Purdue Pilots, Inc., is a student-led flying club based at Purdue University Airport (KLAF), and a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation in the state of Indiana. Our mission is two-fold: to provide Purdue students, faculty, staff, alumni, and their spouses with affordable flight training and hour building, and to create a community of aviation enthusiasts on campus. To find out more about PPI, check out our website!
This will be our second race. We decided to participate in Air Race Classic last year to take on a new challenge and provide new opportunities to our members. Our team finished 22nd out of 52 teams—a great success for our first race. As a team and a flying club, we took advantage of this opportunity to learn, improve, and prepare for this year’s race. Through our first race, we inspired more aerospace engineers, as well as more women, to join our flying club and begin their flight training. The visibility of the race through our social media and presentations resulted in women running for and being elected in five of our eleven officer positions, which also led to an increase in the number of women becoming interested in aviation and reaching out. Of our currently registered flying club members, 27% are female—five times more than the national average of female pilots. One third of our members are aerospace engineers, both undergraduate and graduate, and a third of those are female (twice as high as the ratio of women among aerospace engineers at Purdue). Our goal is currently to support our student pilots and help them get their licenses, by emphasizing the benefits of aviation, and providing everyone with unique experiences and opportunities to grow as pilots and leaders in the aviation industry.
We also hope that our outreach and service work after the race will help encourage young girls to go in aviation and Purdue students to get their pilot’s license and advanced ratings, so that we can continue enhancing the General Aviation community.