Thursday, September 27, 2007

Last minute scholarships!

San Diego 99s: One $1,000 award to help fund Private Pilot training.
Applicant must (1) be a female San Diego County resident, (2) have passed the written test, (3) have a current student medical, and (4) soloed. There is a 90 day limit to apply funds towards training. The completed Student Pilot Application must be postmarked no later than September 30th. Download an app and get it postmarked ASAP-

The SD chapter also has a deadline for two more $1,000 awards on Dec 31st.

The Coyote Country chapter 99s has two $1,000 awards. Deadline October 5th. Info & app-

The Santa Barbara 99s scholarships helps a female student pilot affiliated with the 99s in the SoCal area complete her Private Pilot Certificate and a certificated pilot obtain an advanced rating or certificate. Amount $500-2,500 Deadline Oct 15th Info & app-

Pass this along to those who need it as time is running out!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Runway Closure

This picture was taken at PNE: Northeast Philadelphia Airport. This is a view across the ramp (airplane parking lot) to the approach end of one of the runways. You can be pretty sure we landed on the OTHER runway!
Here is how the airport is displayed on the official airport diagram.

I took the picture standing on the southern portion of the airport, looking at runway 33. This runway was currently closed, and construction crews had placed a HUGE lighted "X" on the end of the runway - so there is no confusion: DO NOT LAND HERE!!
According to the Airmen's Information Manual: Closed or Temporarily Closed Runway and Taxiway Markings
d. Marking and Lighting of Permanently Closed Runways and Taxiways. For runways and taxiways which are permanently closed, the lighting circuits will be disconnected. The runway threshold, runway designation, and touchdown markings are obliterated and yellow crosses are placed at each end of the runway and at 1,000 foot intervals. (See FIG 2-3-22.)


e. Temporarily Closed Runways and Taxiways. To provide a visual indication to pilots that a runway is temporarily closed, crosses are placed on the runway only at each end of the runway. The crosses are yellow in color. (See FIG 2-3-22.)
1. A raised lighted yellow cross may be placed on each runway end in lieu of the markings described in subparagraph e,Temporarily Closed Runways and Taxiways, to indicate the runway is closed.

2. A visual indication may not be present depending on the reason for the closure, duration of the closure, airfield configuration and the existence and the hours of operation of an airport traffic control tower. Pilots should check NOTAMs and the Automated Terminal Information System (ATIS) for local runway and taxiway closure information.
The NOTAM for this situation would read something like this (PNE's runway is now open - so I'm using Cleveland's NOtice To AirMen, or NOTAM): A1678/07 (CLE 07/206) - RUNWAY CLOSED RWY 06R/24L CLOSED 20 JUL 03:00 2007 UNTIL 18 OCT 09:00 2007.
If a pilot doesn't check the NOTAMs or listen to the ATIS (Automatic Terminal Information Service)...
a continuous broadcast of recorded noncontrol information in busier terminal (i.e. airport) areas. ATIS broadcasts contain essential information, such as weather information, which runways are active, available approaches, and any other information required by the pilots, such as important NOTAMs. Pilots usually listen to an available ATIS broadcast before contacting the local control tower, in order to reduce the controllers' workload and relieve frequency congestion.
...then the pilot would fly past this big "X" onto a runway with possible construction vehicles and ongoing repairs or painting being done. This is what we pilots would call "a bad day."

Sunday, September 23, 2007

GWW Makes the News

Happy News! Girls With Wings had a great time at the International 99s Conference in Denver - and even made (briefly) the local news. Follow the link below to hear about Emily Warner, the first woman to become a commercial airline pilot in the United States. Click on the Video: A local woman and an organization encourage women to fly, 9News 6 a.m., 9/20/07, which shows the "Yes, Girls Can Fly! Tee and also Cindy Jacobs' daughter, Sophia, who was being a great helper handing out our brochures. She sure is a cutie - and loves to wear her Girls With Wings tees...

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Passing of My Pet

It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of my beloved cat, Squeaky. She developed kidney disease and was clearly suffering the ill effects, so I helped her on her way to a more restful place last month.

Being on the road so many days in a row, it was such a joy to have her welcome me home after my trips. I had adopted her and her brother, Mr Grizzley, when I was stationed in Germany, and as my bilingual companions traveled the world with me, they became much like my children.

Squeaky was 14 years old, but up until a few months ago, she still thought she was a kitten. She drove me crazy being always underfoot, but I would now give any thing to trip over her in the kitchen as she waited for me to drop a morsel of food. Toward the end she was rapidly losing weight, doing nothing more than sleeping in a closet all day, but it was the hardest thing I ever had to do to let her go. I miss her terribly.

Friday, September 21, 2007

First Lady of the Air

Kathleen Winters asked me to read her book about Anne Morrow Lindberg, First Lady of the Air. I was honored by the request, and am awed by her thorough research into Anne Lindberg's role in the Golden Age of Aviation.

We have heard so much about a few key figures of this time (1920's-30's), notably Amelia Earhart and Anne's own husband, Charles Lindberg (Lucky Lindy), that it's easy to forget all of the other contributors to the development of aviation as we know it today. The International Organization of Women Pilots began in 1929 with 99 of the 139 licensed women pilots, most of whom we've never heard of. Anne was one of the ones who didn't join, but that shouldn't lessen the impact of her flying career.

Although she believes nothing she did was all that special, I felt an extreme amount of respect for the trips she so bravely embarked upon. It is wonderful to read a story that is able to inform about early pilot training, licensing, navigation, and airplane design with the additional benefit of Anne's own story, and her quiet and self-effacing contributions to her more visible husband's success.

She and her husband were key figures in mapping potential airline routes over uncharted regions of the world, and tales of these trips and the hardships they endured are riveting. Her husband once responded to a fellow pilot's criticism of flying with his wife over Northern Canadian routes by saying, "You must remember that she is crew." Anne, overhearing this, thinks, "Have I then reached a stage where I am considered on equal footing with men?" As many female pilots today can affirm, this is the highest form of praise and is highly valued nearly 80 years later.

Her story proves that we women in aviation "pioneers" are collectively charged with advancing the knowledge the general public receives (and benefits from) about women pilots. It wasn't Anne's way to seek the spotlight, but that doesn't make her achievements less worthy of praise. Throughout her many adventures, her nagging doubt of her abilities and contributions, of being able to meet the standard that had been set for men, led her to find herself and what was most valuable: her family and her writing. Toward the end of her flying career, she reluctantly agrees to a trip to Russia to survey its aviation industry, because, as she writes in her journal, "If nothing else, she thought her children - and all children - may benefit from seeing their parents take on adventures that proved they weren't frightened of life." As they say, nothing worth doing is ever easy.

Friday, September 14, 2007

This is a picture of a VOR (I think this is in Albany, NY).
This is a little difficult to see because of the streaks from the polarized window on the airplane, but I thought it would be a good way to show what these things are that you see way out in the middle of the airport.

A VOR, short for VHF Omni-directional Radio Range, is a type of radio navigation system for aircraft. VORs broadcast a VHF radio composite signal including the station's morse code identifier (and sometimes a voice identifier), and data that allows the airborne receiving equipment to derive the magnetic bearing from the station to the aircraft (direction from the VOR station in relation to the earth's magnetic North). This line of position is called the "radial" in VOR parlance. The intersection of two radials from different VOR stations on a chart allows for a "fix" or specific position of the aircraft.

Developed from earlier Visual-Aural Range (VAR) systems the VOR was designed to provide 360 courses to and from the station selectable by the pilot. Early vacuum-tube transmitters with mechanically-rotated antennas were widely installed in the 1950s, and began to be replaced with fully solid-state units in the early 1960s. They became the major radio navigation system in the 1960s, when they took over from the older radio beacon and four-course (low/medium frequency range) system. Some of the older range stations survived, with the four-course directional features removed, as non-directional low or medium frequency radiobeacons (NDBs).

The VOR's major advantage is that the radio signal provides a reliable line (radial) to or from the station which can be selected and easily followed by the pilot. A worldwide network of "air highways", known in the US as Victor (for VHF) Airways (below 18,000 feet) and "jet routes" (at and above 18,000 feet), was set up linking the VORs and airports. An aircraft could follow a specific path from station to station by tuning the successive stations on the VOR receiver, and then either following the desired course on a Radio Magnetic Indicator, or setting it on a conventional VOR indicator (shown below) or a Horizontal Situation Indicator (HSI, a more sophisticated version of the VOR indicator) and keeping a course pointer centered on the display.

VORs also provided considerably greater accuracy and reliability than NDBs due to a combination of factors in their construction -- specifically, less course bending around terrain features and coastlines, and less interference from thunderstorms. Although VOR transmitters were more expensive to install and maintain (as was the airborne equipment, initially), today VOR has almost entirely replaced the low/medium frequency ranges and beacons in civilian aviation . . . and is now in the process of being supplanted by the Global Positioning System (GPS). Because of their VHF frequency, VOR stations rely on "line of sight" -- if the transmitting antenna could not be seen on a perfectly clear day from the receiving antenna, a useful signal would not be received. This limits VOR (and DME) range to the horizon -- or closer if mountains intervene. This means that an extensive network of stations is needed to provide reasonable coverage along main air routes. The VOR network is a significant cost in operating the current airway system, although the modern solid state transmitting equipment requires much less maintenance than the older units. Read more:

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Cape Cod

I know, I know. The reflection on the window made it tough to see.

The Answer is: Cape Cod!

The Cape is an arm-shaped peninsula nearly coextensive with Barnstable County, Massachusetts and forming the easternmost portion of the state of Massachusetts, in the Northeastern United States. The Cape's small town character and beachfront brings heavy tourism during the summer months.

Although the Cape was originally connected to the mainland, the Cape Cod Canal, which opened in 1914, effectively transformed Cape Cod into a large island. Three bridges span the canal from the Massachusetts mainland to the Cape. Vehicles can cross onto the Cape via the Sagamore Bridge and the Bourne Bridge; the other is a railroad bridge.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Holding short...

Here is a picture of airport markings on a taxiway coming up on a runway. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: A taxiway is a path on an airport connecting runways with ramps, hangars, terminals and other facilities. A runway (RWY) is a strip of land on an airport, on which aircraft can take off and land. Runways may be a man-made surface (often asphalt, concrete, or a mixture of both) or a natural surface (grass, dirt, or gravel).

(p.s. I think airports are gorgeous at night - but it makes it difficult to take pictures)

Pilots must have permission from Air Traffic Controllers to move anywhere on the airport surface. We call Ground Control and let them know when we want to taxi to the runway. When we are close to the departure end of the active runway, we switch to the tower control frequency to get clearance to enter the runway and hold in position or to immediately takeoff.

There has always been trouble with pilots missing these markings and entering an active taxiway or misreading them (you have to "dash" across the dashes to get off the runway) and becoming a hazard to someone taking off. During low visibility conditions, some airports have lights that draw attention to these makings.

A great description of what I'm talking about is from The VATUSA Training Department, which exists to:
Work in conjunction with ARTCC's to select and maintain Training Administrators.
Establish a set of training guidelines, to ensure all members are held to the same standards.
Establish and maintain study guides for member use.
Establish and maintain written examinations, to ensure all members are at the same level.
Work In Conjunction with the ARTCC's to develop an all-inclusive ARTCC specific training program.

Ground Control is responsible for the airport "movement" areas, or areas not released to the airlines or other users. This generally includes all taxiways, holding areas, and some transitional aprons or intersections where aircraft arrive having vacated the runway and departure gates. Exact areas and control responsibilities are clearly defined in local documents and agreements at each airport. In the real world any aircraft, vehicle, or person walking or working in these areas is required to have clearance from the ground controller. Ground control is vital to the smooth operation of the airport because this position might constrain the order in which the aircraft will be sequenced to depart, which can affect the safety and efficiency of the airport's operation. In real-life, Ground Control and Local Control (TWR) are located next to each other in the Tower Cab. They can communicate by visual signals or simply speaking to each other. They control aircraft based primarily on what they see out the windows.

The Airplane Owners and Pilots Association puts out Safety Advisories to help pilots with critical safety issues. If you'd like to read more, their flyer can be read here:

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The Girls With Wings eZine

Just in case you didn't know...

Every month I put out a newsletter filled with all of the lastest news for GWW - new merchandise, requests for speakers, etc. September's is posted here.

If you would like to receive the newsletter, please sign up here. And don't forget: If you use spam filters to protect your in box, please take a moment right now to add this message's "from" address ( to your e-mail address book, spam software whitelist, or mail system whitelist. This will help ensure that you receive the newsletter and that your e-mail software displays HTML and images properly.

Please let me know if you're having any difficulties getting the eZine!

Monday, September 03, 2007

My Inspiration(s)

I am asked all the time why I am inspired to spend all of my free time on "Girls With Wings." After all, I have no children of my own.... This just means I want the best for all girls - three in particular!

My sister has given me the gift of three wonderful nieces, who are always featured in the GWW brochures and webpages. I spent a wonderful holiday weekend with them, and have included a picture of Marie Elise, who will turn two on the 14th.

I hope you had a wonderful Labor Day and that you enjoy your "Labor of Love" as much as I do!
Blue skies,