At the turn of the twenty-first century, the Ninety-Nines, an international organization of licensed women pilots headquartered at Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City, numbered six thousand members from thirty-five countries. The Oklahoma chapter had seventy-one members, and the Tulsa chapter had eighteen members.
The Ninety-Nines were founded when a group of women pilots met in a hangar at Curtiss Field, Valley Stream, Long Island, New York, on November 2, 1929. With ninety-nine charter members, the organization was loosely organized until Amelia Earhart served as the first elected president in 1931. The inspiration for the association stemmed in part from the camaraderie the pilots had developed in August 1929 during the National Women's Air Derby, more popularly known as the Powder Puff Derby, a name coined by humorist Will Rogers.
Oklahomans Joan Fay Shankle Davis of Lawton, Josephine C. Wood Wallingford of Altus, and Alberta B. Worley of Oklahoma City were charter members. Geraldyn "Jerrie" Cobb, Dorothy Pressler Morgan, and Donna Shirley represent prominent aviators from Oklahoma who have been members of the Ninety-Nines.
The 99s Museum of Women Pilots, located at the Ninety-Nines International Headquarters in Oklahoma City, preserves the organization's unique history through its library, oral histories, archival materials, artifacts, and exhibits. The association's bimonthly publication entitled The Ninety-Nine News contains feature articles and information on current activities. At the turn of the twenty-first century the organization continued to provide professional support and development, social events, fellowship, and scholarships for tomorrow's women pilots.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Ninety-Nines, History of the Ninety-Nines, Inc. (Oklahoma City, Okla.: Ninety-Nines, 1979). Ninety-Nines, The Ninety-Nines: Yesterday-Today-Tomorrow (Paducah, Ky.: Turner Publishing Co., 1996). The Ninety-Nine News (Oklahoma City).
Meghan Iman Attalla
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