Friday, July 29, 2011

Last day at OSH :(

Enjoying my favorite part right now, the warbirds! After the airspace reopens we'll be heading to visit my grandmother in upper MI, KCMX. I'll be without internet and cell service until Monday, eek! How will I survive? ;) I will update once I get back into Fredrick. In the meantime, check out me and my girl, Ariel Tweto!

Oshkosh, Day 4

Day four started off gloomy and had some rain on and off during the day.  The airshow did happen and the biggest buzz was about the F-16 that went off the end of the runway.  

The booth was a bit slower that day, although I did get to meet in person some more underwriters that I deal with on a daily basis.  One was Jen, who I knew I'd get a long with because we use smiley faces and lol's in our business related correspondence to each other.

The highlight of the after noon was going to see the Women of Aviation Week founder, Mirielle Goyer, speak on "Fostering Women Friendly Aviation Businesses."  Mirelle did a lot of research and I cannot wait to share it with you once she publishes it, post-Oshkosh.  The winners of previous WOAW awards were in attendance to include myself, Lesley Page (along with her very supportive husband, Jeff), and Lin Caywood.  It was great to have us all together in one room.

That evening, Bob and I spent some unexpected time with some of our friends at AOPA.  This was due the huge downpour of rain that had set upon us, and we ended up seeking refuge with them as they passed by.  We swapped stories and shared jokes until the rain died down.  We had snacks as well, which was great because we wouldn't end up being able to grab dinner until just past 10pm!

Starting at 6pm at the Sennheiser tent was the MyTransponder/Podapolooza party.  For the Podapoloza portion, those who are involved in a present or new aviation podcast (me!) would be live streaming a joint podcast.  Everyone there was quite fun, full of character and...booze!  I was nervous as to how I would hold up against these experienced and hyper podcasters, but I did good and enjoyed my time there.  I spoke to introduce our new podcast, as well as the new ratings section.  Hope you had a chance to here it, if not I hope I can find a copy of it and put it on here soon!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

I'm live!

Go listen to we're livestreaming, including me. Eek!

Oshkosh, Day 3

It's going to sound like I'm dropping names, but that's really not my purpose.  It actually is just out of pure joy of meeting some individuals on Wednesday that I have been in contact with over the past year or so. 

First to stop by the booth to see me was Lesley Page who flew in from Canada with her husband, Jeff.  They just recently were awarded the award of merit from the Canadian Pilots Association for their efforts in introducing others to aviation.  Lesley was the brute force in awarding her home base the Most Female Friendly Airport in the World Title last year through Women of Aviation Week.  I "stole" that title from her this year but there were no hard feelings and it was great to chat about our events and flying history.

Women of Aviation Week founder, Mireille Goyer stopped by later and I think she nabbed me away from the booth for about an hour!  She is fascinating to talk to and has done a lot of very organized research on the numbers of women in aviation.  Today I will be attending her forum to here more on the subject.  She is a very smart and motivated little lady with a spunky French accent.  I look forward to speaking with her more.  She was very thankful for the efforts I did for Women of Aviation Week and thanked my boss as well, who sponsored it.

Later I cracked jokes with Rod Rakic of MyTransponder, who turns out used to work with one of my coworkers.  Aviation is a small world!  It's a wonder I got any work done at the booth today with all these fun people to meet and greet, but it didn't stop there!

Bob and I were picked up by some friends of mine who live in the Milwaukee area that I haven't seen in over five years.  We had a great dinner together catching up and talking of the old times when I was interrupted by non-other than my favorite full of energy CFI, Don.  I knew our buddy Steve would soon follow, him and Don are doing an talk about aerobatics and their film, AcroCamp tomorrow.  Steve helped himself to my french fries, of course.  I had warned my friends that any restaurants in the area would be full of rowdy pilots and it only got louder when I Rod and the other founder of MyTransponder, Mike showed up as well.

Lot's of people, lot's of stories, lot's of fun.
But I've got one more story...

This morning we awoke to see that the RV7 camping next to us had a very adventurous way of camping.  Their twin mattresses were each under a wing, that was it.  No tent.  Did I mention it was raining?  As I went to shower that evening, I noticed my neighbors now had a bit of cover and the tents were side by side.

"Moving up, I see," I said.

They laughed and proceeded to tell me their story.  

They had, indeed, come with a tent and with the purpose of sleeping in it.  Unfortunately, to their great surprise, it had no poles.  So that night they went without.  The next day they devised a way of putting the rain fly to use as a tent, they propped it up with a broomstick!  I told them they were now the official redneck campsite of Oshkosh :o)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Oshkosh, Day 2

Day two at Oshkosh was fun, I got to meet some new people as well as see some familiar faces.  A local pilot who I actually first met at the shuttle launch, a CFI who wanted to be my instructor at my old flight school, and a friend from AOPA all stopped by to see me in Hangar A.

At the booth, discussions with new and potential clients included not only insurance, but dream aircraft and how to get more woman involved in aviation.  One client surprised me because he recognized me as well as my name from the AOPA article.  That was a new one for me.

It can be torture staying inside when great performances and presentations are going on, today was Bob Hoover day and I am so jealous Bob got to go see him talk.  Alas, I had bizniz to attend to!  I'll have to have Bob give you the rundown in a guest post sometime.

I was not all work no play today, however.  We were to meet some underwriters from another insurance company that night and they treated us all to helicopter rides before our meal.  I had gone on several rides in my Oshkosh attendee past, but never during the airshow.  An aerial view of the Aeroshell team performance and the added bonus of seeing the Farmer's Airship (the largest in the country) take off are not to be forgotten.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Oshkosh, Opening Day

We arrived at Oshkosh mid afternoon on Sunday, unloaded the tightly packed Glasair, set up the tent and began to check out all that was around us.  We concluded our evening at the exhibitors' thank you dinner and watching Flight of the Intruder at the Fly In Theater.

Monday started with the tent baking in the sun and the sounds of aircraft arriving and departing the field.  T-6 Texans make great alarm clocks!  I took a easy five minute stroll from homebuilt camping to Hangar A, Aisle B, Booth 1141 to work for the day.  We were quite busy, and it was great to meet people who have talked on the phone and via email with so often.  Come stop by and say "hi" if you have the chance!

After work, Bob met up with me and my coworkers for dinner with some underwriters for Chartis Aerospace and a popular haunt for EAA members, Roxy's Supper Club (Yelp review to follow-post OSH).  After arriving back on the field our next destination was Theater in the Woods to learn the history of air mail and to see the documentary Barstormers....then collapse into bed!

Here's a few shots from the show, full album to come later.  Time to go back to work!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Where was the rain?

We arrived at Frederick Airport around 5:30pm to leave for Michigan, to visit my family before heading to Oshkosh.  Taking a look at the radar, there were ferocious storms around our route that didn't appear easy to navigate around.  We decided to go grab dinner at local diner and to see what things looked like after our stomach's were full.  The trip to dinner was slightly delayed, however, since Bob (tsk tsk tsk!) had locked the hangar keys in the hangar.  The airplane keys, our cars and their keys were in there as well! 
Lights of Metro Detroit
Following dinner, the storms looked like they would be easy to navigate through and around.  We departed and contacted Patomac Approach for VFR flight following.  The heat index in DC that day was 122 degrees.  Up at an altitude of 6,500 feet the outside air temperature read 83 degrees, it was hot and the haze dropped visibility to around 5 miles.

We didn't get any rain!
As we crossed the front, we never experienced any rain or had to dodge any weather.  Our on board radar showed us as flying through moderate precipitation, however, we never experienced any and could see the sun setting on the horizon.  Upon crossing the front, the visibility became unlimited and we lost about 20 knots on our ground speed.

We arrived at our destination two hours and eleven minutes later and I made a pretty darn good landing, if I do say so myself!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Bob guest blogs for the Pilot Report!

Bob is a guest blogger on The Pilot Report this week discussing the Anywhere Map.  So go check it out!  The "about the author" section is my favorite though :o)

Now how do I get him to guest blog on here from time to time when I don't have anything to babble about?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Celebrating my Commercial in the Aviatrix Aerogram

One thing I love about the Aviatrix Aerogram is that it honors the achievements of its readers and contributors.  Here is my page celebrating the achievement of my commercial ticket!  Are you a woman who wants to share your achievement in the Aerogram?  Click here for info on how to subscribe!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Hot Air Balloon Splash and Dash!

 It had been awhile since Bob and I have been able to crew for the beautiful hot air balloon, Tailwind and Sunday evening proved to be an exciting welcome back!

The AWOS was reporting calm at FDK, however, there was a slight gust from time to time that gave our pilot, Patrick some worries about the launch. The winds aloft were great. After waiting for awhile for the wind to die down we unpacked and prepared to launch. When inflating the envelope the gusty wind tried to make it hard on us, pushing the envelope back and forth across our set up area.

Bob on the crown line
I soon hopped in to help be some extra weight as the balloon tried to tip to each side, Bob joined shortly after. We had some seesaw movements for a short period of time while the balloon reached the optimal position and temperatures. Tailwind was eager to fly and once allowed, we jumped into the air smoothly, but fast. We had a great view of a glider in the pattern as we departed and Tailwind had a beautiful shadow as it moved over the runway at Frederick Airport. Patrick handled everything like a true professional, although it was a more exciting launch than usual, it was safe, by the book and not to mention, fun!

Tailwind shadow over the runway
It was hot.  It was humid.  We were sweating on the ground both from the heat and battling with the balloon in the wind.  I was looking forward to cooler weather up above.  Not so much.  We flew north of Frederick, over farmland, skimming some corn fields, watching cattle and listening to peacocks who loved to reply to Tailwind's burns.

Bob gets the controls!
The highlight of our flight was when we dipped down into the Monocacy River.  The wind was calm as we lowered in between the trees by the water.  We were in a hover, almost flowing backwards now, joining with the direction of the river.  There was a gentlemen fishing on the river, it was very funny scene, we waived and said hello to him, yet he never heard.  Each time the burners fired, he didn't even look up!  

We continued upstream and decided it was time for Tailwind's first "Splash and Dash"!  Tailwind slowly descended and made the river ripple as it touched the water.  Water quickly spilled in to gondola, cooling us off as it covered our feet.  Then we were off, watching the water escape back out, we were soon soaring above the trees again, the sun was setting and it was time to land.   

Post splash, time to dash!
The night ended with a landing at a farm in Walkersville, the homeowners and their three young boys and grandparents came out to help us pack away.

One boy looked at the basket and then said to me, "This looks like a picnic basket! It's not heavy!"

"Try to pick it up, then!" I replied.  He couldn't.
After the enveloped was tucked away in its bag Patrick helped the three boys into the basket and they each got a chance to fire the burners themselves and learn what each one was for.  It was dark, the fireflies were out and the crickets were chirping when we left the farm and headed to McDonalds for a celebratory McFlurry.

Happy pilot and passengers :)
For more pictures of the flight, check out the gallery.

To continue following the adventures of Tailwind or to volunteer as crew and get a glimpse of lighter-than-air aviation, please "LIKE" Tailwinds Over Frederick on Facebook.

Wait! There's more!  We have a video!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Ok, who is going to Oshkosh?

It is only THE aviation event of the season and I will be there once again...working, too!  Come stop by and see me at the Aviation Insurance Resources booth, in building #1141 across from Trade A Plane.  I will be staying in homebuilt camping with Bob and be at various evening events throughout the week.  Let me know if you're going and interested in meeting up!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Stuck Mic Episode 5 is Out!

Episode #5 was all about you, an entire episode of answering listener mail. We had some great questions and submissions and really enjoyed taking time to answer them.
I admit, I had my doubts about participating in this AvCast at first, but I have found that I really do enjoy being a part of it and I think that you will, too.  I think I have more fun listening to what the other co-hosts have to say and asking them questions than I do presenting my own topics!  I love that it is a combination of professional and GA pilots talking about what they are passionate about.  This time I do not have a sinus infection, I wonder if I will like how I sound now?  :o)

So go take a listen and enjoy Episode #5 of the StuckMic AvCast!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

$100 Hamburger - High Jackers

On our flight down for the shuttle launch we experienced typical Florida summer weather.   This is the weather where thunderstorms and rain showers can pop up at any time-and that they did!  We were only about 40 minutes from our destination and had to land due to storms at Flagler County Airport, FXFL, in Palm Coast, FL.  Our timing could not have been better, for we could see the sheets of rain racing towards the airport and upon the moment we touched down the tower beacon went on.  It was now IFR.  Visibility was 1/2 a mile and it was a monsoon outside.  

We waited inside for about two hours until the storms went away and all that was left was a light rain.  We were taking the airplane over to the fuel pumps to take advantage of the great price ($4.55! They are said to always be the lowest in the area) and noticed the on-field restaurant with a daring name: High Jackers.  We were wet, definitely not hungry and eager to get to Kissimmee, so we decided to come back on the way home for a $100 Hamburger and take advantage of more cheap fuel. 

It was funny, as we arrived to XFL for the second time again we were again dodging showers.  We took shelter inside the plane until the rain settled down a bit then made a hungry dash for High Jackers Restaurant.  I was excited to visit this restaurant due to its clever name.  However, I realized it could be very offensive to some individuals in the post 9/11 era.  I figured they must have named it prior to that dreadful day.  They did, only a month before.  According to their website and the back of the menu, 

"In the weeks following September 11, Gail and Ted anguished over whether the name of the restaurant should be changed. Finally drawing on the advice of President Bush to a nation in mourning, urging us all to continue our daily lives and enjoy our freedoms as Americans, lest these terrorists win, the staff and owners ultimately chose to let the name remain the same."

I liked that.

The decor inside is a mix of typical eclectic bar wall hangings with a mix of airplanes hanging and a few aviation themed plaques tacked up here and there.  Service was decent, the food left something to be desired, but hey! we flew there and that's all we need to keep us happy :) 

Click here for my Yelp review and to check out my $100 Hamburger Yelp list.  Visit my $100 Hamburgers tab for more ways to satisfy your hunger and flying cravings.

P.S. The tower is very friendly.

Monday, July 11, 2011

$100 Hamburger - The Sly Fox

On the way down to Florida last weekend, the plan was to stop at a private airport, N5C3, with an on field restaurant called the Pick n' Pig. It was known to be a very general aviation friendly airport with excellent BBQ. We called on UNICOM and did not hear anyone on the ground. When we were on final, someone did come up and announced to us that the restaurant was closed for the week. We then powered up and ascended.

We were very disappointed but found a larger, public airport just ten miles away. KSOP, Moore County Airport in Southern Pines, NC has a great runway and equally beautiful FBO. It used to do some commercial flights, but those stopped several years ago. The bathrooms were clean and the pilot room was well equipped, however the internet was pretty slow. There is a Hertz rental inside which allows you to take a rental as a courtesy car for up to two hours.

We too the courtesy rental and drove about ten minutes to a recommended restaurant to find it closed. We were very happy that it was, however, because we ended up dining at an amazing restaurant, The Sly Fox Pub. Amazing food. Amazing service. Amazingly good. Did I mention amazing? We may have to make this a stop in NC again maybe for dinner this time and lunch at Pick n' Pig?

Check out my review on Yelp for details on the food and service and my $100 Hamburger tab for more flying food favorites!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

STS-135 Pics and Video are Up!

Click here to check out all of the photos we took from the causeway.

Check out below for the video.  We attached a bendy tripod to my digital camera to take the video.  So you'll get Bob the photographer's view of the launch, complete with shutter sounds :P

What an amazing experience I will never forget.  So sad to see the shuttle program go.

Check back daily for highlights from our trip including two new $100 Hamburgers to add to the list!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Headin' home with more WX deviations!

We landed in the middle of nowhere, SC! The airport, Low Country, KRBW, has a lot of history, though! It used to be a Air Force field, the Tuskegee Airmen trained here and it used to house German prisoners during the war. There is a very nice FBO and three crosswind runways with fresh paint. The Glasair is tucked into a hangar in case the storms north of us hit here. We had to turn around and land because it didn't seem safe to pick through. Yay for crazy summer weather!

Friday, July 8, 2011

STS-135 Photos and Video

Will be posted tomorrow, if you are friends with me on Facebook you can see some there now.  For now, check out Bob's best shot of the AMAZING launch today!

Godspeed Atlantis!

Lines, lines, lines!

*line in the road to get to parking
*line at parking
*line to pick up tickets
*line to get on bus
*line of busses into KSC
*line through security
*line to scan tickets
*line to get back on busses

We are presently in a line of busses headed to the causeway, our journey began at 1am this morning. Clouds are a high overcast. Still only 30% favorable for launch, but the shuttle is fueled, the astronauts are suited up and getting ready to board. Let's get 'er done!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Deviated to XFL

Major storms in ISM, just beat the heavy rain into landing and now waiting things out in a dreary flagler beach.

Keeping positive for the shuttle launch!

As of last night in a conversation with a gentlemen who works with a lot of NASA employees, it's an 80% chance they won't fuel and a 70% chance the weather is not favorable.  I can't wait to beat those odds!  We're getting ready to head out to the airport right now and are going to stop at what is supposed to be an amazing $100 hamburger on the way.  Keep an eye out for my report and updates!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Stuck Mic Made it to the Top Ten!

Stuck Mic AvCast is on the top ten list of popular aviation podcast downloads on iTunes and only four episodes have been released so far!  So go ahead and see what all the fuss is about, listen now!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Quick $100 Hamburger in Ocean City

Ocean City, MD is one of our easiest go-tos for a fun beach weekend or just as a day trip.  Friday evening we decided to visit just for dinner.  At first we contemplated taking the Cessna, but we knew we'd be hungry so figured we'd save a little time taking the Glasair.  This trip had a twist, I finally took the left seat!  I usually fly the Glasair from the right and have been becoming quite used to it, so switching to the left had me so messed up at first!  I can see the instruments easily!  I can reach the rudders (they have risers on them)!  

I took all control from Bob and handled the radios and controls.  We called up to Potomac to pick up our SFRA flight plan.  We got our squak code, but were having trouble making out what the controller was saying and had to confirm that we were cleared to enter.  Usually in the past I have had Bob handle everything with the SFRA because I am terrified that a F-16 will show up if I just look at the airspace the wrong way.  Turns out, it's not bad at all and I am confident I can fly it by myself now. The flight was pretty uneventful, you could see for miles and two Cessna followed us all the way through the SFRA and to Ocean City.  We arrived about an hour after departing.

We picked up a cab (a little over $11 not including tip to get to the boardwalk around 16th St) to catch dinner at one of our favorite places.  We have gone to a nice Italian place, DaVinci's several times, but decided on Mexican where we ate before the Ocean City Airshow last year, Peppers on their outdoor patio.  They are a self proclaimed "5 Star Dive".  After a lovely walk down the boardwalk we stopped by our favorite cannoli stand, Julia's.  Bob and I are obsessed with cannolis and know a good one when we have them.  Trust me, this place is goooood.
We had our dessert while watching the waves sitting on a ledge dividing the beach from the boardwalk then called the taxi to head back to the airport.  It was going to be a busy weekend at Ocean City, planes were still coming in when were getting the plane ready to depart after dark.  We were home just an hour later, I was generous and gave Bob the left seat this time :o)

To see some various pictures from our Ocean City trips check out the gallery here.  Have I really not been there since I've had short short hair?  Also you can view the airshow pictures from previous years here.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

Enjoy those explosions and fly safe!

May the sun in his course visit no land more free, more happy, more lovely, than this our own country!  ~Daniel Webster

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Episode 4 of the Stuck Mic AvCast is out!

Check it out now to hear about:

My intensive commercial pilot training (if you hadn't read about it already)
1. Navigating thunderstorms
2. Thunderstorm avoidance
3. What to expect if you’ve flown into a thunderstorm
4. Learning about gust fronts
5. The danger of downdrafts
6. Windshear and low level windshear awareness
7. Co-hosts stories of thunderstorm encounters
8. What are you waiting for? Listen now!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Stuck Mic AvCast Intros: Carl Valeri

To continue my introductions of the eclectic Stuck Mic AvCast Crew is airline Captain Carl Valeri.  Carl brings a wealth of experience to the discussion as well as some great humor and honesty.  In episode 5 he reveals a somewhat embarrassing story that kept me laughing even after recording. 

StuckMicAvCast - Carl ValeriCarl Valeri@ExpertAviator - My name is Carl Valeri and my passion is flying and aviation.

I am fortunate to have turned my hobby of flying into my profession as a flight instructor and airline Captain. My passion for airplanes and flying started as a child building model airplanes. May 1, 1989 I took my first flight in a small airplane and I was hooked. Now I spend more days in the air than on the ground.

My website,, is both educational and entertaining. I truly believe in the axiom “a good pilot is always learning”. Regardless of the type of flying you can always learn, I hope you will take away from this site new insights and knowledge that will make you a more competent and safe pilot.

For those interested in aviation and that do not fly airplanes, I also discuss topics and terms you may hear in the news or from friends to provide you with further understanding of the aviation either as a enthusiast or a user of the air transportation system.

Please feel free to contact me at, all questions are important to me. Also, please visit my other website, where I have compiled a collection of all my writing on various topics.