Oklahoma Women in Aviation and Aerospace Day 2019
Vol.5 Issue 8
Over 500 people attended the 2019 Women in Aviation and Aerospace Luncheon in the AAR hangar.

Two significant moments in aeronautical history mixed together on November 1, 2019, resulting in an incredible celebration of women in aviation. Oklahoma Women in Aviation and Aerospace Day recognized the unique contributions women have made to aviation, and The Ninety-Nines Inc. (International Organization of Women Pilots) celebrated 90 years of female aviation and piloting. To celebrate these occasions, AAR Corporation at Will Rogers World Airport hosted a grand event in their nostalgic 1920’s-era hangar, resulting in the largest ever celebration of women in aviation in Oklahoma.

Rear Admiral Margret "Peg" Klein, (US Navy retired) spoke about her time in the military.
A panel of leading women in aviation, including former FAA MMAC Director Lindy Ritz (3rd from left), hosted a question and answer session.

Oklahoma Women in Aviation and Aerospace Day, which was created in 2017 by Oklahoma Senate Bill 230, recognizes the many women who pioneered, grew, and lead the aviation industry. The bill commemorates "the achievements of Oklahoma women in aviation and aerospace and recognize[s] the inspiration that aviation and aerospace has provided to the citizens of this state." Normally celebrated on December 9th of each year, the event was moved up this year to coincide with The Ninety-Nines’ 90th anniversary. A sellout crowd of 540 people gathered to hear Rear Admiral Margret "Peg" Klein, Retired, US Navy, speak of her time in the service. Admiral Klein recounted her experiences of breaking the Navy’s "glass ceiling" by becoming one of its early female Naval aviators. Also recognized at the ceremony were the families of female aviation pioneers Pearl Carter Scott (youngest pilot, age 12, to fly solo in September 1929) and Geraldyn "Jerrie" Cobb (first woman to pass astronaut testing in 1961). A panel of women in aviation, including former FAA MMAC Director Lindy Ritz, hosted a question and answer session, addressing topics such as issues that women face in aviation career fields, obstacles and challenges that they personally overcame, and their thoughts on the future of aviation and aerospace.

With a "Roaring 20s" theme, guests came in high fashion.

The Oklahoma Women in Aviation and Aerospace Day also celebrated the 90-year anniversary of The Ninety-Nines, Inc., International Organization of Women Pilots. The Ninety-Nines, Inc., founded in 1929 by famed aviator Amelia Earhart with an original membership of ninety-nine female pilots, exists to "promote advancement of aviation through education, scholarships, and mutual support while honoring [women’s] unique history and [shared] passion for flight." They boast a membership of thousands of pilots from all around the world. Sixty members of the Ninety-Nines from the United States, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand were in attendance. The Ninety-Nines recognized several outstanding women in aviation, including a presentation of the inaugural Geraldyn Cobb Award of Oklahoma Military Aviation Distinguished Service.

Oklahoma Women in Aviation and Aerospace Day showcased the amazing contributions that women in our state, nation and world have made to aviation. From runways to the airspace to outer space, women have been on the forefront of the aerospace frontier. They are pioneers, explorers, leaders, and role models who are paving the way for future generations of female aviators.

The Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center is a community partner with the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission and supporter of Oklahoma Women in Aviation and Aerospace Day.

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