Connie Tobias

Connie Tobias

WEST JEFFERSON — Take flight with The Friends of the Library and speaker/aviator Connie Tobias at the FOL meeting Wednesday, June 27 at 11 a.m. at the Ashe County Library.

Tobias presents a first-person re-enactment of pioneer aviator Harriet Quimby, the first licensed woman pilot in the U.S., in 1911, and the first woman to fly the English Channel, in 1912.

“I tell the story of one of the most important women in history so children, especially young girls, get to know women are powerful and can make a difference,” Tobias said. “We make learning fun by reenacting.”

But Tobias’s own aviation experience is an inspiration, too. In her 42-year career in aviation, Tobias has flown more than 70 different kinds of aircraft, from a 1902 Wright Glider to heavy jets to the F-4 Phantom fighter jet. She was a commercial airline pilot and has more than 22,000 flight hours, more than 1,300 trans-Atlantic crossings, and 12 years as a captain.

In addition to experience as a pilot for charter, corporate, freight, fire patrol, commuter, regional and major airlines, Tobias has been a flight instructor, aviation examiner and an adjunct professor of aviation.

In 2003, Tobias volunteered as a civilian pilot to fly troops to and from the Middle East during the Iraq War. In 2004, she became the only aviator to equal the distance and time aloft of the Wright Brothers historic first flight, successfully flying controlled sustained flight in a 1903 Wright Flyer exact replica.

She has won special recognition from the National Aeronautic Association and the National Aviation Hall of Fame for her involvement in flying the 1903 Wright Flyer exact replica and 1909 original Bleriot. A Distinguished Graduate of Engineering and recipient of the Medal of Merit from Ohio University, Tobias has been inducted into the Amelia Earhart Forest of Friendship.

FOL encourages everyone to attend this exciting program June 27 at 11 a.m. and enjoy the fun, fellowship and food at the monthly meeting of the Friends of the Library. Like all FOL events, it’s free and open to the public.

The FOL meets every fourth Wednesday of the month from February through October, except in September when the meeting is the third Wednesday to coincide with the On The Same Page Literary Festival.

Meetings are held in the Community Room on the basement level of the library. Light refreshments are served. New members are welcome. A nominal FOL membership fee of $10 per year includes a 10 percent discount off the donated books and other items for sale in the Friends Corner on the main floor of the library. All funds raised by FOL go to support library programming and events.

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