Women of the 99’s to “Fly in” and Paint Air Mark at Rosie the Riveter Park

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Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske

They’re at it again! The wonderful women pilots of the Ninety-Nines are continuing their long tradition of volunteering their time to paint a distinctive marking near or on an airfield to let other pilots know of the location. “And they’re doing just that at the ‘flight path’ in the Long Beach Rosie the Riveter Park and Interpretive Center,” announced Fifth District Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske.

“The public is invited to stop by Rosie the Riveter Park bright and early on Saturday, June 11 to watch the women pilots from the Long Beach Chapter of the Ninety-Nines paint a navigation compass in a 36 foot circle set at the end of our ‘flight path’ at the south end of the park,” explains Schipske. The “flight path” features solar powered runway lights and silhouettes of airplanes etched in a landing pattern leading to the circle.

The Ninety-Nines were formed in 1929 by Long Beach’s first licensed woman pilot, Gladys O’Donnell and Amelia Earhart, whom O’Donnell beat in the Women’s Air Derby. Air markings started in 1933 through the National Air Marking Program, which was staffed by only women and funded by the Works Progress Administration. These air markings were painted to point pilots towards the nearest airport as very few pilots had radios at the time. Since the end of World War II, the Ninety Nines have taken on the task of creating air markings for their local communities. The Rosie the Riveter Park is hosting the Ninety-Nine’s air marking as a reminder of the unique history of Long Beach’s women being involved in aviation.

Rosie the Riveter Park and Interpretive Center is located at the corner of Conant Street and Clark Avenue north of Fire Station 19 and south of Long Beach City College.

The Ninety-Nines’ air marking begins the first of many events scheduled between June and December 2011 to commemorate the “We Can Soar” Celebration of the Centennial of the First Transcontinental Flight which started on September 17, 1911 at Sheepshead Bay, New York and finished in Long Beach, California on December 10, 1911.

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