Most ultralight pilots who use the Internet on a regular basis know there are lots of aviation-related Websites, forums, chat and news groups. One reason people join an Internet group is to receive or exchange information with people who share similar interests. Correspondents with various levels of knowledge and expertise meet and exchange ideas on a specific subject. It's a good way for a member to send an announcement or question. Occasionally, several members respond within the same time period, creating a dialog. Even people who don't usually correspond via the Internet can receive information by either logging onto a specific Website or by receiving e-mail directly. The advantage is that they get answers to questions they didn't think of asking.
With the vast selection of Internet forums and news groups available to ultralight pilots and students, one in particular is a bit different. The Yahoo! Internet group, Women-ULWings, has a small, but active membership. The "women only" group was formed in January 2001 to promote contact between women ultralight pilots.
The group has formed a strong support network that exchanges information and shares personal accounts of their flying experiences. Members exchange information on such aviation-related topics as early women aviators, flying in bad weather, flight training, and how to choose a flight instructor. They have also discussed the differences in communication with men and women instructors and pilots. A few of the more experienced pilots have become role models for the newer pilots and students. When a member has difficulty with her training, for example, the guidance and encouragement she receives give her the incentive to continue in this male-dominated sport. On a more personal side, they have offered sympathy and comfort during times of loss, such as the death of a fellow pilot and the events of September 11.
Women-ULWings is an international news group with members from the United States, England, South Africa, Australia and Brazil. Two Australian members who met for the first time through the group, later met face to face in their own country. The women are students, pilots, and a few are also basic flight instructors. Currently, 70% of the members fly trikes. The rest fly either fixed-wing ultralights and/or general aviation aircraft.
- Report filed by Carol L. Plotnick
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