Female Pilots group paints giant compass rose on airport tarmac


MERIDIANVILLE, Ala. – A group of female pilots spent their day on the tarmac of Huntsville Executive Airport, painting a giant symbol of history for those flying overhead to not only admire, but use in flight.

The 90-foot compass rose is done by the Alabama Ninety-Nines, a branch of the International Ninety-Nines parent organization for female pilots.

The compass rose is not just for decoration, they have been surveyed and well-planned ahead of time, so they can be accurate in their reading.

“The pilots will put their airplanes on it and they’ll see how far their compasses are off. They have a little card in their airplane for the deviation of how far they’re off,” Alabama Ninety-Nine’s chair Ramona Banks said.

It will be visible from 3,000 to 4,000 feet in the air and will be a permanent fixture on the airport’s tarmac.

The Ninety-Nines have been leaving their signature compass rose on spots visible from the skies all over the nation since the group’s inception almost 100 years ago.

It is a helpful tool, but it is also a symbol of camaraderie for female pilots.

“We are still about 6% worldwide and that hasn’t changed since 1929 if you look at the numbers, that hasn’t changed,” Banks said.

The Alabama Ninety-Nines paint their compass roses now to bring awareness to the group and let women know there is a support system for those aspiring to get their licenses too.

The Alabama chapter even offers scholarships to women looking to get help towards their licenses. For more information, click here.

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