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.
The organization was founded November 2, 1929, at Curtiss Field, Valley Stream, Long Island, New York. All 117 women pilots at the time were invited to assemble for mutual support, the advancement of aviation and to create a central office to keep files on women in aviation. Louise Thaden was elected Secretary and worked to keep the group together as they struggled to establish themselves and to grow. Those early purposes continue to guide the organization today.
In 1931, Amelia Earhart was elected the first President, and the group selected the name “Ninety-Nines” to represent the 99 charter members. Membership was immediately opened to other women as they became licensed pilots. In recent years membership has been opened to include women with student pilot certificates.
In 1942 Jane Straughan and members of the Ninety-Nines were asked to join the Women Air Force Service Pilots (WASP) class of 43-W-1 in Houston, Texas. After completing the course of instruction prescribed, Straughan graduated from this class on April 24, 1943.
SONG OF THE NINETY-NINES
Written in 1941 by Dick Ballou, the song was adopted as The Ninety-Nines official song during the annual business meeting held July 5, 1941 in Albuquerque, NM. The song is performed by Donna Cox with piano accompaniment by Kayla Paulk.
“In the air, everywhere,
It’s the song of The Ninety-Nines.
Wings in Flight,
Day and Night,
with the Song of The Ninety-Nines;
On the line,
ships and spirits tuned in rhyme,
Keep that formation
over the nation
with the song of The Ninety-Nines.