Give It A Whirl, our family aviation day event, took place at the Dallas Executive Airport (KRBD).
Organizer: WG#1771 Jessica Kanellos, former VP of Membership.
Later that night, the 2017 Whirly-Girls Annual Awards Banquet took place at the Magnolia Hotel
The banquet was followed by Casino Night!
This was a brand new fundraising event. All proceeds benefited the Whirly-Girls Scholarship Fund, Inc. Casino night was sponsored by our friends at Eastern Region Helicopter Council.
Texas Women’s University was on site to collect any donated items for the Whirly-Girls archives.
HAI HELI-EXPO and the Whirly-Girls’ booth were located in the Dallas Convention Center.
Give it a Whirl!, a family aviation event, took place at Bowman Field Airport (KLOU).
Whirly-Girls Cocktail Social & Silent Auction
Whirly-Girls 2016 Scholarship Awards Banquet
Whirly-Girls Annual Business Meeting
Educational Presentation – Human Factors & Autorotations, By WG#1884 Jan Becker pilot & CEO of Becker Helicopters Flight Academy & her husband, Mike Becker, co-owner and chief instructor of Becker Helicopters
Whirly-Girls Annual Hovering (Group photo taken at the beginning of the event, as usual)
Whirly-Girls Triple Crown Experience at Heli-Expo 2016
Louisville welcomed HELI-EXPO with everything the city had to offer: Churchill Downs, whiskey tastings, and its rich aviation history. The Whirly-Girls’ organization celebrated its own “triple crown” history in Louisville this year with our scholarships, awards, and education.
The Whirly-Girls Scholarship Fund awarded a record-number 28 scholarships to members in 2016. It is the highest-valued scholarship year in the history of the organization, worth more than $150,000. Thank you to all of our sponsors and to all of the members who volunteered to make our fundraising efforts successful.
Planning the annual awards banquet is a great creative outlet for me, but without the help of fellow members WG#1680 Sharlene Miles and WG#1772 Ronnie Johnson Bogart, the task would have been daunting. Thank you, ladies! We produced a great event, and the photo booth was a big hit. We had a lot of fun during the planning process.
The 2016 Volunteer of the Year Award went to WG#1340 Megan Dukes, local to Louisville. Megan was a key component in making the new “Give It A Whirl” youth outreach event a success. She was there for the organizer, WG#1771 Jessica Kanellos, every step of the way.
Longevity was the quality that stood out for the Diamond Volunteer Award this year, going to WG#1363 Sabine Buehlman. She volunteers for the Whirly-Girls at HELI-EXPO every year, traveling from Germany, and has been a constant supporter of our organization.
This year’s Livingston Award recipient was WG#1034 Stacy Sheard. Stacy has been involved in many areas of the helicopter industry, having begun her career in the military before transitioning to the civilian world as a test pilot for Sikorsky and now serving as a corporate pilot flying an AW139 on the east coast. For years, Stacy has organized HAI’s mentoring and military-to-civilian panels. She shares her passion for flight and inspires others. At HELI-EXPO Stacy was voted on to the Board of Directors of Helicopter Association International. Congratulations, Stacy!
The Whirly-Girls hosted an education session put on by the owners of Becker Helicopters Pilot Academy in Australia. The husband and wife team includes WG#1884 Jan Becker, who, in addition to being a helicopter pilot, is a midwife, business owner, a great inspiration, and also a member of HAI’s Board of Directors. Her husband Mike presented “Touch-Down Autorotations and Forced Landings,” which he taught for the Rotor Safety Challenge as well.
2016 – By WG#1764 Holley Gardel
The silent auction and raffle sales at HELI-EXPO in Louisville were a great success, thanks to our volunteers and those who contributed toward a worthy cause: the Whirly-Girls Scholarship Fund. With WG#1680 Sharlene Miles as my superstar co-chair, we raised a total of $9,405! Donations from prominent aviation companies, such as David Clark, SPOT Tracker, Foreflight, and Jeppesen, were a big hit at this year’s auction. And we received gifts from several Whirly-Girls: WG#1515 Katie Downey, WG#1711 Joni Schultz, WG#1772 Ronnie Bogart, WG#247 Nelda Lee, WG#1093 Jan Gentry, WG#1355 Michelle Hovey, and WG#1422 Monica Reich Campos.
We had several returning donors and we met new people who would like to participate in the silent auction in the future. These professional contacts are incredibly valuable to the Whirly-Girls and I greatly appreciate all those who donated and wish to donate in the future.
The raffle ran smoothly and we had strong participation despite what seemed like lower overall attendance at HELI-EXPO. I look forward to the Whirly-Girls’ events next year event and welcome any comments, suggestions, and more volunteers.
2015 – By WG#1766 Holly Boniface, Silent Auction Chair
The 2015 Whirly-Girls’ silent auction and raffle at Heli-Expo were both huge successes! I want to thank everyone who supported these events either by donating or purchasing items or by buying raffle tickets.
In 2014, I was fortunate enough to win the Whirly-Girls Bell 206 Flight Training Scholarship, sponsored by Air Evac Lifeteam. After that phenomenal experience, I looked for a way to give time and energy back to the Whirly-Girls. When I found out WG#740 Lisa Di Giovanna was stepping down as the silent auction chair I decided to volunteer. Lisa left big shoes to fill, but I was lucky in that several Whirly-Girls were ready and willing to help me. My biggest supporter by far was WG#1764 Holley Gardel. She is a great wing woman and is extremely organized.
For any event to be successful, it is important to have onsite help from Whirly-Girl volunteers. These women, including some scholarship winners, helped to make these events so successful. Our super stars are WG#1355 Michelle Hovey, WG#1772 Rhonda Johnson, WG#1788 Laura Ilunga, WG#1673 Jessica Ward, WG#1829 Rebecca Joseph, WG#1714 Banumathi Cole, WG#1363 Sabine Buehlmann, and Nicole Cabana, winner of the Whirly-Girls Helicopter Add-on Flight Training Scholarship.
Thanks to all the Whirly-Girls who helped by selling raffle tickets. Every ticket mattered – the 474 raffle tickets that were sold brought in $2,216. The silent auction netted $9,450. The combined grand total of money raised this year was $11,666. All of the money raised will supplement the Whirly-Girls Scholarship Fund where it will be used to help more women helicopter pilots earn training scholarships next year. Let’s all fly this forward in 2016!
Whirly-Girls 60th Anniversary Awards Banquet
The Whirly-Girls celebrated their 60th anniversary at the scholarship banquet held at the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando, Florida, on March 1, 2015. Fourteen women were awarded flight training scholarships and the guest speaker was Matt Zuccaro, president of HAI. New sponsors were announced, as were the Emeritus Circle awards.
The banquet followed the silent auction and was a beautiful event. It was a perfect night to kick off the festivities at this year’s Heli-Expo. Read on for more details and pictures.
Whirly-Girls Annual Hovering at Heli-Expo 2015
Edited by WG#1771 Jessica Kanellos, VP of Membership
WG#4 Nancy Livingston
Nancy gave the group some great words of wisdom: “If you’re not comfortable with the mission, just say no. They may be angry with you, but you have to learn to say no sometimes.” She added, “Have fun!”
WG#202 Diane Dowd
Diane is a former army aviator. It has been 40 years since she graduated from flight school. She did charter work for five years, followed by flying a Hughes 500 and Bell 206 drying peach blossoms. She flew the Bell 212 in corporate aviation and then flew the S-76 doing executive transport. She became a chief pilot in 1995 and retired five years ago. She says retirement is great and she encourages women to keep it up, adding, “it’s a great career and you’ll enjoy it.”
WG#351 Patricia Fields Neubert
Trish just celebrated her twelfth wedding anniversary. She and her husband, who flies EMS, are moving back to Chapel Hill, N.C., where she is hoping to be more active in aviation in the future. She previously served on the Whirly-Girls board of directors as a scholarship director. Trish reflected on the amazing Whirly-Girls’ 50th anniversary celebration ten years ago.
WG#388 Deborah Sawyer
Deb is retired from her work of doing research on helicopters and heliports for NASA, which she did after earning her private rating. Her instructor was WG#46 Lauretta Foy. Deb has served in several Whirly-Girls board positions including president and most recently membership director. She is proud to say that we have more than 1,858 members now and have added a new country: Estonia. Deb is proud to say she loves the Whirly-Girls.
Whirly-Girls Silent Auction and Raffle a Success
By WG#1766 Holly Boniface, Silent Auction Chair
The 2015 Whirly-Girls’ silent auction and raffle at Heli-Expo were a huge success! I want to thank all who supported both events by donating or purchasing items and buying raffle tickets.
In 2014, I was fortunate enough to win the Whirly-Girls Bell 206 Flight Training Scholarship, sponsored by Air Evac Lifeteam. After that phenomenal experience, I looked for a way to give time and energy back to the Whirly-Girls.
When I found out WG#740 Lisa Di Giovanna was stepping down as the silent auction chair I decided to volunteer. Lisa had some big shoes to fill. Several Whirly-Girls were willing and ready to help me. My biggest supporter by far was WG#1764 Holley Gardel. She is a great wing woman and is extremely organized.
For success, it is important to have onsite help from Whirly-Girls volunteers. Several others who stood out as super stars making all this possible, many of whom won scholarships this year, include: WG#1355 Michelle Hovey, WG#1772 Rhonda Johnson, WG#1788 Laura Ilunga, WG#1673 Jessica Ward, WG#1829 Rebecca Joseph, WG#1714 Banumathi Cole, WG#1363 Sabine Buehlmann, and Nicole Cabana, winner of the Whirly-Girls Helicopter Add-on Flight Training Scholarship.
Thanks for selling those raffle tickets, Whirly-Girls! Every ticket mattered – the 474 raffle tickets sold brought in $2,216. The silent auction netted $9,450. The combined grand total of money raised was $11,666 in 2015. Thanks to the Whirly-Girls Scholarship Fund, all the money raised will be used to help more women helicopter pilots earn training scholarships next year.
Let’s all fly this forward!
Thank you so much for helping out with the booth at Heli-Expo 2015. Your participation made all the difference. The Whirly-Girls made nearly $10,000 from the booth. Our top-selling items were the kids’ aviator hats, afghan throws, socks, and jewelry. You all rock, and I hope to see every one of you next year!