Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Go Pee Girl!!!

I'm sorry for the bombardment of many posts the past two days, but I just HAD to share the news about this little contraption that I just read about in WAI Mag.  Let me paint ya a little picture here: flying to Florida from Michigan and I have the case of hamster bladder.  We had to land in some po-dunk airport in Ohio because I just couldn't take it anymore!  We didn't want to shut down the plane to avoid a hot start so Bob held the brakes while I went in the very disgusting out house.  Next, it was Bob's turn and I held the brakes.  Unfortunately the plane was so packed tight with our luggage he couldn't get out of his side and had to climb over me.  I had my legs stretched as far as they could to hold the brakes while his butt slid against my cheeks (face ones) to get out.  Did I mention this was our first week as a couple? Yeah...  Guys are lucky for moments like this.  Bob keeps a nice wide mouthed bottle of iced tea in the plane for such occasions.  Would that work for me? Not so much without strippage and spillage!  Here comes GoGirl, the device that allows a girl to pee standing up and to direct it too.  They can be disposable or re-cleanable and come in pink or camo colors.  I went through their website and read their "how to use" pamphlet and it sounds pretty good.  Maybe I'll pick one up (only $9.99 worth a shot!) for the next long trip.  All I'd have to do is unzip! :) 

GoGirl: "Don't Take Life Sitting Down"

Updated 7/1/10: I shared the GoGirl with Billyray at work today and she told me about a kind her daughter used and we got searching for the various easy to pee things for girls there are out there.  Ah !  What would we do without the wonderful internet?  :) This next one I think is really great too, and maybe even easier than the GoGirl.  It pretty much acts like a mans parts, just put it on and go!  It was developed in the Netherlands in the 90's and has spread like wildfire.  I think I may get some so I don't have to squat the next time I go camping!


A Fresh Flight and an Update

Got my first interview in Frederick, it's for an aviation insurance company and the gentleman sounded very excited for what I had to offer and it seems as if there is lots of room to grow within the company.  So when I come down in July I will be stopping in and speaking with this company-very exciting!

Also, today I had a flight scheduled for 4:00pm and decided to bring Ryan along for his first flight in a small plane.  He enjoyed it, especially the steep turns, however the wind was gusty and it got a bit bumpy so he was very happy when we landed!


Back to School Again Again!

Well, you know how when I get an idea in my head it is very hard to get out.  Another thing I am very interested in within the aviation world is meteorology.  Presently applying to Penn State for their online Certificate in Aviation Weather Forecasting online program! I will keep thee updated.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Taxi Instructions Change

I knew the change was coming but I finally heard it today, to be officially started tomorrow, you will hear slightly different clearance instructions for taxiing at towered airports.  The change was implemented to try to counteract the high number of runway incursions that occur ever year, I was surprised to hear that 4% of those incursions in 2009 happened at PTK.  The change isn't huge, just adds more for the controller to say and some more words for you to read back.  Basically, a controller will no longer be clearing you across a runway without having to say so.  For example, at my airport with parallel runways I would receive a clearance such as, "Cessna Blah Blah Blah, cleared to Runway 27L via Uniform."  Now, the clearance receives a some extra verbiage, "Cessna Yada Yada Yada, taxi to Runway 27L via Uniform, cleared to cross Runway 27R."  I experienced it today with no problem, just more to remember and rattle off; if it prevents further incursions, why not?

Here are the official notices if you're interested in FAA-speak:

Sunny & Delightful!

What if someone likes rainy weather?  It may not be delightful for them.  Saturday's forecast on AccuWeather is delightful for me though!

"Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine," 
~Anthony J. deAngelo


Back to School...Again!

I'm always looking for ways to better myself in the aviation industry versus just building up my logbook with new airplanes, this is one of the reasons I earned my Aviation Management certificate.  I've been looking for other aviation related schools for once I move to Frederick and finally found one just an hour away in Manassas, VA, The Aviation Institute of Maintenance.   My plan is to take just a course or two per semester to someday earn my A&P.  I'm really looking forward to having a deeper understanding as to how the bits and pieces really work in the aircraft I fly.  I got my enrollment papers today and will be applying for financial aid and hopefully get another grant to pay for it.  Hopefully the timing ends up perfectly :)


Update (20 minutes after posting this!): that whole idea just got crushed. Finally talked to someone from the school aaaand you have to enroll full time, part time is not an option. You have to take the 18-24 month course going to school 4 days a week for 6 hours. Unfortunately, that is just not what I can do at the moment, especially since I'm not looking for an A&P career. Feeling a little bummed now because I was really looking forward to it, but I'll find something else I'm sure.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Put in Bay Escapades

This weekend was just what the doctor ordered!  It took us just about 20 minutes to fly there from PTK in the Glasair, we stayed at 2,500 feet to stay out of Class B airspace.  The skies were clear and the sun was so bright.  The winds favored runway 21 which is a bit more difficult approach than the other side; the memorial stands 370 feet just east of the runway and there is also a water tower.  All I suggest is make sure you are paying attention to the landing instead of the beautiful scenery when landing :)  The unlit runway is 2,870 feet with a 50' displaced threshold. There is a $10 landing fee inside based on the honor system by placing cash in an envelope. 

Our bed and breakfast was amazing, it was called Bodies Bungalow and owned by a very nice couple, Terry and Bodie.  The beds are to die for and not to forget, the breakfast is too!  Especially Terry's signature pecan crusted french toast!  The B&B was just two blocks from the main drag but far back enough not to hear all the partying at night.  

There is a lot to do on the island and the streets were crowded night and day.  It is a popular place for bachelorette parties we found out too!  The first night we enjoyed a walk around town getting familiar with the boardwalk and a great meal and drink at an Irish pub, Hooligans.  Later that evening we went to the world's longest bar, the Beer Barrel Saloon.  A band that plays there every weekend, the Menus were amazing.  They picked a great variety of cover songs and the lead singer was very unique to say the least.  He changed outfits at least five times, one included wearing a cheerleader outfit and a bear mask.

Saturday we spent a lot of time in deRivera park watching several of the cannon and black powder demonstrations and to check out some of the events for Pyrate Fest. We enjoyed a hearty meal at the Chicken Patio before heading out for a two hour kayak ride.  The kayak ride was a tiring one going against the waves most of the way.  We made it out to the tip of the island at the state park and enjoyed some great views and a few large waves deciding to douse us.  One of the neatest sights was a part of an old freighter, the Benson Ford, up on the mainland turned into a house.  The way back, with the waves, was a breeze!

Dinner on Saturday was at Goat Whiskey and Soup which is away from the party filled boardwalk and was perfect for a quiet dinner.  On our walk back from dinner the police had closed the road because some drunk people had crashed their golf cart into a telephone pole.  I think the police were excited to finally have something slightly legitimate to do.  Shortly after we took out the complimentary bicycles from our B&B for a ride around the island.  We finished up the night at the Boardwalk bar having drinks and listening to a great band from Columbus called Hattrick.  It was a trio of two guys and a girl who sang great Pat Benatar, Janis Joplin and a bluegrass version of Pour Some Sugar on Me.  They were so enjoyable and the drinks weren't too bad either :)

We left after breakfast in the morning to beat some nasty storms.  It took Bob some time to get my sleepy bum out of that comfy bed, but we made it back in time for some lunch and for Bob to just  barely beat the storms so he could head home.  All in all, I rate Put in Bay 4 out of 5 stars, only 4 because I wanted to stay longer!!!  

Friday, June 25, 2010

Airport of the Week: 3W2

The excursion for this weekend is to a little island, South Bass Island, better known as Put in Bay in Lake Erie.  Last time I was here was for dinner after my introduction to the Cirrus  It was the off season at the time and felt like a ghost town.  It will be the complete opposite now that summer is here and this party island is booked solid.  It's also Pirate Fest so that should be interesting!  Be on the lookout for my review :)



Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Flying Couples Addition

There are tornado warnings south of me although it is gorgeous outside.  Glad I canceled the flight although it is so hard to justify it when the beautiful sky is beckoning me.  I spent the evening outside attempting to catch up on a pile of old AOPA magazines.  I came across another pair to add to my Flying Couples blog, Dave and Sue Passmore who trained together for their private pilot certificates and just a week before their 25th wedding anniversary the couple together received their instrument ratings.  The couple recently purchased a Diamond registered in both of their names and offer the following advice that I can relate to within my own flying relationship:

"Be aware that the rest of your family may get tired of hearing you and your spouse talk incessantly about flying, especially when you’re both taking flight lessons.  But most of all, consider yourself blessed that you have a spouse or partner who not only tolerates your flying addiction, but shares your enthusiasm enough that they also became a pilot.”

 From March 2010 AOPA: "Love Connection."

Boomers

I suppose my day off will be spent with my nose in my book studying versus my butt in a plane flying...

Friday, June 18, 2010

Bush Pilot Training Course

I want.
http://www.abovealaska.com/bush.htm

Recklessness

This man makes his foolishness public on YouTube twice, see the article and videos below.  What do you think?  Is this punishment to harsh or light? 

Pilot convicted of recklessly operating aircraft for buzzing Santa Monica Pier

Movie producer David G. Riggs was flying a Soviet-era military jet, accompanied by another jet and a propeller plane pulling a banner for his unfinished film, when he startled beachgoers in 2008.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

When the going gets tough...

Well, my flying career threw me at another hurdle.  Instead of feeling sorry for myself, yesterday turned into a time where I was very proactive.  Yes, things aren't going to happen the ideal way, but pieces will still fall into place and it may just work out better for me that way in the long run.  You never know how hurdles in life may actually be beneficial to you.  My state money is going to run out shortly and I will have to complete my commercial training using my credit card and whatever cash I can scrounge up.  After some good discussions with a possible employer and my flight instructor I determined it was best to complete my CFI once I move.  So, another hurdle moved me to another plan, but I thrive on change so it's ok-it makes life way more interesting :)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Hole Punch Clouds

A very intriguing article on how flying airplanes can make it snow!
"Planes Create Weird Clouds-And Snow, Rain Fall Out"

IMC Club

I stumbled across this club this morning and thought it was worth sharing.  Their "classic" membership is free and I would love to check a meeting out, however, there are no chapters near me.  This post serves both as a bookmark for me to check back on this site for new chapters (hmmm maybe I could start one...) and share it with those of you who may find one nearby.

Taken from the IMC Club website:

"The IMC Club is a membership based organization focused on instrument rated pilots and flight instructors, with a network of chapters throughout the nation.  Our intent is to create a community of pilots in order to share information, provide recognition, foster communications, promote safety and build proficiency in instrument flying.  

IMC Clubs does this by identifying local instrument flight "missions" which members fly and then debrief at bi-weekly chapter meetings. Chapter members participate in  these bi-weekly meetings to learn more about IFR flying with the opportunity to share their knowledge and expertise. "Missions" also have ranks that can be attained with the level of  the missions  accomplishment.

Membership in our club entitles you to added benefits and access to our extensive knowledge data base, along with allowing you to connect with a network of pilots."

Bed Weather

Nope, it's not a typo, I did not mean bad weather. I also did not mean the kind of weather that makes you want to stay in bed all day (although it kind of is). I recall around two o'clock one very early morning to step out of the bathroom and to find my weather savvy boyfriend on the phone. It was windy out and he wanted to see by calling the local airport's AWOS just exactly how windy it was. I made fun of him for his extremely geeky weather curiosity. Yet here I am checking the weather on my phone, curious as to if my flight will go as planned. :)  It's a handy device, if I had an early morning flight and it turns out there was icing or something, I did not have to get out of bed-where I would be heading back to anyway! Also, in relation to my previous posting the NOAA weather app high res pictures are now loading, I now give the app an A+. Yay for radar on my fancy phone!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Droid

I finally gave in to and bought a smart phone as kids call them these days.  I got the Droid, pretty much as close as you can get to the iPhone, or sometimes better according to reviews.  My reasoning in the end (to convince myself of this hefty upgrade) was for the aviation apps, to always have the weather at my hand.  Below are some of the many applications for download pilots may find useful and/or fun. 

Free Apps:

Aviation Weather: The logo is a white box with a black airplane.  The title describes exactly what it does, reports the weather in METAR and TAF form at the station(s) that you request.  It also has a section for NOTAMS.  Another nice feature is you can save your favorite searches as well as pull up past reports you have requested.  All the comments about this download were positive and they all hold true; this is the best one I have encountered so far.

Aviation Weather from NOAA/NWS: I was sooo excited about this one because I am an avid user of aviationweather.gov.  I was disappointed that it didn't work when I first downloaded it.   After playing with it again I was able to get a few options to work, but was disappointed there was no loop for the radar.  Also the high-definition options don't work and the pictures cannot be enlarged.  It has options for aviation text, hazards, radar, satellite, and precip as well as a section for raw or translated TAFs and METARs.
 * I now can get the high def to work and they do enlarge.  6/16

Flight Bag: Provides you with TAFs, METARs and SIGMETS.  Works well and I only have two complaints: it doesn't appear to work when trying to see information for more than one airport at once and you have to save the airport as a favorite first before receiving weather information (there may be a way around this but I didn't find it in the few minutes I messed around with it).  This is also a free application.

Flight Deck-Artificial Horizon: This application is just an attitude indicator on your phone screen which adjusts the horizon according to how your phone is tilted.  Also lists out your angle of pitch and bank.  Nothing too thrilling, just a free little app for the aviation geek inside you.

IntelliPilot: IntelliPilot is a application that serves as a logbook.  There weren't many complaints on the comments section for this app because there are so many features.  I thought that to be it's downside though, I wanted something that was a bit simpler and could store some flights of the week to put write in my logbook when I have the chance.  One complaint I recall on the comments section was that it only has ICAO airports.  It also isn't as conveinient for a person, like me, who switches around in the planes they fly often.  Each airplane tail number needs to be created in a different section to select from the pull-down tab in the logbook.  You also cannot save the entry and skip that option.  It was said to be a great resource for CFIs, however, and can store PIC, SIC, and dual time as well as number of take offs, landings, and instrument approaches.  It also has a "crew" section to add contacts from your phone and set them as Captains, Co-pilots, Navigator, Flight Engineer, Trainee and so on.  

Appventive Aircraft Weight and Balance: This weight and balance application for your Droid computes the weight and moment for the aircraft information you have entered.  It features a graph to see if the airplane is in a safe operating range.   In the free trial version you cannot save your airplane profile for over 24 hours, so it may be worth it to purchase the full version of the app for $9.99. 

Apps with a charge (I have not tried these yet):

AirWX: Features current and forecast weather maps, pilot reports and TFRs.  Good reviews, several comments suggest it add winds aloft and a radar loop.  It lists AWOS numbers and can track an en route airplane by its N number.  Some comments stated it was a bit slow.  Price: $4.99

ForeFlight Weather: Has a hefty price for an app at $19.99 however the comments just rave that it is worth it.  ForeFlight provides access to METARs, TAFS, winds aloft, radar and satellite images (it appears that these do loop).  On the ForeFlight website AOPA praises the iPhone version of this application.

Zulu Time: A little application to see Zulu time on your screen, does not replace the Droid original clock, however.  Pretty decent reviews. Price: $2.99

Avilution Checklists: A editable checklist for use when flying.  Most comments score this as 4/5 or 5/5 stars.  Price: $2.95

WingX: Seems to be the "has-it-all" program for weather on the Droid.  With the $99 price it better :)  Click here for a review of WingX from a Part 135 helicopter pilot who makes use of WingX all the time.  This review is from the website, aviatorandroidapps.com, which is new but has potential in keeping everyone updated on the latest aviation apps for Android phones.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Inspirational Aviators -An Addition

I'm not going to go into detail, you can go ahead and read the article yourself.  Jim Tucker was flying a DC-10 in 1994 for FedEx and a co worker attempted to take over the plane.  He received life threatening injuries and lost his medical, never to be able to fly commercially again.  He was able to return to the skies through the LSA category; showing all the options one has before giving up on their love for flight as well as amazing strength and perseverance. 

Wave hello!

I love starting (and ending) the day with a good flight.  This morning's flight was very humid; you could almost drink the air.  I had a lovely sweat ring around my ears from the headset, it was not the most comfortable of flights.  Due to the heat, the airplane performance was less that usual and took up more runway and a slower climb.  The lazy airplane and sweat was all worth it, however, when taxiing back each time to see a little boy watching.  He was maybe three years old, sitting on his mother's lap in a lawn chair while trying to wave at us enthusiastically but still trying to plug his ears each time we went by.  It made me feel like I was in a mini airshow.  Future pilot?  Maybe :)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Inspirational Aviators

Life isn't easy and it can be very difficult to keep one's dreams alive, especially when it comes to the dream of flight.  The thing to remember is that no matter how many obstacles come in the way, it can be overcome.  I'd hate to say this but, you're not that special.  Someone most likely has experienced the same problems at some point.  Use them as inspiration, as an example.  Use them to say yes, you can do it too (ok, I admit, you can substitute all those "yous" for "me").  Looking beyond the Wrights, Earhart, and Lindbergh, a discouraged aviator can find inspiration in those "everyday" pilots as well.

Greg Lawrence:
Greg was born deaf and at the age of 61 he became the first deaf flight instructor under the sport pilot category.  He travels around the country to deaf schools promoting deaf individuals that they, too, can become a pilot.  Upon reading an article about Greg I sent him an e-mail of encouragement, realizing that if he can overcome such a large obstacle as deafness that I can overcome mine as well.  Greg replied, "Thank you so much for your note.  Producing the thought "If you can do it, I can do it" is exactly why I started doing this.  Actually, producing that thought is all that flight instructors do."  Feel free to shoot him an e-mail at deafhawk_2000@yahoo.com and he (and his hearing dog, Jenny) will promptly reply and keep you updated about their ventures.

Some other notable deaf pilots include: Rhulin Thomas (the first deaf pilot to fly solo coast to coast) and Nellie Zabel Wilhite (North Dakota's first woman and the first deaf female pilot.  She became lost her hearing soon after receiving her certification from complications with measles).

Jessica Cox:
Jessica Cox became a pilot at 25 years old. Jessica Cox was born without arms but that hasn't stopped her getting a hold of the yoke, she just uses her feet instead.  Jessica now runs Rightfooted.com and travels around as a motivational speaker.  Jessica also scuba dives, surfs and is the first American individual with out arms to earn black belt in Tae Kwon-do.  "In my opinion, there is nothing more empowering than learning how to fly."

Captain Douglass Bader:
Captain Bader served in the Royal Air Force when he performed a roll too close to the ground crashing in aircraft.  Due to this accident, both his legs had to be amputated.  His aviation story doesn't stop there, he received aluminum leg prosthesis and was back in the cockpit in no time.  During WWII this legless aviator became an Ace pilot.  He was shot down and captured during the war but gave the Germans a good fight, managing to escape twice before becoming recaptured.  In 1976 he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth and was the inspiration for the British film, "Reach for the Sky".  Captain Bader never let anything get in the way of his aviation career, "Never, never let them persuade you that things are too difficult, or impossible. Don't listen to any one who tells you that you can't do this or that. That's nonsense, make up your own mind, then have a go for everything".     

Logan Flood:
I first read about Logan in a 2008 issue of AOPA Magazine and was overwhelmed by his story.  On an early morning flight in the right seat of a Baron Logan and another pilot diverted to an airport to land due to extreme ice build up.  The airplane stalled and crashed just miles away from the runway, killing Logan's fellow pilot and leaving him with extensive 2nd and 3rd degree burns.  Logan took six months to heal, although his burns left him disfigured.  After attending school and working various other jobs Logan finally went back to what he loves, flying.    He regained currency as a CFI in 2007 and became an airline pilot in 2008.  One a passenger of one of his flights asked a flight attendant how he received his burns.  When the attendant answered the passenger replied, "tell him I admire him."

Although I stare in awe at the Thunderbirds and Red Bull pilots and although I inspire to have the strength of Amelia Earhart or Charles Lindbergh, these everyday people overcoming amazing odds, are truly inspirational.

Know of a pilot that inspires you?  Please share your story here and to read some more some interesting pilots check out my blog entitled "Flying Couples".

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Always a Pilot

I was playing Scrabble this evening and was distributed the letters "VRB" in a row. I immediately read them as "variable" not as individual letters. Gotta love METAR translation.   LOL :)


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Ocean City Airshow is this weekend!

Bob and I attended it last year and had such fun we thought we'd do it again.  Nothing beats an airshow on the beach!  We bought the clubhouse tickets again which are awesome for my pale skin because I can seek shade under the big tent!  Also offered are all you can eat food and drinks (Bob's favorite part).  Performances include the Thunderbirds, F-22 and F-16 flybys, a coast guard heli demo and several parachuting and aerobatic routines.   http://www.ocairshow.com/Home.html

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Stormy Leftovers

Too beautiful a picture not to share :)

The job has its grandeurs, yes. There is the exultation of arriving safely after a storm, the joy of gliding down out of the darkness of night or tempest toward a sun-drenched Alicante or Santiago; there is the swelling sense of returning to repossess one's place in life, in the miraculous garden of earth, where are trees and women and, down by the harbor, friendly little bars. When he has throttled his engine and is banking into the airport, leaving the somber cloud masses behind, what pilot does not break into song?
— Antoine de saint-Exupéry, ‘Night Flight,' 1933.

A Little Push Up (not a bra)

I had to cancel my flight today due to thunderstorms. I was originally hoping to have something for fun and/or educational to write about today, but instead I will let you in on one of my struggles I have encountered in my flight training: reaching those rudders! I'm 5'5", an average height for a girl. Although it seems the average height for a pilot flying in a Cessna is 6+ feet because whichever model I ever go in and how close I push up the seat, I can't seem to reach the rudders comfortably. Sometimes I can get them with the tips of my toes but that makes for a very tired Victoria after a flight. Even in Bob's plane ya need to be blessed with long legs. It's uncomfortable for me to scoot far up there to reach and by that time Slick's long nose blocks my view of the ground ahead of me. Seat cushions through pilot stores sell for $40 plus and have never offered the comfort I have desired. Not to mention they were also pretty ugly as well as bulky to carry around. While there were different sizing options for these seats, most tended to give you the majority of the boost vertically, not horizontally like I needed. So, I was forced to come up with my own solution. A quick jaunt to Jo Ann Fabrics gave me all that I needed. This store has a good supply of pillows and I found one about foot and a half long, six inches tall and was about three inches thick. It was perfect to put just behind my back and gave me exactly what I needed to reach the rudders. I was going to browse through the fabric section and find a cutesy airplane fabric to make a pillowcase out of when Jo Ann's, God bless that store, led me to my lazy solution. They had pre-made (and very stylish) pillowcases that can zip on. I picked up one that matched the size of my pillow and sewed on Velcro straps at the top and the bottom so I could enclose it around the chair and would not have to worry about it moving and readjusting it in flight. I spent less than $20 for the supplies and the straps took less that five minutes to sew on. I couldn't be more happy with the results. It's personalized to the size I need for the aircraft I fly often, and it doesn't stick out like a sore thumb shouting, "Hey! This pilot is short!"