Monday, December 31, 2007

I am back online!

My computer has been repaired and returned. I will be back online, posting on the message board, blogging, and getting out that all important eZine tomorrow (don't forget to add our email address to your "safe" senders).

Have a safe New Year's Eve!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Monday, December 24, 2007

Air Force Cutting Pilot Training

from avWEB:

The U.S. Air Force will train about 925 new pilots in 2008, a decrease of about 12 percent from the 1,100 that will graduate this year, the Air Force Times is reporting. The Times says there will be a slight bump in trainees in 2009 to about 1025, which is expected to remain constant for several years. The newspaper says the reduction is directly related to the decline in the number of aircraft and will be particularly felt in the fighter pilot ranks. "If the Air Force did not slow down pilot production, the service's fighter squadrons would be overwhelmed by first-assignment pilots who could not get adequate training because there wouldn't be enough jets or instructors," the newspaper reported.

The right mix of experienced (500-plus hours) and rookie fighter pilots is about 55 percent veterans and 45 percent newbies, the Times said. Transport and other types of military aircraft offer new pilots more training opportunities and the ability to ride along on a multitude of flights to gain familiarization. The Air Force has already reassigned almost 200 bomber and fighter pilots because there's nothing for them to fly. The Air Force Academy and ROTC program will continue accepting the same number of officer trainees but fewer of them will be offered pilot training.

Skiing, anyone?

It's time for me to go back to work, yes, on Christmas Eve day. That's the life of a pilot...
Thought you might enjoy this aerial view of a New York ski resort.
Stay warm!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Clearing the runways and everything else

You don't often think about the behind the scenes work that has to go on at the airports. This is a picture of the Lincoln Nebraska airport last tour when that big ice storm hit. Runways need to be kept clean since contaminated runways increase the takeoff and landing distance of the airplanes. Even though LNK's runway is 10,000 feet long, there's still a safety issue - don't want to go slipping and sliding at 100 miles per hour! The taxiways and ramp (where we were parked when this picture was taken) need to be clear as well. Just like in a car, the airplane can slide on the icy pavement. In fact, when starting an airplane on an ice covered ramp, caution must be used to prevent the thrust from the spooling up engine during start to overcome the set brakes! It has been known to happen...

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Speaker needed January 9th near Toledo, OH


Thank you for offering to put the word out to your volunteers regarding the speaking engagement for Zonta International on January 9.

My superintendent, Sandra Frisch (Lucas County Educational Service Center), has asked that I find a dynamic speaker who is committed to inspiring girls in the field of aviation. I believe your organization fits that order! I appreciate Janet Struble sending along your information and am happy to have learned of your organization. To learn more about ours, you may go to our website and for the international Challenger Center for Space Science Education website.

The meeting will be held on January 9 at The Toledo Club which is located at 235 Fourteenth Street in Toledo. The meeting begins at 12 o'clock noon.If you are able to find someone to make the presentation, please let me know, and I will then pass along the information to Sandra Frisch who will take it from there.

Thanks so much!Julie

Julie Muffler
Director, Challenger Learning Center of Lucas
The mission of the Lucas County Educational Service Center is to provide quality resources and services that meet the unique needs of our partners in the educational community.

Michelin Aircraft Tire - Careers in Aviation $1,000 Scholarship

Michelin Aircraft Tire - Careers in Aviation $1,000 Scholarship

Careers in Aviation is pleased to announce a partnership with Michelin Aircraft Tire in offering a $1000 scholarship award to a qualified applicant to complete their education in the field of aerospace. Michelin Global Marketing Communications Manager, David Barraco, states, “Our dedication toward education within the industry is demonstrated through our continued support of Careers in Aviation.”

The scholarship is open to students enrolled in an aviation-related degree program. The student must maintain a grade-average of 3.0 or higher. Careers in Aviation advances aerospace education and employment by fostering scholarships, by connecting students with available assistance, and by encouraging the aviation industry, professional associations, government agencies, and the educational community to work together effectively supporting aviation and space career development programs. If you wish to make a tax deductible contribution or receive further details regarding scholarship information, please contact Judy Rice at or 386-586-6574.

Michelin Aircraft Tire is a global manufacturer of tires and tubes for all aviation markets. With numerous technological advancements including the first aviation radial tire in 1981, and continuous quality innovations, Michelin is known throughout the industry as a leader in tire technology. Michelin supports the aviation industry through on-going training and support materials to its customers and owner-operators.

Dedicated to the improvement of sustainable mobility, Michelin designs, manufactures and sells tires for every type of vehicle, including airplanes, automobiles, bicycles, earthmovers, farm equipment, heavy duty trucks, motorcycles and the space shuttle. The company also publishes travel guides, maps and atlases covering Europe, Asia, Africa and North America. Michelin is recognized as the leading innovator in the tire industry and is the top selling tire brand worldwide. Headquartered in Greenville, S.C., Michelin North America employs more than 22,000 and operates 19 major manufacturing plants in 17 locations.

For complete scholarship edibility requirements and application:

# # #For more information, visit
or contact:
Judith A. Rice
Careers In Aviation
Ph: 386-586-6574

Friday, December 21, 2007

It is also the season for Thanks!


I am back at home at my desktop - which is still going strong after 6 years (thank you Gateway - thump, thump *knocking on wood*). I was able to find someone locally to back up my hard drive and who found a bunch of bad sectors there, but the laptop is still covered under an extended warranty (thank you Sam's Club). This means I will very likely be without laptop for the next three weeks. Arrghh. Posts will be few and far between, since I'm more nervous than ever about logging in to public computers to do work for GWW when I'm on the road.

Quote of the day:

'There's a special place in Hell for women who don't help each other.'

Either attributed to Bella Savitsky Abzug (July 24, 1920March 31, 1998), a well-known American political figure and a leader of the women’s movement. She famously said, “This woman’s place is in the House — the House of Representatives,” in her successful 1970 campaign to join that body. Or Madeleine Korbel Albright (born May 15, 1937), the first woman to become United States Secretary of State. She was nominated by President Bill Clinton on December 5, 1996 and was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate 99-0. She was sworn in on January 23, 1997.

I am happy to say that I have had plenty of women helping me with Girls With Wings, to include Erline, an employee of NASA Glenn Research Center here in Cleveland. Erline and her co-workers raise money by selling snacks at work, and generously donated $100 toward the Girls With Wings scholarship.

Also Cindy, a GWW and professional airline pilot, who made a $250 donation, and is always there for me (via telephone - since she lives in Denver and will soon move to Paris!).

I would also like to thank Kim, a GWW and future Air Guard C5 Pilot. She is always willing to drop everything and drive or fly to lend a hand with GWW events. She also is my backup message board moderator when I can't get on line for an extended period of time.

And just so I don't seem too biased, I also have Will, computer guru, who always makes himself available for IT consultation. He spends a huge amount of time to impart his valuable knowledge when I have problems with the website or my aforementioned laptop.

There are so many others out there too numerous to mention that thank me for my efforts, who send emails to me with tidbits of information to further the GWW mission, who volunteer to represent GWW at events I cannot attend. GWW has been so rewarding for me, and should I continue to go broke working on it, I know it is for a good cause.

Thank you for your support,

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Sterile Cockpit

I have some advice for all of you laptop users out there. My laptop died last night - taking all of the information I had on it with it. OK, so I'm not completely a lost cause, because the important stuff had been backed up. But there were a lot of odds and ends that I would LIKE to have that aren't worth paying someone to recover for me (especially when I have to buy a new laptop!). So, with as cheap as external hard drives have become, buy one and back up your laptop! I am on the road right now, so I am without computer (other than the hotel one I'm using now) until I get home. Anyone who knows me knows I am a workaholic, so it's very frustrating not to be able to get things done. I am also not looking forward to searching for program disks and reinstalling...

Also, I got a phone call today from someone warning me about the pictures on my blog. He reminded me of the "sterile cockpit" rule.

Sterile Cockpit Rule From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

'The Sterile Cockpit' - from NASA ASRS
The Sterile Cockpit Rule is an FAA regulation requiring pilots to refrain from non-essential activities during critical phases of flight,[1] normally below 10,000 feet. The FAA imposed the rule in 1981 after reviewing a series of accidents that were caused by flight crews who were distracted from their flying duties by engaging in non-essential conversations and activities during critical parts of the flight.

The following is the actual text from U.S. FAR 121.542/135.100, "Flight Crewmember Duties":[5]
(b) No flight crewmember may engage in, nor may any pilot in command permit, any activity during a critical phase of flight which could distract any flight crewmember from the performance of his or her duties or which could interfere in any way with the proper conduct of those duties. Activities such as eating meals, engaging in nonessential conversations within the cockpit and nonessential communications between the cabin and cockpit crews, and reading publications not related to the proper conduct of the flight are not required for the safe operation of the aircraft.
(c) For the purposes of this section, critical phases of flight includes all ground operations involving taxi, takeoff and landing, and all other flight operations conducted below 10,000 feet, except cruise flight.

I would imagine they would include "taking pictures."

So, I have removed any pictures that may cause someone to think I have been violating this regulation. I am extremely concerned for the safety of my passengers (as well as for my own skin), so I don't want anyone to think I would be risking lives, airplanes, my job, or my pilot's license (not to mention my credibility) just for the sake of the blog.


Monday, December 10, 2007

Some are better than others...

Hi all,

I haven't been writing much about "life on the road as a pilot" because there hasn't seemed to be very much to talk about - just business as usual.

Well, today we are flying a couple of people delivering their Christmas presents. We are waiting a few hours for them in the FBO here at the airport, and if you want to know the truth, I would have rather not! This is a very old building out in Arkansas. We were happy at first because there was a restaurant (above) serving good food (all fried, but very cheap). But when it was time to visit the pilot lounge, that was a different story. Image of the other pilots' attempt to recline in the laz-y-boy to the right. Oops. Inverted.

I have talked before about some of the nicer FBOs having snooze rooms and wide screen tvs. Free gourmet coffee, popcorn, cookies and wifi. Not here. The tv doesn't get any channels. There is a computer, but with virus alerts popping up. And the smell... whew. It does get humid down here.

The good news is that it is relatively warm and the people are nice. We'll go on to Texas for another gift delivery and if we're lucky, fly these folks back to Nebraska before the freezing rain hits. All airplanes are not certified to fly in freezing rain (it disturbs the airflow over the wing - decreasing the lift that can be produced). Since this condition is usually reported only on the ground - the report of freezing rain at an airport prohibits anyone taking off or landing. In flight, most airplanes have de-ice or anti-icing capabilities, or the pilots use PIREPS (or PIlot REPorts) from others experiencing freezing rain in the area - or they use their noggins to figure out where it could be taking place and avoid it. For more information, go to AOPA's article about airframe icing:

Freezing rain
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Freezing Rain is a type of precipitation that begins as snow at higher altitude, falling from a cloud towards earth, melts completely on its way down while passing through a layer of air above freezing temperature, and then encounters a layer below freezing at lower level to become supercooled. This water will then freeze upon impact of any object it then encounters.[1] The ice can accumulate to a thickness of several centimetres, called glaze ice. The METAR code for freezing rain is FZRA.[2] (see freezing drizzle for another way of forming ice accretion)

Friday, December 07, 2007

Congratulations, GWW Judy, CEO of Careers in Aviation

Careers in Aviation Announces Donation from Flight Training Services International

Careers in Aviation is pleased to announce that Flight Training Services International (FTSI) has made a very generous $125,000 donation to the organization. This money was set up as an endowment to assist students with their dreams of working in the aerospace industry. As an endowment, the money will provide annual scholarships for students to complete their education.

“We are excited to assist students in furthering their education in the aerospace industry,” said Shawn Raker, President and CEO of FTSI. “Our company has deep roots in aviation and we look forward to helping further the industry that we all know is in great need of assistance.”
The first FTSI Scholarship will be awarded in the fall of 2008. The requirements of the scholarship highlight the partnership between Careers in Aviation and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, as the student must attend the university.

For further information, students should refer to the Careers in Aviation website at The precise details and requirements are posted along with the scholarship application.

As a benevolent, non-profit organization, Careers in Aviation, Inc. ( assists students to explore the wide variety of opportunities in aviation. If you wish to make a tax deductible contribution or receive further details regarding scholarship information, please contact Judy Rice at or 386-586-6574.

But that's not all!


EDUCATION (NCAE) selected JUDITH A. RICE for the 2007 Exceptional Service Award in grateful appreciation for significant contributions to the (AFA) organization. Rice has consistently provided outstanding support for AFA’s Aerospace Education (AE) program.

The nominating AFA Chapter 102 President, Tom Gwaltnery, comments, “To say Aerospace Education is Judy’s passion would be an understatement. She has actively promoted AE with teachers, schools and civic groups throughout the country. Judy’s outstanding dedication, initiative, and vision reflect great credit upon herself, the Montgomery AFA Chapter, and the AFA.”

Judy has promoted aerospace and been committed to education throughout her career. She has a passion for aviation and aerospace technology. These qualities are evident in her background. From sixteen years in formal education to her current position as Careers in Aviation President/CEO, she has proven a life-long love and commitment to aviation and education.

Her position as President/CEO for Careers in Aviation, an aviation scholarship endowment, allows her to build partnerships across the country to make differences in the lives of students and the aerospace industry. In addition, Ms Rice remains director to two national aerospace conferences: the National Conference on Aviation and Space Education (NCASE) and the Leadership Conference on Aviation and Space Education (LCASE).

Ms. Rice has numerous awards and accomplishments in her portfolio. She currently holds a private pilot, instrument and commercial rating, and is continuing toward her CFI/A & P. She is an owner of a Grumman TR2 airplane. Her goal is to share her passion for aviation and her extensive experience with youth and adults everywhere.

As a benevolent, non-profit organization, Careers in Aviation, Inc. ( assists students to explore the wide variety of opportunities in aviation. Further details regarding scholarship information or Rice’s initiatives, please contact Judy Rice at or 386-586-6574.
# # #
For more information, visit or contact:
Judith A. Rice, President/CEO
Ph: 386-586-6574 or email:

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Pilot Workshops

I just got an email from a website I just signed up with:

This week, I decided to send you a complete multimedia workshop rather than the standard "Tip of the Week". In this 17 minute workshop, Rod Machado offers some great tactics for flying non-precision approaches. You'll benefit from Rod's practical advice and enjoy his entertaining delivery. You can view the
workshop online using this link...
Mark Robidoux
This was fun and educational to watch, and I see that they have numerous other topics. What a great resource!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Answer to the Puzzle Question

Yesterday's question was: Imagine a plane is sitting on a massive conveyor belt, as wide and as long as a runway, and intends to take off. The conveyer belt is designed to exactly match the speed of the wheels at any given time, moving in the opposite direction of rotation. Can the plane take off?

On first encounter this question, which has been showing up all over the Net, seems inane because the answer seems so obvious. However, as with the infamous Monty-Hall-three-doors-and-one-prize-problem (see The Straight Dope: "On Let's Make a Deal" you pick Door#1, 02-Nov-1990), the obvious answer is wrong, and you, Berj, are right--the plane takes off normally, with no need to specify frictionless wheels or anyother such foolishness. You're also right that the question is often worded badly, leading to confusion, arguments, etc. In short, we've got a topic screaming for the Straight Dope.

First the obvious-but-wrong answer. The unwary tend to reason by analogy to a car on a conveyor belt--if the conveyor moves backward at the same rate that the car's wheels rotate forward, the net result is that the car remains stationary. An aircraft in the same situation, they figure, would stay planted on the ground, since there'd be no air rushing over the wings to give it lift.

But of course cars and planes don't work the same way. A car's wheels are its means of propulsion--they push the road backwards (relatively speaking), and the car moves forward. In contrast, a plane's wheels aren't motorized; their purpose is to reduce friction during takeoff (and add it, by braking, when landing). What gets a plane moving are its propellers or jet turbines, which shove the air backward and thereby impel the plane forward. What the wheels, conveyor belt, etc, are up to is largely irrelevant.

Let me repeat: Once the pilot fires up the engines, the plane moves forward at pretty much the usual speed relative to the ground--and more importantly the air--regardless of how fast thec onveyor belt is moving backward. This generates lift on the wings, and the plane takes off. All the conveyor belt does is, as you correctly conclude, make the plane's wheels spin madly. A thought experiment commonly cited in discussions of this question is to imagine you're standing on a health-club treadmill in rollerblades while holding a rope attached to the wall in front of you. The treadmill starts; simultaneously you begin to haul in the rope. Although you'll have to overcome some initial friction tugging you backward, in short order you'll be able to pull yourself forward easily.

As you point out, one problem here is the wording of the question. Your version straightforwardly states that the conveyor moves backward at the same rate that the plane moves forward. If the plane's forward speed is 100 miles per hour, the conveyor rolls 100 MPH backward, and the wheels rotate at 200 MPH. Assuming you've got Indy-car-quality tires and wheel bearings, no problem. However, some versions put matters this way: "The conveyer belt is designed to exactly match the speed of the wheels at any given time, moving inthe opposite direction of rotation." This language leads to a paradox: If the plane moves forward at 5MPH, then its wheels will do likewise, and the treadmill will go 5 MPH backward. But if the treadmill is going 5 MPH backward, then the wheels are really turning 10 MPH forward. But if the wheels are going 10MPH forward . . . Soon the foolish have persuaded themselves that the treadmill must operate at infinite speed. Nonsense. The question thus stated asks the impossible -- simply put, that A = A + 5 -- and so cannot be framed in this way. Everything clear now? Maybe not. But believe this: The plane takes off.

Want an slightly easier answer (surprisingly, from an engineer!):
Bill is a pilot, with multiple engineering degrees,andowns a Cessna T210. "The truth is that, if you could build such a massivec onveyor belt, the plane would want to leave the ground sooner. The deal is that the air next to the conveyor/runway will move backward very near the surface with the effect being reduced as you get further away (higher). As an example, with the airplane moving forward at 40 knots and the conveyor moving backward at 40 knots, the air in the area between the conveyor and the wing will be moving backward at something less than 40 knots but more than 0. If we split the difference and say the air near the wing is being moved backward at 20 knots by the conveyor, the effective airspeed is 60 knots and the (light) plane is already flying.This effect is not imaginary. Remember how much effect there is on the performance of the plane in ground effect which starts half a wingspan above the ground!"

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Puzzle Question

Imagine a plane is sitting on a massive conveyor belt, as wide and as long as a runway, and intends to take off. The conveyer belt is designed to exactly match the speed of the wheels at any given time, moving in the opposite direction of rotation. Can the plane take off?

"To give without any reward, or any notice, has a special quality of its own."
--Anne Morrow Lindbergh,writer and aviation pioneer

Sunday, December 02, 2007

A Typical Day

Were you wondering why it took me so long to get the newsletter (and the big scholarship announcement) out yesterday? It hit emails after 10pm.

Well, we spent the night and started the day in Palm Springs, CA. There is always a lot of turbulence in and out of PSP, so it is NOT my favorite place to fly into. One of our passengers would certainly agree with me. She got out of the airplane looking a bit green...

We flew to Missoula, MT, to get more passengers and some fuel. I thought it was cold there, but then we flew on to Calgary, Canada. It was a very chilly -18 degrees C. It made the air freeze in your nose and throat. Can you imagine spending the entire winter here?

We then repositioned into Seattle, WA (we were actually trying to get into Boeing Field, but the weather was too bad). Once I got to the hotel room, I got to work and knocked it out...

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Girls With Wings Scholarship Announcement!

Brenda from San Jose, California, has been awarded our First Ever $500 GWW Flight Training Scholarship. Although each and every one of the scholarship applicants was amazing in her own way, Brenda’s zest and determination really shines! She says even though there have been no professionals in her family thus far, she has learned about ambition from her parents. And an encouraging high school guidance counselor aided her search for careers and to find out more about opportunities in aviation.

Brenda is currently majoring in Aviation at San Jose State University, which includes ground school only – since flight lessons are separate we will be posting updates on her flight lessons resuming in the spring. Brenda had worked at flying club and the mall to buy a few flight hours previously, but ran out of money because she “didn’t know” how to manage her training. So she is going to use her experiences to assist future Girls With Wings by taking pictures during flight training and chronicling her aviation education on Brenda even wants to even give out scholarships herself (once she becomes successful in her aviation career). Read her entire essay at

Writes Brenda: “I believe that ambition is the key to opportunities, and ambition is what I have carried with me throughout my life. I would love to pass on my ambition to future female pilots out there; motivate and support them in any way possible. My future is based on goals, challenges, and the triumph of flight. My passion for flying has taken me this far and is continuing to take me even further, a place where the sky is the limit,”

This was a tough decision for me because all of the applicants make great GWW role models. Please stay in touch and keep us posted on your progress. The message board is there for all of us to mentor and network – and most of all – to encourage those that will follow in our footsteps. Read all of the applications by clicking on the applicants’ pictures: A special thanks goes to GWW Cindy Jacobs, who donated $250 towards the scholarship amount. If you would like to donate to next year’s Girls With Wings scholarship, please visit

As Brenda says, “Someday my name will be in a pilot’s certificate, someday my name will be on scholarship awards, and someday you will remember my passion and ambition and share it with those around you. Someday I will look down from my jet to those who looked down on me and I will make another girl out there look up to me. Someday.” You can email Brenda at

“Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning."
Gloria Steinem, journalist and women's right advocate.

Friday, November 30, 2007



'There's a lot of scholarship information floating around—if you know where to look. Therein lies the problem: Where do you find this information? Heather M. Cook, editor of Phoenix Flight Publications, has compiled a new directory to help you get started. Aviation Scholarship Directory 2008 includes information about 517 scholarships available for flight training, advanced ratings, mechanic and technical training, college degrees, specialized training, and more. The author, who "has won all nine scholarships she has ever applied for," offers advice on how to write a winning scholarship essay, what to expect when applying for a scholarship, and how to get great letters of recommendation. The 312-page soft-cover book sells for $24.99 and may be ordered online; an e-book version is available for $19.99, as is a year's worth of updates for $14.99.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A Journalist is looking for a Girl With Wings

I received a message today from an author looking for an interviewee - but with a short lead time (thursday). If it doesn't apply to you, or if you know of someone who it does, please forward it on. I personally think that being a "minor" airline pilot could qualify...

Contact information follows. Please mention Girls With Wings if you should follow up on this - and let me know how it goes!

name = Pat Olsen
email =
comments = I'm a journalist. Pilot/writer Kevin Garrison passed this site on to me. Would you please post this? For a possible first-person column in the biz section of a top U.S. daily, I'm looking for a female pilot with a major airline to talk about how she juggles this job along with a side business and kids.

Contact: Patricia Olsen,


p.s. I do not have any other information, and have not confirmed the request.

Monday, November 26, 2007

A Girl With Wings squeaks it on!

November 7th: Kristine was on her own, flying an airplane around the airport traffic pattern (a rectangular route from the departure end of the runway around to the approach end - takeoffs and landings are the two most important skills, after all). This is a huge leap for student pilots - can you imagine? - the courage it takes for a person to get into the airplane that they have only flown with an instructor, but this time - ALONE. There is still a lot of training to be after this point, but the instructor has trained for this day, and won't release a student until they're ready, but nerves being what they are, a lot of times it's the student who needs to know she's ready to go out on her own...

"You know, a lot of unexpected things happen, and usually they're not the ones you practice; but the fact that you practiced a lot of different things puts you in the proper mindset to handle whatever it is that comes along, even if it isn't the one that you've experienced before."-- Former
astronaut, Neil Armstrong (first man to land on the moon)

The picture above (Kristine wearing a shirt with writing on it) shows the tradition of cutting out the back of the tshirt to show how sweaty the solo student pilot has gotten. She is shown holding the cutout with her instructor pilot in the picture to the right.

Here are also videos of her flight, takeoff and landing phases...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Female Pilots Still Face Obstacles

November 21, 2007

Female Pilots Still Face Obstacles

By Mary Grady, News Writer, Editor
It wasn't that long ago that female pilots here in the U.S. were an uncommon sight -- and unsettling, to some. Now in other parts of the world, women are just starting to find their way into the front seat, and not everyone is happy about it. In Qatar, the first Arab woman to fly a helicopter has been widely ridiculed and subjected to threatening phone calls after appearing in public wearing her pilot's uniform. "All phone calls had a similar message to convey," Munira Al Dosri told The Peninsula. "People were telling me they felt ashamed to see me without the abaya and veil (Qatari women's traditional attire). They told me they were ashamed of me being a Qatari woman." Qatar, a small country bordered by Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf, is one of the richest countries in the world. Al Dosri works for Gulf Helicopter and plans to continue flying and earning more ratings.

"My family, especially my parents, are very understanding and supportive," she said. "Thanks to them, I am able to carry on with my profession and focus on what I'm doing."

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

EAAs Learn to Fly Newsletter

Here's a great resource for you GWWs in Training:

Sign up for Reach for the Sky - EAA's Learn to Fly Newsletter
We'll send you a FREE monthly e-newsletter developed by EAA expressly for individuals like you who have an interest in learning to fly and a desire to join the ranks of the growing sport pilot universe. Reach for the Sky content will focus on answering your questions, identifying and explaining fears and apprehensions we've all faced learning to fly, discussing flight-training experiences and challenges, and providing learning tips for prospective and new student pilots. The newsletter will also include what you have experienced!. You are not only invited but encouraged to share your flight-training experiences with us so that we can share them with others in the community of new particpants in the world of aviation.To subscribe to Reach for the Sky, EAA's Learn to Fly Newsletter, enter your email address below and select 'Subscribe' from the drop down box. Don't worry, we won't pass on your e-mail to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any time. See a sample

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Girls With Wings and the Brownies

Last weekend I went to NASA Glenn Research Center and had the opportunity to teach over 100 Brownies how to fly!

We still used the cockpit posters I use for the older girls in the GWW Activity, but this time the girls got to "fly" by attaching their "engine" (a balloon) to an airplane (straw) on a string. I will post more information on the activity on the website fun pages soon.

You have to love their enthusiasm!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Get your money here...

Girls With Wings wants to stress that it supports your goals of flight training and additional ratings, and is a corporate member of Women in Aviation, Intl. We support the same mission!

It's Not Too Late – New WAI Scholarships Listed
There is still time to apply for the 2008 Women in Aviation, International scholarship program. Applications must be postmarked by December 1, 2007. Scholarships are available in various categories including Engineering, Flight, Maintenance, Dispatcher and "General" scholarships that provide money for everything from transition training to college books to flight gear. For more information including scholarships offered and application requirements go to:
Late Deadline Scholarships Also Available
If you need a little more time to get your application together OR if you have already applied for the maximum number of 2008 WAI scholarships (2), consider an additional application for one of the following late deadline scholarships. Deadline: December 10, 2007.- Bombardier Business Aircraft Services (Lear 31A Pilot Training)- Bombardier Aerospace (Learjet Maintenance Training)- ExpressJet Airlines, DBA Continental Express (Regional Jet Transition Course)- Garmin International (cash award and potential paid summer internship at Garmin)- Horizon Airlines (Dash 8 Q400 SIC Type Rating)- ICAO (Training Scholarship - Aviation Security)- ICAO (Training Scholarship - Environment)- ICAO (Training Scholarship - Communications, Navigation and Surveillance)- Telex Scholarship ($500 and a Telex ANR headset) The application deadline for these scholarships is December 10, 2007.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


I just love this cartoon. I think it says a lot for Girls With Wings, too, doesn't it?

Monday, November 12, 2007

A Girl With Wings Makes The News

At left is a page out of the Airline Owner and Pilot Association magazine featuring their program, Project Pilot, and in particular (bottom left) one of the GWWs, Lin!
Congratulations to the pilot you mentored, Jack, on his success, and thanks to you, Lin, for your support for this new pilot!
Read more about this program at

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Thunderstorms building at altitude.

Airplane Owners and Pilots Association (of which I am a member), has many resources for pilots online. For example: AOPA Air Safety Foundation Thunderstorm Avoidance Minicourse.

Thunderstorm clouds can be easy for VFR pilots to spot, but IFR pilots flying in the soup often rely on air traffic control (ATC) to route them around the severe weather.
Communication is key when working with ATC, as the AOPA Air Safety Foundation explains in its new four-minute minicourse, Avoiding Thunderstorms.

Avoiding Thunderstorms contains actual ATC transmissions between controllers and a pilot who flew into a Level 6 thunderstorm with tragic results. The audio dramatically illustrates the need for clear pilot-ATC communication and understanding of radar services provided.

The course advises pilots to verify with each controller they are handed off to exactly what services they will receive. This can help minimize the chances of a misunderstanding.

You'll also learn about ATC services, the enhancements in controllers' weather radar displays, and the importance of giving pilot reports. A list of weather- and ATC-related subjects at the end of the course leads you to more information.

You can also read one of their Safety Advisor Publications, 8 pages long, at, which includes:

What if the worst happens and you find yourself in the belly of the beast? You can increase your chances of surviving a thunderstorm encounter by taking a few, simple steps. First, throttle back and slow down before getting into severe turbulence.

Aiming for maneuvering speed (Va) can help protect the airframe from being overstressed by the violent air currents of a thunderstorm, but don’t try to “chase” a particular airspeed. As the airspeed needle swings wildly, you’ll be doing well to hold the average of the swings somewhere near the published Va.

The second step is to make the airplane as aerodynamically “dirty” as possible without lowering the flaps (which usually reduces structural strength). In complex aircraft, extend the landing gear. The added drag reduces the potential for rapid acceleration and, in turn, the potential for loss of control, or excessive airframe loads.

Finally, maintain a very loose straight-and-level flight attitude and forget about holding a particular heading, altitude or airspeed. Trying to exercise precise aircraft
control in a thunderstorm is both futile and counterproductive: It’s impossible, and it greatly increases the odds of damaging the airframe.

Thanks for checking out the Girls With Wings blog.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

More Scholarship

They are out there!

Women in Aviation International has announced several new scholarships for 2008 plus an extended deadline to make it easier to apply. The new scholarships include type ratings from Bombardier Business Aircraft Services, ExpressJet, and HorizonAir, as well as a separate scholarship for Learjet maintenance training, also offered by Bombardier. Other new scholarships are being offered by the International Civil Aviation Organization, Garmin, and Telex, whose scholarship is accompanied by a headset. The deadline to apply for the new offerings is Dec. 10, while the deadline for the remaining 46 scholarships is still Dec. 1. For complete details and application information, see the

The application deadline for the 2008 AE Scholarships is fast approaching!
These scholarships are available to eligibile 99s members for flight training, jet type ratings, university studies in aviation, and aviation technical training. To confirm your chapter deadline, please contact your Chapter AE Scholarship Chairman or Chapter Chairman. The deadline for receipt by your Section AE Scholarship Chairman is **DECEMBER 1st** !

And, for 2008 we are again offering New Pilot Awards to complete your first pilot certificate and also the Maule Tailwheel Training Award. (The application deadline for these is April 1, 2008.)Information and all forms, including instructions and checklists for applicants and Chapter and Section AE Scholarship Chairmen, are on the 99s website (

Established in 1940 to honor our first 99s president Amelia Earhart and continue her legacy in helping deserving members to further accomplishments, today our Amelia Earhart Memorial Scholarship Fund has surpassed $3 million thanks to the generous donations and bequests of 99s members. We would also like to thank United Parcel Service and the Maule Aircraft family.

Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 Type Rating Scholarships

Southwest Airlines is proud to announce that we will award two scholarships for Boeing-737 type ratings. The scholarships are available to WAI members only who meet our minimum criteria (as described in this listing). The winners will be announced at the convention in San Diego, and training will be held in Dallas, Texas. Scholarship winners must be available for potential employment by SouthwestAirlines within one year of successful completion of the B-737 type rating class and additional review board. To obtain an application go to and click on 'Careers,' scroll down to the 'What's new section' and click on the Women in Aviation link.

All scholarship applications must be postmarked on or before December 1, 2007.

Flight experience:- U.S. FAA Airline Transport Pilot Certificate.- Must be at least 23 years of age, at time of hire.- 2500 hours total or 1500 turbine total, including a minimum of 1000 hours in turbine aircraft as the Pilot in Command, as defined by FAR Part I. Recency of experience is considered.- Southwest considers only Pilot time in fixed wing air craft. This specifically excludes simulator, helicopter, WSO, RIO, FE, NAV, EWO,'Other,' etc. Medical:- Current FAA Class I Medical Certificate.- Must pass FAA mandated drug test. Education:- High School Diploma or equivalency required.- Graduation from an accredited, four-year college preferred. Work authorization: Established authorization to work in the United States Language: Must read, write, and speak English fluently. WAI Membership: Membership will be verified. Recommendation Letters: Minimum of three letters from any individuals who can attest to the pilot's flying skills.(Scholarship value $TBD)

This message was posted by Laura Smith, a first officer with Southwest Airlines and a huge advocate for women in aviation. She additionally wrote:

I've been specifically directed to post this information by a LUV Captain because evidently right now there is a lack of applicants for this. Southwest is a wonderful place to work, and even though there is no interviewing for pilots going on currently, wouldn't it be great for you tohave your B-737 type rating all completed when those interviews start again? You can't win if you don't apply!

Laura Smith


More information on joining Women in Aviation International can be found at, and there are numerous other amazing scholarship opportunities listed on the website!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

More Shuttle Pictures

Courtesy of Elaine, check out these phenomenal pictures from someone who works for NASA sent us these pictures from the past mission (Endeavor). Hardly looks real!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The New Girls With Wings eZine

Hey all,

I finally got the newsletter out. I try to have it done the first of the month, but I have been overwhelmed with scholarship applications. I am going to have heck of a time choosing just one. See the applicants for yourself.

If you'd like to read the whole newsletter, go here.

And we are having some huge sales at the Girls With Wings store. Please help me keep GWW up and growing!

Monday, November 05, 2007

The Islands

I took the following pictures when I was on a trip down to the Dominican Republic. You know the saying, "Always a bridesmaid, never a bride?" Well, I guess that is true for me in the literal sense (ha), but also figuratively. The crew usually ends up in an exotic location at night, only to spend the evening getting to and checking into the hotel. I did have enough time the next morning to go for a jog before we flew out with passengers, but no lounging around the beach for me!
Ever wonder why water in the Caribbean has that distinctive range of blue to green colors?
If someone were to ask you what is the color of the ocean, chances are that you would answer that is was blue. For most of the world's oceans, your answer would be correct. Pure water is perfectly clear, of course -- but if there is a lot of water, and the water is very deep so that there are no reflections off the sea floor, the water appears as a very dark navy blue. The reason the ocean is blue is due to the absorption and scattering of light. The blue wavelengths of light are scattered, similar to the scattering of blue light in the sky but absorption is a much larger factor than scattering for the clear ocean water. In water, absorption is strong in the red and weak in the blue, thus red light is absorbed quickly in the ocean leaving blue. Almost all sunlight that enters the ocean is absorbed, except very close to the coast.
According to NASA Oceanography at, blue water in the Caribbean Sea looks blue because the sunlight is scattered by the water molecules. Near the Bahama Islands, the lighter aqua colors are shallow water where the sunlight is reflecting off of the sand and reefs near the surface.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Lat Long

This is the Fixed Base Operator (FBO) at KPDK (Peachtree DeKalb, GA). On the corner of the building you can see the "lat long" of the building. Due to the increasingly frequent use of GPS in aviation, this information comes in handy for pilots initializing their Flight Management Systems (FMS). They can plug in these numbers so that the GPS can find itself and accurately plot the route to their destination.

What is "lat long" or latitude and longitude?

When looking at a map, latitude lines run horizontally. Latitude lines are also known as parallels since they are parallel and are an equal distant from each other. Each degree of latitude is approximately 69 miles (111 km) apart; there is a variation due to the fact that the earth is not a perfect sphere but an oblate ellipsoid (slightly egg-shaped). To remember latitude, imagine them as the horizontal rungs of a ladder ("ladder-tude"). Degrees latitude are numbered from 0° to 90° north and south. Zero degrees is the equator, the imaginary line which divides our planet into the northern and southern hemispheres. 90° north is the North Pole and 90° south is the South Pole.

The vertical longitude lines are also known as meridians. They converge at the poles and are widest at the equator (about 69 miles or 111 km apart). Zero degrees longitude is located at Greenwich, England (0°). The degrees continue 180° east and 180° west where they meet and form the International Date Line in the Pacific Ocean. Greenwich, the site of the British Royal Greenwich Observatory, was established as the site of the Prime Meridian by an international conference in 1884.

To precisely locate points on the earth's surface, degrees longitude and latitude have been divided into minutes (') and seconds ("). There are 60 minutes in each degree. Each minute is divided into 60 seconds. Seconds can be further divided into tenths, hundredths, or even thousandths. For example, the U.S. Capitol is located at 38°53'23"N , 77°00'27"W (38 degrees, 53 minutes, and 23 seconds north of the equator and 77 degrees, no minutes and 27 seconds west of the meridian passing through Greenwich, England).

Information from Map is from

Also, Hawker Beechcraft is the company that makes the Beechjet, which is the airplane I fly.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Curtain of Rain

This is a picture taken on the ramp at West Palm Beach, FL. There were numerous cells all over the area (as usual), but in particular, the rain seem to be making a curtain on either side of the final approach course to Runway 9L.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Encouraging anyone to be a pilot...

This is an entertaining, realistic, somewhat cynical view of life as an airplane. Even given all of this, I still love being a pilot!

Flying the Unfriendly Skies with an Airline Crew: Tales from an Aluminum Tube

In the movies, they always seem to swagger a bit. A hat cocked slightly to the side, shoes polished to a high shine. They move at a steady pace, never looking rushed, always relaxed and followed by a well dressed gaggle of flight attendants, all walking through a brightly lit, impeccably clean airline terminal somewhere. A hushed reverence silences the gate area when they show up, doling out a nod and a smile to the small children who point up at them, maybe a wink for the pretty girl stealing glances at them. And then as suddenly as they appeared, they are gone, disappearing down that long dark jet way. That was your flight crew, ladies and gentlemen, and that old stereotype, like Elvis, has just left the building....

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Patterns: Tales of flying... and of life

Patterns: Tales of flying... and of life was written by a Girls With Wings role model, Bette Bach Fineman. Written in a casual story telling style, this chronicle of a woman's journey toward finding herself is very inspiring. Broadsided by her husband's betrayal (can you guess who he was?), she chose to exceed everyone's expectations of what a woman with aviation on her brain can accomplish. Mind you, she did this as a single mom of six kids! This is a very pleasant read of a woman who didn't let her circumstances keep her down. She doesn't dwell on how difficult it must have been to keep her family fed, just on her willingness to take advantage of opportunities that came her way, from mechanic to ferry pilot, flight instructor to artist. If the stories of the amazing flying adventures don't get you, the tales of the kindness of strangers and friends will.

Please visit Bette's website:

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Shuttle Launch Today!

We flew over the shuttle launch pad today NINE minutes too early! In case you weren't aware, the Discovery shuttle launched today with a woman commander.

NASA Hails Smooth Launch
NASA officials and launch managers were pleased Tuesday following a clean countdown and flawless launch of space shuttle Discovery from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Launch Director Mike Leinbach said the launch team at NASA's Kennedy Space Center was able to study a potential problem of ice buildup without jeopardizing the shuttle while still launching on time."It was one of the cleanest countdowns we've had since I've been launch director," Leinbach said. Discovery and its seven astronauts have a tight schedule that calls for placing the new Harmony segment to the International Space Station, moving a tower of solar arrays already in space to a new location and overseeing the station crew rotation that will see Discovery astronaut Dan Tani and station resident Clayton Anderson switch places."(There is) just a tremendous set of challenges in front of us," said Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA's associate administrator for Space Operations.There won't be much time to savor the liftoff, though, because preparations are already under way to get Atlantis over to the launch pad for a Dec. 6 launch. "This is exactly what the (launch) teams have trained multiple years for," Gerstenmaier said.
STS-120 is the 23rd shuttle mission to the International Space Station, and will launch an Italian-built U.S. multi-port module for the station. Retired Air Force Col. Pamela A. Melroy will command the STS-120 mission to take the Node 2 connecting module to the station. Melroy, a veteran shuttle pilot, is the second woman to command a shuttle. Marine Corps Col. George D. Zamka will serve as pilot. The flight's mission specialists will be Scott E. Parazynski, Army Col. Douglas H. Wheelock, Stephanie D. Wilson and Paolo A. Nespoli, a European Space Agency astronaut from Italy. Zamka, Wheelock and Nespoli will be making their first spaceflight. Expedition 15/16 Flight Engineer Clayton Anderson will return to Earth from the space station aboard shuttle mission STS-120. That flight will carry his replacement, Daniel Tani, to the station. Tani will return on shuttle mission STS-122.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Attention Aviatrices!!

I am still reeling from something I witnessed yesterday. It was my first day on the road this tour, and my co-pilot and I were holding short of the runway awaiting our takeoff clearance from an airport.

Another airplane was inbound to the airport and we heard it made a radio call announcing that it was intending to land there. First, a little background: There are two sets of regulations underwhich pilots can fly. You can either be under IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) or VFR (Visual Flight Rules). Pilots first learn to fly under VFR - think good weather. With time, pilots get their instrument ratings so they can fly in "not so good" weather (ie clouds). Flying under instruments means you have to use all those navigation radios and instruments in the cockpit (and these days usually a GPS) to follow routing given to you by Air Traffic Controllers. There are a lot more rules to know and abide by. It takes a little longer to fly around like this - it's like driving via asphalt roads, via taking short cuts off road.

So, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has dictated what the dividing line is between allowing people to go VFR and IFR - in the interest of safety. You can fly your entire career under VFR, lots of people do. But many pilots have gotten themselves into trouble by thinking they can stay "visual" but get confused in cloudy conditions (pilots must trust their instruments -which is hard for people that rely on seeing the horizon to stay greasy side down) -- think JFK, Jr. These pilots that find themselves in this situation can "declare an emergency" and receive special treatment from ATC -- trained to assist them to safely land.

All right, so this pilot calling into the tower controller at the airport is coming in VFR for whatever reason (it's not a very nice day), but the tower calls her back to say that the airport is no longer VFR. I've talked about ATIS before (the prerecorded weather information pilots listen to on their way into an airport) and the ATIS said she could stay visual (or under the clouds). But the tower said that he was updating the weather, the clouds were lower than the ATIS stated, and they were now IFR. This pilot, in other words, was operating illegally (there was no longer enough room for her to operate under the clouds). She had a few options. The easiest would have been to acknowledge the new weather report and ask to be vectored onto an instrument approach (if she was instrument pilot). If not, she could have asked for a Special VFR (but honestly I don't know if this was an option to operate under reduced weather rules). She also could have declared an emergency. A lot of people are reluctant to declare an emergency, but it is always an option if a pilot is in trouble. You get a little leeway on the rules - you have to file some paperwork to explain yourself to the FAA, but she could have given herself a "pass" to come in and land.

But she didn't. When she told the controller that the weather was reported VFR on the ATIS, the tower told her again that he was "overriding" the ATIS with his updating information (warning #2). So here's where my copilot and I started cringing: She says, on the radio, "I really need to get in there" still looking for the tower to clear her to land visually. And warning #3, the tower repeats the weather and asks her what her intentions are. And here's the WORST part: She says, "I won't tell if you won't tell." It was like watching a train wreck!

Folks, ALL ATC radio transmissions are recorded!! Everyone has access to these recordings, including the FAA which is well within their rights - and obligation - to site this pilot for unsafe operation and confiscate her license. Additionally, the tower controller is obligated to REPORT her actions, and she was asking this guy to risk his license which he did by clearing her to land. If I (or anyone else witnessing this whole mess) were so inclined, they could get her tail number and report her, as well.

When she appeared to us on short final, she turned out to be the pilot for a commuter airline. Which meant she had to have her instrument rating and could have come into the airport on an instrument approach. No problem. Instead, she risked her license, the tower controller's license, a violation for her employer, the safety of her passengers, AND made an embarrassment of herself on the radio!

Now, I am not saying that she is the ONLY one to have ever done something like this. I'm sure a lot of people do this stuff all the time and get away with it. And I'm sure she was under a lot of pressure from her company to "get the job done." But she obviously knew she was wrong. If she loses her license over this, she'll have no one to blame but herself. Was it worth saving the ten minutes not having to shoot an instrument approach?? Was anyone's life in danger because of her actions? Probably not. Clearly she could see the airport and considered herself in a safe position to land. But accepting the role of pilot means sometimes we have to stand up under the pressures from the people (usually employers) standing on the ground safely or passengers who really want to get somewhere who may not understand or care about the inherent risks, reponsibilities and rights of operating an aircraft. Know the rules and abide by them at all times no matter who is watching or listening (and declare an emergency if necessary). Your license to fly and lives depend on it!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Local Lakewood OH Article

My neighbor, Steve FitzGerald, started up a hugely successful community news site. I met him first because his small dog got loose a couple of years ago and kept me company while I planted some flowers. In return, he arranged for me to meet one of his writers last summer for an interview, and this is the result. To read the entire story, please click the link (this way you'll get the benefit of better format and pictures).

Lakewood's Lynda Meeks Loves Her Job
Her Second 'Job' is Helping More Girls' Dreams Take Flight!
By Sarah Valek, Reporter
Lynda Meeks is one of those rare people who loves her job. She doesn't speak about her career. She gushes! When asked what she loves best about her job, Meeks is quick to answer in four words...
“Small office, great view!”
She doesn't work in some cubicle overlooking downtown Lakewood or Cleveland - her "office" overlooks mountains, lakes, skyscrapers and forests.
Lynda Meeks, 38, is a pilot with a private airline. She works an eight days-on and seven days-off schedule, flying around the country as a self-proclaimed “glorified limo service.”
“It's funny, when people find out I'm a pilot, they're like 'Oh really, how long have you been flying?' as if it's a completely new thing.”
Meeks has been flying for 14 years.
“There are so many things to love about being a pilot,” she says. “Sometimes we have to wake up way before the sun comes up, but that only means that in the windows of our airplane we get to watch the sun rise.”
She hopes her enthusiasm for aviation will catch on, especially with young girls. That's why she created "Girls With Wings... Dreams Take Flight."

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Lost Nation Airport Airshow

I received some pictures from the Lost Nation Airshow from last summer from a fellow 99 that attended. I know I talked about the airshow before, but I thought you might get a kick out of seeing what a typical outdoor booth for GWW looks like (although this is a bit bigger of a booth - the organizers were very generous).

You can see my friend, Carol, helping me out this day at the show. She is a HUGE supporter of GWW.

Nice reminder of summer, isn't it?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Pilot of the Year

Thank you to my local Ninety Nines, Lake Erie Chapter, for bestowing this title. This annual award recognizes the achievements of a member by honoring her as Woman Pilot of the Year. I am flattered, since I don't seem to make many of their meetings because of traveling for work, but they said since I work as a pilot, they'll let it slide...

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Small General Airport in Maine

Here is an airport in Maine we flew to last tour, just as the leaves started changing. What a beautiful day to fly!

I've labeled all of the main (ha, no pun intended) parts of the airport ramp. This is a pretty typical setup at your smaller general aviation airports.

Click on the picture to see it better.

For example, the airport or aerodrome beacon. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

An aerodrome beacon is a beacon installed at an airport or aerodrome to indicate its location to aircraft pilots at night.

An aerodrome beacon is mounted on top of a towering structure, often a control tower, above other buildings of the airport. It produces flashes not unlike that of a lighthouse.
Airport and heliport beacons are designed in such a way to make them most effective from one to ten degrees above the horizon; however, they can be seen well above and below this peak spread. The beacon may be an omnidirectional flashing xenon strobe, or it may rotate at a constant speed which produces the visual effect of flashes at regular intervals. Flashes may be of just a single color, or of two alternating colors.

During VFR weather conditions, the beacon operates dusk to dawn, but during IFR conditions, the beacon stays on constantly regardless of light conditions.

In the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has established the following rules for airport beacons:
Flashing rates
24 to 30 per minute for beacons marking airports, landmarks, and points on Federal airways
30 to 45 per minute for beacons marking heliports
Color combinations
White and Green — Lighted land airport
Green alone* — Lighted land airport
White and Yellow — Lighted water airport
Yellow alone* — Lighted water airport
Green, Yellow, and White — Lighted heliport
White, White, Green* — Military Airport
*Green alone or yellow alone is used only in connection with a white-and-green or white-and-yellow beacon display, respectively.
Military airport beacons flash alternately white and green, but are differentiated from civil beacons by two quick white flashes between the green flashes.
In Class B, Class C, Class D and Class E surface areas, operation of the airport beacon during the hours of daylight often indicates that the ground visibility is less than 3 miles and/or the ceiling is less than 1,000 feet. Regardless of the weather conditions, the FAA has no regulation that requires airports to turn the beacon on during the day.
At some locations with operating control towers, Air Traffic Control (ATC) personnel turn the beacon on or off with controls in the tower. At many airports the airport beacon is turned on by a photoelectric cell or time clocks and, ATC personnel cannot control them. [1]

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Here comes Winter!

Last tour we landed in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and although it wasn't yet snowing there yet, it is starting to get cold! As I am writing this entry, the METAR is KJAC 101255Z AUTO 36006KT 10SM CLR M02/M04 A3013 RMK AO1. This METAR, courtesy of the National Weather Service translates into:

KJAC (JACKSON, WY, US) observed 1255 UTC (the time) 10 October 2007 (today)Weather: automated observation with no human augmentation;there may or may not be significant weather present at this time. Winds: from the N (360 degrees) at 7 MPH (6 knots; 3.1 m/s) Visibility: 10 or more miles (16+ km) Ceiling: at least 12,000 feet AGL Clouds: sky clear below 12,000 feet AGL Temperature: -2.0°C (28°F) Dewpoint: -4.0°C (25°F) [RH = 86%] Pressure (altimeter): 30.13 inches Hg (1020.4 mb).

What is a METAR? METAR is the international standard code format for hourly surface weather observations which is analogous to the SA coding currently used in the US. The acronym roughly translates from French as Aviation Routine Weather Report. SPECI is merely the code name given to METAR formatted products which are issued on a special non-routine basis as dictated by changing meteorological conditions. The SPECI acronym roughly translates as Aviation Selected Special Weather Report.

We did see snow along the way.... Which means fall will soon be over! I thought I would include some interesting tidbits about the snow.

15 Things You Never Thought YouNeeded to Know About ... Snowby

  1. Snow is one of nature's most amazing, and breathtaking, feats. Few other weather systems are capable of causing such fury -- grounded planes, traffic jams, closed schools -- and such beauty -- snow-covered ski slopes, fields blanketed in fresh white powder and, of course, snowflakes falling on Christmas morning -- as snow. Snowstorms hit the United States an average of 105 times a year. Snow is also very interesting, more interesting than you may have thought, and the following facts are a perfect conversation piece to keep close with you during this winter season.
    1. There are an average of 105 snow-producing storms in the continental United States each year.
    2. Skiers have their own "snow language," which was created back in the 1900s to describe different snow conditions. Some of the earlier terms included "fluffy snow," "powder snow" and "sticky snow." Later terms include "champagne powder," "corduroy," and "mashed potatoes."
    3. Hundreds of people die from snow-related causes in the United States each year. Top causes include traffic accidents, overexertion, exposure and avalanches.
    4. The snowiest large city in the United States is Rochester, New York, with an average 94 inches of snow each year.
    5. About 70 percent of the annual snowfall in the United States falls during December, January and February. (Near the eastern Rocky Mountains, however, the snowiest months are often March and April.)
    6. Snow can either muffle or amplify sounds, depending on its surface.
    7. The saying that "10 inches of snow contains one inch of water" is mostly a myth. Ten inches of snow can actually contain anywhere from 0.10 inches to four inches of water.
    8. Snow appears white because snow crystals absorb visible sunlight (which is white) and reflect it from countless tiny surfaces.
    9. Most snowflakes are less than one-half inch across, but they can reach up to two inches across.
    10. It's never too cold to snow, but most heavy snowfalls occur when it's 15°F or warmer (the air can hold more water vapor when it's warmer).
    11. Snow is an incredibly good insulator. Why? Fresh snow typically contains 90 percent to 95 percent trapped air that can barely move around, meaning heat transfer is greatly reduced.
    12. Icicles are more likely to form on the south side of buildings. This happens because snow that is facing south is able to melt during the day, then freeze again at night. (North-facing snow often does not melt because it doesn't get as much sunlight during the day).
    13. Avalanches are most likely to run from December to April.
    14. It's possible, though rare, to have thunder and lightening during a snowstorm (and it's more likely to occur near the coast). A "Nor'easter" is a cyclonic storm that occurs off the east coast of North America. They're known for producing heavy snow, rain and huge waves.
    15. A thick layer of fresh, fluffy snow will absorb sound waves, making sounds less audible. However, as snow ages the surface can become smooth and hard. In this state, the surface will reflect sound waves, making sounds clearer and able to travel farther distances.
    Avalanches are most likely to "run" (slide down a slope) from December to April, but avalanche fatalities have occurred during every month of the year.

Get ready!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Help Wanted

Astronaut Candidate
Read all at

SALARY RANGE: 59,493.00 - 130,257.00 USD per year
OPEN PERIOD: Tuesday, September 18, 2007to Tuesday, July 01, 2008
SERIES & GRADE: GS-0801-11/14
POSITION INFORMATION: Full-Time Permanent appointment
DUTY LOCATIONS: Few vacancies - Houston
This announcement is open to all qualified U.S citizens.

NASA, the world's leader in space and aeronautics is always seeking outstanding scientists, engineers, and other talented professionals to carry forward the great discovery process that its mission demands. Creativity. Ambition. Teamwork. A sense of daring. And a probing mind. That's what it takes to join NASA, one of the best places to work in the Federal Government.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has a need for Astronaut Candidates to support the International Space Station (ISS) Program.NASA uses the USAJobs resume as the basic application document. NASA limits resumes to the equivalent of about six typed pages, or approximately 22,000 characters (including spaces). You cannot complete the application process if your USAJobs resume is too long. More information about the NASA application process is also available under the "How to Apply" section of this announcement.
Position subject to pre-employment background investigation
U.S. citizenship is required
This is a drug-testing designated position
Frequent travel may be required
Selectee must pass a pre-employment medical examination

Additional Duty Location Info: Few vacancies - Houston


Astronauts are involved in all aspects of assembly and on-orbit operations of the ISS. This includes extravehicular activities (EVA), robotics operations using the remote manipulator system, experiment operations, and onboard maintenance tasks. Astronauts are required to have a detailed knowledge of the ISS systems, as well as detailed knowledge of the operational characteristics, mission requirements and objectives, and supporting systems and equipment for each experiment on their assigned missions. Long-duration missions aboard the ISS generally last from 3 to 6 months. Training for long duration missions is very arduous and takes approximately 2 to 3 years. This training requires extensive travel, including long periods away in other countries training with our international partners. Travel to and from the ISS will be by Space Shuttle until its retirement in 2010. Following the Shuttle retirement, all trips to and from the ISS will be aboard the Russian Soyuz vehicle. Consequently, astronauts must meet the Soyuz size requirements, as indicated below. Additional information about the position can be found at