The Ninety-Nines Inc.—established in 1929 to promote and advance women pilots—is the longest running organization for thousands of flyers around the world. The International Organization of Women Pilots this week announced that five women and one man were named to the association’s 2021 award list for outstanding contributions to the industry. They are Dr. Rebecca (Becky) Lutte for an award of achievement, Ivana Alvares-Marshall for an award of inspiration, Harry Pride for the George Palmer Putnam award, Stephanie Wells for contributions to humanitarian efforts, Myra Bugbee for contributions to the Ninety-Nines—and Deb Henneberry earned this year’s president’s award. Additionally, the Indian Women Pilots Association (IWPA) earned an award of merit.
In a news release this week, the association described the winners. “Dr. Rebecca (Becky) Lutte is an Associate Professor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha Aviation Institute and holds a B.S. in Professional Aeronautics, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and a MPA and PhD from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She’s a current commercial pilot, CFII, MEI, aircraft owner, and active in the general aviation community serving on the board of the University Aviation Association. Dr. Lutte conducts research on a variety of topics with a primary focus on aviation workforce development and the outreach, recruitment, and retention of women in aviation.
“Ivana Alvares-Marshall joined the 99s in 2015. After attending the Arabian section’s meeting in Jordan, she was inspired to organize an African Section which received its charter in 2018. With Ivana in the lead, the section has grown to 26 members, from 13 countries. Under Ivana’s leadership, the African Section is working to establish a STEM program, titled ‘Girls Wings for Africa’, in schools. This initiative led to partnering with Airbus Foundation on The Airbus Little Engineer Project in Africa, an initiative to promote aviation to youngsters in Malawi. In June 2020, during COVID-19, Ivana established a Mindfulness in Aviation through social media platforms to help pilots navigate the crisis that the pandemic brought to their lives.
“Harry Pride, 95, is known for saying, “I must have been a bird in a previous life, ‘cause I love to fly and if I don’t get to fly regularly, my feathers will get all matted up.” Harry’s interest in aviation began as a child building model aircraft and his actual flying career began when he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1943. He endeavored to go overseas as a pilot but the war ended before that happened. After the war, Harry learned to fly on a Tiger Moth with the Aero Club of British Columbia, earning his private license in 1946 after only an impressive 6 hours dual and 10 hr. solo flight time. Harry has been an avid supporter of The Ninety-Nines and bringing more women into aviation since his early days of flying in 1946.
“Stephanie Wells lives in Arvada, Colorado, and has been a member of the Ninety-Nines since first earning her pilot’s [certificate] in 1973. She joined the Air Force and became a [military] pilot and also worked as a staff pilot for NASA in Houston and eventually with the FAA until her retirement in 2012. She joined the Rocky Mountain Renegades, an airshow team, flying formation in her two-seat homebuilt RV-7 airplane. Stephanie discovered LightHawk and purchased a share in a Cessna 182 to be able to fly missions throughout the western United States. She flew LightHawk’s Cessna 206 in Meso America between 2013 and 2016, mostly in Guatemala, but also in Mexico, Costa Rica and Panama. During this time she worked hard to become fluent in Spanish, and has visited Latin America numerous times since 2013. She also flies children as part of EAA’s Young Eagle program and has been active in youth outreach with the Girl Scouts through the outreach programs of the Ninety-Nines.
“Myra Bugbee served as a public-school educator and mentor for 29 years. When Myra retired and moved to Florida, she founded the Florida Goldcoast Ninety-Nines Chapter and immediately assumed various leadership roles, including leading aviation education outreach projects for Girl Scouts and serving as the chapter’s chairwoman, as well as the Southeast Section 99s Governor. Currently, she is enthusiastically developing the 99s Let’s Fly Now! First Flight Program which provides introductory flights targeting females of flying age. Myra owns an RV14-A two-seat, low wing, single engine airplane, and is completing her goal to fly and land in all 48 contiguous states.
“Dr. Deb Henneberry is a professional pilot and flight instructor, currently serving as Assistant Professor in the Aviation Department at Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology in New York City. She’s also one of the association’s unsung [heroes] just doing what needed to be done throughout this year of constant changes. When Deb accepted the task of assisting with our webinars the time commitment wasn’t too significant, just four webinars a year. Then COVID hit and we relied more on technology to stay in touch with each other and continue the business of our organization. As a result, Deb’s workload as our online events coordinator, increased dramatically from four to 46 webinars, online meetings, and their practice sessions, Deb even took a pause during a family vacation to help with one of our meetings.
“The IWPA aims to reach out and educate women about aviation and aerospace through school and college level degree courses; grants scholarships for advanced training; undertakes aviation awareness programs; and appreciates academic efforts as well as career related pursuits with suitable recognition. IWPA has been the pillar of support to Indian women pilots. Due to their consistent efforts, today India boasts the largest percentage of women pilots globally. IWPA’s Golden Jubilee Year 2017, was marked by the longest all women flight operated by its members – Delhi to San Francisco.”