A program in St. Albans middle schools is inspiring girls to fly, in some cases for the first time.
Cliff Coy's interactive approach captivates a crew of middle school girls from St. Albans and makes the science of flying easy to understand.
Rosie's Girls is a program started by Vermont Works for Women, to build self-esteem. Erica Bertucci runs Rosie's Girls in St. Albans.
"There's a lot of mixed messages in media and girls that we had that were very active often, all of a sudden it's all about looks and so we really want to focus on giving them experiences," Bertucci said.
The girls are offered experiences with a specific focus on non-traditional trades which is why they're spending a day at the airport.
"I'm really excited," Abbie Casey said.
Abbie is going into the seventh grade at St. Albans City School. Like all the girls here, she's about to take her first flight in a small plane.
"It's really exciting because I might get to fly the plane and I never really thought I'd be able to do that before. I think it'll be really fun and really cool," said Abbie.
She'll be sharing the cockpit with a pro. George Coy has been teaching people to fly since long before Abbie was born.
Abbie is joined on board by Marina Holobowicz, a seventh-grader at St. Albans Town School.
And with the roar of the engine, they're off. They got a birds eye view of the place they call home. A view they've never seen quite this way. Abbie even got to take control, as promised by her instructor.
After about 15 minutes up in the air, they line up the runway ready for landing.
Reporter Julie Kelley: So how was it ... Awesome!
Abbie: It was really fun.
Abbie hasn't decided if she'd like to actually become a pilot, but the exposure from Rosie's Girls to things like flying a plane has made her realize that the sky is the limit!
"It's given me an idea of some things that I could do when I get older that I never thought that I could have the option to do," said Abbie.
Encouraging a love of aviation expands beyond Rosie's Girls. Missiquoi Valley has an after school program on Thursdays and it's not unusual for teachers in Franklin County to tie in lessons, like the physics of flight.
Bertucci says Rosie's Girls is also available for girls in Essex, Barre and Rutland, and she says it even inspired a group in California to start it there.