‘Amelia’ still inspiring women to soar | RecordCourier.com

‘Amelia’ still inspiring women to soar

by Sheila Gardner

Some 72 years after she disappeared on an around-the-world flight, pilot Amelia Earhart continues to inspire women of all ages to take to the skies.

Local members of The Ninety-Nines, Inc., an international organization of women pilots, asked Ironwood Cinema General Manager Lori Pulver to arrange a showing of “Amelia.”

The movie, which opened in October starring Hilary Swank as the famed aviator, had not been released in the area and Pulver was able to bring in the film.

About a half dozen members of the Reno Area 99s met at the Minden cinema on Wednesday to watch the movie.

“It was wonderful,” said Minden pilot Linda Mae Draper-Hivert. “The costumes, the photography, it was really, really, really great.”

The Ninety-Nines was established in 1929 by women pilots to provide support and advancement of aviation. Earhart was the group’s first president. The Reno Area 99s was chartered in 1964 and has 49 members.

Draper-Hivert, 66, became a pilot more than 40 years ago.

“I started late,” she said. “I didn’t get in on the beginning like a lot of these young girls do. In those days there wasn’t a lot of opportunity for girls to fly.”

Through the efforts of Earhart, who started the Ninety-Nines, and the women who followed in her footsteps, that’s changing.

Aimee Pitcher, 17, a South Tahoe High School senior, joined the Ninety-Nines at the movie, the second time she’s watched it.

“I thought it was still good,” Aimee said. “I liked how Amelia was so determined to do everything she wanted to do.”

Aimee said she’s wanted to fly since she was 4.

She is a member of the Douglas County Composite Squadron of Civil Air Patrol cadets at Minden-Tahoe Airport where she also takes flying lessons.

“I’ve been fascinated with flying my whole life,” she said. “I love just being off the ground. Everything looks different. Being in control of the plane is really a good feeling.”

Aimee said her future could take off in two directions: Art or aviation.

She said her family has been supportive, but her friends are skeptical.

“They said being a pilot didn’t seem like a woman’s job, and I should probably look at something else. I told them I was going to go for it.”

Sandy Goetze of Gardnerville, said “Amelia” reflected the spirit of the Ninety-Nines – “romantic women in love with flying.”

“All the ladies in the Ninety-Nines are take-charge-type of people. I thought Hilary (Swank) did a really good job. I would recommend the movie for anyone. It was well worth it. We promote aviation for boys and girls. I think we need more young people in aviation,” she said.

Goetze, 60, began to pursue aviation in 2003.

“I just got my power certification in October. It took a heck of a lot of determination. Being a pilot gives you more strength than you ever thought you had,” she said.

Fifty-six-year-old Jeanne Pierce of Wellington began flying when she was 50.

She was introduced to aviation by her boyfriend who has been a pilot for 30 years. Although she had been a “flying right seat” for years, taking the controls was a challenge.

“I was terrified,” she said. “I got over it by focusing on my love of flying, and not on the hazards involved. And I remembered my mother saying I could do anything.”

Pierce said she thought Swank was a perfect choice to portray Earhart.

“She could not have been better in her mannerisms,” she said.

Pierce liked the movie’s emphasis on what’s possible.

“It’s the same thing the Ninety-Nines promote with young women in Girl Scouts. It’s not important you become a pilot, but to know it’s a possibility for you,” she said.

Draper-Hivert, wearing a flight suit and her father’s helmet and goggles, said she thought Earhart would be pleased with the movie.

“I think she would be very thrilled. It seemed she was very supportive of other women flying and wanted to encourage them. ‘Whatever it takes to stay in the air’ has been my motto for a long time. I think Amelia would approve,” she said.


“Amelia” is showing at Ironwood Cinemas, 1760 Highway 395, Minden at 10:15 a.m., 1 p.m., 3:45 p.m., 6:30 p.m. 9:15 p.m. (Friday and Saturday). Information, 782-7469.


The Ninety-Nines, Inc., international organization of women pilots