The SW Section of the 99s

The Southwest Section holds about 25% of the International Ninety-Nines membership with over 1,600 members and 43 chapters.

In 1929, California, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona were designated as the Southwest Section of the 99 Club.  California had 12 Charter members and Nevada had one. 

early group of 99s

The first Southwest Section governor was Gladys O’Donnell, and Clema Granger was treasurer. In 1932, Margaret Cooper (Perry, Manser) was instrumental in forming the first two chapters in the Section, Bay Cities and Los Angeles.

Over the years, the Section continues to hold about 25% of the membership of the 99s, and chapters continue to be chartered! In the April 1949 Section newsletter is an article on the formation of the Hawaii (Aloha) Chapter on June 4, 1968, thereby adding Hawaii to the Section.

International 99s

The Ninety-Nines, Inc. is the world’s largest and oldest organization of licensed women pilots. With chapters in 35 countries, the majority of our 6,500-plus members live in the United States. Although there are other female pilot organizations in various states and nations, virtually all women of achievement in aviation have been or are members of The Ninety-Nines.

Originally called the 99s Club, our organization began on November 2, 1929, at Curtiss Field, Valley Stream, Long Island, New York. All 117 American female pilots had been invited to assemble for mutual support and the advancement of aviation. Amelia Earhart was elected as first president and the group was named for the 99 charter members.

Today Ninety-Nines are professional pilots for airlines, industry, and government; we are pilots who teach and pilots who fly for pleasure; we are pilots who are technicians and mechanics. But first and foremost, we are women who love to fly!

The Ninety-Nines First President, Amelia Earhart

The Ninety-Nines First President, Amelia Earhart


Our section has produced the following

International Ninety-Nines…


Margaret Cooper Mansesr, Betty Gillies, Ethel Sheehy, Geraldine Mickelsen, Alice Roberts, Joyce Wells, Lois Erikson, Thon Griffith, Marie Christensen, Barbara Sestito, Pat Prentiss, and Martha Phillips.

Vice Presidents:

Gladys O’Donnell, Clema Granger, Betty Gillies, Anna Brenner, Bessie Owne, Ethel Sheehy, Alice Roberts, Thon Griffith, and Pat Prentiss.

Air Racers, Directors and Star Hostess’ with the mostess!

The All Woman Transcontinental Air Race (Powder Puff Derby) 1947-1977, was started by Mardo Crane. Members from the SWS Section were always on the Board of Directors; California Chapters were in the majority of the Start Hostesses; and entrants and winners were legion from the Section.

When the Air Race Classic replaced the AWTAR in 1977, it was Southwest Section members who established it. Four Section members being elected Directors and other members were on the necessary committees. Santa Rosa Chapter held the first race start on July 16th, 1977. At the end of the race in Toledo, SWS members Joyce Wells (solo) took 2nd place, Luana Davis (solo), 3rd , Norma Futtermand and Virginia Showers, 4th, Jean Rose and Janice Free, 8th.

The Southwest Section has been hostess to the International Convention several times, first in 1933 for the 4th Annual Convention in Santa Monica, the 48th in San Francisco. The Southwest Section hosted the 1986 International Convention (as it was then called) in Honolulu, and 2000 Centennial Conference in San Diego.