Archive for the '99s' Category

1Q2013 Update

The moment has come… I’m now one of those aging pilots who find something else to do instead of fly. Gone is the enthusiasm to jump in the plane and go no where. Winter came and went, lots of days of clear, brilliant sunshine. Days flow downstream without a lift off or touch down. The plane remained tucked away in the hanger for it’s long winter nap. What a pity party! I managed to remain current with the basics. Yet there was no great adventure to write about.

This lethargy had to stop. We rediscovered some fun flights that didn’t cost days or a bundle of money.

ANGWIN, which is just a 20 minute flight away has some of the best hiking minutes from touch down. The Sonoma and Napa valleys were carpeted in luxurious mustard while vineyards remain skeletal prior to bud break. On Saturdays Angwin is a ghost town. It’s their sabbath day so no traffic in the pattern. The airport environment is great for special effects. Downwind feels like the airport is at your altitude, short final has some very tall trees and a really long displaced threshold. Runways like these shake out the cobwebs and remind me why I love to fly. On the east side of the airport follow the trails beyond the hangers where the trail drops down into a valley and miles of single and double track. Head easterly and you’ll end up at a rocky promontory overlooking the Pope Valley. It’s one of the prettiest views of our CA coastal range. Take a picnic and lap up the sunshine.

MONTEREY has another great secret. Call ahead to the Monterey Jet Center and let them know you’re coming and would like to reserve a car. They loan out crew cars for free. By having them top off your tanks it’s a nice reciprocal of their generosity. The Jet Center is at the west end of the airport. You park, pick up a warm, just baked cookie, hop in the car and off you go. Our destination was Garland Park in Carmel Valley. Drive east from the airport then head over Laureles Grade to Carmel Valley. Garland Park has trails that climb up and out of the valley into some of the most beautiful native wild flowers, oak forests and redwoods. Hours of great hiking to enjoy! For something more urban you can always stroll the cliffs of Monterey or Pacific Grove and the aquarium. Or for a wilder aquatic experience drive north to Moss Landing and rent a kayak to explore Elk Horn Slough. You’ll be surrounded by sea otters and seals in languid waters. The Jet Center lets you keep the cars until 9:00. Lots of time to play and then a coastal sunset flight home.

So no more whining, dusty, aging pilots. Flying is our E ticket to joy and fun. Don’t let life get in the way of your flight time!

Sunday April 7th, 12:00, Gnoss Field terminal building

Bring a lunch food to share
Kristin Winter will be our guest speaker about I-pads in the cockpit (Foreflight)
Bring your I-pad if you have a navigation app

In Memory of Kitty Houghton

Kitty HoughtonAs most of you know Kitty was killed January 27th. We’ve lost such a special friend and member. After joining our group in 2006, there were few fly-outs that she didn’t attend. But more than what Kitty shared with us she gave to the world of women in aviation. She was tireless in organizing 99s chapters in Nepal, India, France, Germany and she was going to Ghana this summer to help young women in aviation. Please join all of us at her memorial March 3rd, 2:00, San Rafael Christian Science Church, 1618 Fifth Ave., San Rafael.

Thank you for speaking out on your feelings about the loss of Kitty. There is no place in my mind or heart to try and understand what happened. I’ve contacted the A.E. Scholarship board to see if our contributions to a scholarship could be dedicated to an International member in Kitty’s name. They are meeting at the end of March and will get back to me. In the meantime hold onto your checks until we know where to send them. Just amongst our members we’ve raised $1000. Many other people from other chapters feel the same. It will be a worthy gesture to all that Kitty gave to the world.

BLUE SKIES KITTY, we will miss you.

Women of Aviation Worldwide Week

The Niney-Nines encourages individuals and Chapters to introduce women and girls to aviation during the 3rd annual Women of Aviation Worldwide Week march 4-10, 2013. For information about how to organize an event visit

Our parent organizations Southwest and International have websites that are stuffed with information and entertainment. When you’re waiting on ‘hold’ or lost in the voice mail labyrinth or just a way to enjoy a cup of coffee log on

Lockheed Lovely

For those of you who haven’t been captivated by Carolyn Patterson’s husband, Fred, you’re in for a real treat. Fred has spent his life rescuing downed, famous airplanes, retrieving them from their crash sites and bringing them back to their glory. His stories are right up there with the ‘Indiana Jones’ bunch. The latest effort has been to restore the Lockheed that Linda Finch flew around the world to commemorate Amelia Earhart’s flight. Fred had rebuilt and refinished the plane for Linda.

Now 12 years later he is readying the plane to museum specs. The plane looks like there must be 3000 hours of polishing put to it’s skin. Brand new Pratt and Whitney engines are hanging off the wings ready to take on another round the world adventure. Crawl into the cockpit and you’re back 75 years when aviation was function without a lot of consideration to comfort. How AE, Linda and other pilots managed those long range flights must have been heroic. There was no lav so it was the mason jar or diapers. From the bulk head back it’s one big fuel tank. You cannot walk to the back where the navigator would be crammed into a nook. Communication was by a note on a pulley between fore and aft. To get into and out of the plane you have to wriggle through a window into the cockpit. Just sitting in the left seat gives one pause. Your respect of those who flew these beauties amplifies by hundreds.

After Linda’s epic flight the plane was sold and began another hibernation in the dark corner of a collectors hanger. Since Fred was the wizard who put her on her wings, the subsequent owners (several) found Fred and asked him to do the deed again. The plane would be for sale. For the past year Fred, Carolyn and crew have dedicated their lives to the Lockheed. It seems the Museum of Flight in Seattle will be the next owner of the girl. Sad to think how ‘flight ready’ she is and how now her wings will never soar on the winds again.

Our next meeting will be under the wings of Fred’s beauty if the museum doesn’t claim her first. What an incredible back drop for a party. Be sure to let Carolyn know you’re coming. The Patterson’s parties are not to be missed!


SWS 99s Spring meeting – North Hollywood, CA – May 4-6, 2012

…Report from Emissary Kitty Houghton

SWS 99s Spring meeting – North Hollywood, CA – May 4-6, 2012

One hundred ten 99s from the four states of the Southwest Section converged on North Hollywood last weekend for the spring meeting of the Southwest Section. Fifteen of them flew in, navigating VFR over the top and down through holes in a persistent cloud layer to land at non-towered Whiteman Airport. There they were met by friendly San Fernando Valley 99s who offered home-baked cookies and scooted them and their bags via golf cart from planeside to waiting vehicles.

Many who came to the spring meeting didn’t have far to drive from their Southern California communities. Those who could get there by Thursday afternoon had the fun of touring a house that Amelia Earhart had once lived in – a tour given by the cordial couple who now live in it. Friday arrivals not tied up in officers’ meetings could join the group that visited the Gene Autry Museum, a treasure trove of the early history of the American West. That evening, documentary film-maker Brian Terwilliger screened his excellent 70 minute film on the history of Van Nuys Airport: “One Six Right”. As one viewer said afterward: This was really the history of every airport in the United States!

The business meeting Sat. morning followed the standard format. There was the usual push to get people to donate money to the Endowment Fund. Seven SWS women have just been awarded AE scholarships, and they were congratulated. Members who have been introducing girls to flying were saluted. A highlight was a brief spiel by PR professional and San Diego 99 Connie Charles on how to promote an idea such as the 99s, or how to organize an event. She had some good tips, a few web-based resources, a list of basics (e.g. use a checklist), and excellent templates (for a media alert, a media kit, a pitch letter, a press release, and a public service announcement). Why reinvent the wheel when the pros have already put together these tools for you? Her best quote: “Doing business without advertising is like winking at someone in the dark. You know you did it but he doesn’t!” These tips will come in handy for the San Joaquin Valley Chapter, which is organizing the start of the Air Race Classic at Concord Buchanan Field in 2014. (Gnoss Field in Novato was an early contender, but lawyer types in the local pilot association nixed it for insurance reasons.)

New SWS officers were installed. Penny Nagy continues as Governor for a second term. Carol Andrews takes over as Vice Governor for Diane Cole, who is going over to the International Board as a Director. Chapter Chairs had exactly one minute to give their blurbs. Standing in for Cindy Pickett, Kitty Houghton gave the Marin County Chapter report in 50 seconds.

Two seminars in the afternoon – on Flying with Your iPad, and on the Explorer Aviation program – attracted a few attendees, but many went off to downtown LA to shop. In the evening the banquet featured an unusually good meal, several Section awards, and a one-woman show by professional actress Roberta Bassin portraying Amelia Earhart.

As is always true, the best thing about the weekend was the camaraderie, and the chance to catch up with friends and hangar fly whenever there was down-time. A few AE Peak climb veterans have spawned a plan to assault the peak again this summer. Almost everyone on this side of the country who went on the hike five years ago has signed up for the repeat climb in July. And there are one or two new recruits. Dates are 7/20-25.