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.