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The Ninety-Nines, Inc.
The Ninety-Nines Logo 2017.jpg
FormationNovember 2, 1929; 92 years ago (1929-11-02)
Founded atValley Stream, New York[1]
TypeInternational Organization of Women Pilots
HeadquartersOklahoma City, Oklahoma
Coordinates35°24′24″N 97°35′51″W / 35.406611°N 97.597573°W / 35.406611; -97.597573

The Ninety-Nines: International Organization of Women Pilots, also known as The 99s, is an international organization that provides networking, mentoring, and flight scholarship opportunities to recreational and professional female pilots. Founded in 1929, the Ninety-Nines has 155 chapters across the globe as of 2018, including a 'virtual' chapter, Ambassador 99s, which meets online for those who are too busy or mobile to be in one region for long.

Amelia Earhart was elected as their first president in 1931, and the organization has continued to make a significant impact supporting the advancement of women in aviation since its inception. In 1982, the Ninety-Nines received the National Aviation Hall of Fame Spirit of Flight Award, and were inducted into the Oklahoma Air Space Museum Hall of Fame in 2001.[2] In 2002, the organization was selected as the recipient of the Frank G. Brewer Trophy by the National Aeronautic Association, and in 2014 became inducted into the International Air & Space Hall of Fame at the San Diego Air & Space Museum.[3]

External images
image icon First Meeting, group photo, cropped
image icon First Meeting, group photo, small
image icon First Meeting, group photo, medium


In August 1929, a small group of female pilots met informally in Cleveland, Ohio following the United States Women's Air Derby, and that group agreed that there was a need to form an organization to support women in the burgeoning field of aviation. Invitations to an initial meeting at a later date were sent out to all 117 female pilots licensed at the time.[4] On November 2, 1929, the organization was founded at Curtiss Field near Valley Stream, New York[5] by 26 licensed female pilots[6][7] for the mutual support and advancement of "Women Pilots." At the suggestion of Amelia Earhart, the organization's name was taken from the number of charter members, eventually settling on "Ninety-Nines."


Charter members include:

Other notable members include:

Charter member Margaret Thomas "Tommy" Warren[14][15] believes she might have been the youngest charter member of the 99's — being only 17 when she joined. She was not present at the first gathering of women aviators on Long Island in October 1929, but did go to New York with Frances Harrell for the second meeting on December 14 at the home of Opal Kunz, and was appointed to represent Texas.[16][17][18][19]

The Ninety-Nines, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, and as of 2017 has 5,159 members in 30 countries. The mission of the Ninety-Nines is to promote world fellowship through flight, provide networking and scholarship opportunities for women in aviation, foster aviation education opportunities in the community, and preserve the unique history of women in aviation. The organization is divided into "sections" that are part of geographical areas covering multiple states in the continental U.S. and outlying territories, provinces in Canada, and regions of countries in continents across the globe. Chapters are the smallest grouping, often representing large cities or metropolitan areas under their geographical "sections".[20]

Historical initiatives[edit]

Efforts of members which significantly contributed to the documentation, preservation and publication of The Ninety-Nines historical records and museum contributions include those of Virginia Thompson, who joined the organization in 1954. Thompson became the first Historian[21] of the Mid-Atlantic Section (formerly the Middle-East Section), a founding member and Chairman of the Washington D.C. Chapter, and eventually the Mid-Atlantic Section Governor during a pivotal time in U.S. History leading up to the Kennedy Administration and boom of the United States Aerospace Industry.

On July 26 1963, Thompson, along with five other female aviators (including charter member and former Ninety-Nines International President, Blanche Noyes [22]) accompanied President John F. Kennedy as he personally honored aviatrices during the Amelia Earhart First Day Cover presentation at the White House.[23][24] In addition to founding the Shenandoah Valley Chapter, Thompson served as International Historian[25] of the Ninety-Nines for many years, and was Secretary of the International Women's Air and Space Museum, and a Smithsonian archivist. For nearly 65 years, Virginia Thompson was an active member of The Ninety-Nines until her passing in 2019.[26]

Scholarship fund[edit]

The Ninety-Nines Amelia Earhart Memorial Scholarship Fund (AEMSF)[27] program assists in funding flight training for both recreational and career track women pilots by awarding a scholarship for an entire pilot certificate or rating to qualified members. The AEMSF "Fly Now" scholarship is a progressive milestone award of up to $6,000 to assist a Ninety-Nine in completing her Private Pilot training. In addition to the AEMSF program, many individual chapters of the Ninety-Nines[28] give their own flight scholarships[29] to benefit local woman aviators. Aspiring professional pilots can find career guidance and mentors in the Ninety-Nines "Professional Pilot Leadership Initiative" program.

Museums and activities[edit]

Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum[edit]

The Ninety-Nines are owner-custodians of the Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum in Atchison, Kansas. The birthplace and early childhood home of early aviator Amelia Earhart has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has been returned to its turn-of-the-century condition by the "99s"; it features an abundance of personal and family memorabilia.[30]

99s Museum of Women Pilots[edit]

Their international headquarters building on Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, is home to the 99s Museum of Women Pilots. Museum artifacts include historical papers, personal items, video and oral histories, photos, memorabilia and other notable artifacts from famed woman aviators from around the globe. The museum collection and exhibits provide insight into the role women pilots played in the development of aviation and their historical footprint.[30]


Ninety-Nines members support the goals of the organization by being active in numerous aviation activities, including : aviation education seminars in the community, air racing, from the Powder Puff Derby to the Palms to Pines[31] and the Air Race Classic; and airmarking[32] 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 panels of judges.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Marcelle S. Fischler (May 12, 2002). "LONG ISLAND JOURNAL; Where Earhart, not Lindbergh, Is the Hero". The New York Times. p. LI14. Retrieved February 15, 2019. The Ninety-Nines were founded in 1929 at Curtiss field in Valley Stream, where Green Acres Mall now stands, by Earhart, its first president, and other early female pilots, many of whom were from the Island. There were 99 charter members.
  2. ^ "Fact Sheet, The Ninety-Nines, Inc" (PDF). Retrieved April 22, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. ^ Sprekelmeyer, Linda, editor. These We Honor: The International Aerospace Hall of Fame. Donning Co. Publishers, 2006. ISBN 978-1-57864-397-4.
  4. ^ "Our History" Archived July 11, 2016, at the Wayback Machine Ninety-Nines website.
  5. ^ "Advance Sunrise Airport / Curtiss Airport / Columbia Aircraft Company Airfield, Valley Stream, NY, 40.66, -73.724 (East of JFK Airport, NY)". Archived from the original on December 23, 2018. Retrieved February 15, 2019. The Ninety-Nines, an international organization of licensed women pilots, was established on 2 November 1929, when 26 licensed women pilots met at Curtiss Airport in Valley Stream. In 1931, Amelia Earhart was elected as their first president. The group was named for the 99 charter members. According to Chrystopher Spicer, one of their charter members was Jessie "Chubbie" Miller, who had been the first woman to travel by air from England to Australia. “Her main airfield in the U.S. was the old Curtiss Field at Valley Stream.” Curtiss Airport was the largest commercial airport on Long Island for 3 years starting in 1930. Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields
  6. ^ Multiple sources:
  7. ^ a b Doris Abbate (Long Island Chapter Historian) (January 2005). "Where It All Began..." 99 NEWS Magazine. On November 2, 1929, 26 licensed women pilots flew, drove, took a train and walked here to Valley Stream, Long Island for that memorable meeting and their first photo in a hangar at Curtiss Field. Serving tea from a delicate teapot and cookies on a spare parts wagon were Fay Gillis Wells, in her helmet and flight suit, and Viola Gentry, with a bouquet of mums presented her as she left the hospital after a plane crash while attempting an endurance record.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Charter members of the Ninety-Nines". Ninety Nines website.
  9. ^ a b c "Past Presidents of the Ninety-Nines". Ninety Nines website.
  10. ^ "Biographies". Archived from the original on October 27, 2014. Retrieved November 22, 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  11. ^ "Helen Bikle ·Motorsportmemorial". Retrieved February 2, 2022.
  12. ^ "99s Charter Members". Archived from the original on October 27, 2014. Retrieved November 22, 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  13. ^ "Manila Davis Talley Scrapbook · SOVA". Retrieved October 8, 2019.
  14. ^ "Margaret Thomas Warren, was aviation pioneer; at 92". Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  15. ^ The Ninety-Nines: Yesterday-Today-Tomorrow. Turner Publishing Company. November 22, 1996. ISBN 9781563112034. Retrieved November 22, 2017 – via Google Books.
  16. ^ The Ninety-Nines, Inc. "Our History - Women in Aviation History - Margaret Thomas 'Tommy'..." Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  17. ^ "Conquering the turbulence". Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  18. ^ The Ninety-Nines, Inc. "Margaret Thomas "Tommy" Warren". Retrieved August 21, 2018.
  19. ^ "Warren, Margaret Thomas. Sylvia Warren – Her People and Their Places. Dublin, Ashfield Publishing Services, 2003". The Time Traveller's Bookshop and Gallery. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  20. ^ The Ninety-Nines, Inc. "Who We Are - Chapter & Section Websites (The Ninety-Nines, Inc.)". Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  21. ^ Ninety-Nines (1996). The Ninety-Nines: Yesterday - Today - Tomorrow. Turner Publishing Company. p. 216. ISBN 978-1-56311-203-4. Retrieved April 22, 2022.
  22. ^ Myers, Donna (September 1963). "Ninety-Nines News Magazine September 1963 pg. 5" (PDF). Retrieved April 22, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  23. ^ "Aviatrices Honored by President John F. Kennedy · International Women's Air & Space Museum". About · International Women's Air & Space Museum. April 22, 2022. Retrieved April 22, 2022.
  24. ^ "Blanche Noyes, Louise Smith, and Virginia Thompson with President John F. Kennedy · International Women's Air & Space Museum". Retrieved April 22, 2022.
  25. ^ The Ninety-Nines: Yesterday - Today - Tomorrow. Turner Publishing Company. 1996. ISBN 978-1-56311-203-4.
  26. ^ "Virginia Louise Thompson Obituary (1918 - 2019) Northern Virginia Daily". Retrieved April 22, 2022.
  27. ^ The Ninety-Nines, Inc. "Scholarships | Scholarship Summary (The Ninety-Nines, Inc.)". Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  28. ^ The Ninety-Nines, Inc. "Join Us | Find a Chapter (The Ninety-Nines, Inc.)". Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  29. ^ The Ninety-Nines, Inc. "Scholarships | Section and Chapter Scholarships (The Ninety-Nines, Inc.)". Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  30. ^ a b The Ninety-Nines, Inc. "What We Do - Advancing Women Pilots (The Ninety-Nines, Inc.)". Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  31. ^ "Palms to Pines". Retrieved August 21, 2018.
  32. ^ The Ninety-Nines, Inc. "What We Do - Air Marking (The Ninety-Nines, Inc.)". Retrieved November 22, 2017.

External links[edit]