Established in 1929 by 99 women pilots, the members of the Ninety-Nines Inc., International Organization of Women Pilots, has always been devoted to bringing women together, to quote Amelia, fly “for the fun of it!”
The history of the Ninety-Nines is an integral part of the history of aviation and intertwines with the history of many nations. Such names as Amelia Earhart, Jacqueline Cochrane, Sheila Scott, and Hanna Reitsch dot our past while new heroines such as Roberta Bondar and Julie Payette in the space flight program and Janice Brown in the solar flight program help shape the future.
The Ninety-Nines, Inc. was founded on November 2, 1929, by 99 women pilots. Amelia Earhart was our first president. Since 1929 we have grown to a 6500 member, non-profit, worldwide organization, with members in Canada, the United States, and 30 other countries. We are the world’s oldest and largest organization of women pilots.
While the organization was founded to be a support group for women in aviation fields, we have broadened our scope over time and now direct our efforts to educational, charitable, and scientific pursuits for all facets of aviation.
At Home in the Rocks
Founded on September 22, 1979, we are just over 41 years old! The Canadian Rockies chapter is one of four chapters that make up the Western Canada Section. Due to the wide, sparsely spread, and mountainous terrain covered by our chapter (all of BC except the lower mainland and Vancouver Island) there is difficulty in full attendance at meetings. Thus we coined the nickname the Black Sheep chapter. It is quite an accomplishment to gather all our scattered members from throughout the province to participate in projects and events!
Our founding members were: Betty Alsager, Anne E. Dale, Patricia J. Fraser, Angelee Keeyley, Edith Skirzik, Teresa Taft, Roberta E. Taylor, and Audrey Webster. Subsequent members have been Brenda Kenyon, Gretchen Matheson, June Mils, Jennifer M. Robinson, Jeanine E. Sprauge, Sonja Wilford, and Dale Zinowich among others.
In 1995, along with all the other Ninety-Nines of the East and West coast Canada Sections, the Black Sheep now wear a clasp of the ‘Belt of Orion’ that anchors us firmly to the stars above in the Aviation Hall of Fame in Wetaskiwin, AB. The Belt of Orion Award of Excellence was founded to honour organizations, groups, societies or associations that have made outstanding contributions to aviation in Canada.