The main reason that women join The Ninety-Nines is because we love to fly. There are those of us who fly for pleasure, those who incorporate flying into their businesses, and those of us for whom flying is our career.
So, much of The Ninety-Nines' activities center around getting into our planes and just having fun.
“Fly-outs” for the day, or a weekend, are common in many chapters. Fly-outs often are to airports from which we can visit local attractions, aviation museums, FAA facilities, and, of course, restaurants. The fly-outs are sometimes to resorts or get-away spots where we can “unwind” with our fellow pilots and 49½s (a 99’s significant other). And, any air show is always a good excuse to go flying.
Flying Fun Days, sponsored by a Ninety-Nines chapter for other 99s, are a time to have a little friendly competition with each other. Events often include a poker run, spot landing contest, and flour bombing contest.
In a poker run, one or more decks of playing cards are distributed at five airports including the home field. The participating pilot, and passengers, fly to each airport and each person picks up an envelope containing one card. Then, at the end of the day, all of the envelopes are opened and prizes are given to the highest hand, lowest hand, and several other combinations.
The spot landing and flour bombing contest are often run together. For flour bombing, a pilot and “bombardier” are given two or more “bombs.” These bombs are commonly flour in a paper lunch bag taped closed. The pilot stays in the airport traffic pattern and overflies the runway. The bomb target may be off to the side of the runway in a dirt area and marked with a tarp, ribbons, or more flour. On a “bombing run”, the bombardier tosses the bomb from the airplane, hoping that it hits the center of the target. After the plane’s final bombing run, the plane returns to the airport and has one chance to land on “the spot.” This spot often is a line drawn across the runway with flour. Awards in both events are often given for the best effort, and also “needs more improvement.”
Many Ninety-Nine members fly to the organization’s Section meetings and the annual International Conference. These trips give us the opportunity to fly to new airports and renew friendships with women outside of our local area. Some of these meetings include flying events, such as the spot landing contest, flour bombing, and poker run, and camping under the wing of our planes.
On a little more serious side of flying, many chapters sponsor skill-building days that include speakers from local aviation schools and the FAA followed by an afternoon of “skill polishing” lessons from a team of flight instructors. These events often have a theme such as emergency procedures, instrument flying, or IFR.
So, whether it is serious, or on the lighter side, we will use any excuse to fire up those planes and just have fun flying.