On Friday, Sen. Paul Scott and Sandra Shelton, Public and Government Affairs Liaison for the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission, made a presentation about Women in Aviation & Aerospace Day at the spring board meeting of The Ninety-Nines, Inc. at their International Headquarters in Oklahoma City. The pair were advocating for other states to create their own commemorative day.
“Women have made such a tremendous impact in the aviation and aerospace industries and their accomplishments and hard work deserve to be recognized and celebrated nationwide,” said Scott, R-Duncan. “It was an honor to visit with the leadership of The Ninety-Nines and we hope they can help us in persuading other states to create Women in Aviation and Aerospace Days in their own states. I want to think the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission in helping with this effort.”
The presentation made to the group of Ninety-Nines’ chapter and state chairs from across the country, highlighted the journey of how Senate Bill 230, which created the unique commemoration day, became law.
The idea for the special day first came to Shelton, who worked on staff in the House of Representatives at the time, when she met famous female aviator Pearl Carter Scott, who had a major impact on Shelton’s life. She wanted to commemorate the contributions made by Pearl Scott and others by declaring a date in statute annually honoring female achievements in aviation and aerospace. During the 2017 legislative session, Shelton approached Sen. Scott about authoring a bill to create Oklahoman Women in Aviation and Aerospace Day.
Sen. Scott agreed to carry the measure and filed the bill on behalf of the Aeronautics Commission.
“When we passed the bill, we knew how meaningful and important the message was but we really had no idea how much enthusiasm and excitement the legislation would create,” said Scott. “We spoke to the Ninety-Nines with a desire to motivate other states to select their own honoree and date, and emulate what Oklahoma has been the first in the nation to create.”
Paul Scott has no known relation to Pearl Carter Scott. Representative Scott Biggs of Marlow also successfully carried the measure through the House of Representatives.
With the passage of the bill, the date is intended to inspire the aviation and aerospace community to plan events highlighting airports, women’s contribution to aviation past and present, and to bring the excitement of aerospace exploration and learning to young women throughout the State of Oklahoma. Oklahoma Women in Aviation and Aerospace Day is annually commemorated on December 9.
The Ninety-Nines is the international organization of licensed women pilots from 44 countries that promotes advancement of aviation through education, scholarships and mutual support while honoring their unique history and sharing their passion for flight.
Oklahoma’s Eula Pearl Carter Scott was born December 9, 1915 in Marlow, to father George, and mother Lucy, who was an enrollee of the Chickasaw Nation. Pearl’s colorful life took her from Marlow to the Chickasaw National “Hall of Fame”. After learning how to drive at the age of 12, she soared to new heights and learned to fly at the age of 13 under legendary aviator Wiley Post. She became the youngest pilot in the United States with her first solo flight on September 12, 1929. She later worked as a stunt pilot where she performed until ending her career to focus on her children and family.
The mission of the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission is to promote aviation, which includes ensuring that the needs of commerce and communities across the state are met by the state’s 109 publicly owned airports that comprise the Oklahoma Airport System, and helping ensure the viability of the state’s aerospace industry.
Aviation Industry Facts:
The Oklahoma Aviation & Aerospace Industry produces just under $44B in annual economic activity, making it the second largest economic engine in our state. Three segments account for the $44B total: Military aviation, $19.3B; off-airport aviation and aerospace businesses, $13.9B; and the 109 commercial and general aviation airports, $10.6B. Aviation & Aerospace supports 206,000 jobs totaling an $11.7B payroll. The average salary in the industry is $73,300 making it one of the highest average salaries in the state.