East Palo Alto school introduces girls to aviation

To introduce more girls to aviation, a Peninsula school took their students to do something many had never done -- get on a plane.
March 7, 2014 5:33:45 PM PST
The number of female pilots in this country is increasing, but the percentage is still just about 5 percent. On Friday there was a big push to introduce more girls to aviation. One school in East Palo Alto took their female students to do something for the first time -- get on a plane.

Getting on a plane was not as easy as some of these students thought. For many it was their first time flying. Ana Uribe took up flying four years ago and wants young girls to try it too.

"We went to the schools and said listen we have this program, why don't you bring a couple of kids to see what it is?" Uribe said.

The students are from McNair Middle School in East Palo Alto. This field trip to the San Carlos Airport is part of their science, technology, engineering and math program.

"As an airplane's trying to go forward, there is always this force called drag," craft navigator Graciela Tiscareno-Sato said.

They're participating in a program called Women of Aviation Week.

On Friday the girls got more than a lesson in aviation and a chance to fly. They were introduced to a woman who has made aviation history.

Captain Olga Custodio was the first Latina to complete U.S. Air Force military pilot training and the first Hispanic female pilot to fly for a commercial airline. During her career she ran into people who questioned her ability to fly.

Recounting the story, Custodio said, "'Yes, we do have women flying airplanes and I am the captain today so is there a problem with that?' And he said, 'Well I didn't know.' And I said, 'you don't have to take this flight.'"

Today she's retired and encourages girls to start thinking about flying.

"I want to give back and let them know that they are able to do it as long as they don't give up," she said.

"If you try there will be fear at times," student Ashley Granados said. "But if you try, there's no point, you will overcome a fear."


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