The public luncheon, reserved for aviation and aerospace enthusiasts, provides an opportunity for individuals to learn more about current Oklahoma general, business, and commercial aviation, the future of the industry, and how Oklahomans may advocate on behalf of aviation and aerospace for young girls and women to pursue aviation interests.
The Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission (OAC), in partnership with the Oklahoma Air Force Association Central Oklahoma Gerrity Chapter, and AAR Corporation host the event and secured Rear Admiral (Ret) Margaret “Peg” Klein as their keynote speaker.
Senator Paul Rosino-R (Oklahoma City) District 45, a retired Navy Master Chief Petty Officer made the introduction of Klein to the group and suggested her for the event. “I served with Admiral Klein when she commanded Fleet Air Reconnaissance Three (VQ-3) and then as Commander Task Force 124 and Commodore for Strategic Communications Wing One (SCW-1) at Tinker AFB. When we look at the contributions of women in the aviation and aerospace industries in our state, Admiral Klein exemplifies the Oklahoma standard. She has flown over 4500 flight hours in the EC-130 Hercules and E-6 Mercury. She holds numerous aviation-firsts, including her post as the first woman to serve as the 82nd Commandant of Midshipmen at the United States Naval Academy,” said Rosino. “We are fortunate to have her here for this special day.”
Klein currently serves as the Dean of the College of Leadership and Ethics at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, RI. She completed a 35-year naval career March 2017. Rear Admiral Klein served as the Secretary of Defense’s Senior Advisor for Military Professionalism from March 2014. Prior to 2014, Klein served as Chief of Staff for the newly created U.S. Cyber Command. In 2008, she served as director of worldwide operations for the Navy’s Network Warfare Command. Klein’s leadership experience reaches from sky to sea, and from classroom to boardroom. In 2011, she commanded an American military force of five ships, 30 aircraft, and over 3,300 Sailors and Marines in successful combat operations in the Mediterranean Sea.
The history of Oklahoma Women in Aviation and Aerospace Day began in 2017 when the Oklahoma legislature passed a bill to officially recognize the contribution of Oklahoma women in the State’s aviation and aerospace industry December 9th annually. Former Governor Mary Fallin signed the bill into law going into effect November 1 that same year.
The date marks the birth of the famous Chickasaw aviator, Pearl Carter Scott, of Marlow, Oklahoma. Scott 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, the same year that Amelia Earhart established the female pilot group, the Ninety-Nines.
“With so many aviation historical dates in mind, the event was moved from December this year to accommodate the 90th annual meeting of the The Ninety-Nines, Inc, International Organization of Women Pilots which will be held November 2nd in Oklahoma City. We are excited to host 99s from across the United States for our special event, and since they are already in town, we wanted to honor them as well,” said Sandra Shelton, public and government affairs liaison for OAC. “Not only is it the 90th year since Pearl took her first flight with Wiley, this year we will celebrate the life of Oklahoman and American aviator and Ninety-Nine, Geraldyn M. Cobb.”
After the keynote, a panel discussion is planned that will include Klein as well as other aviation and aerospace professionals who will candidly answer questions about their own experiences and the future of the industry. Commissioner of Labor, Leslie Osborn, will moderate the session.
Mayor David Holt, will present a congratulatory proclamation on behalf of the City of Oklahoma City to the Ninety-Nines membership and to their International President, Jan McKenzie. KOCO Channel 5’s news anchor Markie Martin, a private pilot, will serve as the event’s celebrity emcee for the day.
Event Co-Chairs this year were Sandra Shelton and Gloria Williams, senior human resources manager for AAR Corporation. Committee members were Michelle Bouziden, OAC; Marc Stewart, AFA Gerrity Chapter; Schellon Stanley, Guthrie Edmond Regional Airport; Leshia Pearson, ACES /Commerce; Trina Madden, Oklahoma Chapter of Ninety-Nines; Bryan Dahlvang, FAA Monroney Center; Brian Hancock, Oklahoma Pilots Association; Janna Bacon, AAR; Kodi Wallace, Garver; Lorie Stephens, OKARNG; and Jeffrey James, AFA Gerrity Chapter.
Many of the state’s top aviation and aerospace entities participate in Oklahoma Women in Aviation & Aerospace Day including hosts, the Oklahoma Air Force Association Central Oklahoma Gerrity Chapter, AAR Corporation, and the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission. Community partners include the ACES program within the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, 110 Events, Acorn Growth Companies, Gilchrist Aviation, Olsson, Omni Air International, University of Oklahoma School of Aviation Studies, Intercontinental Jet Service Corp., INTRUST Bank, NORDAM, Pratt & Whitney, Spec Tech USA, Spirit Aerosystems, American Airlines, American Jet Charter, Archein Aerospace, LLC, BizJet International Sales & Support, Inc, Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, Consolidated Turbine Specialists, LLC, Delaware Resource Group, FAA Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center, First United Bank, Garver, King Aerospace, Lochner, Mead & Hunt, National Business Aviation Association, Northrop-Grumman, Robinson Aviation, Inc., Rose State College, Stillwater Regional Airport, City of Stillwater, Vertical Aerospace, Ascend AAR Corporations, CeralUSA, Ada Public Schools, Chickasha Wings Inc, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, and Moog Inc.
To learn more about the event visit facebook.com/OKWIAADay.