Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Lindsay Kitson wins the 2013 First-to-Solo Challenge

Lindsay Kitson wins the 2013 First-to-Solo Challenge organized by the Institute for Women Of Aviation Worldwide (iWOAW)

Contact: Mireille Goyer

= During the 2013 Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week - March 4 to 10 2013 - that attracted more than 17,000 girls and women to air and space facilities across four continents, pilots flew balloons, ultra-lights, airplanes, seaplanes, and helicopters to introduce 5,316 girls and women to the magic of flight in a small aircraft with the hope to spark many vocations.

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

To encourage them to take the next step, the Institute for Women Of Aviation Worldwide holds an annual First-to-Solo Challenge to reward the first eligible girl or woman that solos with an awesome prize.

The 2013 prize package worth more than $700 includes a Sennheiser S1 Passive headset, equipment needed for the cross-country phase of training, gold plated pilot wings, and Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week gear such as the official all-season jacket and the official backpack.

St Andrews Airport located in the greater Winnipeg area, Manitoba, Canada, won the 2013 'Most Female Pilot Friendly Airport Worldwide' title when the aviation community rallied around event organizer, Jill Oakes, to introduce 680 girls and women to flying during the week. Among the lucky first time flyers was Lindsay Kitson.

"I've always been fascinated with the idea of flight, but never imagined I could actually do it myself," said Kitson in the form required to become eligible for the First-to-Solo Challenge. "I realized that the only reason I had never tried was because I was afraid people would laugh at me for wanting to. And once I realized that, then I couldn't not try."

At the time, Kitson was planning on starting flight lessons at the beginning of April. Instead, she began flying lessons at Harv's Air, one of the iWOAW Certified Women Friendly Training centers, just two days after her first flight.
On April 17 2013, Sandra Proulx, an experienced Harv's Air Class 1 flight instructor, knew that Kitson was ready to fly the Cessna 152 alone. So, she stepped out of the airplane to watch Kitson fly and land the airplane on her own perfectly.

"I've always loved teaching, and sharing my love of flying with others (it) is why I'm still instructing 9 years later," said Proulx. "Lindsay has been very focused in getting her flight training done.  She always comes prepared for her lessons and is very active in her learning. We are working at basically a full time schedule. I anticipate that if things continue, we should have her private pilot flight test completed by the end of the month."

"We congratulate Lindsay Kitson, Sandra Proulx, Harv's Air and the entire St Andrews Airport Community for this amazing success," says Mireille Goyer, President of the Institute for Women Of Aviation Worldwide. "While many believe that a never-ending string of scholarship offerings will foster aviation vocations, we, at the Institute for Women Of Aviation Worldwide, are demonstrating that vocations are born from passion instead. It is our true privilege to reward passionate individuals with a can-do attitude with the many prizes that our member-partners and friends make available annually to participants of Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week."

On May 5 2013, the St Andrews Airport community is holding an award ceremony from 2 PM to 3 PM at the Lyncrest Airport to celebrate its multiple achievements in association with Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week and present its trophies to the public. The press is invited.

The Institute for Women Of Aviation Worldwide (iWOAW) is a not-for-profit consortium of businesses and organizations from around the world whose mission is to foster diversity in the air and space industry through outreach, education, and advocacy.

To learn more about the Institute for Women Of Aviation Worldwide, please www.iWOAW.org. For all the details about Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week, visit www.WomenOfAviationWeek.org

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Two Uncomfortable Flights

This weekend Bob, Turbo and I flew up to Michigan to visit my family. We hadn't been back to Michigan since Christmas and they'd get to meet Turbo for the first time, we'd get to see my brother's new house, and attend my uncle's surprise birthday party.  A full weekend awaited us as we departed for PTK. 

The ride was smooth and uneventful, however, left us humans (the puppy slept) with headaches and our eyes in a permanent squint. We were in the sun the whole flight, including landing. Part of the time I used Bob's baseball cap to block the sun, then turned it into a "hood" and practiced some instrument work from the right seat. As I mentioned here before, it is very difficult from the right in the Glasair. Any tips or tricks would be appreciated. One thing that has helped is to not hold the stick to tight (I ended up balancing it between two thumbs) because you can easily move it without realizing what you are doing. The flight took just a little over two hours and we hopped out in the chilly air with Turbo ready to meet the family, thankful for the setting sun.

We left Sunday afternoon after a very large brunch which left my my stomach in an uproar. A game of Snake Oil with friends and siblings covered the nausea for a short period, but upon arriving at the airport, I was ready to be home in bed. It was IFR about half the flight, Bob flew most of the instrument work and I let him rest and took over when things became VFR. I did do a bit of instrument work in the middle but soon became distracted by...

...warning...proceeding further may gross you out.

Puppy puke.

I used to be prepared for everything when we flew with Turbo. Not anymore. I used to pack a towel in case he had an accident. I never considered the other end. I will now. Luckily Bob was at the controls when I noticed Turbo's stomach start to heave. I had no time to waste and just cupped my hands letting some lovely liquids fall into it. Turbo then settled back down to sleep. Brat.

I looked around, warm goo in my hand, my stomach getting more upset by the minute. Looking around, I knew we had a plastic bag and a water bottle in the back. But Bob was flying in IFR and I had no hands free. Turning the vomit into just one hand was a lovely task. I then kept that hand balanced while finding the items in the backseat. Vomit went into the baggie and some on my leg. Water washed off my hands...and the rest on to my leg. I was ready to land. And we did...an hour later.

So, moral of the story? Always be prepared for puppy puke!

I think Bob was happy he was PIC for the flight.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Your controls:My controls

Your controls.

Bob and I should start practicing that exchange while flying. Because this was said on our flight today, "Oh! I'm flying!"

Here's Turbo adjusting the trim for us.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Life is too short to be a passenger - Lesley Page

 I met Lesley in 2010 through my work with Women Of Aviation Worldwide. We have a lot in common, we are both team leaders for Women Of Aviation Week of the countries we reside in, love to fly to new places with our pilot husbands and look to share our passion with others whenever we can. We also both drink lots of wine during Women Of Aviation Week ;) We differ, though, in how we each got started in aviation. That's what's amazing about being a pilot, everyone was introduced in a different way with their own special "twist". Lesley is now making a career out of sharing that story with others and is open to invites to speak and tell you just why life is too short to be a passenger. Lesley has grown into a great friend of mine and I'm sure you will understand why when you read her message below (oh and her hubby, Jeff, is pretty cool too).

Life is too short to be a passenger
Lesley Page

 25 years ago, I married a pilot, but it was not until eight years ago, at age 50, that I discovered my current passion, aviation. Jeff had a Private Pilot License, but was no longer flying. After food, mortgage, kids etc., there was no money left over for such frivolity.

Fast forward a couple of decades – house paid off, kids moved out = more disposable income. Jeff got back into flying. I hardly noticed and I certainly didn’t take any interest in it. I was far too busy - working crazy hours at my job in senior management at the Toronto office of a large retailer.
I did notice, however, when Jeff announced that he had found an airplane that he wanted to buy. What?! We couldn’t afford an airplane! He explained that we could afford it, as it was a small, older airplane.

“How small and how old?” I wanted to know. 

Somehow, Jeff talked me into the purchase and two weeks later, he took possession of Cessna 172 C-GMWI. When Jeff took me for my first flight in his plane, I was very excited: from seeing the plane for the first time, to climbing into the passenger seat, to the start-up, taxi and take-off. What a thrill!
There was a moment of slight panic, as we climbed out over the residential area, when I thought to myself “That’s a long way to fall”. As the houses and cars became smaller, I quickly overcame the fear of falling and started to really enjoy my first flight in a small plane. Once we were clear of the control zone, Jeff began to explain some of the procedures and I became very interested. He suggested that I take control. With trepidation, I gingerly flew for a few minutes before handing the controls back to Jeff. But, it was enough – it was love at first flight! 

That one flight was all it took to make me realize that I wanted flying to be a part of my life. The thrill of flying is indescribable. It is exciting, definitely, but also there is also a feeling of freedom and control. And the aerial views are spectacular. That first flight took us up over the lakes of southern Ontario and it amused me to realize that from high above the earth, the lakes are recognizable because they look the same as they look on a map.

Over the next week, as Jeff and I talked about flying, and the adventures that we could take in our airplane, a new possibility was emerging in my mind – the possibility of a very different life - one that did not include my high stress job. The fact that my 50th birthday was looming certainly came into play. My mother had died from breast cancer when she was 53 – so young! 

I decided that life is too short to be a passenger!

Two weeks after that life-changing flight, I handed in my resignation at work, giving two months’ notice. My last day on the job would be the day before my 50th birthday (at the beginning of the summer). My manager was shocked! I explained that the stress, the hours and the commute were too much and that I wanted to start enjoying life. “Besides”, I added, “we just bought an airplane and I’m going to learn to fly it”. 

I had my first flight lesson a few days later and within a couple of weeks of beginning the journey, three things became apparent. Three things that almost made me quit!

1.      Flying the airplane was not as easy as I thought (or as Jeff made it look).
2.      There was a lot to learn and much of the material is technical (and I’m not a technical person)
3.      I was afraid.

The first two were simply obstacles. OK, so it was going to be harder than I thought, but I knew that I could overcome obstacles. The third point, however, was almost crippling. I was so afraid, that I found excuses for avoiding flying lessons. In fact, in the first 5 months of learning to fly, I only had three lessons!

Any huge undertaking involves obstacles and fear. In order to achieve your dreams, you need to develop and implement strategies and tactics to overcome the obstacles and conquer the fear. So that’s exactly what I did. These were the strategies that worked for me.

·        Focus on the end goal
·        Plan
·        Take it one step at a time
·        Work hard
·        Repeat
·        Research
·        Network
·        Re-plan
·        Improvise
·        Be Courageous
·        Celebrate

For example, I used hard work and repetition to absorb and understand Meteorology and Navigation in ground school. I used research and my aviation network to discover the tip that finally enabled me to master the art of landing the airplane. I used planning and improvisation to find the final airport when the winds shifted on my solo cross country.

Most importantly, I took it one step at a time and focused on the end goal to overcome my fear.
After almost a year and a half of flight training, I was ready for my flight test. It was several months before the weather, my schedule and the schedule of the flight examiner lined up. On the morning of the test, I was more nervous that I had ever been in my life. On my way to the airport, I said “I’d better pass, because I never want to go through this again”.

I flew a very good test, achieving a very good score, but I didn’t know that until it was over. After I shut down the engine, I was actually surprised when the examiner reached over to shake my hand. “You mean I passed?” I asked him. He laughed and said “Of course!”

For the past six years, Jeff and I have taken our Cessna on many trips throughout North American and as far as the Bahamas, taking turn as PIC. Jeff considers himself very fortunate to have a spouse who shares his passion for flying; even though it means that he only gets to fly every second trip. We are known at our flying club as “The Flying Couple”.

When I’m not using my airplane for trips, my passion is sharing my love of flying with others. I have received several awards for introducing women and young people to aviation by taking them for free flights in my airplane.

I also love to share my passion by talking about it. In my previous role as a senior manager, I developed excellent public speaking skills, so my second career as a motivational speaker and engaging storyteller combines those skills with my passion for aviation.

My most popular presentation, called “Life is too Short to be a Passenger” is a motivational/inspiration description of how I conquered my fears and overcame obstacles to achieve my dream of becoming a pilot. It is the story of my journey from burned-out corporate executive to award-winning private pilot.

To read more about my journey, please visit www.CourageToSoar.com

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

REIL Remarks #14

A new weekly segment of my blog featuring the funny finds in aviation publications!

"Rwy 06–24 longitudinal and transverse cracking on rwy surface." L77, California
That's just a long winded way of saying runway needs to be paved real bad.

Have some to share?  Feel free to send them my way and I will add them to the REIL Remarks archive!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Aviation & Jealousy

"To cure jealousy is to see it for what it is, a dissatisfaction with self." Joan Didion

He has a faster plane!  She has more hours!  They have electricity in their hangar!

Yes, the grass is always greener on the other side and it rings ever true in the world of aviation.   I myself have fallen victim to the tinge of jealousy many times; but it comes from something amazing, the almost obsessive passion for aviation.  It is important to remember to turn that dissatisfaction and these common comparisons from something negative into something beneficial. 

Take these powerful emotions and tunnel the energy into something greater.  Get that new rating, challenge yourself to fly farther or to learn something new.  If you do not have the time or money, do what you can to educate yourself and get involved by networking with others.  

No matter how much better that newer plane may be, or if they have their tailwheel endorsement and you don't; remember that you earned your wings.  You are something special.  You are a pilot, in the world and in your heart and that is something very unique, something that no one can take away from you.

So let's count the smiles and not compare the miles or the hours.  Share your journey with pride and celebrate what you are! 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

REIL Remarks #13

A new weekly segment of my blog featuring the funny finds in aviation publications!

Rwy 17 has +4 ft fence 320 ft from thld and 3 ft ditch 290 ft from thld 0B, +25 ft powerpole 400 ft from thld 110 ft right of centerline, +8 ft sign 340 ft from thld 70 ft right of centerline, +10 ft road 300 ft from thld 0B." 5V4, Colorado

Whoa. I would have written, "keep your eyes open!"

Have some to share?  Feel free to send them my way and I will add them to the REIL Remarks archive!

Monday, April 15, 2013

$100 Hamburger - Fly By Cafe

In my previous post, I wrote about our flight to Blue Ridge Airport (KMTV) to go camping at Fairy Stone State Park. In Martinsville, VA, Blue Ridge Airport is just over 200nm southwest of Frederick and made for a good overnight weekend and could also pass as a more lengthy $100 Hamburger. It is worth the extra mileage!

The patio offers a beautiful view of the runway and on a sunny and 70 degree day, it was bustling with pilots coming in for $100 hamburgers. At one point we watch 6 planes land back to back. Service was great and the food was simple, cheap and good. All one would want in a $100 hamburger! 

A piece of advice to married couples to fly together, or any couple, or any individuals flying together when one person is picking up the bill: Be sure to make sure one of you paid. We had a "I thought you paid" "no I thought you paid!" moment when the server flagged us down (Bob was buckled up, I was hopping in the plane) because we hadn't paid yet! So please, pay your restaurant check and tip your servers well! :o)

Be sure to check out my $100 Hamburgers tab for more fun ideas. You can view my Yelp review as well as my $100 Hamburger list on Yelp here.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Flying to Fairy Stone State Park

Once upon a time, fairies were dancing around carelessly in a river in the middle of a beautiful forest. Their dancing stopped when they were told of the recent death of Jesus Christ. The fairies mourned and cried. When their tears touched the ground, they crystallized into crosses, now called fairy stones.

Long after the fairies had moved away, new settlers came to the area to mine and during prohibition, make moonshine. When their trades were no longer needed, everyone moved away from the only 20 year old village and it was left a ghost town. The lake flooded and the town is now underwater and forgotten.

These are the legends and history of Fairy Stone State Park in Stuart, VA.

The Trip

Spring had sprung, so it was time to become one with nature once again and join a quick weekend of camping and hiking. After some research of fun nearby places, Fairy Stone State Park seemed like the perfect choice. Just over 200nm from Frederick, Blue Ridge Airport (MTV) was just a half hour drive from the park. The flight over was beautiful, not a cloud in the sky, but very bumpy over some mountains at our midway point. I was flying and had Turbo on my lap. The turbulence was so severe that Bob and I hit our heads on the ceiling of the airplane twice! Preventing Turbo from flying lose around the cockpit and trying to handle the aircraft proved difficult so I did have to hand over the controls during that period.
To help you plan, their are no car rentals available at the airport. The first car place Bob called was going to cost $80 for the weekend, $50 a day plus $30 for drop off and pick up. He then called Hertz which totaled to only $60 for the weekend. A very nice and fun to talk to employee picked us up at the airport (you must arrive by 11) and drove us to Hertz to sign the paperwork and we were on our way. Don't worry, you can leave the car at the airport when you are all done.

After signing for our car, we hopped by the JS Adam's Grocery store to pick up food to cook that night. It's a small grocery/hardware store/gas station but had all the basics we needed just for our quick trip. Note, the hot dogs we bought were probably the most shady hot dogs we ever had! They tasted fine, but their color was not natural...at all. The address is  4201 Stones Dairy Road, Basset, VA and was right on our way to the park.

It was 11AM and after traveling and grocery shopping on empty stomachs we were famished. A great place to stop (especially with a dog in tow) is Papa's Pizza (4288 Fairystone Parkway in Bassett). We ate on the patio where there was not only a fenced in kiddie play area, but a bar and dance floor for the adults! If you visit, make sure you take advantage of their giant and very delicious cupcakes.

The Hikes

After setting up camp, we took the car to a parking spot on the other side of Fairy Stone Lake to do the Stuart's Knob and Whiskey Run trails. Put together, these add up to just over 4 1/2 miles. It's pretty easy, but the inclines at points I could label "moderate". It was a great first "big" hike for Turbo. The hike took us past several old mine shafts and a great view of Bull Mountain.

Note: These woods are full of ticks! Be sure to check yourself and your pet(s) continuously. We each got bit and I had nightmares that night of ticks being in places they shouldn't :o)

And for your listening pleasure...

 Now wasn't that fun. 

The next morning we had planned to rent a canoe ($8/hr, $25 a day) and go around the lake, but Bob picked up some work in the late afternoon and the boats weren't available until 11AM. So, we opted for a quick morning hike instead. Turbo was not a fan of this idea. For the first 15 minutes he'd randomly stop and just lay down. 

After awhile, however, he got the point and enjoyed the rest of the hike. We walked from our campsite down past the "Campers Only Beyond this Point" sign to find a pretty bridge and stream leading to the White Oak trail. This trail took us in a pretty loop through the woods with some educational signs along the way. Then it was back uphill (that was good for the calves) to our campsite to head out. That hike was probably just 1 1/2 miles to Turbo's relief.

Campsites and Fairy Stones

There are many cabins available but Turbo, Bob and I decided to "ruff" it in the camping section.

It was woodsy and quiet. Each campsite included an electrical box, a water spout, picnic table, fire ring and a flat area for your tent. We enjoyed an evening by the fire, cooking hot dogs, baked beans and s'mores. Just be sure to check for any fire restrictions while you are there.

To find the legendary fairy stones (which will look nothing like the perfect ones in the gift store) head out of Fairy Stone Parkway to the Fairy Stone Pit Stop (a gas station) which is just three miles down from the park entrance. The woods to the left of the pit stop is where you are allowed to hunt for fairy stones. I found five that I thought passed as decent stones. Bob found one that I said I'd let it pass, haha!

The Flight Home

Before the flight home, we managed a $100 hamburger out of this trip at the Fly By Cafe. I'm sorry, but that will be a separate post that you can read all about tomorrow!

After full bellies and packing and fueling the plane we departed runway 12 then headed northeast towards Frederick. On the way to MTV we were able to get a Class Bravo clearance through Dulles but it was not the case on the way back. That always seems to be the case when coming from the south. Luckily avoiding the airspace didn't take too much extra time. I didn't care, I was sleeping. After a night on an air mattress and dreams of ticks attacking you, you'd pass over the controls as well! I did awaken to spin around a very large RC plane we saw flying around as we got closer to Frederick. I hope we didn't distract the "pilot" :)

For more photos of this fun trip, visit here.

Be sure to check back for my Fly By Cafe report, tomorrow!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Looking past limits

Having experienced frightening eye issues myself (thankfully not to this extent) I can relate to this talk on a personal level. Those without sight limitations have room to learn from the following video as well. In aviation we have many limits, most of those are personal. Now while I don't advocate to push your limits in weather, or an advanced aircraft that you are not yet prepared for, there are many limits we as pilots can cross if we only believe in ourselves more. 

No, this is not a continuation of guest videos from Women Fly it Forward. I wish our set was as great as that! Just something I discovered and was compelled to pass along. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Dr. Mamta Patel Nagaraja, NASA, inspires the next generation of female space scientists

Dr. Mamta Patel Nagaraja was the perfect woman to speak to participants at Women Fly it Forward in March. She is the director of the Women@NASA project, used to train astronauts for life aboard the International Space Station, and is interviewing for the 2013 class of astronauts. I hope she was as much of an inspiration to our participants as she was to me. In case you missed it, here is her presentation!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Astronaut Pamela Melroy inspires the next generation of female astronauts

At the Frederick, MD Women Fly it Forward event during Women Of Aviation Week, guest speaker Astronaut Pamela Melroy inspired many girl and women participants, including myself. I had the honor of spending the day with Pamela, and hearing her speak twice. I never tire of her message.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

REIL Remarks #12

A new weekly segment of my blog featuring the funny finds in aviation publications!

"Arpt located in mountain valley, rising terrain in all directions." AXX, New Mexico

Not to be confused with mountain valleys located in flat terrain?

Have some to share?  Feel free to send them my way and I will add them to the REIL Remarks archive!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

$100 Hamburger - Charley's

Our flight path from Frederick today would take us through DC airspace, past all the busy Dulles Airport departures and arrivals, over rivers, and to Williamsburg-Jamestown Airport (KJGG) in Virginia. Charley's Restaurant was our $100 hamburger of choice, we knew there was outdoor patio seating (perfect for the 70 degree day) and was rumored to be dog friendly. 

Turbo waited in the Glasair while we closed the hangar, his ears blowing in the gusty wind. He usually falls asleep right away in the plane, but this time he decided to watch the take off, then pick a new position to sleep in. That would be standing over my shoulder. Eventually he would end up behind my neck like a scarf, balancing on the seat. Surprisingly, he never fell back into the storage area as we hit many bumps along the way.

Upon landing in Williamsburg, we were greeted by four ultralight pilots who were just leaving after lunch. Turbo got a lot of attention and we talked about their planes for awhile. When we sat down to eat, we enjoyed watching their departure.

The food was top notch, as was the service. Everyone out on the patio, waitstaff and customers alike were so friendly and sociable. Turbo enjoyed tangling himself among our chairs and table while Bob and I enjoyed our lunch (him the prime rib-me a BBQ sandwich) and dessert (fresh homemade coconut cream pie-OMG AMAZING!). There's a small playset for kids right by the patio which we took our furry kid through and introduced him to the slide!

I highly recommend Charley's as a $100 hamburger stop as well as the airport which is close to both historic Jamestown and Williamsburg. Bob and I had both spent a weekend there with friends this past December and really enjoyed it.

The flight home was still bumpy, however, we left the bumps behind when we reached 10,000 feet to fly over the Dulles Class B airspace. It was very busy and air traffic control would not give us a clearance through it. I took over at 10,000 feet and handled the decent as we were cleared through Class B down to 7,500 then 4,500 then shortly after to 3,400 right before we exited the SFRA. 

The wind in Frederick was 17 knots gusting to 22, the most that I've landed the Glasair in. Luckily, the majority of it was down the runway, although it became quite bumpy. My landing was slightly hard, but it got us on the ground! Turbo did not awake so I'll say it was good enough!

You can enjoy more photos from this trip here and my Yelp review of the restuarant here.

Summer is coming! Hopefully you'll see many more reviews in the near future! I have started a new tab for all the "Turbo trips" we take to make it easier to find the dog friendly flying reviews.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Flight school flies away with five world titles

Victoria, Texas – Calhoun Air Center was awarded five world titles from Women Of
Aviation Worldwide on Wednesday, April 4th. The flight school received ‘Most Female
Pilot Friendly Training Center Worldwide’- first runner up; owner, Dianna Stanger, ‘Most
Dedicated Female Pilot Worldwide’- second runner up; chief flight instructor, Erin
Michael, ‘Most Dedicated Female Pilot Worldwide’ - Top Ten; flight instructor, Thomas
Keane, ‘Most Supportive Male Pilot Worldwide’ - Top Ten and public relations
coordinator, Jasmine Gordon, Most Productive Organizers’ - Top Ten.

“The tremendous amount of support from Victoria and Calhoun County is the motivation
for the great effort we put forth this year,” said Stanger. “Each time our passengers
smiled, laughed or thanked us it made it all worthwhile. Our team effort was a winning

Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week aims to foster diversity in aviation by celebrating
history, raising awareness, and sparking vocations among the female population. Over
two hundred and fifty girls and women took their first flight at the air center.

“In a world that is not always as welcoming to women as it should be, the Institute for
Women Of Aviation Worldwide searches for and highlights individuals and organizations
that are making a difference in fostering a shift in approach,” say Mireille Goyer,
President of the Institute for Women Of Aviation Worldwide. “To win our prestigious
awards, individuals and organizations must demonstrate a superior level of commitment
and dedication to attracting and welcoming women in the industry. We congratulate
Dianna Stanger and the Calhoun Air Center for demonstrating the highest level of
commitment and dedication in their respective categories within the United States in
order to win.”

The event is held worldwide each year during the week of March 8th, International
Women’s Day. The air center hosted one of seventy-four events held in America, Asia,
Africa and Europe. Calhoun Air Center was the only flight school to represent the USA
as the locations in Canada swept the remaining trophies.

"I am so proud of all those at Calhoun Air Center for making such a large impact during
Women of Aviation Week! I hope other flight schools will follow in their footsteps and in
turn, grow the female pilot population." said Victoria Neuville, US Team Leader of the
Institute for Women Of Aviation Worldwide.

The flight school has been awarded the WOAW Certified Women Friendly Flight
Training Facility seal by Women Of Aviation Worldwide (WOAW) three years in a row.

If you wish to learn more about the newest addition to Calhoun Air Center’s flight
training courses, please contact Erin Michael at 361-575-2359 or via email at


To schedule an interview or for more information about this event please contact,
Jasmine Gordon at 361-746-8846 or via email at jasmine@calhounaircenter.com.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

My Cameo in the AOPA Members Video

Why am I the only one that got interviewed in a freezing cold hangar, might I ask?! :o)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Frederick Airport Most Female Friendly for the 3rd Year

Frederick, MD - During Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week 2013, Frederick Municipal Airport earned their third trophy as they once again earned the ‘Most Female Pilot Friendly Airport in the United States’ award.  Working together, pilots and volunteers provided free flights to 342 girls and women throughout the week with 261 of those flights took place on Saturday, March 9th.

Frederick Municipal Airport has been hosting the Women Fly it Forward event as part of the worldwide week since its inception in 2011.  This year, 70 events were held on 4 continents during the week and Frederick earned 4th place worldwide. 

The 2013 theme was "women and space", celebrating 50 years since the first women astronaut, Valentina Tereshkova of Russia traveled into space. 

After hearing about Women Fly it Forward, one young participant, Ellen and her mom drove 5 hours from New Jersey to arrive at the start of the Saturday event. Ellen wore her astronaut costume that she bought on a trip to the Kennedy Space Center.  During that trip, Ellen asked her mother why there were so few women astronauts.  It was an extra special day for her when she had the opportunity to talk with woman astronaut, Colonel Pam Melroy at the Frederick event. Ellen later enjoyed time playing in the Traveling Space Museum exhibits and went up for her first flight in a small airplane. Her mother later wrote about what an impact the event made on their lives.

Also impacted were those who volunteered on the ground and in the air. Eva and her friend Nina flew from New York to participate. While Nina flew, Eva helped guide girls to their flights.  “You have changed my life by giving me the chance to participate and to help bring so much joy to others! Thank You!” wrote Eva.

Stories such as this were told throughout the globe.

"I am continuously impressed with the community at this airport and how they eagerly take on the challenge of introducing women to aviation," says event organizer, Victoria Zajko, "I look forward to seeing how they outdo this event next year. 

Victoria is also the US Team Leader for Women Of Aviation Week and helped coordinate 23 other events around the country. This was her third and final year organizing the Frederick event.

"I know Women Fly it Forward will continue to be a huge success. It is time for me to focus on helping to make other events in the US as successful as ours in Frederick," she stated.

Women Fly it Forward will return to Frederick during the week of March 8th, 2014.

More Information

Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week, held annually during the week of March 8, aims to foster diversity in aviation by celebrating history, raising awareness, and sparking vocations as thousands of girls and women are introduced to aviation through industry-wide collaboration.

The Fly It Forward Challenge is part of this initiative and Frederick has been participating since 2011. More information on Frederick’s Event can be found online at WomenFlyItForward.com or email us at WomenFlyitForward@gmail.com.  You can follow Women Fly it Forward on Facebook at Facebook.com/WomenFlyItForward and on Twitter @WomenFlyForward.


Aviation records fall during the 3rd annual Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week

Aviation records fall during the 3rd annual Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week 3 April, 2013 in Headlines by Mireille - Intl Team Leader
Helicopter pilot, Mary Ellen, gives a preflight briefing
Helicopter pilot, Mary Ellen, gives a preflight briefing
From March 4 to March 10 2013, over 2,100 volunteers across four continents – Africa, Asia, America, and Europe – introduced more than 17,000 girls and women to the opportunities available in the air and space industry as part of the Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week celebration, held annually during the week of March 8, anniversary date of the first female pilot license worldwide.
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. Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week aims to foster diversity in aviation by celebrating history, raising awareness, and sparking vocations among the female population.
Nothing can spark aviation vocations like experiencing the magic and sensations of flight in a small aircraft. Many of 74 events included an invitation for girls and women to try flight in a small aircraft.

A first flight changes perspectives
333 pilots flew 109 types of aircraft for more than 1,500 hours – enough hours to fly 12 times around the globe in a small aircraft – in order to introduce 5,316 girls and women to flying. For reference, the largest female airline pilot rated population resides in the United States and totaled 5,818 in 2012.
Friendly competitions held as part of the Fly-It-Forward Challenge reward aviation enthusiasts that excel at enticing their local female population to discover the air and space industry.
The most coveted title, ‘Most Female Pilot Friendly Airport Worldwide’, is awarded annually to the airport community that offers and documents the most female first flight experiences in approved aircraft throughout the week.
In 2012, more than 400 flights allowed Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories, Canada, to win the title. The top three contenders in 2013 orchestrated more than 500 flights each.
Fun in St Andrews, MB, Canada
Fun in St Andrews, MB, Canada
Lead by event organizer, Jill Oakes, the St Andrews Airport Community in the greater Winnipeg area, Manitoba, Canada, wins the ’2013 Most Female Pilot Friendly Airport Worldwide’ title with a whopping 680 documented introductory flights in approved aircraft.
80 local businesses and associations supported the event that offered far more than just flights to the close to 3,000 attendees. Prominent Women Of Aviation were on hand to inspire and answer questions, instructors operating 4 simulators gave hands-on experience to the girls and women, local flight schools and associations informed attendees about the next steps, and potential employers presented all the options available.
Oakes won the $1,000 training prize awarded to the organizer responsible for the event yielding the most effectiveness and outreach overall. Number of flights, number of volunteers, number of women who take the next step and amount of press coverage are a few of the criteria to win the prize.
“The end result is about 40 gals signed up for ground school,” said Oakes.
Kirsten Brazier returning after one of her many flights
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada, is the first runner up in the category with 634 flights and Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, the second runner up with 517 flights. Frederick, Maryland, USA, retains its honorary title of ‘Most Female Pilot Friendly Airport in the USA’ with 342 flights.
Female pilot friendly regions stood up as well. The province of Ontario in Canada was responsible for more than 1,400 flights; Washington State totaled more than 400 flights between events in Seattle and Twisp.
Acknowledging that creating excitement is only the first step to increasing diversity in aviation, the Institute for Women Of Aviation Worldwide created a new title in 2013: ‘Most Female Pilot Friendly Training Center Worldwide’. This title is awarded to the training center that fosters the most female introductory flights during the week.
Waterloo Wellington Flight Centre, based at the Kitchener-Waterloo airport in Ontario, Canada, won the world title with 517 flights. The first runner up isCalhoun Air Center based in Victoria, Texas, USA. Rounding out the top three isRockcliffe Flying Club in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
Astronaut Pam Melroy and an astronaut-to-be
Astronaut Pam Melroy and an astronaut-to-be
“Engaged individuals at all levels is what has made the Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week initiative the largest female outreach aviation program ever created,” says Mireille Goyer, founder of the initiative and President of the Institute for Women Of Aviation Worldwide.
While the average number of introductory flights per pilot was 15, one third of the pilots went beyond the average. The ‘Most Dedicated Female Pilot Worldwide’ and the ‘Most Supportive Male Pilot Worldwide’ titles salute the most prolific pilots.
Bush pilot, Kirsten Brazier, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada, initiated 180 girls and women to flying to earn the ’2013 Most Dedicated Female Pilot Worldwide’ title for the second year in a row. First and second runners up were respectively, Megan Tyler, Northwest Territories, Canada, and Dianna Stanger, Port Lavaca, Texas, USA.
To win the ‘Most Supportive Male Pilot Worldwide’ title, Frank Roberts of St Andrews, Manitoba, Canada, flew 302 girls and women. Geoff Furniss and Glen Sibbeston, both from Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada, took the first and second runner up positions.
Many prizes offered by the partners and friends of the Institute for Women Of Aviation Worldwide were distributed to pilots, volunteers, female first time flyers, and contest winners.
New records were set in all categories and constitute the new reference numbers to win a title during the 4th annual Women Of Aviation Worldwide to be held from March 3 to March 9, 2014.
On September 9, 1913, Pyotr Nikolayevich Nesterov was the first pilot to perform an aerobatic maneuver, the loop. For this he was disciplined with ten days of close arrest, ostensibly “for risking government property”. A few months later in May 1914, Lidia Zvereva, the first Russian woman to earn a pilot license, became the first female aerobatic pilot worldwide when she performed a loop in a Morane airplane. To honor all female aerobatic pilots, the week’s 2014 theme will be: 100 years of female aerobatic pilots.
Click here to view all award and prize winners.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Prop-Blast from the Past - Part 4

A blog post from August 22, 2009 reveals a recommendation letter written by Bob for a scholarship I was applying for. Enjoy his sense of humor below :)

Victoria Neuville is the greatest pilot ever to walk the earth, or fly above it. She routinely wows me with her uncomprehendable feats of airwomanship. She is able to get in any aircraft, whether it be a Piper Cub, Airbus 380, Space Shuttle or gyroplane, and fly it with such precision that the autopilot companies want to clone her abilities. In fact, had Victoria been born a hundred years ago, she would have invented the airplane, and done a much better job than those wing-warping Wright Brothers. Victoria demonstrates a complete understanding of the FARs, and can quote any part and section verbatim upon request. The FAA is considering changing it's name to the VAA and making Victoria its new administrator. Victoria is able to handle any emergency situation from sun-lit dirty windshields to an aircraft that loses both wings and still make a landing that would not cause a hedgehog passenger to raise a quill. In short, you should definitely give your scholarship to Victoria The Great because she is so Great.

Thank you.