WAI Preflight with the Pilot Program

By Rebecca McCracking, Assistant Professor of Practice, Commercial Aviation
Delta State University


Networking is the yellow brick road toward a career path. Members of the Magnolia Chapter, Women in Aviation (WAI) – founded at Delta State University and open to all – have learned from a Part 91 Pilot with a King Air 90, an alumnus with a CJ3 and a Part 137 Agricultural Operator touring an Air Tractor 502. The largest aircraft the chapter has experienced was provided by several pilots, load masters and simulator instructors upon a C-17 granted by the Memphis Air National Guard.

“Our program, ‘Preflight with the Pilot,’ has drawn attention through hands-on education,” says faculty advisor Rebecca McCracking. “Hearing stories, touching and seeing various aircraft and flying a full motion simulator have been a success in our chapter!”

Quotes from chapter members show the value of such a program:

King Air 90

“The WAI Magnolia Chapter’s King Air C-90 preflight has given me a peek into the day to day of a commercial pilot and the operations of a turbine engine, which is helping me as a studying pilot to broaden my horizons out from pistons to the more advanced and commercially applicable operations of jet aircraft. I am excited for the next aircraft preflight and look forward to learning more through Women in Aviation!” –Sean Gage, Treasurer

“I really enjoyed learning about the Air Tractor 502. Meeting with Mr. Michael and learning about the many facets of the agricultural aviation industry was truly a unique and invigorating experience.” –Joseph Simpson, Member

“Seeing the C-17 up close and personal was amazing, and the instructors were so accommodating and personable. Getting to actually see how the C-17 operates in the simulator was so much fun, and it was truly a wonderful experience.” –Megan Lindsey, President

“Today was absolutely eye opening. I was shown how tight networking is in aviation, especially through an organization like Women in Aviation International.” –Scott Williams, Member

“This shows that aviation is such a small world, and so many connections can be made with so many people. The people who showed us around were truly so thoughtful and well organized.” –Clea Lauderdale, Vice-President