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The 99s

by John M. White |

On November 2, 1929 a group of women pilots organized themselves into what today is known as the "Ninety-Nines", an organization dedicated to assisting women pilots. Back in those days there was a lot of prejudice against female pilots, so a number of them including Phoebe Omlie, Blanch Noyes and Amelia Earhart decided to organize because of the perceptions about female pilots' abilities. The first discussion of organizing took place at the Women's Air Derby and an unknown reporter published an article declaring "The women are going to organize... we don't know what for." Today we know that this organization, for the past 80 years, has actively promoted the role of women in aviation. 99s Logo Imagine how amazed some of these early pioneering women pilots would be today to find airliner cockpits crewed by female pilots, not only as First Officers but Captains as well. How far we have come that no one ever refuses to fly on an airline crewed by women. As these women were trying to decide on a name they proposed a number of ideas, the most interesting of which was the "Noisy Birdwomen", a slap at the Quiet Birdman fraternity that excludes women from their ranks. Eventually they settled on the name Ninety-Nines, the number of charter members when Earhart was elected president in 1931. This wonderful organization has grown to a membership in excess of 5,000 and has chapters in some 14 countries around the world. In 1940 a scholarship fund was established which has awarded more than 500 scholarships for pilot certificates, type ratings, cfi licenses, aviation related college degrees and research. Over the years the members of the 99s have included some very notable women pilots, each of whom made significant contributions to aviation. Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7 I was annoyed from the start by the attitude of doubt by the spectators that I would never really make the flight. This attitude made me more determined than ever to succeed. — Harriet Quimby, just prior to her flight across the English Channel, 1912.

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