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High objects of State (letters patent from Queen Victoria, each w/ Great Seal):
Author of Balfour Declaration - 1898 diplomatic credentials, for talks with Germany
Chancellor of the Exchequer letters patent of Gladstone, 1873 

The (Swedish General) Viktor Balck Olympic Games- Founding Archive
Swedish gold and bronze medals honoring Viktor Balck |
Viktor Balck 1912 Stockholm Olympics book
Tower and Sword collar of Viktor Balck

Civil War Gillmore Medal to Jewish officer who helped 1863 "Glory" charge toward Ft. Wagner 1863                                                                        
Statesmen |Koerber - 1920s friend, then foe of Hitler |The Viktor von Koerber WWI Aviation Archive|
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The JFK and staffers convention badges etc. ArchiveI.D. Badges to JFK and Secretary Ev Lincoln Mass. Labor Federation badge (major speech)  1960 Democratic Nomination campaign: aide Bob Troutman

Heroines | "Girl who defied Hitler" at 1936 Olympics: biography  Inge Sorensen Archive: items                 First ever (gold NYC) Women's Club Medal of Honor
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Patricia A. Thomas Gladney
Class: 44-W-8
Base Assignment: Williams Army Air Base
Planes Flown: AT-6, BT-13

US WWII WASP service certificate to 1st winner of Amelia Earhart Scholarship

Awards of Outstanding International Importance to Statesmen and Heroines

On July 3, 1941, the fourth anniversary of Amelia Earhart's ill-fated flight from Lae, New Guinea, the first winner of the 99s scholarship was selected from a field of 29 contestants.
The Ninety-Nines had formed a scholarship fund committee in 1936 with Amelia Earhart as chairman. When Amelia was lost, Ruth Nichols led a committee to establish a suitable memorial. The Amelia Earhart Memorial Scholarship Fund was created on April 7, 1940 to help deserving 99s to further accomplishments, in memory of Amelia's unselfish interest and enthusiasm for all women in aviation.
Applicants were required to have at least 200 hours "to show that the girls have taken their flying as a serious activity and not a diversion." The first award went to Patricia Thomas, a 22-year-old flight instructor.
Born in 1918, Pat learned to fly as a high school student in Teancek, New Jersey. Not intending to teach, Pat took the new test for flight instructors at the recommendation of others. Soon she was flight instructing in the Civilian Pilot Training program in Gardena, California, near Los Angeles.
Pat used her AE Scholarship to get her instrument rating, and by 1943 was teaching instrument flying to Army Cadets. The following year she became a WASP and performed engineering test flying at Williams Field near Phoenix, Arizona. After the war, Pat returned to flight instructing in the San Francisco Bay area.
Pat's flying career encompassed 50 years as flight instructor, over 500 private, commercial, and multi-engine students tested as a pilot examiner, 58 years as a 99, 24 Powder Puff Derbies, and over 20,000 hours flight time. Patricia Thomas Gladney died in 1993.


San Jose Mercury News (CA),  August 15, 1993

            MICHAEL CRONK, Mercury News Staff Writer

Patricia Thomas Gladney began flying in the fall of 1934 while she was a high school student in Teaneck, N.J., and over the next 50 years logged more than 20,000 hours in the air as a flight instructor, test pilot, and member of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) during World War II.
Mastering both single- and multi-engine aircraft, the pioneer aviator also flew in 24 all-women transcontinental air races, known as "powder puff" derbies.

But her greatest satisfaction came in teaching instrument and commercial flying to thousands of students.
''I like to teach beginning students to fly. Flying is fun!" Mrs. Gladney used to say. She died Aug. 9 at the age of 75 in Los Altos.
''She was always trying to get somebody interested in flying," said her daughter, Gale Emerson. "She'd find any excuse to get into an airplane."
In 1935, Mrs. Gladney became one of the first women in the United States to be licensed by the Civil Aeronautics Authority as a flight instructor. She went on to receive her commercial pilot's license.
Following graduation from high school, she worked as a secretary for Aero Insurance Underwriters, which inspected airplanes around the country before they were insured. Mrs. Gladney would also fly to meet various small aircraft manufacturers to fly their new models and report on the planes' performance and comfort.
She drove to California in 1941 to teach civilian pilots at Gardena Airport. Later that year, she received the Amelia Earhart Scholarship from the Ninety-Nines Inc., an international organization of women pilots from 41 countries. Amelia Earhart was the organization's first president, and the group was named for the 99 charter members.
When World War II began, the flight school was moved to Lone Pine, and Mrs. Gladney served as chief pilot and flight examiner.
She moved to Phoenix in 1943 to teach instrument flying for Southwest Airways and a year later joined the WASPs and was stationed at Sweetwater, Texas, where she met and later married Jack Gladney, a captain for Southwest Airways. She was later stationed at Williams Field in Arizona doing engineering test flying.
Following the war, she moved to the Bay Area and continued as a flight instructor for various flight schools at the Palo Alto Airport.
Mrs. Gladney raised Persian cats and continued to fly until she was nearly 70 years of age.

(Permission to use photo
 has been courtiously granted)

14 inches  X  19 inches

(Certificate and 1945 letter both signed by) Jacqueline Cochran (1906-1980)
Her most distinguished aviation career began in 1932 when she obtained her pilot's license with only three weeks of instruction. From this time onward, her life was one of total dedication to aviation. After her first air race in 1934, she was respected by all for her competitive spirit and high skill. Her performance in the aviation events of the 1930's is legendary. Among her last flight activities was the establishment in 1964 of a record of 1,429 MPH in the F-104 Starfighter.
At the beginning of World War II, she became a Wing Commander in the British Auxiliary Transport Service ferrying U.S. built Hudson bombers to England. With the U.S. entry into the War, she offered her services to the Army Air Corps and formed the famed Women's Air Force Service Pilots. This group, more than 1000 strong played a major role in the delivery of aircraft to the combat areas throughout the world. For this service, she was awarded the U.S. Distinguished Service Medal.
Some of the honors she has been accorded include the Harmon Trophy, the General William E. Mitchell Award, Gold Medal of the Federation Aeronautique, and decorations from numerous countries.
Invested 1965 in the International Aerospace Hall of Fame.

From http://www.allstar.fiu.edu/aero/cochran1.htm

Ferrying Squadron (WAFS) established, and a few women were hired. Jackie Cochran returned to establish the Women's Flying Training Detachment (WFTD).

On August 5, 1943, these two efforts -- WAFS and WFTD -- merged to become the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP), with Cochran as director. More than 25,000 women applied -- with requirements including a pilot's license and many hours experience. The first class graduated on December 17, 1943. The women had to pay their own way to the training program in Texas. A total of 1830 were accepted into training and 1074 women graduated from WASP training during its existence, plus 28 WAFS. The women were trained "the Army way" and their graduation rate was similar to that for male military pilots.
The WASP was never militarized, and those who served as WASP were considered civil service employees. There was considerable opposition to the WASP program in the press and in Congress. General Henry "Hap" Arnold, US Army Air Force commander, first supported the program, then disbanded it. The WASP was deactivated December 20, 1944, having flown about 60 million miles in operations. Thirty-eight WASP were killed, including some during training.
Records of WASP were classified and sealed, so historians minimized or ignored the women pilots. In 1977 -- the same year the Air Force graduated its first post-WASP women pilots -- Congress granted veteran status to those who had served as WASP, and in 1979 issued official honorable discharges.

 General ‘Hap’ Arnold, one of the greatest American military figures and Air Force proponents in the history of America, was born in Gladwyn, Pennsylvania on June 25, 1886. Following graduation from the United States Military Academy, he was appointed a Second Lieutenant of Infantry on 14 June, 1907.

In 1911 he entered aviation and became a flyer. He was detailed to the Signal Corps in April, 1911, piloting the Wright bi-plane. He was one of the first flyers taught by the Wright Brothers.

In June, 1912, this pioneering pilot, Hap Arnold, established a new altitude record when he piloted a Brugree-Wright airplane to a height of 6,540 feet. He participated in the Regular Army and National Guard movements in the States of New York and Connecticut and established several aeronautical records. On October 9, 1942, he won the first Mackay Trophy to be awarded for his flight demonstrations.

He progressed rapidly through the ranks, and by 11 February 1935 he had received the temporary rank of Brigadier General, and on September 29, 1938 he was named Chief of Staff of the Air Corps. With Hitler now marching across Europe, he became concerned with America‘s lack of combat aircraft. He discussed the US air power vs the German air power with President Roosevelt, and a decision was made to build 11,000 new combat aircraft. Gen. Arnold then commanded that civilian flying schools be established to train Air Corps pilots.

The Army Air Forces was established in 1941 and Major General Arnold became Chief of Staff for Air and Chief of the Army Air Forces.

During the early months of 1942, General Arnold, encountering a severe shortage of male pilots due to heavy losses of combat pilots, approved a plan, submitted by Jacqueline Cochran, to train young women pilots to fly military aircraft within the U.S. to relieve the male pilots for combat duty. On 14 Sept 1942, the Womens Flying Training Detachment was established at the Houston Municipal Airport, with Jacqueline Cochran as its Director. Three months later, because of a lack of military training facilities and housing in Houston, Gen. Arnold approved moving the training program to Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Texas.

In May of 1943, General Hap Arnold authorized Jacqueline Cochran to see to developing a suitable uniform for the women pilots. He wants it to be ‘blue‘. In concurrence with the new Santiago blue WASP uniforms, on Aug 20, General Arnold, CG/AAF issued orders that ‘The acronym for all AAF women pilots will be WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots) period.‘

March 22, 1944 General Arnold appeared before the House Military Affairs Committee to request commissions for the WASP. He leaves immediately for Europe to participate in the D-Day invasion, and the bill fails to pass.

June 26, 1944, following the defeat of the bill to include the WASP as officers in the Army Air Force, General Arnold orders that the WASP be discontinued in December, 1944.

General Arnold retired from the service on 30 June 1946 with the ratings of Command Pilot and Combat Observer. His many accomplishments, of both

personal and national significance, gained him the distinction of becoming the first five-star General of the United States Air Force on 7 May 1949, by an act of Congress.

He died on 15 January 1950 of a cardiac condition.

General Arnold received the Distinguished Flying Cross in November, 1936, and the Distinguished Service Medal in October, 1942. He was awarded the Air Medal in March, 1943, and in September, 1945, he received the Oak Leaf Cluster to the Distinguished Service Medal. In October, 1945, he was awarded a second Oak Leaf Cluster to the Distinguished Service Medal. His other awards included: The World War II Victory Medal; American Defense Medal; American Theater Ribbon; Asiatic Pacific Theater Ribbon; European-African-Middle Eastern Theater Ribbon, 1943; U.S. Military Badge No 1; Morocco’s Grand Cross, Grand Officer of the Commander (Ouissam Alaouite); Yugoslavia's Sun in the degree of Grand Aztec Eagle; Mexico’s Order of Military Merit; and England's Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath.

The H. H. Arnold Award was established in honor of General Arnold by the Air Force Association in 1948. It is presented for the "most outstanding contributions toward the peace and the service of the United States in the field of aviation." The Arnold Air Society Squadrons at outstanding universities all over America with AFROTC (Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps) programs are so named in his honor.

General Arnold had but one theme: "It's got to be done and done quickly, so let’s get it done." Let not there be any doubt of the WASP’ pride in General Henry "Hap" Arnold, the man who, among his many accomplishments, authorized the creation and naming of the WASP-a man who "had the imagination to see success and the confidence to create it".

From http://waspmuseum.org/hap-arnold-biography/

64 page photocopy of history of  WASP training program (at Sweetwater, Texas), from which Thomas graduated.
Compiled by Leni L. Deaton, WASP Staff Executive Historian.

WASP - Women Pilots of World War II

Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP)

By Jone Johnson Lewis, About.com

From http://womenshistory.about.com/od/waspwwiiaviation/a/wasp.htm

(Thomas' WASP certificate signed by)

Site map:

The North American T-6 Texan was a single-engine advanced trainer aircraft used to train fighter pilots of the United States Army Air Forces , United States Navy , Royal Air Force and other air forces of the British Commonwealth during World War II . Designed by North American Aviation , The T-6 is known by a variety of designations depending on the model and operating air force. The USAAC designated it as the "AT-6", the US Navy the "SNJ", and British Commonwealth air forces, the Harvard. It remains a popular warbird aircraft.

Number built 15,495
The Texan originated from the North American NA-16 prototype (first flown on April 1 , 1935 ) which, modified as the NA-26, was submitted as an entry for a USAAC "Basic Combat" aircraft competition in March, 1937 . The first model went in to production and 180 were supplied to the USAAC as the BC-1 and 400 to the RAF as the Harvard I. The US Navy received 16 modified aircraft, designated the SNJ-1, and a further 61 as the SNJ-2 with a different engine.
A further 92 BC-1A and three BC-2 aircraft were built before the shift to the "advanced trainer" designation, AT-6, which was equivalent to the BC-1A. The differences between the AT-6 and the BC-1 were new outer wing panels with a swept forward trailing edge, squared-off wingtips and a triangular rudder, producing the definitive Texan appearance. After a change to the rear of the canopy, the AT-6 was designated the Harvard II for RAF/RCAF orders and 1,173 were supplied by purchase or Lend Lease , mostly operating in Canada as part of the Empire Air Training Scheme .
Next came the AT-6A which was based on the NA-77 design and was powered by the Pratt & Whitney R-1340-49 Wasp radial engine. The USAAF received 1,549 and the US Navy 270 (as the SNJ-3). The AT-6B was built for gunnery training and could mount a .30 in machine gun on the forward fuselage. It utilised the R-1340-AN-1 engine which was to become the standard for the remaining T-6 production. Canada's Noorduyn Aviation built a R-1340-AN-1 powered version of the AT-6A which was supplied to the USAAF as the AT-16 (1,500 aircraft) and the RAF/RCAF as the Harvard IIB (2,485 aircraft), some of which also served with the Fleet Air Arm and Royal Canadian Navy .
In late 1937 Mitsubushi purchased two NA-16 's as technology demonstrators and possibly a licence to build more. However the aircraft developed by Watanabe /Kyushu as the K10W1 (Allied code name Oak) bore no more than a superficial resemblance to the North American design. It featured a full monocoque fuselage as opposed to the steel tube fuselage of the T-6 and NA-16 family of aircraft, as well as being of smaller dimensions overall and had no design details in common with the T-6. It was used in very small numbers by the Imperial Japanese Navy from 1942 onwards. The IJA did not operate any, as they had other aircraft that they used for training. After the war the Japanese Air Self Defense Force operated Texans.
The NA-88 design resulted in 2,970 AT-6C Texans and 2,400 as the SNJ-4. The RAF received 726 of the AT-6C as the Harvard IIA. Modifications to the electrical system produced the AT-6D (3,713 produced) and SNJ-5 (1,357 produced). The AT-6D, redesignated the Harvard III, was supplied to the RAF (351 aircraft) and Fleet Air Arm (564 aircraft). Subsequently the NA-121 design with a completely clear rearmost section on the canopy, gave rise to 25 AT-6F Texans for the USAAF and 931, as the SNJ-6 for the US Navy. The ultimate version, the Harvard 4, was produced by Canada Car and Foundry during the 1950s, and supplied to the RCAF, USAF and Bundeswehr .
A total of 15,495 T-6s of all variants were built.
Operational history
During the Korean War and to a lesser extent, the Vietnam war, T-6s were pressed into service as forward air control aircraft. These aircraft were designated T-6 "Mosquito"s.[1] The RAF used the Harvard in Kenya against the Mau Mau in the 1950s where they operated with 20 lb bombs and machine guns against the gangs. Some operations took place at altitudes around 20,000 ft asl . A Harvard was the longest-serving RAF aeroplane, with an example, taken on strength in 1945, still serving in the 1990s (as a chase plane for helicopter test flights - a role the Shorts Tucano's high stall speed was ill-suited for). The T-6G was also used in a light attack or counter insurgency role by France during the Algerian war in special Escadrilles d'Aviation Légère d'Appui (EALA), armed with machine guns, bombs and rockets. At its peak there were 38 EALA's active. The largest unit was the Groupe d'Aviation Légère d'Appui 72, which consisted of up to 21 EALAs. Portugal also used ex-French aircraft during the Portuguese Colonial War .
Since the Second World War, the T-6 has been a regular participant at air shows , and was used in many movies . For example, in Tora! Tora! Tora! and The Final Countdown , converted single-seat T-6s painted in Japanese markings represent Mitsubishi Zeroes . The New Zealand Warbirds "Roaring 40s" aerobatic team use ex-Royal New Zealand Air Force Harvards. The Reno National Air Races also has a class specifically for the T-6 during the National Air Races each year.

Specifications (T-6G)
Data from Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War II[2]
General characteristics

· Crew: two (student and instructor)
· Length: 29 ft (8.84 m)
· Wingspan : 42 ft (12.81 m)
· Height: 11 ft 8 in (3.57 m)
· Wing area: 253.7 ft² (23.6 m²)
· Empty weight: 4,158 lb (1,886 kg)
· Loaded weight: 5,617 lb (2,548 kg)
· Powerplant: 1× Pratt & Whitney R-1340 -AN-1 Wasp radial engine , 600 hp (450 kW)
· Maximum speed : 208 mph at 5,000 ft (335 km/h at 1,500 m)
· Cruise speed : 145 mph (233 km/h)
· Range : 730 miles (1,175 km)
· Service ceiling : 24,200 ft (7,400 m)
· Rate of climb : ft/min (m/s)
· Wing loading : lb/ft² (kg/m²)
· Power/mass : hp/lb (kW/kg)
· Provision for up to 3× 0.30 in (7.62 mm) machine gun
Introduced Mar 17, 2009
Sponsor Sen. Kay Hutchison [R-TX]
Status Sent to President
Last Action Jun 16, 2009: Cleared for White House.
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The aircraft made its maiden flight sometime during March 1939 as a cantilever low-wing monoplane of all-metal construction. Despite the use of metal throughout the design the control surfaces remained fabric-covered. The prototype was powered by a Pratt & Whitney R-1340 -S3H1-G Wasp radial rated at 600 hp (447 kW) driving a two-blade variable pitch metal propeller. Other features included an enclosed cockpit for the crew of two, integral fuel tanks in the wings, and a hydraulic system for the operation of the flaps and retractable main landing gear.
The V-51 was entered into the USAAC competition as the BC-51 during May 1939. The USAAC instead chose the North American BC-2 , but purchased the BC-51 prototype anyway, designating it the BC-3. Despite the disappointment, Palmer was not finished yet. He continued to refine the design of the VF-51 into the VF-54 in an attempt to meet the expectation of an export market for just such a trainer. The VF-54 used the same basic airframe as the VF-51, but was fitted with a lower powered engine. No export sales were made.
From this design, evolved the VF-54A. Instead of retractable gear, it had fixed gear very nicely faired and a revised power plant of a Pratt & Whitney R-985 -T3B Wasp Jr. radial rated at 450 hp (335.5 kW) and the Vultee BT-13 Valiant was born.
The USAAC was made aware of the improvements made to the aircraft and in August 1939 the type was ordered as the BT-13. The initial order was for 300 aircraft with a Pratt & Whitney R-985 -25 radial and the first of these was accepted by the USAAC in June 1940.
The BT-13A was produced to the extent of 7,037 aircraft and differed only in the use of a Pratt & Whitney R-985 -AN-1 radial engine and lack of landing gear fairings. There were 1,125 BT-13B's produced and differed from the A model in having a 24-volt, rather than the original 12-volt electrical system.
The next variant was actually designated BT-15 because Pratt & Whitney found it impossible to keep up production of the R-985 engine. Instead a Wright R-975 -11 radial was substituted into the 1,263 aircraft produced.
The US Navy began to show an interest in the aircraft as well and ordered 1,150 BT-13A models as the SNV-1. In addition, the Navy ordered some 650 aircraft designated as SNV-2 roughly equivalent to the BT-13B.
Once in service, the aircraft quickly got its nickname of "Vibrator" because it had a tendency to shake quite violently as it approached its stall speed.
The BT-13 served its intended purpose well. It and its successors were unforgiving aircraft to fly, but were also extremely agile. Thus the BT-13 made a good aircraft to help transition many hundreds of pilots toward their advance trainers and fighters yet to be mastered.
Vultee Model V.51 with retractable landing gear and a 600hp P&W R-1340 -45, one built, not developed.
Vultee Model V.54 with fixed undercarriage and a 450hp P&W R-985 -25 engine, 300 built.

As BT-13 but fitted with a 450hp R-985-AN-1 engine and minor changes, 6407 built, survivors re-designated T-13A in 1948.
As BT-13A but with a 24-volt electrical system, 1125 built.
As BT-15 with a 450hp Wright R-975 -11 engine, 1693 built.
One BT-13 was re-built in 1942 by Vidal with an all-plastic fuselage as the XBT-16.
BT-13As for the United States Navy, 1350 transferred from USAAF.
BT-13Bs for the United States Navy, 650 transferred from USAAF.
Surviving BT-13As were re-designated in 1948, due to dual allocation of T-13 with the PT-13 in practice they were still known as the BT-13 to avoid confusion.

Specifications (BT-13)

General characteristics
§ Crew: two, student and instructor
§ Length: 28 ft 10 in (8.79 m)
§ Wingspan: 42 ft 0 in (12.80 m)
§ Height: 11 ft 6 in (3.51 m)
§ Wing area: 239 ft² (22 m²)
§ Empty: 3,375 lb (1,531 kg)
§ Maximum takeoff: 4,496 lb (2,039 kg)
§ Powerplant: 1 x Pratt & Whitney R-985 -AN-1, 450 hp (336 kW)
§ Maximum speed: 180 mph (290 km/h)
§ Range: 725 miles (1,167 km)
§ Service ceiling: 21,650 ft (6,600 m)
Museum displays
§ Mid-Atlantic Air Museum , Reading, Pennsylvania - 1942 BT-13A Valiant
§ Castle Air Museum , Atwater, California
§ Kalamazoo Air Zoo , Kalamazoo, Michigan
§ Combat Air Museum , Topeka, Kansas
§ Estrella WarBirds Museum , Paso Robles, California

The Vultee BT-13 Valiant was a American World War II -era basic trainer aircraft built by Vultee Aircraft for the United States Army Air Corps , and later US Army Air Forces . A subsequent variant of the BT-13 in USAAC/USAAF service was known as the BT-15 Valiant, while an identical version for the US Navy was known as the SNV and was used to train naval aviators for the US Navy, US Marine Corps and US Coast Guard .
Design and development
The Vultee BT-13 was the basic trainer flown by most American pilots during World War II. It was the second phase of the three phase training program for pilots. After primary training, the student pilot moved to the more complex Vultee for basic flight training. The BT-13 had a more powerful engine and was faster and heavier than the primary trainer. It required the student pilot to use two way radio communications with the ground and to operate landing flaps and a two-position variable pitch propeller. It did not, however, have retractable landing gear or a hydraulic system. The large flaps are operated by a crank-and-cable system. Its pilots nicknamed it the "Vultee Vibrator."
Due to the demand for this aircraft, and others which used the same Pratt & Whitney engine, some were equipped with Wright powerplants of similar design and power built in 1941-42. The Wright-equipped aircraft were designated BT-15.
The Navy adopted the P&W powered aircraft as their main basic trainer, designating it the SNV.
Today, some "BT's" (collectively, BT-13s, BT-15s and SNVs) are still flying, though in very limited numbers (and none in military or government service). After WWII, virtually all were sold as surplus for a few hundred dollars each. Many were purchased just to obtain their engines, which were mounted on surplus biplanes (such as Stearmans ) to replace their less powerful engines for use as cropdusters. The BT airframes were then scrapped. The BT-13 production run outnumbered all other Basic Trainer (BT) types produced.
It was back in 1938 that Vultee Aircraft's chief designer, Richard Palmer, began the design of a fighter. At this time the USAAC issued a requirement and design contest for an advanced trainer for which substantial orders had been promised to the victor. Palmer began to adapt his design concept from a fighter to that of an advanced trainer and the result of this was the V-51 prototype.

For a more detailed history of WASPs, see

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Amelia Earhart, founder of the Ninety-Nines

From http://www.ninety-nines.org/

OUR MISSION --The Ninety-Nines is the international organization of women pilots that promotes advancement of aviation through education, scholarships, and mutual support while honoring our unique history and sharing our passion for flight.

Established in 1929 by 99 women pilots, the members of The Ninety-Nines, Inc., International Organization of Women Pilots, are represented in all areas of aviation today. And, to quote Amelia, fly “for the fun of it!”

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Telephone  773-539-5751      
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Official US government documents about WASPS

The D.N. Pritt Fighter vs. Fascism Archive

In the United States, women pilots were trained to fly non-combat missions in order to free male pilots for combat missions. They ferried planes from the manufacturing plants to military bases, and ended up doing much more -- including flying new aircraft such as the B-29, to prove to male pilots that these were not as difficult to fly as the men thought!
Well before World War II became imminent, women had made their mark as pilots. Amelia Earhart, Jacqueline Cochran, Nancy Harkness Love, Bessie Coleman and Harriet Quimby were only a few of the women record-holders in avaition.
In 1939, women were allowed to be part of the Civilian Pilot Training Program, a program designed to train college students to fly, with an eye to national defense. But women were limited by quota to one woman for every ten men in the program.
Jackie Cochran and Nancy Harkness Love separately proposed the use by the military of women. Cochran lobbied Eleanor Roosevelt, writing a 1940 letter urging that a women's division of the Air Force be established especially to ferry planes from manufacturing plants to military bases.
With no such American program supporting the Allies in their war effort, Cochran and 25 other American women pilots joined the British Air Transportation Auxiliary. Shortly after, Nancy Harkness Love was successful in getting the Women's Auxiliary