Ninety Nines return to Warwick Municipal Airport

The organization, whose first president was Amelia Earhart, has been home to women pilots since the early days of aviation

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  • Photos by Roger Gavan A group of members of the North New Jersey Chapter of the Ninety-Nines, an International organization of women pilots, pose by a PT 17, a WW II US Army primary pilot trainer, with Warwick Municipal Airport Manager Dave Mac Millan.

  • From left, instrument-rated pilots Lorraine Deby and this Cessna 182 owner Shannon Osborne had reasonably good weather arriving at Warwick Municipal Airport but were watching it carefully for any change on the return trip.

— It was cloudy with intermittent light rain on Saturday, September 8. But the weather was good earlier that day and a couple of instrument-rated pilots did fly into Warwick Municipal Airport.

They were there to join a group of other members, all licensed pilots, who live nearby and came by car to attend the annual picnic and meeting of the North New Jersey Chapter of the Ninety-Nines.

Since 1929The organization has been home to women pilots since the early days of aviation.

The world famous pilot, Amelia Earhart, its first president, and 98 other early female aviators established the Ninety Nines in 1929, which they named after the number of original charter members.

Today the Ninety Nines is an international non-profit association of licensed professional and private women pilots. Full membership requires that the applicant be licensed as a fixed wing, helicopter, balloon or glider pilot. And many of the members of the North New Jersey Chapter also have instrument, commercial and other advanced ratings.

Holding the event at Warwick Airport has become a tradition and the official kick-off for the year's activities.

The annual Air Race ClassicThis year, Chapter Chair Phyllis Kollan reported that two of its members, Shannon Osborne, governor of the Ninety Nines New York and New Jersey Section, and Lorraine Deby, who is also a member of the Civil Air Patrol, had completed the annual Air Race Classic, described as the epicenter of women's air racing.

Race Teams, consisting of at least two women pilots, must fly under visual flight rules during daylight hours and are given four days to make flybys at each en route timing point and then land at the terminus.

The race route, which changes each year, is approximately 2,400 statute miles in length.

This year Osborne, in her first Air Race Classic and Deby, in her third, flew from Sweetwater, Texas, to Fryeburg, Maine, while dealing with changes in terrain, weather, winds and airspace.

EssentialsThe North New Jersey Chapter of the Ninety-Nines continues to offer scholarships for flight training, which are open to any male or female student pilot with an earnest desire to further aviation achievements.

For information contact the Ninety Nines at:

- Roger Gavan

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