Thursday, May 31, 2012

$100 Hamburger: Madison Chophouse Grill

Now this airport is a pilot's dream stop.  398nm from NEW, stopping at Madison Municipal Airport in GA left us with 455 to go to FDK.  Unfortunately we didn't have the blessing of a usual tailwind from the west, Tropical Storm Beryl had other plans.  A line of storms were forming along are path and it appeared that time was of the essence to hurry up and land and gas up at our halfway point, 52A, Madison Municipal Airport.  After a nail biting landing from crazy crosswinds and wind shear we made it on the ground and gassed up at the self serve pump.  We later read that if the winds are OK for it, it is best to land on runway 14 which is uphill and take off the opposite runway for downhill.  This works best with the surrounding trees and displaced threshold as well.

The wind still blew and the sky looked menacing as we explored the airport and filled the tanks.  A few sprinkles dropped but the storm eventually broke apart and headed south of us.  The pilots lounge at Madison Municipal is a small brick building that looks like something out of a western movie.  It was immaculately clean and had some snacks and drinks out on the table for the taking.  Comfy couches, a TV and magazines were available in the lounge area and they had speedy internet in the flight planning room.  If no one is there, just use the CTAF as the code to get in.  

There is a Crown Victoria courtesy car for the taking (just call ahead to make sure no one else has it or you may have a bit of a wait), all they ask is that you put a gallon or two in the tank in return.  Take the Victoria (not me) just short 5 minute drive (or 30ish minute walk) across the railroad track and into historic downtown Madison.  The drive is along a wooded road with historic southern plantation style homes on each side.  Madison is full of cute little shops, stores filled with sweets and cafes and restaurants.  Our restaurant pick was recommended to us by the airport manager, the Madison Chophouse Grill.  There is indoor and outdoor seating and lots to choose from.  If you ever need a halfway stop or looking for a $100 hamburger excuse in the GA area, a stop to Madison is likely to hit all of your "must haves".

Are you a Yelper?  Check out my $100 Hamburger list there as well as here on my blog!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Memorial Weekend Flight to NOLA!

It was a 838.5nm trip to the Big Easy and boy was it hot!  Luckily we usually stayed above 7,000 feet each way to keep cool.  We left for NOLA Friday morning, departing IFR due to a low ceiling. We made the trip in just over 5 1.2 hours with a 170 knot cross wind and one stop along the way (mentioned in the previous post).  We flew over 5,000' mountains with beautiful and wispy clouds flowing over them. 

Our airport of choice was KNEW, Lakefront Airport, just a 15 minute taxi ride to the city.  It is right on the water and we enjoyed the blue waves while coming in on final over runway 18.  Our pick FBO was AeroPremier Jet Center.  I have talked with the now manager of this newly built facility over the years so it was time to finally meet him.  Tie downs are $10 a night and there is a ramp fee of $20 which is waived when you purchase AvGas.  Apparently this is not unusual at this airport and is usually what you expect at a bigger city.  They have a great cab driver, named Henry, who's been a driver in the city for 60 years!  He really knew his way around and how to get you somewhere quickly.  He charges a flat $25 fee to and from the airport, and is the cheapest you'll get for such a trip.  Despite some higher fees than we are used to at smaller GA airports, our experience at AeroPremier was a very good one.  Customer service was really helpful setting us up with a discounted hotel and the cab for our stay.  The line guys were really great when we need some oil and air.  They also brought us some screwdrivers so we could take down the bulkhead to put some new artwork we had purchased in Jackson Square down the tail.  They loved the Glasair and were happy that Bob is so willing to chat about it.

What did we do in New Orleans?  Oh so much!  First, we walked everywhere, probably a total of 15 miles over three days.  Although we can easily hike that much in one day, this was quite a feat in the 90+ degree heat and no shade.  The first evening we enjoyed a delicious meal outside on of NOLA's top restaurants and continued to walk into the city and explore the French Quarter a bit.  On day two we started with a trip to Riverwalk then took the ferry to Algier's Point to explore the calmer West Bank.  Later, it was on to the French Market and Jackson Square.  We attempted to go to the St. Louis Cemetery, but it was closed.  So what did we do after a quick washup and dinner?  What every person comes to New Orleans for: the nightlife of Bourbon Street!  We took it very easy compared to many people we saw.  I can't decide what was better: the people watching or all of the great music.

Day two involved more walking again!  By the time we had woken up, had breakfast, and made the journey to the cemetery, it was once again closed.  Yeah.  Not so happy about that.  So we enjoyed some shade watching the ducks swim around the fountain in Louis Armstrong park.  Next was a fascinating trip to a voodoo museum which you can read my review and reviews of other places we ate at and visited in NOLA on my Yelp list.  It was very small, but really interesting.  I even picked up some gris gris (juju) bags for my friends as well as one for myself.  I'll let you know if they do the trick!  We ended the night with people watching and ice cream eating in Jackson Square then a nice dip in the rooftop hot tub.
Day three we arose early so we could finally get to the cemetery on time.  It turns out the wait was worth it.  This was also the final resting place of one of the voodoo queens we had read about in the museum.  When we arrived back at our hotel after the cemetery trip it was time to pack up and call Henry to take us back to NEW.  After about an hour prepping on the ground (gas, air, and artwork arrangement) we were up in the very, very hazy and hot sky.  Tropical Storm Beryl was to ruin our usual westward tailwind and caused us keep watch on a nearby line of storms.  As it turns out, it dissipated shortly after landing at our halfway spot (details in the next post) and produced some beautiful rainbows and a stunning sunset on the remainder of the flight home. 
The descent into Frederick Monday night was a big change from the cooler air above.  The cockpit quickly became stuffy and warm.  The new tower was closed which turned out to cause some confusion in the pattern with another aircraft, but it quickly got sorted out and I accomplished a decent night landing.  We tucked the plane away in the hangar and headed home exhausted, but smiling. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

$100 Hamburger: Spitfire Deli

It was Memorial Day weekend, so with out extra time Bob and I decided to fly to the Big Easy!  With an almost 840nm trip, I picked out halfway points along the way for two important things: 1. Gas and 2. Food!  WDR, Barrow County Airport in Winder Georgia was 445nm from Frederick and proved to be an excellent spot for a $100 hamburger.

WDR is the home of the Spitfire Deli, a great little spot inside the FBO that serves various fresh sandwiches and scrumptious cookies.   The deli also has outdoor seating which provides a great view of the ramp and one of the runways.  Fun music from the 50's and 60's played on the outdoor speakers as we enjoyed our lunch under the shade of the umbrella. 

One great thing about this pit stop is Spitfire Deli offers 10% off of your check when you purchase 15 or more gallons at the self serve pump.  Other discounts are offered on certain days of the week, as well as a a percentage off your gas for a year if you have your annual performed at WDR!  I highly recommend this stop for anyone who is passing through!  

If you want to read my review about Spitfire Deli on Yelp just check it out here.  While you're there, check out my whole list of $100 Hamburgers on there.  For the post on the airport, not just the food check out my $100 Hamburger tab.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Female pilot tosses passenger for sexist remarks

Great to see a company standing behind their lady pilots! I cannot believe that in this modern age, people still harbor such sexist thoughts.

Female pilot tosses passenger for sexist remarks 

By Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY

Brazil's Trip Airlines says it booted a passenger off one of its flights this past Friday after he made loud sexist comments about women flying planes to the flight's female pilot.

Trip confirmed the incident in a Tuesday statement, saying the man was removed from a flight going from Belo Horizonte to an airport in Brazil's central state Goias state.

Trip was not apologetic, however, stressing it has no tolerance for disparaging remarks directed at any of its 1,400 female employees.

The unidentified flier who allegedly made comments was met by police and removed from the Belo Horizonte airport, The Associated Press reports. The news agency says Brazilian authorities have not responded to requests for more information and that it is not known if the man faces any charges.
The incident delayed the flight by about an hour.





Sunday, May 20, 2012

Girls' Day on the Flightline @ Andrews

The Girls
The Blue Angels
Bob was out of town so it was time for a long overdue girls' weekend! After a nice little party Saturday it was decided that we would all head over to Andrews Air Force Base for the joint service open house on Sunday.  My friends Meagan, Andrea, Carlotta and I were treated to jaw dropping performances by Sean Tucker, Michael Goulian, the Geico Skytypers, the Harrier jump jet, a F22, and many more.  The finale of the show was the Navy's Blue Angels, which I haven't seen in a few years.  It was a new experience for Carlotta and Andrea so it was great to see them so excited about aviation things as well.  Poor Carlotta kept her ears plugged throughout most of the show!  Besides checking out the various performances we enjoyed browsing the many static displays and had a few moments of excitement when no one could see for a few minutes when the jet truck's smoke blew far into the audience!  It was great to share this fun aviation filled day with my gal pals and I was bummed to hear that this once annual tradition will only be happening every other year from now forward.  Looking forward to another great show in 2014!  

Want to see more photos?  Check them out here!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Happy Birthday to ME!

As a present, you are all welcome to give me free rides in your aircraft!  Hehe!  Seriously, though, what an amazing year.  I have come so far and seen many great things in aviation.  To commemorate it all I will be treating myself to a special birthday gift.  I will post what that gift was in the coming week! :o)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Stuck Mic #24!

If you haven't noticed, episode #24 of the Stuck Mic AvCast is out. 

We’re back in action this episode with comments on the Cessna 421 crash in Florida, unmanned aircraft systems, Carl’s interest in model airplanes and rocketry, flying at non-towered airports, the definition of an airport non-movement area with a quiz included, references to Pontiac, MI KPTK airport, the sleeping tower controller at DCA, ferrying the Shuttle Discovery, and a whole bunch more!

Join us!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Against the Wind

Sometimes there are quotes out there that just speak to you and to the life you live.  For me, this is definitely one of them.  This one really rings home for me since it's by the great Henry Ford.  Sometimes life can seem so hard and so cruel, but years (often many years!) later you realize it was all for a reason.  You realize you wouldn't be the person you are today without it .  So what way will you take off?  With the wind, running quickly out of runway?  Or against the wind, creating lift, and eventually soaring into the sky?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Aviation Auction for a GREAT Cause!

Are you a fan of Sarah Fraher and the Discovery Channel's Flying Wild Alaska? The non profit organization Girls With Wings is auctioning off a tote bag signed by Sarah to raise money for Aviation Inspiration Day to introduce girls to aviation, provide free introductory flights for the girls, and lots of other fun things to introduce more women to aviation. Did you know that only 6% of pilots are women? Girls With Wings is trying to increase that statistic and Sarah was nice enough to autograph this bag for us to auction off to help our fuel our next generation of female pilots through events like Aviation Inspiration Days and scholarships for future women pilots. Please take a look at the link and place your bids to help introduce more girls to aviation!

Sarah, thank you from the bottom of our hearts from everyone at GWW for signing this bag for our organization. You are truly the perfect pilot role model for the next generation of women pilots!

Click here to bid on the bag!

Click here to learn more about the next Aviation Inspiration Day Event on May 26, 2012.

We are still in need of volunteers in the air and on the ground at the event.  Get in touch with me for more information!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all the wonderful mamas out there!  Especially to my one and only, amazingly beautiful mom!  I'm sure I wouldn't be the woman I am today without her!  Love you!  Now to bring the second special mom in my life, my soon to be mother in law, out to brunch!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

I Flew a Mustang!

Ok, I know you clicked on this and got excited.  I'm sorry, it wasn't a P-51 Mustang.  It was a Bushby Mustang II.  It was still fun, however, and another great plane to check off my "to do" list.  This Mustang only had 62 hours on it and was just recently completed by my friend Carlo.  The take off was a blast, the 180 horsepower engine just roared to life you do get pushed back into the seat.  The tailwheel is known to be squirrely, but in the air I found it to be quite maneuverable and much like the Glasair.  Carlo did a great job inside and out, it featured a Dynon glass panel and custom control knobs.  Congrats, Carlo, on a beautifully built plane.  I can't wait to see it once it's painted and to head up in the skies with it again!

Want to see more of our flight?  Check out some pictures here!

Friday, May 11, 2012

An Aviation Celebration

Posing with the mayor
In was a night of celebration once again at Frederick Municipal Airport.  Volunteers from the Women Fly it Forward event and many flying friends arrived at the Aviation Insurance Resources hangar to applaud their new title of the "Most Female Pilot Friendly Airport in the United States".  Special guest, Mayor Randy McClement, was on hand to accept the latest award and present a certificate of congratulations from the city.  

Another "special guest"
Following "official business", AIR president Jon Harden, fired up the grill for hot dogs and hamburgers.  Pilots and aviation enthusiasts gathered around the food for an evening of fun chit chat while enjoy aircraft of all types land and depart.  It's no wonder that Frederick is able to create such great events because there is such a tight knit "flying family" to be found around the hangars.

More pictures can be viewed here.

An Airplane Cake & Hangar Cookout

To celebrating earning the US title, the Frederick Fly it Forward volunteers and essay contest winners will be in for a special treat at the award cookout today!  Were you a volunteer and missed the email announcement?  Will you be in the FDK area?  Pop by Hangar E7 and join us!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Can you help? No, I mean really HELP??

Girls With Wings working on two big things right now: the summer scholarship program and the upcoming Aviation Inspiration Day.

****Right now, we need volunteers willing to call and email en masse so we can find aviation organizations to exhibit, volunteers to coordinate the day of the event, and GIRLS receive the GWW PRESENTATION on May 26th.

If you can and are willing to help IN ANY WAY, please let me know. Let's all make this day, well, INSPIRATIONAL!!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Lighter than Air Engagement

We crewed for a particularly special flight with Tailwinds Over Frederick this past Sunday evening.  Our nervous and excited passenger Matt, was going to be proposing to his girlfriend, Pamela.  The balloon ride itself was a surprise for Pamela, but little did she know what waited for her aloft!  Along with the rest of the chase crew, I listened for word on the radio that she said "yes".  When it finally came, halfway through the flight, we all cheered and yelled congratulations out the car windows as they floated over and above us.  We all celebrated after landing in a farm with the usual toast plus a special one for the newly engaged couple with a glass of champagne. 

If you are interested in purchasing a flight for just you and your loved one, or are thinking about asking the big question as well, checkout Tailwinds Over Frederick.  They are only $750 and you can say "hi" to yours truly while you're at it!  Check out the special video the Tailwinds pilot made especially for Matt and Pamela:

Monday, May 7, 2012

A Weekend Flight to VA Beach

Weather, tie down fees, local area and car rental fees all take part in a decision of where to fly for the weekend.  It quickly became an easy choice this Saturday morning when the weather was beautiful in Virginia Beach and Norfolk International Airport (KORF) had a car rental from the Alamo for only $18 a day!

Due to the ADIZ and many restricted areas down the east coast, we opted to fly IFR to ORF.  When doing this, never expect a direct route.  Ours was pretty zig zaggy!  Upon landing, we taxied into Landmark, took a few yummy mints and then were shuttled to the terminal to get our rental.  (Note: they waive the $40 landing fee with the purchase of fuel).

The Virginia Beach boardwalk is a quick 15 minute drive down the highway from ORF.  One the way, you will pass a large restaurant called Hangar 9.  We got very excited and planned to have dinner there.  According to reviews, they have your typical bar food and a room full of flight simulators!  We thought that would be fun, but unfortunately it looks like the business had closed its doors.  Too bad!

There are quite a few souvenir shops and restaurants on the boardwalk, but most are the next street over from the beach.  Hotels and condominiums were the most common buildings you would see alongside it.  For so early in the season, the area was quite busy with cheer leading competitions and a kite festival.  We enjoyed lunch on the top balcony of a restaurant overlooking the shore and then some time laying on the beach.  We probably walked about five miles up and down the boardwalk that day, enjoying several neat sculptures on the way.  

Unfortunately it started to rain so we headed to our hotel, washed up then enjoyed dinner and a movie.  When we arrived back at ORF Sunday morning the wind was at 17 knots and gusting, however, the flight home was surprisingly smooth.

If you'd like to see some more pictures, check them out here!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Formation with the Glasairs

Yesterday while I was at work, our friend Matt called me saying he was headed to the airport and wondering if I could be his safety pilot for the evening while he practiced some instrument approaches.  Matt has a Glasair 1RG, like Bob's, but with a few differences.  So, I was excited to finally get a chance to fly with Matt and met him at the airport on the bright and sunny Friday.

I let Bob know, and he wasn't about to let us have all this fun without him.  So soon enough there was Bob and his Glasair in line to fuel up right behind us.  We departed FDK, using the tower for the first time, in formation.  Bob was to take pictures while we did some approaches, but the plan soon changed as we opted to leave the new Class D airspace and fly formation in the practice area.  It was quite a bit of fun and neat to see a plane that I fly in often from the air.  Unfortunately, Bob forgot to put a SD card in his camera!  Luckily, I had my cell phone with me and Matt had a small video camera so we could capture the flight.

Unfortunately, the flight was cut short because a low voltage light started to blink in Matt's plane.  We could not determine the cause and figured it was best to come in and land.  Looking forward to going up again soon, but for now we have a weekend of flying in Bob's plane and balloon crewing to look forward to.  Will post videos in the coming week :)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Aviation Scholarship Opportunity!

For Immediate Release
1 May 2012
Girls With Wings, Inc.
1275 Andrews Avenue
Lakewood, Ohio 44107-2403
Ph: 216.221.0577
Fax: 216.221.3770


Girls With Wings, Inc., announces its 7th Scholarship Program for a future Girl With Wings to include an additional iteration for Summer 2012. Girls With Wings has traditionally given out a Private Pilot Scholarship to help defray the cost of flight training lessons in pursuit of a private pilot certificate. This scholarship is targeting individuals who have soloed but have not completed the Private Pilot Course. In addition, the second scholarship offered by Girls With Wings is the Dreams Take Flight Scholarship. This scholarship is designed to introduce the world of aviation to someone that has dreams of a career in aviation and would benefit from experiencing the joy of flight. The award of this scholarship is intended to fund introductory flight training to encourage achievement of a stated goal, whether as a pilot or in another field of study. There is no prerequisite flight training required for this scholarship, just enthusiasm and the desire to learn.

The application requires an essay with photo stating why the applicant believes she is a role model for Girl With Wings, to include her motivation, inspirations and future plans. Entries are to be received between May 1st and June 30st, 2012. The awardees agree to submit three updates with pictures taken during flight training and a final essay summarizing how the scholarship helped her, what she learned and her intent to continue her work as a Girls With Wings role model. This spring’s winners include Alaina Kappner, who has
nearly completed her Private Pilot Flight training. The three winning essays are available on the GWW site. Full details at

Girls With Wings focuses its efforts on introducing young girls to their role models in aviation-related occupations. Website activities and inspirational stories of women involved in various fields of aviation will motivate girls to pursue their own skyward adventures. 

GIRLS WITH WINGS, INC: A nonprofit organization using aviation to entertain and educate girls about their limitless opportunities for personal growth via an interactive website and presentations to girls groups and organizations. The scholarships are funded through private donations. If you wish to schedule a presentation, make a contribution or receive further details regarding our program, please contact Lynda Meeks at or 216.577.6131.

# # #

For more information, visit or contact:
Lynda Meeks, Executive Director
Ph: 216.577.6131

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Stuck Mic Interview on Apollo!

Over Easter, I flew up to visit my family with my handy microphone I use for recording the Stuck Mic AvCast tucked safely inside my backup.  I have been looking forward to getting my grandfather on the show and it was finally working out.  My grandfather, Harlan, was a NASA contractor during all of the Apollo missions as well as SkyLab.  You can see previous blog entries about him here and here

So what are you waiting for?  Listen now!