By LAUREL HUSTER|Oct. 15, 2019 – 8:25 PM
A Newnan woman was on board Delta’s fifth-annual WING Flight – “Women Inspiring our Next Generation” – carrying 120 girls ages 12-18 from Salt Lake City to NASA in Houston.
Delta charters the flight “as a way to close the gender gap in aviation,” according to a press release from Delta.
The flight was planned and staffed exclusively by women – including the pilots flying the plane, ramp agents working on the ground, gate agents boarding the flight and women in the tower guiding the aircraft on its way out.
Vicki Jennings-Warner of Newnan has been on every WING Flight since the beginning. She is the charter coordinator for the flight and coordinates chartered flights for Delta.
“This was my fifth year being a part of the WING flight, and it’s always an honor to be able to show young women they can do anything and everything in the aviation field,” Jennings-Warner said.
Delta’s WING Flight originated in 2015 as an effort to diversify a male-dominated industry and expose girls to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers at a young age. This year’s anniversary makes over 600 female students who have participated in the program with Delta, according to the release.
NBC News’ TODAY Show West Coast Anchor Natalie Morales and her TODAY Show crew covered the event and brought an all-female crew with them to film the segment.
“We know representation matters. At Delta, we believe you have to see it to be it,” said Beth Poole, General Manager – Pilot Development, who helped start Delta’s WING Flight in 2015 and has helped plan the flight ever since.
“We’re taking ownership to improve gender diversity by exposing girls at a young age and providing a pipeline so that 10 years from now, they will be the pilots in the Delta cockpit inspiring generations of women who follow,” Poole said.
In Houston, the girls were able to learn about flight and space exploration. They toured NASA’s Mission Control Center, Building 9, Johnson Space Center and Space Center Houston, according to the release.
Throughout the trip, students got to know mentors from other male-dominated aviation workgroups, including a female technician from Delta’s Technical Operations team. They also had lunch with Jeanette Epps, NASA astronaut and aerospace engineer.
“It didn’t seem realistic to go after a career in aviation, but today I realized, ‘Hey, I can do this too,'” said Katelyn J., age 17, a 12th grader from Advanced Learning Center in Salt Lake City.