Dozens of pilots competed Saturday morning in the 36th annual Okie Derby to raise money for the Ninety-Nines. Money raised at the event over the years has provided more than $85,000 in scholarship money for women who want to make a career in aviation.
This year’s winner was also one of the scholarship recipients of the year, OU aviation student Keenyn Duncan.
On the ground, supporters watched as the pilots made a two hour flight. They were passing over specifically marked areas in central Oklahoma. Before they took off, the pilots tried predicting time and fuel used to hone in their skills.
While the competition has been a fun way to celebrate aviation, the real message behind the event was to raise awareness about aviation career for women.
“The Okie Derby is the world's largest proficiency air race,” explained Heath Sterzick with the Ninety-Nines. “We put it on to raise funding for scholarship, it's call the wings of the future scholarship. “
“$5,000 will cover almost your entire private pilot’s license,” she added.
Keenyn Duncan flew in the competition with Robin Torres, one of OU's flight instructors. They won the whole thing.
“We planned it well and I think we were pretty spot on with the calculations,” said Torres.
Duncan has been around planes for years in the United States Air Force. Now, she wants to further her aviation career in the private sector.
“It's a big deal because, I’m going to use this scholarship for my certified flight instructor certificate and without this scholarship I couldn't do it,” she said.
For more information on the Ninety-Nines.