They call themselves the Whirly Girls, but if you drop by the Mayflower Hotel today, don't look for ladies who resemble drill team majorettes. The Whirly Girls began as a group of 13 women who, visiting the Mayflower 30 years ago today, borrowed a typewriter and stationery and drafted the bylaws for an organization of female helicopter pilots. At the time, the 13 believed themselves to be the only women in the world who flew such aircraft.
Today, the survivors of that founding group will gather for a champagne reception and brunch, and will present a plaque commemorating the founding to the history-minded hotel, where Charles A. Lindbergh was honored at a luncheon after making the first solo flight across the Atlantic in 1927.
Now there are hundreds of Whirly Girls, including such entrepreneurs as Betsy Johnson, who owns 14 helicopters and provided service for scientists and the news media when Mount St. Helens erupted in Washington State. The group's current president, one of the founders, is Betty Pfister of Aspen, Colo., who planned and supervised construction of the first hospital heliport in Colorado. Another is Edna Gardner Whyte, 83, a Texan, who will leave Washington after today's ceremony to complete in a 1,000-mile air race in Florida.