Friday, April 29, 2011

Sad. The launch is scrubbed :(

We FINALLY made it!

We are here! We departed around 5:30am and started to watch the sunrise until it became blocked by a layer of clouds. The highlight of the trip was flying right over the Disney TFR at 2,000 feet. Unfortunately conditions weren't right to get a very clear picture and they only let you go straight through it, no loops.  Maybe we can catch it on the way home. I'm sitting on the wing, waiting for the fuel truck and a huge bird just flew by my head. I almost toppled over it scared the heck out of me! Anyway, expect some posts and many great pictures after this weekend, it's supposed to clear up and be gorgeous for the launch today and Disney tomorrow. Oh and check out this old plane at the Kissimmee Jet Center. So curious to hear its story.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

So close, yet so far away! At KTMA

Well, I'm sad to say we are not in Florida yet.  We are getting a nice tour of southern airports, though!  We said goodbye to our lovely hosts at KMAO (highly recommend for their hospitality, short jaunt to hotel and cheap gas.  Not a good $100 hamburger and not much in the area, though) about 5:00pm.  We were set out westward to get behind the storm system towards KTMA as our waypoint, with plans to shoot south to KISM from there.  The storm decided to stay put and we decided to as well at KTMA, Tifton Airport in southern Georgia.  We will depart early in the morning for KISM to hopefully redeem the rest of the trip.  A fellow pilot from the DC area also heading down for the launch drove and has beaten us there.  He tweeted to me, "Got time to spare? Go by air!"  This time, he sure is right!  We'll have to beat him on the way home :)  I'm off to bed, thank goodness they're cozy!

Still at KMAO

KMAO not LMAO in SC!

Well, where to start? Weather! Weather! Weather!

The plan was originally to leave early this morning, have s pit stop in South Carolina, then head to Orlando.  We made it as far as SC, but a day early!  A huge line of storms was to hit in the early morning so we thought it best to head out Wednesday night and stop at my aunt's in Raleigh for the night  Then the weather changed again and so did our plans.  The system would spread far south and we decided to get as far down as we could Wednesday night.

So we were worried about this huge system off to our west, but there was another small line coming straight for Frederick.  The new plan was to go west of that system and then head straight south after we were clear of it.  Just as we arrived at KFDK that first line hit.  We stayed in the pilot lounge for a few minutes as it passed and it passed quickly!  Packed up, gassed up and we took off, it was now 10pm.

We headed west to MRB to avoid that first line of storms, except for a few minutes, the flight was incredibly smooth.  We had a beautiful light show in the distance from the storms, but it was only beautiful because it was far away!  We were glad we were not arriving to the DC area for just as we passed MRB several jets were put into holds for level five and six weather that was right on final into Dulles.

We arrived at KMAO, Marion County Airport in Marion, SC just after 1am.  It made for a tiring and long flight with a 45-50 knot headwind!  KMAO first caught my eye because it reminded me of LMAO (Laugh My A$$ Off), but I supposed in this case the "K" can be for Kiss :)  KMAO's gas was inexpensive compared to the Myrtle Beach airports to the east, had a decent sized runway and instrument approaches.

There is an inexpensiive Comfort Inn just a five minute walk when you turn left off of the airport road.   Your view while you walk?  A prison, a jail and an animal shelter!  So if you're looking for a new family pet, make sure  you get the right building! :)

We went to bed around 2am to wake up just after 8 to check the weather, which did not look good.  We knew we would have to wait it out, so our next concern was getting the plane in a hangar.  We took the quick walk past the prison and back to the airport to inquire.  There are eight planes based at KMAO and only eight hangars. Luckily, one gentleman's plane was away for an annual and we were allowed to use his.  Just as we were pulling the Glasair up to the hangar as the very friendly worker was sliding the doors open, it started pouring.  We got the plane in and waited it out. It was so loud in there, I could barely hear myself think

The three of us waited in the hangar until the rain became lighter then rushed back over to the terminal building.  Daisy (I forgot to get the name of the lady who was working over there, although she does not look like a Daisy, that is what I'll call her) was kind enough to drive us back to the hotel.  KMAO does not have a courtesy car, but we were told the airport employees would always be more than happy to drive us for quick trips in their old police car.

So that's where we stand (well, I'm actually laying on the bed) as of now.  It's rainy and windy outside and we are watching some show on  bears  that attack people. Wish us luck that things start looking up and that we are up, too!

Weather at KMAO this morning

Our flight last night

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Now listen here...

Weather! Listen up! You better behave, you hear? Great things are ahead this weekend and I am know you would like to be polite and giving by either A.) passing through quickly B.) Take your dear old time and stay to the west or C.) just disappear all together. Those are your options. Do what's RIGHT. Thank you.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Your Journey Into Space Starts Here

Anyone want to donate $220k to me for my ticket?  :)  While I won't be going into space anytime soon, I do get to watch the Shuttle Endeavor launch from the Kennedy Space Center in just five days!  It is very hard to contain my excitement!

Happy Easter!

He has risen!  I wish you safe flying, speedy tailwinds and colorful eggs!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Anniversary Seaplane Pilot Network!

Jason Baker was growing up in Germany when he first took to the skies.  At the age of 14 he was flying gliders and at 18 became a private pilot.  He later would come to the United States to get his US private certificate and would go on to earn his commercial pilot, single engine Land, single engine sea, multi-engine land, instrument and advanced ground instructor ratings. 

I got to know Jason through his passion for seaplane safety and introducing others to aviation, especially women.  He was not only quick to promote the Women of Aviation Week event I held in Frederick, but  on the national level as well.  Jason's generosity continued above and beyond expectations when he donated a seaplane introductory flight scholarship to WOAW participants and gave not only a voice, but their own category on The Seaplane Pilot Network

The Seaplane Pilot Network is Jason's brainchild along with the assistance of fifteen supporting members and four industry sponsors.  Since its inception, the forum has seen over 3,000 posts and about 68,500 visitors and expects to reach out even more in the coming year.

So join me in congratulating The Seaplane Pilot Network on the completion of its first year as it looks forward to a bright future full of avid discussion and passion for aviation.  Join it!  Get talking!  What are you waiting for?

Here is how to become a member:
The continued success and existence of this forum is the result of active & supporting members making it what it is. To avoid collecting large amounts of inactive members, our automatic registration features are no longer available and inactive accounts/ profiles are subject to deletion after 45 days. This is done to protect our existing membership, and keep our forum from filling with ghost members which never participate. If you wish to join our group, feel free to contact and enter “ Membership” in the subject line. Please provide your desired user name and password (6 characters minimum, you may change it later) as well as an active, functional email address. Your account will be established and working, usually within less than 12 hours. Thank you! We look forward to having you as member of our forum.
 P.S. Thanks for the shirt!

Monday, April 18, 2011

$100 Hamburger - Craft Ale House

Today was gorgeous and calm, Bob left work early excited to be a passenger on a quick $100 hamburger flight in my (ok, it's not mine but we pretend :p ) C172.  Unfortunately, the nose shock was flat.  So we switched over to the Glasair and decided to take a $100 hamburger a bit farther away, in Limerick, PA (KPTW-Heritage Field).  I granted Bob's wish (with no hesitation) of still being a passenger by acting as PIC and handling all of the controls.  The flight over was uneventful, the runway appearing just behind towering cooling towers.  I landed, but Bob had to take control of the rudders for me-I can't reach!

The airport was quiet, with only one other aircraft departing while we were there.  Fuel was expensive, way more than Frederick, but when asking if there was a landing fee the very friendly lineman said, "nah!" So I'm not sure if it was waived for us, or if there wasn't a fee.  The highlight of this airport is the owner's two restoration projects tucked away in the back of the FBO hangar: a Beech Staggerwing and a Travelair S600B.  The Travelair was my favorite and had a remarkable history.  It was the first airplane Delta purchased for airline service.  Some research when we got home told us that it flew at 90mph and was put into working service on June 17, 1929 at a cost of $90 round trip from Dallas to Jackson.  The lineman told us it even had running hot and cold water.  

Our $100 hamburger of choice was not on the field, but just a 10 minute walk to the east: Craft Ale House.  Bob's parents live just 45 minutes away and met up with us for the delicious meal with the bonus of live Irish music.  There was another restaurant just across the street from the airport, The Whiskey Grill which we are excited to come back and try.  We left around 8:00pm to make it home before 9, with might I say a perfect landing done by yours truly (and Bob on the rudder pedals).  As we drove away from the airport we  enjoyed the magnificent of the large and orange full moon.   

Be sure to check out my Yelp review and click here for more photos!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

It's BBQ Season

After a day of cleaning it was time to enjoy the weather by joining some friends for a BBQ at KFDK.  My friend Lin and her South African fiance, Carlo (I tell you he's South African because several of his friends were as well-pilots and accents-yum!) just got a runway view hangar and it was time to celebrate.  It was really great to do some hangar flying (talk about flying) with new and old friends.  We had planned to go flying afterwords, however, the it was very breezy and my exposed toes were getting chilly.  Not quite sandal season yet, I guess.  I look forward to future BBQs in the coming weeks, my boss throws them every Friday at his hangar when the weather is nice and Lin will be doing plenty more.  "We're going to have fun this summer!" she promised me.  I also have the award ceremony/BBQ in the works as well.  I can just smell the hot dogs and baked beans now...mmm!

Friday, April 15, 2011

A new pilot friend: Meet Jay!

Aerial Photo by Jay Taffet
Earning your private pilot's certificate is no easy task and having the passion and skill to go beyond that certificate and actually make a career in aviation is even more challenging.  I've had the pleasure of getting to know some great individuals in aviation through various events, airshows and through my blog. 

Jay Taffet is a third generation pilot who earned his certificate at 18 and his Air Force wings at 22.  I admire Jay for his entrepreneurial gift and his great sense of humor.  He started his own aerial photography business from scratch and with little photography knowledge and now run a business that is in high demand.  His work has been placed in encyclopedias and has even been viewed by the president.   I know I have many unique business ideas for aviation and I hope I experience such success as Jay has.  He has created the company "Fly and Earn" teaching others to do aerial photography and has also written the book, "The Zen of Financial Peril".  I look forward to keep in touch with Jay over the coming years, if you'd like to as well contact him on his Fly and Earn website. 

Are you a pilot who reads my blog or has a great aviation business you'd like to share?  Just drop me a line!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Finally My Turn!

I have had access to a C172 through my company for the past six months, yet have only flown it half a dozen times and had yet to with Bob as my passenger.  Things always came up that stopped us from flying it from weather to dead batteries.  

Yesterday we were going to visit Bob's parents in Pennsylvania and his father was excited to critique my landing.  Unfortunately I was in need of an IPC and the aircraft for an updated database so Mr. Z had to critique his son's landing instead.  The landing I made in the Glasair, he did not get to see.  It was on the way back to Frederick that night.  I think it was my best one yet in the Glasair considering I can't reach the rudder pedals!

Today we both left work early to enjoy the 80 degree weather. However, that weather wasn't so enjoyable once in the air.  I really wish these planes could have air conditioning! :)  The wind was gusty at 20 knots which made for a bumpy ride and a challenging landing.  Once in cruise flight I actually came out of my seat and let out a squeal in surprise from the sudden turbulence.   The destination was Gettysburg Regional Airport, a mere 15 minute flight away, to enjoy a picnic.  The most difficult part of the flight was actually spotting the airport!  Bob and I both looked intensly and circled for awhile until I finally spotted it...then lost it again...then found it!  We did a low approach so I got an idea of the winds and I wasn't prepared to land after searching for the airport for so long.  There is a long displaced threshold and the wind loved to try to push me off of center but we made it in softly, but not too gracefully.

Gettysburg Regional is very quiet and quaint.  It only has nine planes and one ultralight based on the field.  It was dead quiet until a Piper Seneca came in to land.  It looked like he was being pushed by the wind and therefore overshot final just like I had, but recovered nicely and had a bit more elegant landing than I did.  They picked up their passenger and left shortly after.  We had the airport to ourselves to enjoy our picnic and explore a bit before heading back.  We made it back to KFDK just before the rain came in.

As part of the revamping of this blog I have set up a new photo album that will eventually be embedded under my "media" tab.  Check out photos from today in the new gallery as well as others from the past.  I will not continue to update the old Picasa album, but will update the slideshow.  The new gallery now features the same photos. 

Enough with the blogging for tonight.  Time to finish up and mail out the invites for the celebratory Fly it Forward BBQ awarding the Most Female Friendly Airport trophy to Frederick on May 6th!

Frederick, Md., airport dubbed "most female-friendly"

Frederick, Md., airport dubbed "most female-friendly"
By Dan Namowitz

The efforts of 22 pilots and numerous volunteers to introduce 185 girls and women to aviation on March 12 have earned the Frederick Municipal Airport in Frederick, Md., the title of Most Female Friendly Airport in the World for 2011 by the Women of Aviation Worldwide Week organization.

The day’s activities celebrated 2011 Women of Aviation Worldwide Week, and set a record for the number of girls and women introduced to flying in one day at a single location, said the sponsoring organization, Women of Aviation Worldwide Week, in a news release. The annual observance aims to raise awareness about opportunities available to women in the aviation industry. It takes place each year during the week of March 8, on which International Women’s Day is observed.  

In all, pilots on three continents introduced 707 girls and women to the joys of flying from March 7 through 13, and many more learned about the organization.

AOPA reported on March 16 that the Frederick event was organized by instrument-rated private pilot Victoria Neuville, who said that she wanted to ensure that girls and women feel welcome at the airport. Neuville’s efforts to expand aviation horizons for women were profiled in the April 2011 issue of AOPA Pilot. 

Even before the gates opened at the Frederick event, it was clear that enthusiasm for the invitation to come out and fly was running high, with prospective passengers lining up before the 10:30 a.m. start time. 

“It opened up a whole new world that I hadn't considered before," said Dianne Christensen of Frederick.
AOPA, which is headquartered at the Frederick airport, was a sponsor of the local event, and is a sponsor of the Women of Aviation Worldwide Week. 

The Women of Aviation Worldwide Week organization honored other initiatives as well. Dianna Stanger of Port Lavaca, Texas, won the title of Most Dedicated Female Pilot in the World, using her Eurocopter EC120 to introduce 98 girls and women to flying. Laith Barnhill of Arlington, Wash., won the Most Supportive Male Pilot in the World title. Canadian pilot Cathy Montgomery of Peterborough, Ontario, flew her open cockpit Trike in minus-2-degrees-Celsius temperatures to earn the title of Most Dedicated Female Flight Instructor in the World. Casey Cowan braved rainy weather in Arlington, Wash., and earned the title of Most Supportive Male Flight Instructor in the World. Jasmine Gordon of Port Lavaca, Texas, took the opportunity to give back to her community by inviting volunteers of local nonprofit organizations to enjoy a free first flight, earning the Most Creative Aviation Advocate title. 

Ciara Thompson of Kpong, Ghana, won the writing contest prize. Sarah Higgins of Edina, Minn., won in the art contest, and Terri Donner of Fishersville, Ky., submitted the winning photo.

Next year’s observance will have a seaplane theme to mark two centennials: Helene Dutrieu of Belgium became the first woman to pilot a seaplane, and American pilot Harriet Quimby flew across the English Channel, said the announcement.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Bad news, Good news

Bad news:  My stomach is majorly on the fritz.  I was diagnosed with severe acid reflux a few years ago and according to an endoscopy last week, it may not be that which is causing me so much trouble. I can barely eat and have constant nausea.  My biopsy, other tests and endoscopy all came back negative, so it's time for an ultrasound and some blood work.  Due to all this, my commercial training has been postponed until I am in better health.  It was a real disappointment and a very hard, but good decision to make..

Good news: I have more time to train and won't be as rushed.  I'm actually kind of relieved.  One bonus of postponing my training is that we have been talking about seeing the Endeavor shuttle launch at the end of the month, but I always found excuses (money, training, etc) not to go.  I've always wanted to see a launch and this could be my last chance because this is the last funded launch.  So I finally shut up and we're doing it!  Sooo excited!  Today I enjoyed spending some time at KFDK, I volunteered Bob to teach Boy Scouts how to pre-flight aircraft.  I loved watching him talk to the boy scouts and hear their answers to his questions, he did a great job (what a turn on)!  Tomorrow we will be taking my company plane to visit his parents.  Forecast: 75 degrees, sunny and beautiful!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Fly it Forward Results in the Frederick News Post

Frederick dubbed most female-friendly airport
Originally published April 08, 2011

By Ike Wilson

Frederick dubbed most female-friendly airport

Photo by Staff file photo by Graham Cullen

Pilot Lin Caywood competed last spring in the 2010 Air Race Classic, which begins in Fort Myers, Fla., and ends at Frederick Municipal Airport. Last month, Caywood won the first runner-up trophy for the “Most Dedicated Female Pilot in the World” for flying 15 women during “Women Fly it Forward” day celebrations March 12 at the Frederick airport.

Frederick Municipal Airport received the "Most Female-Friendly Airport" designation following the Women Fly it Forward event on March 12.

The airport got the award for introducing the most women to aviation during "Women of Aviation Week" -- March 7 to 13.

"We broke the world record for the most women introduced to aviation during one day at one location," event organizer Victoria Neuville said.

The award stemmed from an original challenge in 2010 to celebrate the centennial of the first licensed woman pilot by holding events at airports to fly women who had never been in a small airplane to expose them to general aviation.

The 2010 events were so successful the challenge was reissued for 2011. One of the specific components of the challenge was to fly as many women during a single day to earn the most female-friendly airport designation. Frederick's 185 passengers surpassed the previous record of 171.

The trophy, donated by Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, will be presented to the airport community at an award ceremony and barbecue in May. Frederick Mayor Randy McClement and volunteers and pilots who helped make the event possible will be invited.

Women of Aviation Week -- a community of people who believe the aviation industry would be better off with more women involved -- will present the award.

The airport also won a Global Positioning System safety seminar valued at $149, which will be awarded to the pilots who volunteered for the event.

In addition to the airport award, Frederick pilot Lin Caywood won the first runner-up trophy for the "Most Dedicated Female Pilot in the World" for flying 15 women during the event.

"It was so much fun being able to share my passion for flight with these ladies, who ranged from teenagers to grandmothers," Caywood said. "All had a great interest in experiencing flight -- maybe some just to check it off their life events list, but a few because they wanted to pursue flying for pleasure or for a career."

Caywood has reconnected with one of her passengers who has started studying for her private pilot training and will be taking her first lesson in a few weeks, she said.

"My passengers all were very excited to be able to fly with me, they asked lots of great questions and were appreciative of having an event dedicated to women," Caywood said.

The event offered 20 planes and one helicopter that spent five hours introducing the 185 women to aviation. Each ride was about 20 minutes long and gave the participants a quick glimpse of how the world looked below.

After their flight, the Experimental Aircraft Association provided participants the opportunity to see the engine of an aircraft, and to perform a pre-flight check.

The air traffic manager from Andrews Air Force Base and a helicopter squadron commander talked about aviation.

Neuville said she's eager to organize another event next year. All the volunteers have agreed to do it again and several girls signed up for their discovery flight.

"I like Frederick airport because although I am relatively new to the area it didn't take long to feel like home," Neuville said. "All the pilots and other people I met around the airport were more than willing to help out with the event and give me their support. It's a really great community."

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


A Busy Toriafly

I have lots of fun aviation events coming up so be prepared for lots of fun and interesting blog posts (hopefully).  First, I will be attempting to finish up my commercial pilot certification (finally!).  I have a very busy and accelerated flight training schedule to do this the last two weeks of April and will be studying hard for my oral until then. 

In May, I will be helping out with the Girl Scout Aviation Patch Day at Bay Bridge Airport and also be flying up to New York to support one of my readers who will be putting together an event introducing women to aviation.  Since Frederick won the title of "The Most Female Friendly Airport in the World" for the Fly it Forward event, I will be putting together an awards ceremony to hand out trophies, yes with an s!  We had two pilots win titles as well!  Somewhere amidst all this I will also be trying to fit in the "Explore Maryland by Air" requirements with Bob as well as some new fun to fly to places. 

So, keep checking back and let's hope for smooth air and tailwinds!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Frederick is officially the most female friendly airport in ze WORLD!

2011 Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week winners announced

Art contest winning entry
“Smiles for miles” was the title of an article describing the amazing event organized by Victoria Neuville in Frederick, Maryland, USA. With 185 flights, the Frederick Airport Aviation Community wins the coveted “Most Female Pilot Friendly Airport in the World” title.

In the pilot categories, Dianna Stanger of Port Lavaca, TX, introduced 98 girls and women to flying in her Eurocopter EC120 and wins the “Most Dedicated Female Pilot in the World” title and AOPA’s exclusive watch while Laith Barnhill of Arlington, WA, USA wins the “Most Supportive Male Pilot in the World” title and AOPA’s Zulu watch.

Cathy Montgomery of Peterborough, ON, CANADA, flew her open cockpit Trike in -2 Celsius temperature 19 times to earn the “Most Dedicated Female Flight Instructor in the World” title. In Arlington, WA, USA, Casey Cowan braved the rainy weather and introduced 23 girls and women to flying to win the “Most Supportive Male Flight Instructor in the World” title.

Jasmine Gordon of Port Lavaca, TX, USA, chose to give back to the people who give so much to the local community. She invited volunteers of local non-profit organizations to come to the airport for a flight. She wins the “Most Creative Aviation Advocate” title.

View the full list of award winners here.

“Why I Want To Fly” was the question for the Karlene Petitt’s writing contest. Ciara Thompson of GHANA, is the worldwide winner of the contest. Sarah Higgins of the USA sent the winning art titled “Flying Free From the Chains of the Earth” and Terri Donner of the USA sent the winning photo.
View the full list of contest winners here.

Thanks to the support of our Gold sponsor, Direct-to Savvy GPS Pilot, our Silver sponsors AOPA and Out of Blue Aviation, and our Bonze Sponsors, Flyabout, Windtee, Aircraft Spruce, Breaking Through The Clouds, Flight to Success, Powder Puff Pilot, Galvin Flying Services,,, Girls With Wings, Atlantic Aviation and Flight Center,, Aviation World, Pacific Skies Aviation, and REMOS Aircraft, many prizes were awarded to pilots, first flight candidates, and event volunteers. Random drawings were done using the unbiased

View the names of the prize winners:
Over seven hundred girls and women introduced to flying and several thousandths more aware of the opportunities available to them in aviation are the true winners of this event.

“It was a lot of fun – I have signed up for my first lesson/flight encounter at the Gaithersburg Airpark,” said Carol of Maryland, USA.

There are many more comments and thank you’s for each organizer, pilot, and volunteer. Your generosity and kindness were noticed. Each and everyone of you is an amazing ambassador of aviation. Thank you.