Empowerment from above: Free aviary flights given to inspire young girls

EDINBURG — Buckled into a helicopter for the first time in her life, 6-year-old Hailey was visibly apprehensive about going up into the sky Saturday afternoon. The Girl Scout’s mother, Rosalinda Muñoz, sat diagonal from her while fellow 6-year-old scout Delilah Roscamero sat up front with the pilot.

Not two minutes into the flight, both girls were laughing and smiling out at the vast ranchlands below. At one point during the 15-minute flight, Hailey said she wanted to become a pilot herself.

That was the goal for Dianna Stanger, the woman at the helm of the shiny twin jet engine helicopter.

“Out of all the pilots who are flying, only 6 percent are females,” she said. “What we’re trying to do is make sure the girls and women know that this is out there. It’s empowering; it’s a whole different skill set.”

Empowerment was something most women at the South Texas International Airport cited at the Fly It Forward event Saturday. The event ran through the whole week, ending Sunday. This year marked the first time the event occurred in Edinburg.

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