,260 members from 47 countries around the world.

The image on the left is an earlier version of the Whirly-Girls logo. It dates from a square dance where two helicopters decorated as girls "danced" with two helicopters decorated as boys. You can learn more on our history page.

Whirly-Girls Scholarship Fund, Inc. is an affiliate member of Helicopter Association International. Whirly-Girls hold their annual meeting at HAI HELI-EXPO, the largest helicopter trade show in the world. Through their scholarship and Corporate Alliance programs, Whirly-Girls Scholarship Fund, Inc. has industry support from a wide range of companies and organizations.