Learn to Fly – Orange County 99s

Written by Diane Titterington-Machado

The Orange County Chapter of The Ninety-Nines, International Organization of Women Pilots in conjunction with two of John Wayne Airport’s premiere flight schools, Sunrise Aviation and Orange County Flight Center, sponsored their fourth Why I Want to Learn to Fly Essay Contest.

The Contest is open to teens ages 14 to 18 years who must submit a 300 to 500-word essay. The ten selected winners each receive a flight lesson, along with Rod Machado’s 40-hour interactive eLearning ground school, to prepare for the private pilot written exam and check ride. This year’s ten winners will fly this summer.

Aviation training incorporates STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and math) in a fun, hands-on way. With their first flying lesson, students of every academic level become more excited about STEM topics. It inspires them to study more earnestly, develop greater confidence and experience an authentic increase in self-esteem. Students in flight training also quickly mature in their general judgment and decision-making skills.

The pilot shortage is increasing, with forecasts indicating 558,000 new commercial airline pilots will be needed over the next 20 years, along with other flying opportunities. The Ninety-Nines co-sponsor the essay contest as a way to get young people interested in flying and hopefully pursue it as a career. Job opportunities are waiting! The Ninety-Nines are an organization of licensed women pilots from 35 countries and a non-profit, charitable membership 501(c)(3) corporation. In 1929, all 117 American female pilots were invited to assemble for mutual support and the advancement of aviation. Amelia Earhart was elected President, and the group was named for the 99 charter members. Today, The Ninety-Nines are professional pilots for airlines, industry and government—pilots who teach flying or fly for pleasure—women who love to fly and want to share the joy of flying!    For more information:   oc99s.sws99s.org