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2014 International - New Orleans
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2014 International Meeting
by Amy Lee

As the recipient of a 'scholarship' made by an anonymous donor, I had the pleasure of attending the Ninety-Nines International Conference that took place from July 8-13, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. 

Our Emerald Angels of the Gulf Coast Chapter of Ninety-Nines, Inc. is a very new chapter and I really had no idea what to expect with this opportunity.  I knew that there would be some very impressive females at this event and that it is a 'once a year' business meeting but didn't have any specific expectations, although knew it would be a fulfilling experience.

There were ladies that came in from all over the world to participate in this International meeting. 

While at the conference I attended several seminar events including:

99s 101: This event was primarily for first-time conference attendees and new 99s.  Topics covered included the scholarship bank, museums, headquarters, publications, eNetworks and opportunities to support the organization.  I even won a coffee mug during this seminar for being the youngest and only student pilot:)

Leadership Training: International Director Maureen Kenney conducted the Leadership Training session.  She focused on the importance of  Chapter Communications including newsletters, telephone, online forums and social media (including Facebook) to make sure we all stay in touch and keep chapters updated as to events.

Lite Flight Formation Flying:  A retired Air Force instructor pilot, Robert Viator briefed us on formation flying in a classroom setting and then took us out for actual formation flying! 

Survival and Safety Training:  This seminar was very interesting!  Brett Stoffel, the VP of Emergency Response International (IRA) (a training contractor to the US Department of Homeland Security) taught us the foundations of basic survival in a post-crash situation and the importance of a survival kit.  One of the things he suggested for a survival kit is a 'shelter bag'- click here.

Barbara Schultz Aviation History: I really enjoyed this session.  Barbara, an aviation historian and author reviewed some great female aviators and provided us with some of their photos and professional histories.  Very interesting.  You can order her books here.

There were so many amazing events during this five day conference that I was not able to document or photograph everything as I had hoped to.  One of these events was the Amelia Earhart Memorial Scholarship Luncheon that took place on Friday the 11th   It truly was a celebration of aviation excellence and I was able to learn about the stories of AE scholarship winners- both present and past.  I also learned about the perpetual scholarships the Amelia Earhart Memorial Fund holds. 

The Awards Banquet was also a privilege to attend as the Award of Inspiration was presented to Terry Carbonnel, an inspiring lady that has taken me under her wing during this journey to learn to "fly for the fun of it". The award she received was special recognition from the International Board of Directors for her participation, achievements and activities that have had a significant impact on The Ninety-Nines, the world aviation community and the art/science of aviation and aerospace. It was hard not to shed a tear as she was on stage accepting the award. Read more about one of Terrys goals here:

The Business and International Reports meeting was held on Saturday the 12th from 8 until noon.  This was a very formal meeting with reports from various people regarding the state of affairs. I had volunteered for a floor teller position during this time assisting the Chief Teller along with many other ladies. 

Ninety Nines Female Pilot Charm

Not only was this event educational, I also found it encouraging AND fun!

Many times during my introductions at this "female pilot" event, one of the first questions asked to me was --"how long have you been flying?" Well, I simply explained I was not flying *yet*. Yes, I've had a few hours of flight instruction at the local FBO, but I have not went on a solo flight and am still in the beginning stages of my ground training. Many of the ladies got tears in their eyes when I told them I was in these premature training stages and enthusiastically replied that they are here to answer any questions, to contact them any time and that "Honey, you got this, we are here for you!"

Now I realize what was meant when others have consistently told me "once you have attained your pilots certicate and are flying, make sure you contact 99s at the various FBOs you will land at, the 99s are always excited to see, meet or visit with another 99!". All of the ladies were extremely welcoming to my presence.

How inspiring to be around those who have accomplished exactly what I am working hard towards and to be embraced as warmly as I was. From doctors and professionals to airline pilots and aviation mechanics the diversity in women was unified by all that "flew for the fun of it". And for me, the girl that is working towards "flying for the fun of it."

Attending the conference has boosted my motivation, drive and self faith that I can accomplish this private pilot certificate and more.

Since being home from this conference, I now have a renewed sense of enthusiasm while studying for this FAA exam and have no doubts I can do this! Is all of the reading material incredibly foreign to me? Yes, absolutely! Am I capable of understanding it all and translating the unknown into methods of knowledge and safety that will enable me to fly an airplane for the first time at 38 years old? Yes, ABSOLUTELY YES!  

...And if I ever have any doubts, I know there is a large group of women that I can count on to talk some sense right back into me:) 

It was nice to meet you all and I appreciate your words of wisdom and advice.  As an update I am almost half way done with my ground training.  Baby steps, but steps none the less!

SPECIAL NOTE: To the anonymous registration fee donor: THANK YOU.

Astor Crowne Plaza New Orleans 99s International Conference
Astor Crowne Plaza, New Orleans

Astor Foyer

Barbara Harris at the Registration Table

Lakefront Airport Reception

Letter to Jerrie Mock
Letter to be mailed to Jerrie Mock

Ninety-Nines cookies

Seminar: Barbara Schultz

Lakeview Airport- KNEW Welcome Reception

Mary Wunder: Received Presidents Award and accomplished Endowment Fund Resolution

History of The Ninety-Nines, Inc. Book

History of the Ninety-Nines, Inc. Book
History of the Ninety-Nines, Inc. Book I won as part of the silent auction

Oreck Vacuum Cleaner Inventor and also a sponsor of the welcome reception.

Tamra Sheffman and Myra Bugbee, Air Race Classic Team: Cloud Dancers

Having a little fun with new friends

Formation Flying with Terry Carbonell, Tamra Sheffman and Debbie Henneberry

Flew in this RV plane- (Home Built)

Safety Briefing before the Formation Flying

Judith Bolema-Tokar, Trustee of The Endowment Fund

Deb Price

Out for a morning walk on Bourbon before the seminars begin.
2014 Ninety-Nines International Conference Books
Few of the ladies I met
Last but not least, if you are a Ninety-Nine or one of the lovely ladies at the New Orleans Conference, I would love to hear from you! Comment or email me and feel free to share this blog! God Bless, Amy