The Ninety-Nines is an international organization of licensed women pilots that promotes the advancement of aviation through education, scholarships, and mutual support while honoring its unique history and sharing its passion for flight.
The Ninety-Nines: International Organization of Women Pilots, also known as the 99s, was founded on November 2, 1929 at Curtiss Field, Valley Stream, New York for the mutual support and advancement of women pilots. All 117 women pilots licensed at the time were invited and the group is named for the 99 pilots who attended the meeting or expressed an interest in forming a group.
Charter members included Amelia Earhart, Fay Gillis Wells, Ila Loetscher, Phyllis Fleet, Betty Gillies, Candis Hall, Louise Thaden, Ruth Nichols, Phoebe Omlie, Mary Goodrich Jenson, Opal Kunz and Mildred Stinaff. It would be Louise Thaden’s tireless work as secretary for the 99’s who was responsible for keeping the group together. In 1931, Amelia Earhart was elected as the organization’s first president.
Other famous members include Jackie Cochran, Elsie MacGill, Bobbi Trout, Pancho Barnes, Patty Wagstaff, Jeana Yeager, Sheila Scott, Eileen Collins, Shirley Zillig, Bonnie Gann, Linda Godwin and Nancy Bird Walton.
The organization’s 5,000+ members represent thirty countries. The mission of the Ninety-Nines is to promote world fellowship through flight; to provide networking and scholarship opportunities for women and aviation education in their communities; and to preserve the unique history of women in aviation.
Ninety-Nines members support the goals of the organization by serving in numerous aviation activities including: aviation education seminars in the community; air racing, from the Powder Puff Derby to the Palms to Pines and the Air Race Classic; airmarking by volunteering their time to paint airport names, compass rose symbols and other identifications on airports and the National Intercollegiate Flying Association (NIFA), most regional and national NIFA competitions have "99s" on their panel of judges.
Today the Ninety-Nines are professional pilots for airlines, industry and government; pilots who teach and pilots who fly for pleasure; pilots who are technicians and mechanics. But first and foremost, they are women who love to fly!