Anonymous yet personal, this Blog chronicles
the daily events and musings of Jim.
It provides an easy way for his friends and family to check in on him,
and serves as a online repository for his random
thoughts, kaleidoscopic flashbacks, and writings on an array of diverse topics.
“Deconstructing Jim” is simply here to
entertain you, but not intended for college credit.

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Chapel Hill, NC, United States


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Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Ninety-nines

My aunt, Beulah Stark (second from the right), was one of the first women aviators in the state of West Virginia. She was a member of the women's flying club know as the Ninety-nines (or 99s). This photo was taken in Parkersburg, WV on April 15, 1945. The photo was donated to the West Virginia State Archives by her estate.

The 99s air club was founded by Amelia Mary Earhart (photo on right), and is still active today and known as the International Organization of Women Pilots, Inc. It is important to remember how Amelia Earthart inspired everyone during the Great Depression. My aunt had met her, and was inspired as well.

In May 1932 Amelia Earhart was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic (from Newfoundland to Ireland). She later set several flight records.

My aunt Beaulah must have been flying by the mid-1930s, since Earhart and her navigator disappeared in 1937 while attempting to fly around the world.

I've heard that the location of what is now called the Chuck Yeager Airport (CRW) in Charleston, West Virginia was selected with the advice of my uncle and aunt who were both aviators. The original Kanawha Airport opened in 1947. It is located at an elevation of nearly 1000 feet on a small mountain top near the city where the peaks were shaved off to create some level ground and a VERY short runway. Even in modern days, landing in Charleston has always been an adventure. Aside from the jagged mountains, dense fog is often a factor.