Saturday, March 30, 2013

Prop-Blast From the Past Part 3

Continuing with the theme of entries from my old blog, here's a clip it from July 2009. I had just returned from a weekend with Bob to hike Mt. Washington. We landed in Fryeberg, ME, KIZG (an airport which recently participated in Women Of Aviation Week) and rented a car to drive to NH and camp. It's a great trip that I thought should be added to my list of places we've flown to.

July 14, 2009

Had a wonderful time on our trip this weekend. On the flight there I came to the realization that I hadn't flown a full pattern into an airport in like a year and so of course it wasn't perfect and the fact that the airport was surrounded by mountains didn't help! It was such a beautiful sight, though, and great practice. I even got better doing instrument conditions in Bob's plane, I usually get dizzy in IMC on the right seat so I was happy about that. We flew into Maine and drove a half hour to our camp in New Hampshire. We enjoyed meals made on the fire, 11 hours of hiking on a mountain (ouch!), a relaxing canoe trip and a nice dinner on the flight home with Bob's parents. 

What brought these fun memories to my attention, is on Facebook I noticed a friend will be climbing Mt. Washington soon. There is a fundraiser to raise money to keep running their observatory at the top. You can find more information at It sounds like a lot of fun so I've been thinking about doing it. If you are interested in other fly-to-hike opportunities, I highly recommend you check out my favorite spot, Grandfather Mountain.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Prop-Blast from the Past Part 2

As mentioned previously, I will be publishing some "blasts from my past" over the next few weeks. Snip-its from a previous blog and a life that seems like so long ago. I was a rusty pilot, determined to earn my commercial wings. Here's some thoughts I had about delays and training frustrations that I believe can be helpful to any pilot who has been away from the game for awhile.

October 17, 2009

"Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person." Dr. David M. Burns

There was a point where I was confident of my skills as a pilot, and the "simple" procedures became a breeze.  With my long hiatus, though, the simple items aren't as simple anymore.  My previous two flights left me frustrated, thinking about the old days.  This further emphasizes to me how important it is for a pilot to keep current.  My skills are deep down there, and I'm learning how to recreate them once again.  As a matter of fact, one day I believe I will be thankful for this hiatus.  I feel like a new student again, just beginning to discover the wonder of flight.  It had been such a long time since I was a nervous student pilot, being in those shoes once again will give me the ability to relate to my future students.  I don't know how many times I've said this in my blog the past weeks, it all goes back to God's timing.  There's a reason for all of his "delays".  His timing is preparing me to be the best pilot I can be, gaining wisdom through my experiences.

I'd eventually become comfortable behind the controls again. The best solution to gain that confidence and skill back is to just go do it. I'm overdue for an instrument proficiency check and have a biannual flight review coming up. Will I feel nervous and like a brand new student again? Or will I know that every opportunity in the air is a chance to grow and learn?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Prop-Blast from the Past Part 1

It's not available publicly anymore, but I had two blogs before this one. It covered my struggles in the Michigan economy to become a pilot, get an education and a better job and future. I was looking through it today, seeking old memories and lessons learned and thought I would share some here. 

An entry from December 6, 2009. I was in what I hoped was the final stages of completing my commercial rating (little did I know what was ahead of me) and was about to embark on my commercial solo cross country requirement: 

I was to do my solo cross country flight for my commercial rating this weekend. I was originally supposed to leave Saturday, but due to weather conditions I decided to leave Friday night. Unfortunately, that didn't happen! Upon take off the left main tire blew! The airplane veered to the left and went into the air on the right side. I quickly got the plane straight again and landed it, cut the power, and told the control tower what happened.

I spent the next hour hanging out with the firemen on the now closed runway while we turned everything off and waited for someone to tow the plane off the runway. Attached are some pictures, but it was night and taken with my cell phone so not the greatest. One is of my view sitting in the firetruck, you can see the other firetruck and the plane (which looks fine actually). The next is of the tire, it's hard to see, but the tire is actually off the wheel and just dangling on the bottom of the wheel strut, and finally, my last picture is of the controls in the firetruck. Since we were sitting out there for so long I got to learn what a bunch of the levers do!

So I'm bummed my trip didn't work out, but thankful I'm safe! I'll let you know when it happens for sure!

That's a flying moment that I will always remember. It is one I learned from and glad I knew how to react properly. It goes to show how important practicing emergency situations are, you never know when something will happen and you need to be ready to react. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

$100 Hamburger - The Flight Deck Diner

Bob and me in the front
Saturday was spent completing many errands and cleaning and chores around the house. It was a beautiful day out, but starting to get chilly as we started to head out for the airport for a $100 hamburger. Matt called to see what we were up to just before we left, so we quickly told him to join us. Our destination was The Flight Deck Diner in Dubois, PA (KDUJ). We flew formation in a headwind for just over an hour into the sunset and into North Central Pennsylvania. Bob and I took turns flying the aircraft and taking pictures and I later landed. We felt like we were traveling into the middle of nowhere, but that didn't seem the case once we landed! 

Matt catching up to us
We were the only aircraft on the ram besides a small multi-engine airliner. Once inside, we saw that many seats inside the terminal were full. They were not waiting for their departure (5 flights a day from United Airlines) they were waiting to eat dinner! We waited over a half an hour to eat and were starving once the bar cleared and we decided to eat there. We enjoyed looking at all of the aviation memorabilia on the walls and hanging from the ceiling; to include an aircraft horizontal stabilizer with bullet holes in it! The food was really good, especially the onion rings. 

Landing in Dubois
Two things to note-before you leave, make sure you get some of their "old fashioned peppermint candy". It's not what you think. Matt had an awesome experience with it, but I leave that for you to find out! Also, there is no self serve fuel. We were hoping to take advantage of the cheaper fuel in Dubois, but it was full service only and they could not reach anyone to come out. So, if you're flying in late, be sure to call ahead if you need fuel!

Outside, getting ready to leave KDUJ, we could see our breath! We quickly hurried to the planes and departed into calm, dark air. It was a very relaxing flight watching Matt's navigation lights behind us. Frederick Airport was quiet when we arrived back at our home base and put the planes away. We then rushed home to look at all the pictures that you can view here. If interested, my Yelp review of the restaurant is here, be sure to check out the rest on my $100 Hamburger List, too! 

I love the great memories flying can create, this one is at the top!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Flight around FDK Tower & Downtown Frederick

In my last two posts I mentioned that Bob, Turbo and I did a quick flight to grab some footage for a CNBC job Bob was doing. Some clips did make it to TV! We still had some extra shots, so I put them together real quick for your viewing pleasure.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Cutback in the Skies

I mentioned in my earlier post about taking some aerial video footage from CNBC. Here's what was seen on TV!

FDK Tower Closing

Bob keeps his satellite truck outside of our hangar at the airport and had a very short commute today for a job for CNBC. This morning I joined him and the crew as they covered sequester topics and how many aircraft control towers, such as ours at KFDK, could be closing.

Bob, Turbo and I got in the Glasair and did a few laps around the pattern and circles around the tower to get some aerial footage for the news crew. Bob flew, I taped, Turbo slept. My footage later made it to TV (pictured below).

Unfortunately, the news just came through that they are indeed closing. I know many of the pilots in this area have arguments about whether or not Frederick Airport really needs a tower, but now it really comes down to the fact that some great people are losing their jobs. Jobs they just got only a few months ago in a brand new tower!
I feel like we were just at a large pilot meeting about new operations because of the tower and how things went a bit awry when it first opened. I wonder how the transition will be. I hope in the future the government can better sort out the budget and keep aviation safety in mind.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Oopsie! How'd that get there?

Just something fun I came across in the Florida Keys this past weekend :)

Friday, March 15, 2013

Of Dreams and Metal Detectors

Of Dreams and Metal Detectors
An Excerpt from ’50 Tales of Flight’
By Owen Zupp
  “In one of those great moments, I recently took my daughter for her first flight in a light aircraft. Her excitement and sheer joy reminded me of a time 40 years ago when my father had first taken me aloft in a seat that was complemented by a control column instead of a tray table. Yet within the period of my lifetime, the face of aviation security has changed so incredibly that one wonders if the joy is being strangled at the grass roots level of aviation. My parents told tales of barnstorming pilots landing on local farms and taking folks for their first flight in frail machines with open cockpits. Airfields were far more developed by my childhood, but the ability to interact with ‘planes and pilots was still common. Airfields were littered with new Pipers, Cessnas and Beechcraft, while DC-3s and Beavers fired up their radials and the Mustangs in civilian garb roared skyward to tow targets for the military. There was all manner of wings to climb upon and instrument panels to gaze at through hands cupped on Perspex. As long as you paid due respect to taxiways and people’s property, there were basically no restrictions for the budding young aviator. Free to wander and explore, query and question. And those who called the airport their home could not encourage the next generation enough, hoisting them into seats and on occasions taking them for that prized goal; a circuit! A small camera with twelve valued frames of film was standard equipment and the week’s wait for developing was almost too long to bear. The entire experience of a visit to the airport was about as good as it could get for a keen youngster. And then the events of 11th September 2001 took place and forever changed our world and our industry. Flying internationally in the months following the attacks, security screening was heightened to a level never seen. When Richard Reid attempted to take an aircraft down with explosive shoes only a month later, footwear became the next target. Less than two years later, Heathrow was the scene of a strong military presence when fears of a ‘surface to air missile’ attack raised their head and I walked through Terminal 4 surrounded by combat ready troops. The scene was not so different in 2006 when the ‘liquids and gels’ Trans-Atlantic plot was foiled. The postcards of Pan-Am Clippers and bow-tied waiters were long gone, now replaced by the harsh reality of a 21st Century under fire. These security measures were inevitable, not only to deter those who would attack an aircraft, but to provide some degree of confidence in the industry for those who choose to fly. Undoubtedly there will be further measures in the future as one and all recognise that it is an area of ongoing review where complacency is potentially the attacker’s greatest weapon. But how has this brave new world affected the next generation of starry-eyed aviators? At some airfields, easy access has been replaced towering fences and coded security gates. Benches which once offered unobscured views are cordoned off and security vehicles pause and at times question those peering through fences with a telephoto lens. The accessibility of aviation has disappeared for many youngsters and the sterile airline terminal and a windowless aerobridge is the most that is on offer to many. Is this an environment where dreams and excitement can be nurtured as they once were? In the face of these hurdles there is definitely still hope for the next wave of budding aviators and engineers, however, a greater degree of responsibility also rests with those of us who have already taken to the skies and can remember the times before the sky went a darker shade. Programs such as the ‘Young Eagles’ in the United States are growing elsewhere and offer an opportunity for youngsters to go flying in a general aviation aeroplane free of charge through the generosity of volunteers. Youth organisations around the world such as Air Cadets seek to encourage air-mindedness and offer opportunities for their members to get see aviation at a closer range than is normally available. While these organisations do a tremendous job, the responsibility doesn’t end with the group; it stays with the individual. As pilots, instructors, owners and engineers we should take the time to avail opportunities to those young minds that show an interest in our chosen endeavour. It may be in the form of organising a school excursion to your airfield, or attending a careers night; it may be even in the form of taking a bright-eyed future aviator for a lap of the airfield. The reality of our times is that these gestures will be less spontaneous and more the subject of procedures and protocol. Accordingly, that will call for a greater degree of organisation and effort, but it is something we must undertake. Sure, the internet offers images, videos and glimpses of aviation hardware from around the world, but a computer can never impart the true sounds, smells and air-sense that spinning propellers and popping exhausts bring to life. It is as much about atmosphere as it is imagery. A failure to encourage those coming through will manifest commercially as a ‘pilot shortage’, but the shortcoming runs much deeper than that; it is the loss of opportunity. Not all those we encourage will pursue aviation as a career or even pursue it as a hobby, but their exposure to aviation and the magic of flight may just set the wheels of imagination and ambition in motion. That one flight may serve to provide a young mind with an insight into why self-discipline is important or how safety is always a consideration. The lesson may just be as simple as someone taking the time out to show an interest. The headlines will continue to spread gloom about an industry under threat, but that does not mean that there is no room left for a youngster’s dreams. In a world of security fences and metal detectors, we all have the ability to go against the trend and encourage the next generation to share in the joy of flight”.


© Zupp, Owen (2013-02-23). 50 Tales of Flight: From Biplanes to Boeings (Kindle Locations 1430-1438).


In “50 Tales of Flight”, the reader is not simply taken aloft in everything from biplanes to Boeings as the title may suggest. True, the flight deck door has been cracked ajar and the canvas cover pulled back from the open cockpit, but this book is built from the ground up. From the alarm clock buzzing to begin the airline pilot’s day to the sound of silence when a light aircraft engine fails and all that lies beneath are trees and cliffs.

There are moments of tension and others of humorous relief to be found amongst this collection of stories from the author’s thirty years aloft. Interspersed are tales of other aviators too. Veterans of wars now passed and some who lost their lives pursuing their passion.

There are images of the sights and people contained within the words. In some ways this book tracks an aviation life, but in others it offers insights and inspiration; just as the sky itself does. For anyone interested in aviation, or just intrigued by this seemingly removed field of endeavour, there is much to be seen through these “50 Tales of Flight”.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Over 17,000 girls and women discover aviation during Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week

Over 17,000 girls and women discover aviation during Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week

Over 17,000 girls and women discover opportunities in the air and space
industry at more than 70 events on four continents during the 3rd annual
Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week and 5,300 of them take flight in
a small aircraft for the first time.

From March 4 to March 10 2013, people across four continents – Africa, Asia, America, and Europe – celebrated the 3rd annual Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week organized by the Institute for Women Of Aviation Worldwide, a global not-for-profit consortium of businesses and organizations.

Studies have demonstrated that a key barrier to women’s participation in the technical fields of the air and space industry – approximately 12% overall; 5% for pilots – is the lack of awareness of the opportunities available to them.

Indeed, the Institute for Women Of Aviation Worldwide‘s survey among the girls and women attending events found that more than 76% of them had never thought of seeking information about aviation activities before hearing about the 2013 Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week.

Titusville, FL, USAHeld annually during the week of March 8, anniversary date of the first female pilot certificate worldwide, Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week aims to foster diversity in aviation by celebrating history, raising awareness, and sparking vocations as girls and women are introduced to aviation during female-centric events offering aviation related activities and/or discovery flights in small aircraft.

Sparking vocations it did. More than 77% of the girls and women attending said that they would consider undertaking an activity for pleasure or for a career in aviation as a result of their experience.

“My career goals were tweaked by the event, in a very exciting way!” declared Barbara, Winnipeg, MB, Canada. “I would want to work on plane design, like the body or engine,” adds Shivana, Titusville, FL, USA.

Gonzales, LA, USAPilots flew balloons, ultra-lights, airplanes, seaplanes, and helicopters for more than 1,500 hours to introduce over 5,300 girls and women to flying worldwide. Lora, of San Carlos, CA, USA, noted that the pilots were “warm, articulate, full of knowledge and experience and made it exciting.”

Among the girls and women who experienced flight in a small aircraft for the first time during the week, 66% of them wanted to, first and foremost, learn to fly in the future.

When asked to name the three best aspects of the event, Lora, Yellowknife, NT, Canada, responded: “Flying Flying Flying!” For Rebecca of Northampton, MA, USA, one of the many mothers who took advantage of the opportunity to introduce their daughters to aviation, the best aspect was: “Hearing my 6 year old’s voice over the headset saying “Wow!” in that perfect voice of true amazement.”
For Lindsey of Frederick, MD, USA, the highlight was: “Hearing astronaut Pam speak. That was so amazing and inspiring.” As part of the celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the first female flight in space, retired Air Force test pilot and astronaut, Pam Melroy, was one of four accomplished guests of the space industry invited to speak.

She was joined by astronaut Chris Hadfield onboard the International Space Station, NASA scientist, Dr. Mamta Patel Nagaraja, and MDA Space Missions engineer, Natalie Panek. Their speeches were broadcast live over the internet and available to all free of charge. An estimated 2,500 persons viewed the presentations at events and individually.

“The grassroots enthusiasm for welcoming more women into the industry is overwhelming and growing exponentially annually. Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week is simply the biggest flying girl party on the planet,” says Mireille Goyer who launched the popular initiative in 2010 and is the President of the Institute for Women Of Aviation Worldwide. “We invite government and industry to embrace the initiative with the same enthusiasm in the coming years.”

The Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week celebration includes various challenges and contests. Titles, trophies, and prizes are awarded annually. The names of winners will be announced on April 3, 2013. 

  • 17,000+ girls and women attending events worldwide
  • 5,300+ girls and women took flight in a small aircraft for the first time
  • 2,500+ viewed the live stream broadcast with astronaut Chris Hadfield, astronaut Pam Melroy, NASA scientist Manta Patel Nagaraja, and MDA Space Missions robot operator and engineer Natalie Panek
  • 64,000+ visited the official website (preceding & event week)
  • 26,000+ weekly reach on Facebook (preceding & event week)
  • 4 continents: Africa, Asia, America, Europe

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

$100 Hamburger - Cloud 9

After a week devoted to introducing others to aviation, it was time to relive the passion that I so love to share. So, Sunday afternoon Bob and I headed out for a just under 120NM flight to Cloud 9 restaurant the top floor of Williamsport Regional Airport (KIPT) in Williamsport, PA. I started our descent too early, to discover that a mountain was between us and the airport, as we leveled off and cleared the mountain we looked straight ahead for the airport, but could not find. It turned out to be right below us, the second we crested the ridge top.

The tower was very easy going and allowed us to chose which runway we preferred. After landing they gave us progressive taxi instructions to where to park to visit the restaurant (in front of the gate by the big blue hangar).
Cloud 9 is one of the fancier $100 Hamburgers we've done, it was recently remodeled from a previous restaurant. Sitting on the second floor, the window seat provides you with an excellent view of the runway, and the mountains just beyond that. Services and food were top notch.
Want to know more about the food? Check out my Yelp review here. You can reach about other great finds there as well!
On the flight home we took a slight detour after seeing many emergency lights in the distance. Several circles around an area found several roads blocked off and a lot of emergency equipment. Our last circle showed what looked like lots of people with flashlights searching a junk yard. So far, we haven't found anything on the news that could tell us what that could have been. I hope everyone is OK.
The flight home was calm and a bit hazy.  A jet landed just before we did at FDK, we actually had to do one 360 for it before coming in on final. It was a lot colder without the sun, so we hurried to tuck in the plane and run back to the car to go home and feed Turbo.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Women Fly it Forward with N24KG

Astronaut encourages Frederick County girls to fly high

 by Gina Gallucci-White
Special to the gazette 
Growing up in the 1960s in upstate New York, Pamela Melroy’s parents always told her she could be anything she wanted to be.

They had no idea she would grow up to become a NASA astronaut and become the second woman to command a space shuttle crew.

Melroy spoke at a Frederick Municipal Airport hangar as a part of Women Fly It Forward’s annual celebration marking Women of Aviation Worldwide Week. About 40 people heard her speak at the Saturday afternoon event.
The annual week is to encourage more women to consider taking up flying and to celebrate the role of women in aviation history.

Developing a fascination with the sky at an early age, Melroy knew she wanted to get closer to it.
After earning degrees in physics, astronomy, Earth and planetary sciences, she joined the U.S. Air Force. As a pilot, she served in Operation Desert Shield and Storm.

She was chosen to join the NASA astronaut program in December 1994. The 51-year-old was selected to be a part of three missions, with her final one in 2007 as commander. Each mission involved working on the International Space Station.

“You can’t just launch that on a rocket,” she said. “Each [flight] I added one or two pieces to the station.”

People have asked her what the hardest part of her job as the shuttle commander was throughout the years.

She joked that it was “getting seven adults to agree on a single patch design.”

The first moments of being in space is a wonderful feeling, Melroy said.

“It’s like being in a new universe,” she said.

Getting there is the stressful part.

“It’s not like taking off in an airplane,” she said. “It’s like being in a traffic accident... It’s 8 1/2 minutes of noise and chaos.”

Her crew was tasked with delivering a node to the station that linked its labs together and moving the solar array that provided power to them.

During the redeployment of the solar array, two tears were discovered in the panels.

“This was really unexpected,” she said. “We had to have the solar array to provide power to [those] labs.”
The crew had to perform an emergency space walk with one member stitching up the tears with a cable-like thread.

Several who came to the speech were curious about astronauts’ eating habits.

Melroy, who logged almost 39 days total in space, told the crowd the food is freeze-dried. Some of the menu choices are great like shrimp cocktail. Most of the choices are sticky to reduce the prospect of a mess. But many astronauts miss crunchy items like salad and popcorn, she said.

Melroy retired from NASA in August 2009. Today, she serves as deputy director of the Tactical Technology Office at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which performs advanced research for the U.S. Department of Defense.

After her talk, Melroy told The Gazette many ask her how she feels about being a role model. She enjoys the fact that other women can look to her and say: ‘If she can do it, so can I.’

Matt and Kristi Edens of Frederick didn’t know there was an event at the airport on Saturday. They planned on bringing their sons, Jack and Nate, to the airport’s restaurant.

“It’s a nice place to get lunch and watch the airplanes,” Matt Edens said.

They decided to go to the event after seeing pieces on display from the Traveling Space Museum, including a space shuttle and a moon vehicle.

On the moon vehicle, both boys enjoyed turning the steering wheel.

“They seem to be having fun,” he said.

Event organizer and pilot Victoria Neuville was very happy with the week’s events this year.
“Every year it has grown like wildfire,” she said.

The weeklong event, which ended Sunday, also offered free flights to women who had never been inside a small aircraft. Initially, only breast cancer survivors were invited to receive the flight, but organizers decided to open up the field to all women.

It was the third year for the event. Neuville estimated around 300 women took part in the flights, up from 244 last year and 185 the first year.

Neuville discovered aviation through her family. Her father was a pilot who always encouraged her to fly, and her grandfather worked on NASA’s Apollo missions.

Some women think flying is just for men, while others don’t get involved because they think they can’t until they are invited.

“[The event] is about showing them it can be done,” she said. “We want it to be known that women are welcome in the aviation community.... We love to share aviation with everyone.”

Monday, March 11, 2013

Sky's the Limit for these Women

Sky's the Limit for these Women

By: Shayna Halper
Updated: March 11, 2013

Click here for the video

FREDERICK, MD - Allison Brown is just one of hundreds in Frederick alone, taking her first flight on a small plane.

 "I've been on a regular commercial flight, but this is my first independent flight. I hope it's a good flight," says Allison Brown, of Germantown, MD.

Pilots say they came to help share their passion as part of the worldwide event, Women of Aviation Week. 

"We flew up from Upstate, New York and we decided to come to promote aviation to women. There are a very small number of women pilots in the overall population, only 6% are women that are flying," says Eva Mascoli, of Poughkeepsie NY.

 "It as nice to look out and see everything beneath you," says Brown.

Women say it's not just about the flight, but learning about aviation. 

 "He told me a lot about the plane it was a little above my head but he kept me well informed," says Brown. 

"How the airplane moves through the air, how we manage energy through the use of the engine and control surfaces, and how to stay safe doing it," says Kyle Grim, of Bethesda, MD.

The event helped the Frederick Municipal Airport earn the title of the Most Female Pilot Friendly Airport Worldwide in 2011.

"We're here for two days for the event and go back home and at least you know you made a difference in someone else's lives." Says Mascoli. 

Organizers say 35 pilots volunteered throughout the week. Guest speakers, including a NASA Space scientist and an astronaut also attended Women Fly it Forward in Frederick. 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

To 'learn, grow and fight' Opportunity, education take center stage at Pink — Women Fly it Forward Day

To 'learn, grow and fight'
Opportunity, education take center stage at Pink — Women Fly it Forward Day
Originally published March 10, 2013

By Ike Wilson

To 'learn, grow and fight'

Photo by Graham Cullen

Former astronaut Pam Melroy discusses her path to NASA's shuttle program Saturday during the Women Fly it Forward event at Frederick Municipal Airport

Seeing the Frederick landscape from the sky Saturday made for an excited Tonja Street -- one of about 300 women and children who took advantage of "Pink -- Women Fly it Forward Day" at the Frederick Municipal Airport.The event ended Women Fly it Forward Week at Frederick Municipal Airport, part of the Institute of Women In Aviation's worldwide outreach effort. The organization's mission is to foster diversity in the air and space industry through education, and advocate for aviation-related science and technology fields directed at women and girls.

This year's event highlighted women in space, while also supporting women and their families affected by breast cancer.--

A sunny, 60-degree day made a perfect day for flying, and after Street's 25-minute flight, the breast-cancer survivor heaped praise on her pilot, Nina Marousek, who flew from Manhattan to participate in the event.

"She was awesome," Street said. "She gave me a lot of information, and she treated me just like I was her daughter. She let me steer the plane, and the whole time she let me tell her my story."
Street was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 40.

"I thought my life was over, but at 41, I have a renewed way of looking at things," she said. "When I was up in the sky, I was thinking, 'Is this happening to me?'

"To see the world from that view puts things into perspective. You see the vastness of the world, and you can see who has pools in their backyard. I'm a hugger and I couldn't stop hugging her."

Life is not over if you've been diagnosed with cancer, said Angela Spencer, chairwoman of the Frederick County Human Relations Commission, who volunteered at the event with Faith Striders, a local organization that raises money to fight breast cancer.

The event was not limited to people with breast cancer or survivors.

"This is a wonderful event," said Theresa Harrison, who is taking flying lessons. "It's a challenge to fly, and it's also a challenge to fight breast cancer, so the partnership of the two is an opportunity to learn, to grow and to fight."

Harrison said she was representing the Delta Sigma Theta sorority at the event.--
"I've been learning to fly for three years, and today is a great opportunity to go up," she said.

Point of Rocks resident Julie Doyle and her 6-year-old daughter, Elena, had a super time in the air, she said.--

"We got a special tour over our neighborhood, and we flew along the Potomac River. It was amazing," Doyle said.

And her daughter loved wearing the plane's headphones.

Gail Norman credited Frederick resident Victoria Zajko for creating Women Fly it Forward three years ago when she was only 23 years old. Now 27, Zajko leads the effort on a wider scale in the mid-Atlantic region.

"Through her efforts, Frederick is being put on the national map for its leadership in fostering an appreciation for aviation among women and girls," said Norman, who provides local public relations service for the program. "She has created and now directs the largest and most impressive event in this outreach effort in the mid-Atlantic region."

Norman said she was pleased to be asked again to act as event consultant to promote the free public event.

"It is my hope that we will continue to find enthusiastic partners among the educational and corporate community of Frederick to support this program," Norman said.

Critical to the success of the event, she said, were dozens of pilots who offered their time, skill, planes and personal funds to provide hundreds of free rides.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Women & Astronauts Fly it Forward

What an exciting day! I've been up since 4AM and it's time to hit the hay. But, I just had to share my favorite photo of the day. Future astronaut? Her mom drove her 5 hours from New Jersey to be at our first presentation at 9 in Frederick, MD. She was in awe when she got to meet the astronaut and was brave enough to go on a flight without her mom and in the front seat!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Watch our events LIVE tomorrow!

There are over 60 Women Of Aviation Week events around the world! Can't make it to one? Watch them LIVE! Yes, you'll get to see me too ;)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Dr. Mamta Patel Nagaraja will speak in Frederick this weekend as part of Women Fly it Forward.

Dr. Mamta Patel Nagaraja will speak in Frederick this weekend as part of Women Fly it Forward.

72 Hours
Courtesy photo by James Blair
Q&A with Mamta Patel Nagaraja NASA space scientist will give a talk at women fly it forward aviation event
Originally published March 7, 2013

It could be easily said that Mamta Patel Nagaraja has become one of the most accomplished young females in her typically male-dominated field -- and at a very young age. At 33, Nagaraja works at NASA headquarters in Washington, managing the Women@NASA project, writing for the website and blog and visiting area classrooms on a weekly basis to talk about her experiences with NASA. She was most recently awarded NASA's Exceptional Service Medal, one of the agency's highest recognitions, in 2011. Nagaraja will speak at the upcoming Women Fly it Forward events on Saturday. The Frederick News-Post caught up with her by phone last week.

Were you interested in space at a young age?

I grew up wanting to be an astronaut. Sometimes, to me, it seems like it's the typical child's dream, but what I realized from talking to people is that it really isn't (laughs). My sister is 4 1/2 years older than me, and I proclaimed it (that I wanted to be an astronaut) after she did. That was around the time when (astronaut) Sally Ride went up. ... My sister grew out of it, but I didn't, and it ended up becoming my life path.

As I learned more about aerospace aviation in college, I got even more interested ... but I couldn't ever let go of the space aspect. Something about propelling beyond the atmosphere and going into an area that we as humans have little to no knowledge of was very appealing to me.

You're currently the manager of the agency-wide Women@NASA. Tell me a bit about that project.

It started in 2010, really out of an initiative by the Obama administration. They had told all participating federal industries that their intention was to have agencies create something that targets an issue affecting women and girls right now. NASA decided to focus on the gender gap in STEM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Mathematics) fields. So NASA thought, why don't we tell the stories of women across our agency ... and made these wonderfully-recorded videos, kind of in the style of National Public Radio ... kind of an artistic take rather than a normal news type of story. Those videos are what the team used to build the (Women@NASA) website ... and then thought ... we could use them for outreach. They would take one or two and show them in classrooms. It's something that doesn't take extra time or federal dollars, and for the most part, teachers love them.

About a year and a half ago, you started the NASA GIRLS program within Women@NASA. 
What inspired that?

NASA GIRLS is a virtual mentoring program, that we just recently expanded to boys as well. I was teaching my nephew the ABCs on Skype one day, and thought it (teaching through Skype) was completely relevant to this generation. I found that a lot of women and men want to do a mentoring sort of outreach but can't find it or don't know what opportunities are available.

It's a five-week session in the summer, and the only basic requirements are that the child's family has to have Internet access, even if it's at the public library. We do it all through Skype or Google chat. The five lessons ... help them understand how (STEM fields are) used in the real world. For example, we had a lesson plan where the mentor used math to help the mentee determine the shift of the Earth on its axis when the Japan earthquake hit.

What is your favorite thing about the work you do with Women@NASA and NASA GIRLS?

Probably when I Skype into the classrooms. One of the first times, I had a kid say, "You're in Houston?" and he just couldn't believe he was talking to someone in Houston. It blew his mind (laughs). Kids, probably from elementary to seventh grade, ask some of the best questions -- sometimes things that adults are too afraid or teenagers are too timid to express. They don't take anything for granted -- when I say I train astronauts to fly in space, they always ask how. They're so curious, always pushing and wanting to know more. It allows me to see that kids today are really thinking and pushing boundaries and trying to find their own intelligence.

Have you ever experienced discrimination in your field based on your gender? And do you think times are changing or that discrimination still exists?

I get asked that question a lot and I always go back and try to think of a time when I have, but I really can't think of one. ... My age will sometimes hinder me ... when I know people think, "Oh you can't do that, you seem way to young to do that."

I was recently doing an interview for NPR in Richmond, and the guy interviewing me said, "the whole reason why I'm calling you is because I overheard my daughter and her friends talking, and my daughter said, 'I don't want to be an engineer -- that's a boy's job.'" He said he couldn't believe he was hearing those words. And I've had girls say to me on Skype chats before that they worry when they wear pink or wear their hair in a girly way that they will be discriminated against ... and they ask me if I've ever felt like that. So it's clear all these girls are still thinking about these things ... and that it's still out there.

What are you working on now? Do you have any other programs that you're going to be rolling out soon?

I think the goal right now is just to get full (federal) approval for NASA GIRLS and expand it to NASA BOYS. And to roll out new videos of another group of women (for Women@NASA) to keep it fresh.

You'll be speaking on March 9 in Frederick at Women Fly it Forward. What will you be speaking about?

Yes, it's my first time there. I think it's great, especially with the flights they're doing for the young girls. That's one of the most unique things I've seen. I'll be speaking about my journey, how I got into engineering and science as a young girl and the path I took to go into engineering.
For more information about the Women@NASA program or the NASA GIRLS project, visit

PINK — WOMEN FLY IT FORWARD DAY Frederick Municipal Airport, 111 E. Airport Drive, Frederick

Weekday flights are available from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. for women and girls who have not flown in a small aircraft before, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday. Visit the registration page on for details.

· Mamta Patel Nagaraja
· Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Medical Certification Specialist, Marianne Hays, will be available at the Learn to Fly booth to answer questions about FAA medical certification
· Equipment demonstration by Tailwinds over Frederick
· Natalie Panel, Space Engineer for MDA, live feed from Ottowa, Canada
· Col. Pamela Melroy, retired Airforce combat pilot, test pilot and astronaut
· Traveling space museum exhibits
· Kid’s craft table
· Telescope time with the Westminster Astronomical Society
· Dana and Meredith Holladay, flight instructors and authors of “Fly the Airplane: what being pilots has taught us about life, love, survival and success”

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Pilot's Journey Podcast Guest Appearance

I had the pleasure of being a special guest on the Pilot's Journey podcast recently, where the topics were all about the ladies! I talked about Women Of Aviation Week, while Girls In Flight Training founder, Mary Latimer spoke about her program.

Take a listen and happy Women Of Aviation Week everyone!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Girls across 4 continents come together to interact with 3 amazing women of space

LiveOn March 9 2013, a retired Air Force test pilot and NASA astronaut, a NASA scientist, and a MDA space engineer will answer questions that girls and women who registered to go on their first flight asked.
At events or at home, girls and women will have a chance to view the presentations live streamed on the internet from Frederick, MD, USA and Ottawa, ON, Canada.

The day of inspiring life choices and experiences shared by three accomplished women will begin at 9:00 AM Eastern Time (14:00 GMT) and will continue until 3:30 PM Eastern (20:30 GMT).

9 AM Eastern Time (14:00 GMT) – Dr. Manta Patel Nagaraja, NASA space scientist

Dr. Manta Patel Nagaraja holds doctorate in biomedical engineering and has a long and varied career at NASA. She trained astronauts who flew aboard both the U.S. Space Shuttle and the International Space Station (ISS), became a certified flight controller for the communications system of the ISS, and currently manages the Agency-wide Women@NASA project.

Recently, she started the interview process for the upcoming astronaut selection for 2013 class.

In her spare time, she volunteers as a role model with FabFems, runs marathons and half marathons across the world, and travels the world performing outreach in developing countries.

11 AM & 2 PM Eastern Time (16:00 GMT & 19:00 GMT) – Pam Melroy, retired AF combat pilot, test pilot, & astronaut

melroyColonel Pam Melroy served as pilot on two space flights (STS-92 in 2000 and STS-112 in 2002) and was the mission commander on STS-120 in 2007, making her one of only two women who commanded the space shuttle. She has logged more than 924 hours (more than 38 days) in space.

Before becoming an astronaut, Colonel Melroy had a long pilot career in the Air Force and flew in combat. She has piloted 50 types of aircraft. She was a test pilot in the C-17 Combined Test Force and as such, set 7 world aviation records. She also developed and flew first-ever C-17 air show demonstration.

Since retiring from NASA in 2009, she has held management positions and currently acts as Deputy Director of the Tactical Technology Office of DARPA.

1 PM Eastern Time (18:00 GMT) – Natalie Panek, robotic operator and aerospace engineer at MDA Space Missions

Natalie PanekNatalie Panek is a robotic operator and aerospace engineer at MDA Space Missions, previously interning at NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center and NASA Ames Research Center. She’s driven a solar-powered car across North America, has a pilot’s license, and skydived with Korea’s first Astronaut.

With degrees in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Natalie has co-authored papers on flames burning in microgravity and repairing broken satellites in space. She has spoken at TEDx and on the panel for Women in Aerospace International Women’s day.

Natalie is an advocate for encouraging women to dive head-on into challenging careers and take risks, recognizing that we need to foster innovation in order to challenge the foundations of our generation and the next. She is also an avid adventurer, always looking to fill any free time with the outdoors and exploration.

Don’t miss this fantastic program. Join us on March 9. Activities at several events will also be available to view.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

A Quick Flight with the Pooch

It was just chilly and breezy, but I'm so thankful we had the chance to get up in the air. Not grateful that we discovered we had to buy a new battery. Luckily, that wasn't until we landed, gassed up, and then had to call Landmark for  jump.

Although it was gusting on the ground, the flight was mostly smooth. We flew over to the PA/MD border to a ski resort to watch little ant sized people speed down the mountains. We flew back following the Potomac River, through Harper's Ferry and back to Frederick. Turbo slept almost the whole time, as usual, but I made sure he got up to check out the view occasionally.
Tomorrow is the start of Women Of Aviation Week so that's all you can expect post wise for the next seven days. I'm excited/nervous/stressed as usual. Looking forward to see how our big Saturday event turns out.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Inspirational Line Up of Women Of Aviation Week Guest Speakers

Women Of Aviation Week aims to honor the women pilots of the past, recognize the ones of the present and to encourage the female pilots of the future. Amelia Earhart, Bessie Coleman and Harriet Quimby are amazing women pilots who made their way into aviation history. During Women Of Aviation Week we have remarkable guests such as Colonel Pamela Melroy, Grace-Tiscareño-Sato and Janet Petro who will inspire the pilots of aviation’s future. Here are some more featured speakers:

San Carlos, CA

Those in the San Carlos area are told to prepare for an “out of this world” evening with the special guests they have lined up. Grace-Tiscareño-Sato a writer, motivational speaker, and veteran Air Force pilot and trainer will be the first to speak.

To make the event even more exciting, the San Carlos event just added a second, surprise guest speaker! This accomplished female speaker is involved in extremely important research related to aviation safety and is not to be missed!

Titusville, FL

Naturally, the Space Coast has some exciting guests to offer. To start, the women of NASA, to include astronauts, pilots, scientists and engineers will be available for a meet and greet. Ending the day will be a 1940′s-60′s themed banquet featuring key note speaker NASA Kennedy Space Center Deputy Director Janet Petro. Director Petro is a West Point graduate and an accomplished military helicopter pilot.

Boise, ID

GeneNora Jessen led the way for future female astronauts with her involvement in NASA’s Mercury program and continues to fly today. She will be inspiring future ladies on similar paths with her presentation at the Fly it Forward event in Boise.

Frederick, MD

The Frederick Municipal Airport in Frederick, MD will play host to one of only 56 women to travel into space, Colonel Pamela Melroy. After three shuttle missions, Colonel Melroy also has 924 hours in space and is one of only two women to command the space shuttle.

Continuing to inspire women to enter the aerospace industry is Dr. Mamta Nagaraja, project manager of the Women@NASA project. Before this project, Dr. Nagaraja worked at the Johnson Space Center, where she prepared astronauts for life aboard the International Space Station.

The Frederick presentations will feed live on the internet at 9:00 AM, 11:00 AM, and 2:00 PM Eastern.

Seattle, WA

The Museum of Flight in Seattle has an impressive line up of guest speakers throughout Women Of Aviation Week! Special guests share their stories of transatlantic flights, the history of the Women Air Force Service Pilot Program, and the life of Bessie Coleman. Other discussions will be hosted on the exploration of Mars. The week concludes with a “Flights of Fancy” concert.

With 22 events listed in the United States and over 60 worldwide, the women pilots of the past would be proud to see how far the their modern counterparts have come. Imagine how much can be accomplished in the future.

Friday, March 1, 2013

A Message To Aspiring Women Pilots Attending “Women Fly It Forward”

By Meredith Holladay

One of the most rewarding aspects of being a flight instructor, for me, is introducing a wide variety of people to the beauty and joy of flying. I’ve taught doctors, lawyers, bankers, auto mechanics, computer programmers, military veterans and retirees from all walks of life to fly light airplanes. Most of them have been middle-aged men seeking a new hobby, or perhaps the chance to fulfill a childhood dream now that their kids are out of college. Only 6 percent of all U.S. pilots are women, which is why some of my favorite students have been the teenage girls, mothers and grandmothers who have bravely climbed into the left seat with me by their side, looking past centuries of stereotypes and socioeconomic discrimination toward a horizon of endless opportunities.

Women Fly It Forward is one of those great opportunities for women of all ages to experience the thrill of being in the cockpit of an airplane — and maybe even take the controls for the first time! In my new book, Fly The Airplane, I reminisce about my first solo flight in the spring of 2002:

On the afternoon of my first solo at the Montgomery County Airpark near Washington, D.C., the air was calm and, to my surprise, so was I. As I started the engine and prepared for my first takeoff in that red and white Cessna 152, I felt a rush of confidence and happiness that I’d never felt before. At that moment, in that little airplane, it was as if all at once my mind and body came together in perfect harmony. I was in my happy place doing what I was meant to do. It was just me and the airplane, working together as a perfectly synchronized team. I knew then that the real me had arrived, that the person I wanted to be was ready to show her face to the world.

Today, 11 years after that magical flight, I am proud to call myself a flight instructor and to be able to earn a living doing something that I truly love. Dana and I are also incredibly excited to be expecting our first child together — a girl! — in just a few weeks. With two passionate pilots as her parents, I think there’s a good chance she’ll eventually earn her wings. But even if she doesn’t take to the sky for some reason, I hope she will learn the valuable life lessons that being pilots have imparted upon her dad and me:

 You are the pilot in command of your own life. You have a responsibility to yourself to live each day to the fullest. If you don’t like the direction you’re headed, you can always change course.  Never give up, no matter what happens to you in life. Stay in control. Just fly the airplane.
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 Flight instructors Meredith and Dana Holladay are the authors of Fly The Airplane: What Being Pilots Has Taught Us About Life, Love, Survival and Success.