International Women's Day

Goodwood's female-friendly flight path

Friday 8 March marks International Women’s Day, so how are women getting on in the male-dominated world of aviation? Annabel Cook finds a strong and ever-growing team of women working at Goodwood

Left to right: Katie Offer, Janet Bendell, Amy Harte, Charlotte Dadswell, Melanie Wright, Jillian Green, Jane Reddie, Karen Dove Kendall, Lynda Isaac, who are pictured with the Goodwood Flying School Harvard. Picture credit: Jonathan Swann

While there are an increasing number of women working in aviation, we are still very much in the minority. But at Goodwood Aerodrome, they’re bucking the trend, with a strong female team working in a variety of airfield roles.

Take Goodwood Flying School. The CFI / Head of Training and the Operations Manager are both women, as are six other members of the team. All have strong links to aviation, with backgrounds including airlines and the military.

Then there’s the Air Traffic Control team. Of the six, two are women and both fly, including FISO Lynda Isaac, who has worked at Goodwood for just over 30 years.

Having learned to fly at Goodwood, she first joined the team as an instructor. This being the 1990s though, she was grounded when she became pregnant.

“I took the opportunity to become an air ground radio operator in the control tower,” she explains.

“I subsequently became a Flight Information Service Officer, and this is the post I still hold. I love being involved with aviation and the amount of change I have seen, both on the airfield and with the entire company, it is constantly evolving and there is never a dull day.”

Goodwood’s secret…

Over in engineering there’s only one woman in a team of 12, but you have to start somewhere, and I get the feeling that it won’t be long before the proportion increases. Goodwood is clearly doing something right, as several members of the team have been there for a number of years.

“I always wanted to learn to fly, although initially had no plans beyond gaining my PPL. But now, after 19 years, I’m still here!” CFI Charlotte Dadswell tells me.

“My time learning to fly at Goodwood was very special and the aerodrome has been an important part of my life ever since.”

So, what’s the secret? Has Goodwood done something different to encourage women?

“This has happened organically over the years,” explains Head of Aviation, Mark Gibb.

“We are proud to celebrate the achievements of the women in our aviation team, who have all earned their positions by being the best in their field along with having strong aptitude and commitment.”

Perhaps we should let Katie Offer, one of the Flight School operations assistants, have the last word.

“Before joining Goodwood, I spent countless days coming to the aerodrome and have always wanted to work here,” she said. “After leaving the military I waited a year for the perfect flying school job to pop up!

“I love being able to be a part of people’s journey learning to fly and being surrounded by a team that is incredibly passionate about aviation is so inspiring.”

So, while the airfield has clearly inspired Katie and other women among the team, maybe other airfields can be inspired by Goodwood. After all, an impressive 12% of ab initio students are female, as are three of the eight winners of the Rob Wildeboer Scholarships.

Do you know any other airfields that are promoting diversity and inclusion with as much success? I really hope so!

Goodwood Aerodrome


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