The Antelope Valley Chapter of the Ninety-Nines held its 28th annual Poppy Poker Run Flight and Santa Maria-style barbeque at the Gen. William J. Fox Airfield Sunday, April 8, to raise funds for scholarships.
Scholarships provided by the local chapter include $1,000 annually for an Antelope Valley College student enrolled in an aviation program; Future Women Pilot scholarships for students learning to fly, and the Ozzie Levi Memorial Scholarship, an advanced rating scholarship for local female pilots.
The Ninety-Nines is the world’s oldest organization of licensed women pilots and has 5,000 members worldwide. Amelia Earhart was one of the founding members.
“Pilots fly to six local airports to pick up cards and some just come for the barbecue and prizes,” explained Leigh Kelly, a pilot and member of the Ninety-Nines. “It’s always a good time and Mike (MH Aviation) is so generous with loaning us his hanger.” Poker hands can be purchased at the hanger for those who want to join in the fun without participating in the actual run.
Erin Hambrick, 34, was the 2017 Ozzie Levi Scholarship recipient and used the funds to help become a certified flight instructor.
Becoming a pilot never seemed feasible for the young engineer from Wisconsin, so instead, she used her love of aircraft to design them. At 26, while working as an aircraft design engineer for Scaled Composites, friends strongly suggested that since she was designing aircraft, she definitely needed to be a pilot.
Hambrick picked up flying quickly and is now instructing others to become pilots. “Help from the Ninety-Nines made it possible and now I will be teaching and making new baby pilots,” said Hambrick with enthusiasm.
The $2,000 scholarship can be used for training required to earn advanced certifications and ratings which are on the path toward becoming a Certified Flight Instructor. It is not necessary to be a member of the Ninety-Nines in order to be eligible to apply for the Ozzie Levi Scholarship, but applicants must be women pilots who live, work or base their aircraft within the local area that is served by the AV Ninety-Nines.