Whirly-Girls International is a nonprofit, educational and charitable organization dedicated to advancing women in helicopter aviation.
The organization’s goals include the following:
– Promotion of women in the helicopter industry through scholarship awards, mentoring, public appearances, press releases, magazine articles and informational displays in aviation museums
– Exchange of information among women in helicopter aviation
– Promotion of community acceptance of rotorcraft through increasing public awareness of rotorcraft utility and versatility
The Whirly-Girls Scholarship Fund, Inc., was incorporated in 1974 to oversee and administer the scholarship funds raised by the Whirly-Girls and their supporters. The Fund is a federally tax-exempt 501(c)(3) public charity. The Fund administers many separate scholarships valued, in some recent years, at more than $175,000 USD.
Jean Ross Howard Phelan, Whirly-Girl #13, founded Whirly-Girls International in 1955. With the hopes of developing an organization where female pilots could share their experiences, information and find camaraderie, she and 12 other charter members representing women helicopter pilots from France, Germany and the United States, created this organization.
As of 2018, there are more than 2,000 members representing 49 countries. The Whirly-Girls is an affiliate member of Helicopter Association International and holds its annual conference at HAI’s HELI-EXPO, the largest helicopter trade show in the world, usually held annually in the first week of March.