Oklahoma Is First State To Honor Achievements Of Women In Aviation
OKLAHOMA CITY - Fewer than 10% of pilots worldwide are women, a statistic that has not changed much over the decades. This weekend the Oklahoma Women in Aviation and Aerospace Day will recognize their achievements.
Oklahoma is one of the only places where you can find a museum completely dedicated to women in aviation and aerospace, and now the state has become the first to honor them with their own day.
Going back to 1929, the original organization of 99 women pilots has grown to a membership of more than 5,700 in 41 countries. Their stories are chronicled here in the heart of the nation, stories of grit and determination to soar.
99s International Headquarters manager Laura Ohrenberg says, “Some of these ladies started out on a dare to learn how to fly, but they all share the one common bond that gravity holds no bounds for them.”
Phyl Howard is believed to be the state's oldest active woman pilot. She still remembers balancing her career with the FAA and her desire to fly. “I was a mother with three kids, and I couldn’t fly except on weekends and the early morning.”
Howard is happy to see women represented throughout the industry now, stepping over barriers she and so many other fought to break down.
“It teaches the young ladies that they can do this,” says Ohrenberg. “They can do this for fun. They can do this for a career. It just takes us beyond the scope where they’re not restricted.”
Last year the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission voted to make a holiday for the efforts of women in aviation, and now, aerospace. Thursday, pilots gathered in Tulsa to celebrate. The Oklahoma City community will celebrate Saturday morning at Sundance Airport, rain, shine, or even snow.
Howard remarks, “Being in the clouds you think, this is what God sees all the time and it’s just beautiful.”
These women hope to continue inspiring future generations to take flight themselves. To learn more, click here.