Less than 1/2 of 1% of the U.S. population holds a pilot certificate of any kind. Active pilots represent an even smaller percentage of the general population. And despite the general tone of our cartoon, that number includes women pilots as well. There are lots of them, but they are an even tinier group.
As of December 2013, there were 599,086 pilots in the United States, but only 6.61 percent—or 39,621—were women, but the numbers are somewhat misleading. Of that number, just 25,216 have an “other-than-student” pilot certificate, just 4.21 percent of the total of all U.S. pilots.
No matter your gender, you are in special company, but there is a serious drawback to our rarity. Since our number is so small, so is our political impact. The AOPA has an outsized influence in Congress and works to make sure our concerns are at least heard and considered. That’s why we encourage everyone interested in aviation to join the AOPA. The annual fees are very reasonable ($59) and it goes to supporting the entire aviation community.
You can join here or, if you want to get an idea of what they are all about, come by Charleston Flight School and we’ll give you a mail-in card that will give you a free six-month no-obligation subscription to their magazine, Flight Training.