There was a time when little girls all over the world dreamed about the day that they could do the things that they saw their fathers and brothers doing. Many of these girls wanted to be doctors, lawyers, businessmen, and any number of things they were told they couldn’t be because they were girls. One of the things these girls thought they’d never get a chance to become was a pilot.
But thanks to the trail-blazing women of the early 1900s who were determined to make aviation their lives, women today are free to fly however they choose.
Back in 1929, a group of female pilots got together to start what is now called The Ninety-Nines. The nonprofit organization was designed to connect female pilots with another and provide them with like-minded individuals passionate about aviation.
The Ninety-Nines began on a cold day back in November of 1929. Less than 30 women got together in a hangar located at Curtiss Field in Valley Stream on Long Island to have what would be the first meeting of The Ninety-Nines. The meeting took place on the second floor of the hangar and the women had to speak loudly over the sound of the Curtiss Challenger engine that was being worked on by mechanics down below.
It was then that the women decided that they would work to provide a place for women to network with other pilots, educate up-and-coming female pilots, provide aviation scholarships, and educate the general public about aviation.
That meeting got things rolling for the group. By 1931, every woman of note along with several others was a member of the organization. In 1931, famed aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart was elected as the first president of the group. That was also when the group was given the name The Ninety-Nines.
Since then, the group has gone on to include members from 35 countries. The membership has long breached the 99 mark and now includes thousands of female members.
But the fundamental goals of the group are the same. The Ninety-Nines provide education about aviation to the general public, host aviation safety seminars, sponsor the Girl Scouts of America, offer scholarships, and act as a resource for women interested in flying.
A museum located in Oklahoma City where The Ninety-Nines is headquartered features a wealth of information about females in the industry and provides visitors with a look into the group’s past. It also features a large amount of memorabilia from Amelia Earhart’s life and flying career.
For more information about The Ninety-Nines or to become a member, visit www.ninety-nines.org
|Posted in Aviation Organizations|