Press Releases

View the Whirly-Girls press release archive here. 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Coptersafety Pilot Training Scholarship with Whirly-Girls International

You can view this press release on Coptersafety's website

Coptersafety is happy to announce they are joining the Whirly-Girls International as a sponsor with two FAA AW139 Type Rating scholarships. 

“At Coptersafety, we recognize the importance to increase diversity in the vertical aviation industry. As part of our commitment to fostering inclusivity, we are proud to announce the Whirly-Girls scholarship,” as shared by Coptersafety’s Chief Theoretical Knowledge Instructor, Matt Presnal. “By investing in women in aviation, we not only promote gender equality but also cultivate a stronger, more inclusive workforce for the future of vertical aviation. Through different initiatives, we aim to inspire a new generation of skilled and empowered pilots, regardless of their gender.”  

Coptersafety is the world’s largest independent helicopter pilot training provider for commercial, government, and private organizations, offering a full range of helicopter training courses in H125, H145, AW169, and AW139 Level-D Full Flight Simulators. The Finland-based company is an EASA certified Aviation Training Organization, FAA Part-142 certified training center, and UK Part-ORA certified training organization, among others.  

With a mission to improve safety in the rotary-wing industry, Coptersafety provides pilot training with Level D Full Flight Simulators. Coptersafety’s flight instructors actively fly and instruct in helicopter operations such as in HEMS, offshore, and SAR. This provides students with the knowledge of real-world operational flying experience in the helicopter they are training in, making Coptersafety a desirable training center for commercial pilots from around the world. 

“We are thrilled to welcome Coptersafety to the Whirly-Girls Scholarship Program” says Fallon Blattner, VP of Scholarships for Whirly-Girls International. “The addition of this esteemed training facility and company provides unprecedented opportunity to our members and significantly aids the career advancement of women within the rotary wing industry worldwide.” 

The scholarships provide an opportunity for two Whirly Girls to complete an FAA AW139 Type Rating and/or ATP Training Course, including technical ground training, full flight simulator training, and practical tests. The scholarship will be offered to current members of Whirly-Girls International in their mid-year scholarship round in 2024 and be awarded in the summer. 

About Coptersafety

Coptersafety is an independent helicopter pilot training provider for commercial, government and private organizations. The company provides simulator training for H125, H145, AW139, and AW169 helicopter type pilots around the world at its training facility four minutes from Helsinki International Airport. Coptersafety is a FAA, EASA, GACA, CAAT, and UK Training Center / Approved Training Organization (ATO), among others. Coptersafety has taken the initiative to genuinely improve pilot training to ensure the safety performance of the operators. Coptersafety’s Training Center is easily accessible from North America, Asia, and the Middle East with its convenient location only four minutes from Helsinki International Airport in Finland. 

About Whirly-Girls International

Whirly-Girls International is a non-profit, educational and charitable organization dedicated to advancing women in helicopter aviation. It was founded in 1955 and currently has more than 2,100 members across 47 countries. Its goals include the promotion of women in the helicopter industry through scholarship awards, mentoring, public appearances, press releases, magazine articles and informational displays in aviation museums; the exchange of information among women in helicopter aviation; and the promotion of community acceptance of rotorcraft through increasing public awareness of rotorcraft utility and versatility.

You can find out more about this scholarship on the Whirly-Girls website

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 27, 2024

Whirly-Girls International Scholarship Fund Exceeds $600,000 in 2024 Scholarship Awards and Mid-Year Scholarship Offering

Whirly-Girls International, a non-profit, educational, and charitable organization dedicated to advancing women in the helicopter aviation industry, has announced the recipients of the 2024 Whirly-Girls Scholarship Awards.  The scholarships were awarded at the Whirly-Girls Annual Reception during HAI HELI-EXPO in Anaheim, California.  Thanks to the support of aviation leaders, 39 scholarships were bestowed upon deserving female aviators, the largest scholarship program in the helicopter industry.

Recipients of the 2024 Whirly-Girls scholarships are:

  • Bridget Colby - Airbus Inadvertent IMC Training Scholarship
  • Shalena Abbas - Anastasia Mosquito Control District Ag Spray Scholarship
  • Anna Harpila - Bell Training Academy Maintenance Scholarship
  • Lucy Passaniti - Stewart “Stu” Dietrick Memorial Scholarship
  • Teagan Trant - Bristow Group Initial Helicopter Flight Training Scholarship
  • Maggie Beseda - CAE SK-76 Initial Training for Helicopter ATP Scholarship
  • Katrin Doederer - Erickson & Volo Mission Vertical Reference/External Load Scholarship
  • Amory Harris - FlightSafety International Bell 206/Bell 407 Scholarship
  • Kellye Evans, Maria Paradise, & Kelsey Hoogendoorn - Garmin GTN & Flight Display Pilot Training Course Scholarship
  • Olivia Bassett & Yesenia Bello - Garmin Aviation Online Training Course Scholarship
  • Sarah Jackson - Leading Edge Flight Academy & Central Oregon Community College Helicopter Instrument Rating Scholarship
  • Charlotte Brown & Larissa O’Donoghue - Leonardo Helicopters AW139 Flight Training Course Scholarship
  • Alicia Martinez & Kaela Robertson - Leonardo Helicopters AW139 Full Airframe Maintenance Course Scholarship
  • Brandi Truesdel - Lora Trout Remembrance Initial or Commercial Training Scholarship
  • Ryan Hester - MD Helicopters MD500 Flight Training Scholarship
  • Yesenia Bello, Mariah Dugan, Larissa Hamilton, Andrea McGilvray, & Rebecca Torres - Oregon Aero CRM/AMRM Instructor Training Scholarship
  • Hannah Santamaria - Palm Beach Helicopters CFI/CFII Rating Scholarship
  • Amy Hartt & Kerry Hahne - PHI Aviation Bell 407 Scholarship
  • Cecily Olsen & Kim Loraine-Grews - Robinson Helicopters R22/R44 Safety Course Scholarship
  • Linnea Nelson & Leah French - Southern Utah University (SUU) Career Flight Training Scholarship
  • Ruby Esquivel- Southern Utah University (SUU) Maintenance Scholarship
  • Dallas Smith & Alexa Dunn - Survival Systems USA Aviation Survival & Egress Scholarship
  • Olivia Anderson - Edward M Thurn Memorial Scholarship
  • Lexi Hargis - Whirly-Girls Memorial Flight Training Scholarship
  • Oceana Gamel Howes - Whirly-Girls Jean Tinsley Memorial Heli-Expo Scholarship
  • Harley Lenart - Whirly-Girls Initial/Add-on Flight Training Scholarship

“The 2024 Scholarship offering has been a record-breaking year and incredibly inspiring. We are overwhelmed with the generosity and support from our Sponsors and the quality of deserving applicants and recipients. In addition to providing new opportunities to our pilots throughout their initial flight ratings, the incorporation of new Sponsors has provided more advanced training courses for working, commercial pilots and scholarships to aid maintainers as well. We feel honored to offer these opportunities to our membership, support women in the helicopter industry, and collaborate with so many wonderful Sponsors and individuals” said Fallon Blattner, Whirly-Girls International VP of Scholarships.

The 2024 Scholarship program has officially exceed $600,000 in annual scholarship awards with the addition of two (2) AW139 type rating/ATP scholarships provided by Coptersafety as a mid-year offering. Coptersafety, located in Finland, offers a full range of flight and mission training courses and is an EASA, FAA and UK Part-ORA certified training facility. These scholarships will be offered to Whirly-Girl members and subsequently awarded in the Summer of 2024.

The Whirly-Girls Scholarship Fund, Inc. ("WGSF") was incorporated to oversee and administer the scholarship funds raised by the Whirly-Girls and their Associates. Initiated in 1968, the scholarship program has grown from a single $500 scholarship to a wide range of training and development scholarships valued today in excess of $600,000. For more information on Whirly-Girls International, please visit www.whirlygirls.org

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 3, 2024

Whirly-Girls International Reveal 2024 Scholarship Recipients

Whirly-Girls International, a non-profit, educational, and charitable organization dedicated to advancing women in the helicopter aviation industry, has announced the recipients of the 2024 Whirly-Girls Scholarship Awards.  The scholarships will be awarded February 25, 2024, at the Whirly-Girls Annual Reception during HAI HELI-EXPO in Anaheim, California.  Thanks to the support of aviation leaders, 39 scholarships were bestowed upon deserving female aviators, the largest scholarship program in the helicopter industry.

Recipients of the 2024 Whirly-Girls scholarships are:

  • Bridget Colby - Airbus Inadvertent IIMC Training Scholarship
  • Shalena Abbas - Anastasia Mosquito Control District Ag Spray Scholarship
  • Anna Harpila - Bell Training Academy Maintenance Scholarship
  • Lucy Passaniti - Stewart “Stu” Dietrick Memorial Scholarship
  • Teagan Trant - Bristow Group Initial Helicopter Flight Training Scholarship
  • Maggie Beseda - CAE SK-76 Initial Training for Helicopter ATP Scholarship
  • Katrin Doederer - Erickson & Volo Mission Vertical Reference/External Load Scholarship
  • Amory Harris - FlightSafety International Bell 206/Bell 407 Scholarship
  • Kellye Evans, Maria Paradise, & Kelsey Hoogendoorn - Garmin GTN & Flight Display Pilot Training Course Scholarship
  • Olivia Bassett & Laura Deatherage - Garmin Aviation Online Training Course Scholarship
  • Sarah Jackson - Leading Edge Flight Academy & Central Oregon Community College Helicopter Instrument Rating Scholarship
  • Charlotte Brown & Larissa O’Donoghue - Leonardo Helicopters AW139 Flight Training Course Scholarship
  • Alicia Martinez & Kaela Robertson - Leonardo Helicopters AW139 Full Airframe Maintenance Course Scholarship
  • Brandi Truesdel - Lora Trout Remembrance Initial or Commercial Training Scholarship
  • Ryan Hester - MD Helicopters MD500 Flight Training Scholarship
  • Yesenia Bello, Mariah Dugan, Larissa Hamilton, Andrea McGilvray, & Rebecca Torres - Oregon Aero CRM/AMRM Instructor Training Scholarship
  • Hannah Santamaria - Palm Beach Helicopters CFI/CFII Rating Scholarship
  • Amy Hartt & Kerry Hahne - PHI Aviation Bell 407 Scholarship
  • Cecily Olsen & Kim Loraine-Grews - Robinson Helicopters R22/R44 Safety Course Scholarship
  • Linnea Nelson & Leah French - Southern Utah University (SUU) Career Flight Training Scholarship
  • Ruby Esquivel - Southern Utah University (SUU) Maintenance Scholarship
  • Dallas Smith & Alexa Dunn - Survival Systems USA Aviation Survival & Egress Scholarship
  • Olivia Anderson - Edward M. Thurn Memorial Scholarship
  • Lexi Hargis - Whirly-Girls Memorial Flight Training Scholarship
  • Oceana Gamel Howes - Whirly-Girls Jean Tinsley Memorial Heli-Expo Scholarship
  • Harley Lenart - Whirly-Girls Initial/Add-on Flight Training Scholarship

“The 2024 Scholarship offering has been record breaking, and we are immensely grateful to our sponsors for their generosity and support. The cost of flight training can be prohibitive for any pilot and, with the continued help and involvement of our sponsors, we are able to provide crucial training opportunities and mentorship to a new generation of female helicopter pilots,” said Joanna Forrester, Whirly-Girls International Scholarship Director.

“Only 6% of helicopter pilots are women, and by raising awareness in the community and providing a strong scholarship program, one of our goals is to help widen the talent pool and bring a broader range of experience, skills and background to the aviation industry.”

The Whirly-Girls Scholarship Fund, Inc. ("WGSF") was incorporated to oversee and administer the scholarship funds raised by the Whirly-Girls and their Associates. Initiated in 1968, the scholarship program has grown from a single $500 scholarship to a wide range of training and development scholarships valued today in excess of $500,000. For more information on Whirly-Girls International, please visit www.whirlygirls.org

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 29, 2023

Whirly-Girls Open 2024 Scholarship Season

The Whirly-Girls Scholarship Fund, Inc. is proud to announce the opening of the 2024 scholarship season. Deserving female aviators and maintainers can 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. Applications are available online and are due October 1st, 2023.

This year, scholarship sponsors include Airbus, Anastasia Mosquito Control District of St. Johns County, Bell Helicopter, Bristow Group, CAE, Central Oregon Community College, Edward M. Thurn Trust, Erickson, FlightSafety International, Garmin, Leading Edge Flight Academy, Leonardo, MD Helicopters, Palm Beach Helicopters, PHI Aviation, Randy Mains & Oregon Aero, Robinson Helicopter Company, Southern Utah University, Survival Systems USA, Inc., Volo Mission, and many private donors. Scholarships are available for both experienced and newly-certificated pilots and maintainers, as well as those individuals who are 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, stated, "When the original thirteen 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 2000 members but, despite this growth, females still comprise fewer than 6% 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.” Every female pilot and mechanic owes it to herself to apply.

Scholarship applications are available at www.whirlygirls.org/apply-for-scholarships/ and are due October 1, 2023. Scholarships will be formally presented at the Whirly Girls Annual Banquet on February 25, 2024 at the HAI HELI-EXPO in Anaheim, CA. For more information on attending the banquet, please visit www.whirlygirls.org.

Whirly-Girls International is a non-profit, educational, and charitable organization dedicated to advancing women in the helicopter aviation industry. The Whirly-Girls Scholarship Fund, Inc. ("WGSF") was incorporated in 1974 to oversee and administer the scholarship funds raised by the Whirly-Girls and their auxiliaries, and is a federally tax exempt 501(c)(3) public charity. Initiated in 1968, the scholarship program has grown from a single $500 scholarship to a wide range of training and development scholarships.

For more information on Whirly-Girls International and Whirly-Girls scholarships, please visit www.whirlygirls.org or contact the VP of Scholarships, Fallon Blattner, at scholarships@whirlygirls.org.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 8, 2023

Whirly-Girls International Awards Record Number of Scholarships

Whirly-Girls Scholarship Fund Inc., a non-profit, educational, and charitable organization dedicated to advancing women in the helicopter aviation industry, awarded over $500,000 in scholarships on March 5 at the Whirly-Girls Annual Awards Banquet during HAI HELI-EXPO in Atlanta, Georgia.  Thanks to the support of aviation leaders, 32 scholarships were bestowed upon deserving female aviators, the largest scholarship program in the helicopter industry.

Recipients of the 2023 Whirly-Girls scholarships are:

Advanced Mountain Flight Training

   Grace Wagner – Grand Canyon, Arizona

Airbus Inadvertent IIMC Training

   Maria Loken-Kim – Kona, Hawaii

Bristow Group Initial Helicopter Flight Training

   Katherine Cowley – Squamish, BC, Canada

Erickson & Volo Mission Vertical Reference/External Load Training

   Jessica Meiris – Colorado Springs, Colorado

FlightSafety International Bell 206/Bell 407 Flight Training

   Munanie Mbatha – Ormond Beach, Florida

Garmin GTN & Flight Display Pilot Training Course

   Elizabeth Leidenheimer — Jackson, New Jersey
   Bridget Colby- Camden, NSW, Australia
   Amory Harris – Truckee, California

Garmin Aviation Online Training Course

   Michelle Lambert – Bend, Oregon
   Michelle Benke – Maricopa, Arizona

Leading Edge Flight Academy & Central Oregon Community College Helicopter Instrument Rating

Kellye Evans – Phoenix, Arizona

Leonardo Helicopters AW139 Flight Training Course

   Adele Dobler – Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
   Elizabeth Vavashe – Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

Leonardo Helicopters AW139 Flight Training Course

   Jenetta Rutherford – Calgary, Alberta, Canada

MD Helicopters MD500 Flight Training

   Michelle Benke – Maricopa, Arizona

Oregon Aero CRM/AMRM Instructor Training

   Adele Dobler - Amory Harris – Truckee, California
   Heidi McBride – Siloam Springs, Arkansas
   Leah Murphy – Salisbury, Maryland
   Amory Harris – Truckee, California

Palm Beach Helicopters CFI/CFII Rating

   Amy Ehn – Kona, Hawaii

PHI Aviation Bell 407 Scholarship

   Michelle Astergard – Kungsbacka, Sweden
   Sage O’Loughlin – Yamhill, Oregon

Robinson Helicopters R22/R44 Safety Course

   Maria Romero Abella – Okotoks, Alberta, Canada

Robinson Helicopters R66 Safety Course

   Leah Seitz – Larkspur, California

Southern Utah University (SUU) Career Flight Training

   Isabella Blair – Grenada, Mississippi

Survival Systems USA Aviation Survival & Egress Training

   Diana Arias – League City, Texas
   Samantha Hansen – Hilo, Hawaii

Edward M. Thurn Memorial Flight Training

   Haley Follman – Creede, Colorado

Lora Trout Memorial Flight Training

   Leah Seitz – Larkspur, California

Whirly-Girls Jean Tinsley Memorial HELI-EXPO

   Vanessa Mendoza – Boise, Idaho

Whirly-Girls Initial/Add-on Flight Training

   Genie Mulari – Corona, California

“The 2023 Scholarship offering has been record-breaking, and we are immensely grateful to our sponsors for their generosity and support. The cost of flight training can be prohibitive for any pilot, and with the continued help and involvement of our sponsors, we are able to provide crucial training opportunities and mentorship to a new generation of female helicopter pilots” said Joanna Forrester, Whirly-Girls International Scholarship Director.

“Only 6% of helicopter pilots are women, and by raising awareness in the community and providing a strong scholarship program, one of our goals is to help widen the talent pool and bring a broader range of experience, skills and background to the aviation industry.”

The Whirly-Girls Scholarship Fund, Inc. ("WGSF") was incorporated to oversee and administer the scholarship funds raised by the Whirly-Girls and their Associates. Initiated in 1968, the scholarship program has grown from a single $500 scholarship to a wide range of training and development scholarships valued today more than $500,000. For more information on Whirly-Girls Scholarship Fund, Inc., please visit www.whirlygirls.org