This past Saturday 15 May, a group of female aviation enthusiasts dropped by the hangar to pay us a visit and learn more about the Vintage Wings collection. But it wasn't just any group of women, these were members of the '99s', the International Organization of Women Pilots.
The Ninety-Nines, Inc. have a long and proud history having been formed in 1929 by 99 women aviators including one rather famous pilot, Amelia Earhart, the organization's first president. Today, there are over 6500 members world-wide including Canada that comprise of women in all fields of aviation, not just pilots.
The Eastern Canada Chapter played host to members throughout the eastern region of the country here in Ottawa and decided to include Vintage Wings as part of their weekend activities. Among the group was an aviator by the name of Margaret who is currently writing a biography on Vy Middlestead, a civilian pilot who flew with Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) in the UK. During her visit, she was struck by how many aircraft types in our hangar were actually flown by Vy - the Swordfish, Lysander, Spitfire, and Hurricane. In all, Vy flew over 47 different types of aircraf during the war either from or back the manufacturer to the RAF squadrons throughout Britain and Europe. That's quite impressive! Now if we could just get Vy to pay us a visit, what a story that would be to tell. For now, she has other plans. Vy Middlestead will be inducted into the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame in June 201o.
For more infomration about the Canadian chapters of the 99s visit www.canadian99s.org