December 1, 2000
By Judy Dixon
This post has been moved from its original location at PeerSpirit.com and archived here, so you can continue to access it.
Doing the work of the circle, we get to meet such a variety of interesting people. We want to end the year with an uplifting tale of circle use -- literally. Read Judy Dixon's story of women pilots. Thank you Judy!
The world is round, a circle is round and the shortest distance between two points is a straight line! Why on earth, I wonder, does that phrase keep running through my mind. We are late and holding up the FAA feels like being tardy for an appointment with the Internal Revenue. Here I stand with a choice on my hands: Use the direct route and just say "Ladies, let's go do it" or take the great circle route and give each woman the time to add their vision and energy to this little piece of history. "OK," I decide, "Let the FAA boys in the Oshkosh tower wait." We will fly in as eagles, not a gaggle of geese.
We call ourselves Women With Wings. We are twenty some women pilots from as many different states and flying aircraft as diverse as we. Flying right into the heart of general aviation that is Oshkosh. It is the largest fly in and air show in the world and every pilot dreams of attending. This will be the first time ever a group of all women pilots have gathered together to caravan into Oshkosh. A monumental event considering only six percent of all pilots are women. That, I believe, is a fact we are going to help change.
I create a center in the circle showing the runways at Oshkosh and use as a talking piece my silk pilots scarf. It has been signed especially for the flight by Richard Bach and is fitting as many of us here are inspired to flight by the books "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" and "Illusions." His words capture the true essence of flight and it is a gift I want to take to other women. I start by telling of the long years' work to put the flight together and that my vision is to inspire girls, the young and young at heart, to explore the wonders of flight. I hope that seeing ordinary women flying ordinary aircraft will serve as a role model for those who dream of flying. The scarf is passed and others speak of how this adventure is a personal accomplishment. Many have husbands who fly and they tell of deferring the flying to them and remaining content as co-pilot. This will be a test of their ability and courage. One woman flying with a friend in a beautifully restored antique aircraft and both dressed for the occasion in poodle skirts and bobby socks speaks of the gift she wants this to be for her grandchildren. One day she will be proud to tell this wonderful story of Grandma's Great Historic Adventure.
Each woman puts forth into the center of the circle some form of a wish for giving more women the opportunity to see the world through the eyes of an eagle. The world from this high place seems more connected and perfect than from the ground. One never fails to return earthbound without the vision of a peaceful flowing earth surely made by the crafted hand of some higher power. Each of us in our own way made different by flight, now striving to bring the balance of such perfect harmony to our own families and world community. There is one young woman, still a student pilot, whose words I shall always remember, "Thank you all," she says, "For helping me realize a dream I didn't know I had."
The circle behind us, we fly into Oshkosh a group of friends bound by those heartfelt words. The sunny skies are a vivid blue and the wind blows softly straight down the runway. We land to newspaper reporters and television cameras and the excitement that we are making history, and together, making a difference.