There was another interesting post at AVSIM the other day, that the author also emailed to us at email@example.com, in which he offered suggestions for a "Wife Edition" of Flight Sim. It was full of jokes about shopping, shoes, housework, hair and make-up, etc. The full thread may be found here.
I don't want to pick on the author, whom I'll call "Andre" just as his parents did. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he was just having a bit of innocent, if anachronistic, fun. Judging by the subsequent comments on the thread, those that responded had a good laugh along with him.
However, since the topic of women in aviation combines the two things I spend all of my time thinking about anyway, I thought maybe I'd dust off the bully pulpit and chime in.
I've never actually seen any customer data of ours broken down by gender, but it's probably safe to assume that our customers are largely, probably even overwhelmingly, male.
I won't presume to suggest that the gender distribution of our customer base breaks down the same as it does in the world of licensed pilots - for one thing, we have more customers than there are pilots in the world, so extrapolation can't always be trusted - but it is interesting to note that, in the US, less than 6% of all licensed pilots are women.
The more interesting (or at least heartening) number to me is that 12% of all student (read: potential) pilots are women - hopefully, that figure will trickle up in the future and maybe we'll see the overall numbers continue to slowly change.
Do I think that would be a good thing? Absolutely, if for no other reason than it would mean more women would see what they're missing.
Regardless, it's clear that men outnumber women in real world aviation, so it's not likely unreasonable to assume that they do so in the virtual world as well. (Note to my long-time pal Katy Pluta: Stand fast!)
With all that in mind, here are some editions of Flight Simulator I'd like to see before we get to the Robert Young / Jane Wyatt Father Knows Best special commemorative release:
Flight Simulator 1911: The Harriet Quimby Edition - Hurry up and get your pilot's license before men let you vote!
Flight Simulator 1921: The Bessie Coleman Edition - Learn to fly in another country, because your gender and your race prevent you from training at home.
Flight Simulator Golden Age of Air Racing: The Jackie Cochran, Amy Johnson, and Pancho Barnes Edition - Fly faster and farther than lots of people, even some miserable blank-knocking men!
Combat Flight Simulator 4: The Night Witches Edition - Fly as many as 10 missions a night, dead stick over enemy lines, hand dropping bombs on the enemy before gliding to safety back in the USSR - all as a woman.
Space Simulator 2: The Valentina Tereshkova / Eileen Collins Edition - Fly Vostok 6 and the US Shuttles Discovery and Columbia on critically low levels of testosterone. (We could also do a pretty interesting Mercury 13 add-on.)
Flight Simulator 2006: The Nicole Malachowski Edition - After working your way up through US Air Force pilot training and becoming an instructor on the F-15E Strike Eagle, transition to the F-16C, and try your hand as Thunderbird 3. (By coincidence, Malachowski is Polish for "Better pilot than you.")
I could go on and on, especially if the criteria were expanded to include some women who may not be quite as famous, yet . . . Anne, Laurel, Bette, Michelle, Beth, Kirstin, Jennifer, etc. In the meantime, at least Flight Simulator 2004 includes nods to Amelia, Patty, and Martha.
With that, I suppose I have made my point with typically clumsy sincerity. Special thanks to my wife (the world's best navigator) and all my girlfriends for appreciating aviation, even when it doesn't happen to be pink and covered with butterflies.
This post was not sponsored in full or in part by the 99's, Women in Aviation, Women Fly, or the He-Man Woman Haters Club.
LOL! Excellent post, Hal!
Here's another website to add to your list: http://www.girlsflytoo.com
I just bought my daughter a onesie from this site. :-)
I'm honoured that you should mention me on your blog Hal and thanks for the benefit of the doubt, it was indeed meant as 'fun' to balance the scales of seriousness surrounding FSX.
Oh Yeah, by the way, all 'my wives and girlfriends' thank you for your mention of women in aviation :)
"Girls Fly Too" has been a great source of baby gifts for friends of ours - glad you're giving them business as well!
Glad you read it, and that you enjoyed my post in the spirit in which it was intended!
Heheh..... when I took my daughter up in the club's Jodel one day she was all smiles, laughter and excitement..... Then she frew quiet in the back..... summer skies over the Alps DO tend to be a bit 'bumpy' at times....
When I inquired over the radio if she still liked it, she asked when we were returning to the field (mind you.. we were only out for 10 minutes at that time, planning an hour of flying)....
So I said "Why honey, you don't like it as much as you thought you would?".
She replied "Oh yes dad..... bu do we HAVE to fly so HIGH !!???"
I guess not ALL women like flying in little wooden aeroplanes as much as I would've hoped ;-)
i liked this. i read each refference you gave. please, give more.
Nice to meet you Hal.
I'm very surprised to see very familiar names here.
Hi Owen I'm still working on Seabee but not finished.
Hi Francois, considering it, it is very normal to see you here, because I came here by your link ;-)
BTW I think at first male loves aircraft, then want to fly( it is my case ).
But female loves at first to fly.
This is the reason why I think so.
I'll guid to April 2002 at some computer shop in Tokyo.
Microsoft Japan demonstrated FS2002 but no one touched the joystick.
So I flyed Barron at Grand Canyon. It was very familiar flight for me because I 've purchased it at Canada October 2001.
I noticed one young woman stared at the display.
So I changed to her teaching how to fly.
Then I went another floor and back, I saw she purchased FS2002!!
She said she has no interest about aircraft but flying is very amazing!!
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