The Quad Cities International Airport is teaming up with John Deere and Elliott Aviation to host its second-annual Girls in Aviation Day next month.

The next Girls in Aviation Day, Sept. 24, is part of a national movement started by Women in Aviation International to introduce young girls (recommended for students 5-17 years old) to aviation and STEM-related careers, according to a Friday airport release. The event will feature more than a dozen exhibitors with activities, simulators, planes, airfield equipment and more.

The first Girls in Aviation Day at the Quad Cities International Airport was held in 2021.

“This year, we’re welcoming back nearly all of our exhibitors plus some exciting new ones like the Illinois Army National Guard and Revv Aviation.” said Ashleigh Davis, public relations and marketing manager for the QC Airport in Moline. “We believe that a passion for aviation starts young and introducing the wide variety of hobbies, educational opportunities and careers available in aviation to children in the Quad Cities is something that means a great deal to everyone involved.”

New this year, 2nd Lt. Gabrielle Cole, a Black Hawk helicopter pilot (who grew up in Oak Park, Ill.), will be the keynote speaker. She will be joined by an all-female flight crew from the Illinois Army National Guard’s 106th Aviation Regiment based in Peoria. The keynote presentation will take place at 12 p.m. Sept. 24.

2nd Lt. Gabrielle Cole, a Black Hawk helicopter pilot, will be the keynote speaker on Sept. 24, appearing with an all-female flight crew from the Illinois Army National Guard.

Hosting an event like Girls in Aviation Day is more important than ever, the airport release says.

Less than 10% of pilots, maintenance workers and airline executives are women according to Women in Aviation International. The pilot and crew shortages that have dominated the news cycle this past summer further demonstrate that the aviation industry must diversify in order to thrive.

“If we don’t introduce these career options to students, the problems we experience as travelers will only continue to grow,” said Davis. “We have to be intentional about our goal to create a pipeline of talent for aviation so we don’t run into the same issues in another 10 years.”

The event is important since less than 10% of all American pilots, maintenance workers and airline executives are women.

Girls in Aviation Day will take place from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Sept. 24 at the airport’s cargo facility, 3200 69th Ave., Moline. The event is free but registration is required.

Exhibitors for this year’s event include: John Deere, Elliott Aviation, Quad Cities International Airport Public Safety, Civil Air Patrol, U.S. Air Force, EAA Chapter 75 Quad Cities, Quad Cities Aero, QCIA Airport Services, LLC, National Weather Service Quad Cities, Envoy Air, Inc., ABLEd, Women’s Reach, Illinois Army National Guard, U.S. Marines, Revv Aviation and more.

Questions about the event can be directed to info@qcairport.com.