Thursday, March 31, 2011

Best Anniversary Gift Ever!

It's our three year anniversary, Bob and I met for the purpose of going to Sun n' Fun three years ago and the rest is history.  Today we celebrated (a day late due to many reasons) and he gifted me with a helicopter intro lesson.  Can't frickin' wait to use the certificate!!!

Tornado at Sun n' Fun!

Pictures are being Tweeted and Facebooked like crazy.  We already had a call regarding a totaled aircraft claim.  Praying that everyone is ok. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Picked up some 20+ year old av mags

The Sport Aviation magazines that sit by my side are 23 and 21 years old and were discovered two months ago amongst a pilot of old aviation magazines in the pilot's hangar lounge and KFDK.  They've been waiting for a rainy and lazy (I just had an endoscopy, I deserve the laziness I believe) day for a "where are they now?" post.  Well, here it is!

May 1988:
Cover plane: Cirrus VK30 - A 4-place, all composite pusher.  290HP, 250MPH cruise.  It was a kitplane, with only 13 built.  The designers learned a lot from this unique design which is now the well known and ever popular Cirrus SR20 and SR22 designs. 

Oshkosh 1988: The Supersonic Concorde was to make a visit to the largest fly-in in the world.  I was lucky to see this in the early 90's at Oshkosh as well.  According to the advertisement in this magazine, the Concorde was going to be available for hour long rides and tour packages were also avialable to or from Oshkosh along with stops for golf at "the world's best courses."  Oshkosh was not just a week long then.  It ran 27 days from July 10th to August 5th!

January 1990
Cover plane: Aerocar - Nope, the Terrafugia was not the first roadable car set to sell!  There was the Aerobile in 1937, the Airphibian in 1947 and 55 years ago, the Aerocar designed by Molt Taylor.  Taylor's Aerocar, N102D is now owned by Ed Sweeney which had a feature article in AOPA magazine last year.  There has been a recent "update" to the Aerocar design, created by Sweeney, the Aerocar 2000, which is more sporty and stylish.  The base vehicle is a Lotus Elise, with a "flight module" with a V8 engine that attaches to it.  The Aerocar website was last updated in 2002.  I'm curious as to the outcome of this interesting project.  Wikipedia research into the Aerocar 2000 led me to the Ave Mizar, a similar concept developed in 1973 from a Ford Pinto!

Member Builds: I picked this one because it was tested out of KPTK, an airport I am pretty bias of.  LeRoy D. Newmarch took 10 years to build an Osprey.  He was 72 when he finished!  N16LN does not have information available on Flight Aware, but a recent picture from an event at PTK from 2005 has the hopes that this aircraft may still be up and running, about 21 years later.  Unfortunately, Mr. Newmarch passed in 2008, his obituary spoke of "his love of flying".

Sun 'n Fun '90: Timing couldn't be better for this comparison, Sun n' Fun (on the webpage now, the ' is after the n, in this advertisement it's before the n!) is happening right now.  Wish I was there :) EAA member pricing for Sun n' Fun this year is: $150 weekly, $40 daily per adult and $50 weekly and $15 daily for a youth ticket.  In 1990? $40 weekly, $10 daily per person!  My times have changed.

One big difference I noticed in these magazines (besides lack of color) was that there were no webpage addresses for any of the advertisements.  What's with that?!!? ;) ;)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Comm again?

Yes, I am blogging about my road to the commercial pilot certificate...again.  Oh the things that have slowed me along the way: 1. Flight school closure 2. Instructors leaving 3. Money 4. Retinal detachment 5. A move 6. Money.  So we are now on to lucky number 7!  I would love to say nothing will stop me now, but let's be realistic here, this is me you're talking about!  Chins up, though, money is deposited in my flight school account and the instructor is lined up.  Now it's just time to get my butt in gear and demand that the weather gods cooperate!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Frederick Women Fly Higher

By Rachel Kingstrom 
Bob Zajko and Erin McCollum
Airplane hangars are not known to be popular weekend hangouts for women, but anyone who was at Frederick Municipal Airport on Saturday, March 12, 2011 knows that is not the case.  From 10:30am until 3:30pm, the airport was abuzz with female energy for the first annual Women Fly it Forward event.

Organized by Frederick resident and female pilot, Victoria Neuville [2], Women Fly it Forward attracted non-pilot women of all ages from various parts of the country.  The event was inspired by the grassroots movement Women of Aviation Week, aimed at introducing women to aviation and providing support to those introducing and being introduced to the field.  Attendees were given a hands-on opportunity to experience life as a pilot.  Neuville put together the event in an attempt to earn Frederick Municipal Airport the title of “Most Female-Friendly Airport.”  Guests enjoyed refreshments and heard inspirational stories from women in the industry.

Shelah Maul, left and Jamie Shopland, right
A total of 185 women participated in Women Fly it Forward, which involved 20 planes, 25 volunteers, one helicopter, and lots of food.  This proved to be the formula for success for this inaugural event.

Neuville has already started planning for next year’s event and hopes to encourage more women to become interested in flying.  She was astonished by the transformation she saw in many of this year’s participants. 

“We had one woman who came to the event to get over her fear of heights. She was very nervous but braved it very well,” Neuville said.   “I also had a 12 year old who was second guessing getting in the airplane, but when she finally got in and they departed she told the pilot that his plane was slow!” 

To learn more about this event, visit [4]. by: Rachel Kingstrom  The Village Connector would like to thank Rachel for her article.

Friday, March 25, 2011

What's New on Toriaflies + A New Challenge!

New on the Blog:

I have been getting more traffic on here lately due to the success of the Women Fly it Forward event that I think it's time for me to slowly add to my blog all the "extras" I have been thinking about over the past year.  Things will keep changing over the coming weeks to give you the best aviation blog experience possible.  Some changes are already in place, but still under construction:

1. There is now a $100 Hamburger tab!  I will continue to post blogs on the $100 Hamburgers we check out on the homepage but also link to them in the $100 Hamburger tab as well so you can quickly see a list of hamburgers you can try out yourself.  Also on the $100 Hamburger tab is a link to visit my Yelp $100 Hamburger review list.

2. Another addition is the Flying Fun tab which will link you to posts of my favorite flying places to visit.

3. The Contact page has been slightly updated and the Media tab will receive a face lift as well.

4. Nothing new on the Donate tab, but thought it was worth a mention.  If you enjoy my blog and reading about various flying adventures, please consider donating a bit if you can spare it.  This will help keep the blog interesting with more adventures coming!  I have a list of over 40 great possible trips which equals over 40 great blog posts for you to read! :o)

A New Challenge

In an effort to promote Maryland's public use airports, the Maryland Airport Managers Association is hosting a competition called "Explore Maryland by Air".  Each participant receives a "passport" and gains a stamp at each Maryland airport, aviation museum and FAAST seminar they visit.  There is no deadline to complete your passport (Ace level) and a participant is eligible for awards as long as the program is still in operation.  If you cannot visit all airports, museums, etc there are also two lower award levels, Albatross and Fledgling.  I'm aiming for an Ace and for Bob and I to complete all requirements together.  What better way to share the skies than in a friendly competition.  I ordered our passports already, check out the Explore Maryland by Air website for more information!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Women of Aviation Week in the April AOPA

Rally GA: Giving women wings

Putting out the welcome mat at the airport

LarocheThe world’s first licensed female pilot, a French socialite named Raymonde de Laroche, declared in 1910 that flying was ideal for women because it didn’t rely on strength as much as on physical and mental coordination.

No doubt Laroche and the pioneering women pilots who came after her hoped that others would follow their lead and flood the ranks of aviation.

More than 100 years later, it hasn’t happened. Here in the United States, women are in the House and in the Senate, the boardrooms of major businesses, and in the armed forces. And while they’re also at the airports, women represent a paltry 6 percent of the pilot population. What’s more, the number of women pilots has decreased in the last 15 years—keeping pace with the general decline in the pilot population—in spite of the fact that the number of women living in the United States increased by 30 percent during the same period.

A grassroots effort launched in 2010 seeks to reverse that trend. Getting women to the airport and introducing them to aviation was the goal of the 2010 Women Pilot Centennial. By the end of the year, pilots around the world had carried more than 1,600 girls and women aloft in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Laroche’s achievement. The effort became a yearlong competition to see which airport would be designated most “women friendly.” The winner was Oshawa Airport in Ontario, Canada, where pilots racked up 475 introductory flights. A close second was Renton Municipal Airport in Renton, Washington, where 407 women and girls received introductory flights—173 of which were conducted in a single day.
International organizer Mireille Goyer had planned to celebrate the centennial by introducing women and girls to flying in France, the United States, and Canada. She broadened her approach to invite pilots everywhere to take up the cause.

The centennial has come and gone, but the goal continues in 2011. The week of March 7 through 13 was designated Women of Aviation Week as a part of the one-hundredth anniversary of International Women’s Day (March 8). Once again, pilots are urged to put out the welcome mat by introducing girls and women to the world of flight.

There were prizes and recognition for categories such as Most Unusual Introductory Flight, Most Supportive Male Flight Instructor, and Most Dedicated Female Pilot. Some museums and flight schools are offering special programs. More details can be found at the website (, which includes a detailed list of events planned in the United States, Canada, France, Ghana, and the United Kingdom. AOPA is a sponsor, along with Aircraft Spruce, SavvyGPS Pilot, and Windtee. Also on board are the producers of documentaries Breaking Through the Clouds, which tells the story of the 1929 Women’s Transcontinental Air Race, and Flyabout, a pilot’s story of her aviation-oriented “walkabout” in Australia.


A local spark lights a fire

The idea of getting as many women into the air as possible sounded just right to Victoria Neuville. Neuville learned about the Centennial of Women last year but couldn’t get involved at the time. A relative newcomer to Frederick, Maryland (she’s from Michigan), she has leapt into the local pilot community by organizing an event for this year’s Women of Aviation Week. Women Fly It Forward was scheduled for March 12 at Frederick Municipal Airport (FDK).

“I wanted to make sure that other girls weren’t afraid to start, or quit early from lack of support.”—Victoria Neuville
An instrument-rated private pilot, Neuville encountered some challenges while earning her certificate—she trained at three flight schools, with eight instructors, and flew “a billion” airplanes.

“I didn’t have much support when I was getting my ratings,” says Neuville. Her father and grandfathers were pilots—her great uncle was a World War II ace—and so she had plenty of role models, but not the emotional support she wanted. “I knew a lot of guys but I did not meet a single girl in my training. Girls need other girls for support. Since I had none of that, I wanted to make sure that other girls weren’t afraid to start, or quit early from lack of support.”

Women in AviationNeuville hopes to draw 300 women and girls to FDK, and she has put together a slate of activities, including prize drawings and speakers such as an air traffic controller, a wing walker, and a squadron from Andrews Air Force Base. There are incentives for the pilots, too: Neuville negotiated a 50-cent-per-gallon discount on aviation fuel from Landmark Aviation, the local FBO. Everyone who takes an introductory flight will be able to download a photo from a website to post on Facebook—and Neuville is aiming to see hundreds of profile pictures of smiling faces in airplanes.

“If one woman will fly, more will,” she says. “Aviation is such a great community. Every pilot I’ve met is so helpful and willing to share their aviation stories. I think women would, too. If they hear about more women in aviation, more women will come.”

Neuville works with Jon Harden of Aviation Insurance Resources in Frederick and says she is thrilled to have a job in aviation as well as the chance to fly Harden’s Cessna 172.

Neuville and Goyer share the desire to pay forward—or fly forward, if you will—their opportunities. “I believe the best way to thank a role model is to pay it forward by putting into application what you have learned from them,” Goyer says.

If you didn’t make it to the airport on March 12, the opportunity to take someone flying is as close as the next sunny day. Aviation has the reputation of being a boys’ club. We know it’s open to everyone. Invite a friend to share the sky with you.

E-mail the author at Photography by Chris Rose.

One Person Can Make a Difference

Prior to the Women Fly it Forward event, I told myself that I would consider my event a success if just one of the female participants decided to take the next step.  Yesterday I found out that has happened.  Lin, who volunteered her time and flew her Cessna 182 at the event, was contacted by one of her passengers only a few days later.  She had ordered her starter kit and was seeking Lin out as a mentor.  Of course, Lin eagerly agreed. It just takes one female pilot to increase the aviatrix population, this is just the start.

"One person can make a difference and every person should try." ~ John F. Kennedy

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Joint Base Andrew's Women 'Fly it Forward' during Women of Aviation Worldwide Week


1 HS brief aspiring female pilots at Women Fly it Forward
JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- Lieutenant Col. Julie A. Grundahl, 1st Helicopter Squadron commander, briefs a group of visitors during Women Fly it Forward at the Fredrick Municipal Airport in Fredrick, Md., about the mission of the 1 HS March 12. More than 250 women of all ages registered for Women Fly it Forward, which provided aspiring female pilots of all ages an opportunity to meet and greet with women in aviation and tour various aircraft. The 1 HS flew to Fredrick to participate in the event in honor of Woman’s History Month and Women in Aviation Week. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kat Lynn Justen)
Joint Base Andrew's Women 'Fly it Forward' during Women of Aviation Worldwide Week

by Airman 1st Class Bahja J. Jones
11th Wing Public Affairs

3/16/2011 - Frederick, Md. -- In the month of March, people take the time to observe Women's History Month and recognize the many contributions and accomplishments of women worldwide. In celebration of Women of Aviation Worldwide Week, March 7-13, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association sponsored 'Women Fly it Forward' at the Frederick Municipal Airport in Frederick, Md., March 12.

Joint Base Andrew's own Lt. Col. Julie Grundahl, 1st Helicopter Squadron commander, along with other female representatives of the 1 HS, the 79th Medical group as well as the Andrews Air Traffic Control Tower, were invited to showcase their work as women in aviation career fields.

"The purpose of the event is to get women involved in aviation based professions to come speak about their specific aviation geared jobs," said Colonel Grundahl. "Women and children of all ages are able to find out how they can get involved in civilian, military and government aviation careers."

Norma Ely, Federal Aviation Administration Andrews Tower Air Traffic manager here, had a table set up and educated approximately 250 "young aspiring pilots and aviators" about air traffic, the FAA as well as future careers within the FAA.

The Joint Base Andrews women flew to the site in a UH-1N Huey helicopter and set up a static display. Visitors were able to enter the aircraft, look around, and even sit down in the pilot's seats as they were educated by the Andrews women.

First Lt. Danielle Caretti, 1 HS special mission's pilot, assisted Abbie Greer, 16, into the pilot's seat and allowed her to try on the helmet as she answered questions about the buttons and features on the aircraft.

They also explained to the visitors that aviation careers involve more than just flying planes. Maj. Jennifer Walters, 79 MDG critical nursing care director at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., brought her critical transport and Air Evacuation display charts that depict the transfer of injured soldiers from overseas.

"My job focuses on brining the guys back home," said Major Walters.

Also in attendance was 1st Lt. Danielle Gleason, 779th Aerospace Medicine Squadron aerospace physiologist, who works with the pilots of several different types of aircraft to analyze the many flying variables and risk factors relating to altitude, oxygen levels, etc. and trains the pilots accordingly.

"I think it's important that we are here to advertise the opportunities that women have to take part various aviation career fields. Also we are creating awareness that these opportunities are available to women," said Colonel Grundahl.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A Flying Kind of Weekend

Bob and I made a last minute decision to visit my family in Michigan this weekend.  We headed up Saturday morning and watched the temperature slowly drop as we went further north.  Brrr!  It was a short, yet fun-filled weekend.  Saturday we enjoyed a quick visit to a model railroad museum as well as to Marvin's Marvolous Mechanical Museum which is difficult to describe.  Tons of fun and too much to see, there is some new or old intriguing arcade game to be seen.  We finished off the night with a scrumptious dinner and enticing martinis with some rowdy family members. 

Now where's the blog about the flying, you ask?  Sunday before we left to head back to Frederick, Bob and my Uncle Greg hopped into the Glasair while m cousin Charlie, his girlfriend Charlotte and I skipped on over to my old flight school to rent a C172.  The second we left the ground, Charlotte quickly remarked, "this is so cool!"  Once to altitude, on heading and trimmed, I let Charlie take the controls.  I was very impressed with how well he did, he kept on altitude and heading for a good half an hour, even when Bob and Greg were showing off and circling around us.  Good family, good flights, good times!

Friday, March 18, 2011

My Flight in Photos

The plan: Head in the C172 to KGED for dinner...
...but the battery was dead...
So we tucked her back in
And hopped in the Glasair where I can't reach the rudders!
Filed our DVFR plan throught the SFRA via VPONX and VPOOP
and over the Chesapeake Bay
 to Sussex County Airport - Georgetown, DE! 
As you can see from the slideshow, KGED had a few aircraft surprises for us!  Check out here for my review of the restaurant!

6 Michigan Airports in Danger

Michigan businesses have gone through enough and now it has gotten worse for the airports.  Not happy to see Houghton/Hancock as being effected. 

GOP proposals would cut federal funds to some airports.


Capital News Service

4:45 AM EDT, March 18, 2011
Click here to find out more!

LANSING -- Abrams Municipal Airport in Grand Ledge, Mich., is a small, publicly owned airport that handles mostly personal and charter traffic.

Like many of its counterparts across Michigan and nationally, Abrams has watched small-scale aviation business -- and thus revenue -- shrink in the continuing aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Although Abrams is making its lowest profits in years, netting about $5,000 last year, its management predicts business will bounce back.

Abrams is one of about 240 public use airports and heliports in the state, according to the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT).

They range from 17 with commercial airline service -- such as Detroit Metropolitan Airport and ones in Flint, Grand Rapids, Marquette, Pellston, Alpena, Traverse City and Lansing -- to small privately owned and municipal ones, like Abrams. Almost 32.4 million passengers got on or off at those with commercial service last year, according to MDOT.

The city of Grand Ledge owns Abrams, which has revenue from farming the surrounding land, payments from the National Guard that operates there, fuel sales and hangar rentals.

According to its operations budget, Abrams collects $19,000 annually from the National Guard and $24,000 from hangar rentals. It receives $150,000 annually from the federal government for infrastructure, said City Administrator Jon Bayless, who also manages the airport

Bayless said maintenance costs eat up most of the operational income. Most of its budget goes to mowing the grass and plowing snow from the runways.

Dave Powers, director of operations at GrandAir Aviation Inc., said, "If this airport had to exist on generating its own revenue, or any airport for that matter, it wouldn't work."

GrandAir, a charter service, is the airport's fixed base operator and offers flight training.

Powers said Abrams is better than most other general aviation airports at saving money, although it still needs federal funds for paving runways and building improvements.

In February, MDOT named Branch County Memorial Airport in Coldwater, Mich., as Michigan's Airport of the Year. The department cited it for "efficient use of limited available funding, and for maintaining strong community support for the general aviation airport, which has about 12,000 takeoffs and landings annually."

Meanwhile, belts could tighten significantly for rural and small-city commercial airports as Congress considers Republican proposals to cut federal subsidies that support service at about 150 cities nationally, including six in Michigan.

For example, the federal Essential Air Service program gave Muskegon County Airport the smallest subsidy in Michigan last year, $660,770, and Manistee County Blacker Airport the largest, $1.8 million, U.S. Department of Transportation figures show. The state's other four that may be affected are in the Upper Peninsula: Escanaba, Hancock/Houghton, Ironwood and Iron Mountain/Kingsford.

MDOT Director Kirk Steudle commended small general-aviation airports for their ability to maintain budgets, but said small airports must still make sacrifices, even with excellent management.

Given the state's economic problems, they can't count on MDOT to rescue them from financial problems, Steudle said. "We internally have stopped a whole bunch of services we used to provide, primarily because we don't have the money, and we don't have the people."

Copyright © 2011, Southbend Tribune

Kyle and Amanda Franklin Fund

Most in the aviation world have heard of the Franklin Flying Circus and what happened last Saturday.  It's scary to think that I was at Women Fly it Forward actually talking about this awe inspiring couple when their accident occurred.  It took my breath away when I arrived home and found out.  Although I never had met them personally, it's always scary to hear when something like this happens in such a close knit aviation community.  Their road to recovery is long and they need our help. 

Bob snapped this in Oshkosh in 2009, after this amazing show I told him that had to be us someday!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Audio Slideshow of WFIF!

A Day of Free Flights for Women at a Frederick Airport

Maryland Newsline
Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Click here for an audio slideshow!

FREDERICK, Md. - Nearly 200 women came to Frederick Municipal Airport Saturday for a day of free flights. The event, Women Fly it Forward, was part of a global grassroots movement designed to get more women involved in flying. From 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., any woman could attend the event and receive a free ride from one of an assembled squadron of licensed pilots.

Haven't read enough?

Women Fly It Forward

As I rose to 1,000, then 2,000, then 3,500 feet above Frederick County, sitting next to a consultant from Florida and in front of two women whom I had never seen before, a thought crossed my mind: “How did I end up here?”

Saturday morning started out normal enough: coffee, breakfast, household chores. Then, somehow I ended up on the Frederick Municipal Airport runway, waving to my family from the cockpit of a private propeller plane. I took to the skies with about 180 other women and young girls as part of the “Women Fly It Forward” event.

According to event organizers, of the 600,000 active pilots in the United States today, only 6 percent are women. On Saturday, any woman could come to the airport and participate in a free flight. The goal was to inspire the female passengers to become pilots themselves.

Frederick resident Victoria Neuville organized the event as part of an international celebration of 100 years of female pilots. (On March 8, 1910, Raymonde De Laroche, an experienced French balloonist, was the first woman to earn a pilot license in the world.)

Neuville, who has an active flight blog at, called in favors from dozens of fellow private pilots, who brought their aircraft to Frederick on Saturday and offered any woman the chance to get on board and take a 20-minute flight above Frederick and beyond.

The tarmac was filled with a colorful array of helicopters and propeller planes, as well as an enthusiastic bunch of male and female pilots, eager to share their passion for flight with anyone who would listen.

About five minutes after I arrived at the airport and signed a waiver, I was paired with TJ Shembekar, a private pilot from Tampa, Fla., for a ride in his four-seat Cirrus SR-22 GTS Turbo plane.

Shembekar was a remarkably patient teacher, and was so excited to explain every aspect of his aircraft and its operations to me and two other women who he invited onboard.

Despite the plane’s small size (compared the commercial jets in which I have flown in the past), it offered an amazingly smooth, if noisy, ride. We flew up and over Frederick’s Harry Grove Stadium, making our way over the Monocacy River to Harpers Ferry, W.Va., and back. The short voyage offered amazing views of the region that I had never before experienced.

The amount of air traffic coming in and out of the Frederick airport on Saturday was remarkable. Planes seemed to be everywhere.

One pilot who escorted about a dozen prospective pilots above the City of Frederick was Lin Caywood, a Frederick resident who keeps her Cessna 182 at the airport between flights. Caywood had always wanted to learn to fly, but when her son was ready to graduate from high school, she realized it was time to get her license.

Now, seven years after earning her certificate, she takes regular trips on weekends, exploring the region 100 to 150 miles at a time, finding new places to visit and eat lunch or dinner, or visiting family on day trips to North Carolina.

Susan Beall lives in West Friendship, but keeps her 172 Cessna at the Frederick airport. She officially became a pilot five years ago after “always looking up at the sky and wanting to be there.”
Beall says she’s seeing more women up in the air, and was eager to participate in “Women Fly It Forward” to encourage others to take the leap that she did.

“There’s no reason why more women can’t be pilots,” she said.

Her first load of passengers was a bit apprehensive as they began their flight, asking whether it was safe enough. But soon after takeoff, they loosened up and really enjoyed themselves, she said.

“That’s what you want, to go away with a feeling of ‘OK, I can do this,’” she said.

For more information on the event, go to or

Maryland Pilot Organizes Event To Introduce Women To Aviation

Nearly 200 Non-Pilot Women Got A Taste Of Flight

Pilots and volunteers from all over the greater Washington, DC area gathered at Fredrick Municipal Airport in Fredrick, MD last weekend to let women experience aviation from the cockpit of an aircraft.
At the end of the day, about 185 women had taken a flight in one of the nearly two dozen aircraft, including a helicopter, flying with pilots who had donated their time and their machines.
The event was part of "Women in Aviation Week," a worldwide effort to introduce women to aviation. Event organizer Victoria Neuville told ANN that the "Fly it Forward" event was first conceived by Mireille Goyer, who founded this grass roots movement "Women of Aviation World Wide Week" to support women introducing other women to aviation. "The event was a great success, every participant and volunteer was flying," said Neuville. "I have never had so much encouragement and support organizing an event, the aviation community is really tight knit and didn't think twice about volunteering for a good cause."
On her blog, Neuville said the oldest participant in the event was in her 70's, and the youngest about 6 months old. She said "Women Fly it Forward" was such a success that she has plans to organize the event next year as well.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Smiles for Miles!

‘Smiles for miles’: Maryland event takes 185 women aloft

Click the image above to view a slideshow.

March weather can be capricious in the Mid-Atlantic, but on March 12 the seasonal gusty winds and low clouds gave way so that 185 girls and women could enjoy free flights at Frederick Municipal Airport in Frederick, Md.

The rides were the cornerstone of Women Fly It Forward, an event in celebration of Women of Aviation Worldwide Week, which was March 7 through 13. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the first U.S. certificated female pilot, Harriet Quimby. 

Victoria Neuville, who organized the Frederick event, said she wanted to ensure that girls and women feel welcome when they come to the airport. Neuville is an instrument-rated private pilot. Her efforts at broadening aviation horizons for women are profiled in the upcoming April 2011 issue of AOPA Pilot.
Jane Wicker, pilot and wing walker with Jane Wicker Airshows, brought her Stearman to be on static display at the event.

“I used to think that I had to get all my ratings and become a successful professional pilot before I could make a difference in aviation,” Neuville said in her blog. “I have recently learned, however, that I can make an impact regardless of my piloting title.” 

Neuville said she has been bombarded with e-mails in the days following the event, including a message from one participant who described seeing “smiles for miles” as she watched women depart on and return from their flights.

Riders were lining up before the 10:30 a.m. start time at the Frederick event. On the ramp, 20 aircraft including Cessna, Cirrus, and Piper, light sport, and a helicopter waited to take eager passengers aloft. Several pilots from AOPA volunteered to give rides, and those who were CFIs let their surprised guests sit in the left seat and fly the airplane. AOPA staff also assisted with registration and escorting riders to aircraft. Several participants alighted from aircraft and walked over to the local flight school to purchase an introductory flight certificate.

Nancy Jones and her daughter, Victoria, age 10, were among the first in line. The Joneses had come out to the airport in 2010 to watch women pilots entered in the Air Race Classic land at Frederick, which was the terminus of the race. Victoria said she was “very excited” to take her first flight, while Nancy admitted to being “a little nervous.” Still, both were beaming as they were led out onto the ramp to a waiting Cirrus SR20.
Four friends from Rockville, Md.—Lauren Clemente, Whitney Eury, Laurie Chow, and Carol Fowler—came together after learning of the event online.

Erica O’Brien of Edgewood, Md., said she has flown in a small airplane but had never flown in a Piper Archer. “I loved it,” she said.

Also on hand were guest speakers, including Norma Ely, air traffic manager at Andrews Air Force Base, the 1st Helicopter Squadron commanded by Lt. Col. Julie Grundahl; Jennifer Reineck, a first officer with Air Wisconsin, and Jane Wicker, pilot and wing walker with Jane Wicker Airshows. Local chapters from the International Organization of Women Pilots (The Ninety-Nines) and the Experimental Aircraft Association answered questions about aviation. 

AOPA was a sponsor of the Frederick event as well as the national Women of Aviation Worldwide Week. “Participating in the Women Fly It Forward event was an incredible experience,” said Jennifer Storm, AOPA director of public relations. “AOPA is proud to recognize Women of Aviation Worldwide Week and support their efforts.”

Florida pilot flies to Maryland for women’s flying event

Pilots flew in from different parts of the mid-Atlantic to help out in the March 12 Women Fly it Forward event in Frederick, Md. But one flew farther than most.

TJ Shembekar, an information technology executive and instrument-rated private pilot based out of Tampa Executive Airport in Florida, flew his Cirrus SR22 Turbo G3 more than 800 miles to help introduce women and girls to flying.

Shembekar, who loves to share his aviation adventures in his blog, learned about the event from organizer Victoria Neuville’s aviation blog. He had stopped at Frederick once before, as part of an effort to fly to all 50 states—he’s reached 33 so far, he said—and decided to make the trip again. He said he enjoyed the experience of introducing people to general aviation for the first time.

“A lot of them don’t know what to expect,” he said. “I was impressed with the enthusiasm, and … how inquisitive they were.” As they flew over the rolling hills of Maryland, Shembekar said, the passengers got to notice landscape features they never paid attention to on the ground and experience the freedom of flying GA.

“Hopefully I’ll contribute to them catching the bug.”

—Sarah Brown

Photos by Bob Knill and Daniel Pixton
March 16, 2011

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Fly it Forward Feedback

I thought I was finished getting flooded with emails because the day of Fly it Forward in Frederick had come and gone; I was wrong.  I have been overwhelmed with such positive thanks from volunteers, pilots and participants alike.  What an impact this event has had!  Thank you to all who made it possible, you really made a difference in each of these ladies' lives!

"I remember one specific individual - a young woman in her early twenties - who was a true natural. I let her take the stick and she was able to hold altitude and heading within commercial standards. I told her it would be a shame if she didn't capitalize on this gift and pursue her dream of aviation. So many great questions and such incredible interest. It was a great way to spend a Saturday. The weather was excellent and, despite the winds, the air was relatively smooth." Frank, pilot

"That was SO fun.. I wanna buy a plane now... lol...Thanks so much for doing that for all of us!" Monica, participant
"Congratulations! An excellent event; well planned and well attended. You did an outstanding job organizing it. Everyone had a great time and I think you inspired a few girls and women to become pilots." Rosanne, volunteer

"Great event today! Thank you so much for organizing it!" Jennifer, participant

"The young ladies with whom I shared a ride were tickled. One of them said she'd be on an adrenaline high all day when they got out of the plane! :o)" Debbie, participant

"What an awesome time! There were smiles for miles including my own. I had a blast watching all the ladies go and return from the free flight." Paula, participant

 "Thank you for this wonderful event :) I had a very good time :)" Irene, participant

"Great photos! You had some talented photographers covering your fantastic event!" Suzanne, volunteer

"Awesome, awesome event!" Jamie, participant  

"I think the event was AWESOME and very impressive pulling it all together!" Joey, volunteer

"It was a joy to participate in an event that was well run, and thought out." Jeff, pilot

"This would have been a great success even if it wasn't the first time out." David, pilot

"Wonderful event Victoria!  Thanks for all of your hard work!" Helen, pilot

"Congratulations to Victoria, Sugarloaf, the 99s, and everyone who made Women Fly It Forward such a huge success!   Volunteers who stuck it out in the cold breeze were rewarded with a great BBQ afterwards that really hit the spot.  Thanks everyone - I think we all had a great time!" Debi, volunteer

"Congrats to Victoria and many thanks to her and the rest of the 99's and other fliers that helped make the day an incredible success. I was so impressed with how the day progressed and the positive experiences received by all participants. Looking forward to future events like this in Frederick." Lin, pilot 

"Congratulations on the success of the WFIF debut!" Dave, pilot

"Pretty amazing event from what I saw." John, transient pilot

 "What a great event!" Jill, volunteer

"Had such a good day" Dana, participant

"The couple dozen pilots who were ready to go, rose to the occasion and were able to take all 181 passengers up for what I am sure was a memorable experience!   (Hopefully, at least one of them will have been inspired to begin flight training of their own!)" TJ, pilot

"I love his plane.  He made me feel completely at ease. It was so amazing!" Andrea, participant\

"I had a great time!  Mike had a great time as well.  You can count him in whenever you need pilots!" Cheri, caterer 

"And thank you, again, for organizing this event.  My girls were thrilled and will remember this for the rest of their lives.  I believe it really did have the desired effect of stirring their interest in an aviation career." Tim, father of two young participants

"Really nice job on the Fly it Fwd thing and getting so many ladies up in the sky." Ted, supporter

"Hopefully that = 183 new licenses in the future :)" Tracy, supporter
"Awesome job!!!" Len, supporter

"You rock-so proud of what you did!" Rose, supporter

"Thank you for an absolutely amazing experience!" Kelly, participant

"An amazing event. Thank you Victoria for posting and putting it on. I hope you do it again next year." Kristin, participant

Monday, March 14, 2011

From the WOAW Newsreel

“I used to think that I had to get all my ratings and become a successful professional pilot before I could make a difference in aviation. I have recently learned, however, that I can make an impact regardless of my piloting title,” writes Victoria, Frederick’s event organizer, in her blog.
And what an impact she made!

Because of her and her leadership, 185 girls and women as young as 6 months and as old as 70 years went on their first smaller aircraft flight in Frederick, MD, on Saturday March 12 allowing the Frederick Airport aviation community to set a new aviation record for most girls and women introduced to flying in one day and one location.
21 pilots assisted by 30 ground volunteers spent five hours offering 20-minute flights to female residents of DC, MD, and VA. But there was much more to this event.

After their flight the participants went over to the education center where the EAA provided them time to see what the engine of an aircraft looks like and how to perform a preflight.
Norma Ely, an Air Traffic Manager from Andrews Air Force Base, the Andrews Air Force Base 1st Helicopter Squadron commanded by Lt Col Julie Grundahl, Jennifer Reineck, a First Officer from Air Wisconsin Airlines, Jane Wicker of Jane Wicker Airshows and the Sugarloaf Ninety-Nines happily answered participants’ questions.

The helicopter squadron flew a Huey in for display at the event and the MD State Police got to bring theirs over last minute as well!

Congratulations Victoria and the entire Frederick Airport aviation community for putting together such an amazing event!

For the latest information about the event, visit Victoria’s blog.

Females take flight over Frederick

Free, nationwide program aims to get women interested in aviation careers
On Saturday, participants of the Women Fly it Forward event at the Frederick Municipal Airport didn't need in-flight entertainment. The flying was the entertainment.

Victoria Neuville, a five-year pilot who moved to the area last year, organized the event, which allowed any woman who registered to take a free flight in the one of about 20 small planes or a helicopter.

Neuville said 181 women were in attendance. The airport allowed use of the runway, about 20 pilots volunteered their time and fuel, and several aviation-related organizations and other companies agreed to serve as sponsors.

"It was a great way to meet the aviation community," Neuville said, of the inaugural event for the Frederick area.

But her actual goal was to expose women to flight. A member of the Women of Aviation Worldwide Community, a grassroots organization that supports women getting into aviation, Neuville said she was one of many women around the country and world who put on similar events during the group's Women of Aviation Worldwide Week. International Women's Day and the anniversary of the first female getting her pilot's license in 1910 fall within the week, which extended from March 7 until today.

"I never had any of this when I wanted to fly," said Luz Beattie, one of the event's seven female volunteer pilots. A corporate pilot for one of the event's sponsors, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), Beattie has been flying for about 20 years, she said.

"[Women] are a minority in aviation," she noted. So it's important to "just open up the doors and provide information" to women who might want to get into flying but don't know how to get started.

Programs given out to women who registered included information about different types of pilot certifications and how to go about signing up for flying lessons. It also included a coupon for $20 off a flight at Frederick
Flight Center.

Jennifer Storm, the director of public relations for AOPA, said only six percent of the country's pilots are female.

"We're here supporting this event to increase that population," she said.

Storm said some women she spoke to just flew for fun, but others were coming to see if flight training was something they wanted to explore seriously.

Diana Johnson of Libertytown attended with her daughter, granddaughter and a friend of the family.

"I'm glad they gave us this opportunity," Johnson said. "It was totally awesome... I really commend the women who did this."

Johnson's daughter, Raime Smith, said she came to conquer her fear of heights.

"I couldn't keep my eyes open," she admitted. "But when I did open my eyes, the scenery was beautiful. It was worth it."

Although she's not quite ready to face her fear regularly for lessons, the experience did make her think about becoming a pilot someday, she said.
Susan Crowson, a Frederick resident, brought her 17-year-old daughter, Christine, to the event after hearing about it through a friend who works at the AOPA.

"It's a great idea because I would never do it otherwise," Susan Crowson said. She enjoyed the scenery, especially the mountain ridge and the patterns on the farm fields, she added.

Devon Casey, another Frederick resident, brought her 7-year-old daughter, Sadira Kirkham. They agreed that riding in a plane over their hometown was "a good way to spend a girl's day together," Casey said.
Sadira said she enjoyed her experience, and would think about becoming a pilot someday.

"Women Fly It Forward" Draws Hundreds of Potential Female Pilots

For video click here.

FREDERICK, MD - Many pilots say they love to fly for the thrill, but Judith Redlawsk has turned her love of flying into a career.

For the past 40 years she has pioneered the way for other women to follow in her footsteps.

"It's an opportunity to spread the good word about general aviation and what we do, how we use aircraft in business and how general aviation actually supports the entire economy," said Redlawk, an experienced career pilot.

At the first "Women Fly it Forward" event, Redlawsk and other female pilots hoped their experience would inspire other women to begin flying despite the male-dominated field of aviation.

"We hope to increase the women in aviation population and really educate women that this is something you can do to empower yourself and have a lot of fun," said Suzanne Koppanen, a Frederick resident and pilot.

The "Women Fly it Forward" project was such a success that over 240 women went up in planes including a six month old baby girl.

"It's such a great opportunity to see for girls to see what opportunities are out there in a field that's more male-dominated, so it's really cool," explained Linda Sothoron, a Frederick resident who brought her daughters out for a plane ride.

For those hoping to be future pilots, it was an experience they admit they won't soon forget.

"I saw my school and I saw my house and I saw my little brother playing ball," said eight year old Katie Dunmoyer, a Frederick resident who came out for her first plane ride.

Based on the amount of women who came out for "Women Fly it Forward," it could qualify Frederick Municipal Airport as the winner of the title "Most Female Friendly Airport."

The results of that contest have yet to be revealed.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

185 Women Introduced to Aviation at KFDK

I used to think that I had to get all my ratings and become a successful professional pilot before I could make a difference in aviation. I have had countless hurdles and delays in my pursuing my aviation career from monetary issues to a medical scare.  I have recently learned, however, that I can make an impact regardless of my piloting title.  I have never truly felt a "part" of aviation until this year, when it came to sharing aviation with others despite my frustration of where I am at with my pilot training. 

In December of 2010 I decided I wanted to put on a Fly it Forward event introducing non-pilot women to aviation at my new home base, Frederick Municipal Airport.  Frederick airport is home to the largest general aviation advocate organization and aviation magazine, AOPA as well as two flight schools and a wealth of eclectic pilots.  I thought what a better way to get connected in my new aviation community then hosting an event where everyone can get involved?

While the event was a definite challenge to put together, it couldn't have gone more smoothly.  We had over 30 volunteers willing and eager to help out.  This event also would not have been possible that without the great support of all of our sponsors: Frederick Flight Center, EAA Chapter 524, Sugarloaf Ninety Nines, Girls with Wings, DC Metro Aviation Club, The Spin Offs Aviation Club, Powder Puff Pilot, Paula Paiva Photography, The Seaplane Pilot Network, Patty Wagstaff Airshows, Morgan Stanley, The Savory Spoon, Landmark Aviation, Giant, AOPA and Aviation Insurance Resources.

20 planes and one helicopter spent five hours introducing 185 women to aviation.  Each ride was about 20 minutes long and gave the girls and women a quick glimpse of how the world looked below.  After their flight the participants went over to the education center where the EAA provided them time to see what the engine of an aircraft looks like and how to perform a pre-flight.  The Air Traffic Manager from Andrews Air Force Base, Norma Ely was there to talk to the participants as well as the Andrews Air Force Base 1st Helicopter Squadron commanded by Lt Col Julie Grundahl.  The helicopter squadron flew a Huey in for display at the event and the MD State Police got to bring theirs over last minute as well!  Jennifer Reineck a First Officer from Air Wisconsin Airlines, Jane Wicker from Jane Wicker Airshows and the Sugarloaf Ninety-Nines completed the impressive list of individuals prepared to answer any participants questions and to inspire them into future careers. 

There was not a frown to be seen at KFDK on Saturday.  Each participant came out of the plane excited and smiling!  One was so eager and had no fear that she got to experience a roll in an aerobatic aircraft!  Others were allowed to take the controls and see what flying an airplane felt like.  Several went out of the doors of the aircraft and into the doors of the flight school to purchase their discounted discovery flight! 

Our oldest participant was in her 70's the youngest, merely six months old!  They came from all walks of life and from all over the DC, MD, VA area.  One individual, Mary, has worked for the FAA creating instrument approach charts for 27 years and had never been in a small aircraft before.  Saturday we gave her the experience and showed her just how her work keeps pilots safe in the clouds.  A 12 year old, Summer, was very nervous when about to go up in a Cessna 180.  When she finally got in and they took off she exclaimed, "This plane is slow!"

I was exhausted spending about 11 hours at the airport on Saturday, but couldn't have been more thrilled.  Saturday we inspired a future generation of pilots and for those who are not going to sign up for their next flight, we provided them with a unique view not seen by many and a day at the airport full of fun, food and smiles!

Please visit here to see all the pictures!  More are added each day!