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ISA + 21 Mission

Statement


ISA+21 is a charitable, non-profit organization of career women airline pilots whose purpose is to: celebrate camaraderie; support informational exchange and social interaction among its members in a healthy environment; provide aviation scholarship opportunities for career-seeking women; and inspire future generations of women aviators via educational outreach.

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How did ISA+21 get its name?
In 1978 when ISA was founded, the original name was the International Social Affiliation of Women Airline Pilots. The founders wanted an acronym that some how symbolized their group and was also used in the aviation community. They chose to use ISA, also an acronym for International Standard Atmosphere, and the appendage of +21, acknowledging the original 21 members. (Used in aviation, ISA+21 would mean that the atmosphere was 21 degrees above standard.) Over the years, the emphasis of the organization slowly melded into a professional as well as social organization and the members chose to stress that and changed "social" to "society".
When was the first woman airline pilot hired?
The first U.S. woman airline pilot was Helen Richey hired by Central Airlines, a United States airline, in 1934. She resigned 10 months later when the all-male pilots' union refused to accept her. Out of piloting work and nearly penniless, she committed suicide January 7, 1947. A woman airline pilot “Firsts” database is managed by the Ninety-Nines.
How many women airline pilots are there?
This number is constantly changing and thankfully growing. Current estimates are approximate: 4000 women airline pilots worldwide, the majority in the United States. There are about 130,000 airline pilots worldwide.
How many of those women are Captains?
What with growing airlines, downsizing airlines, upstarts, and bankruptcies, we can only speculate that the number is around 450 women airline captains worldwide.
Are there strength or height requirements that women must meet?
In the early days of hiring women airline pilots, there were many tests that we had to submit to including strength tests. There was also a minimum height for pilots at most airlines. These requirements have mainly fallen by the wayside. The only requirement is that a prospective pilot can fly the simulator provided during the interview process, without undue problems due to height or strength (i.e. she can reach the rudder pedals and see over the dash, and she can control an airplane that has lost it's hydraulic systems used to facilitate flying).
Where can I get more information about becoming an airline pilot
Check out ISA's "Tips for Becoming an Airline Pilot"  Tips on Becoming an Airline Pilot , or Contact ISA+21 to help guide you in your quest for an airline career.