PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — It was an exciting day for girls who have a passion for aviation. Sheltair hosted its inaugural Girls Aviation Day at Northwest Florida Beaches airport.

Event organizer Nikki Slansky wanted to inspire the younger generation at Saturday’s event.

“We’re doing everything out here that the boys are typically seen doing but we can do it all,” Sheltair customer service manager Nikki Slansky said.

The number of girls in aviation has taken off.

Slansky was encouraged by her former coworker to host this event in Panama City. Slanksy said some girls were surprised by the opportunities available in aviation.

“One girl, she was like I don’t know if I want to be a pilot but I know that I really like aviation and I’m loving that I can see that’s there so many other jobs out there and I was like that’s exactly what I wanted,” Slansky said.

A variety of jobs are found within the aviation industry including military personnel, customer service managers, and even pilots attended Saturday’s event.

Leslie Provow, a pilot for United Airlines was there to share her story.

“When I got out of the navy off of active duty and went to the airlines, there were 100 women at united airlines at that point,” Provow said. “Aviation is fairly new for women in the airlines but now I’d say they are probably getting closer to 25% of airlines are women and that’s way above what it used to be.”

Even with a rise in the number of women with careers in aviation, she still is shocked by other people’s reactions when they see her.

“What’s crazy to me, even now this is 2022, people still come up to me when I’m in my uniform and say ‘Oh are you a pilot, I’ve never met a female pilot,'” Provow said. “I’ve been flying for 45 years, that’s crazy. People need to know that everything is available for women, we are as good as anybody else.”

As Slansky and Provow said, a girl can do anything just as much as a guy can and sometimes even better.

Sheltair hopes to make Girls Aviation Day an annual event and to host other events for the community to continue the message of girls are welcomed in the field.