Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Uh, what?

I forgot to use these pictures after I came back from the Women in Aviation Conference in San Diego. My cousin and his family and I went to the Aviation museum there and I saw my first Ford Tri Motor close up.

Well, somewhat close up. It was mounted at the top of the room....

What I could see whas that this was obviously a flight control cable arrangement. How do I know? Because you can see the cables running from the cockpit back to the flight controls!

According to Wikipedia: All models had aluminum corrugated sheet metal body and wings. However, unlike many aircraft of this era, extending through World War II and later, the aircraft control surfaces were not fabric covered, but were of corrugated aluminum. As was common for the time, the rudder and elevator were controlled by wires that were strung along the external surface of the aircraft. Similarly, engine gauges were mounted externally, on the engines, to be read by the pilot looking through the windscreen.

The Ford Trimotor, nicknamed The Tin Goose, was an American three engine civil transport aircraft first produced in 1925 by Henry Ford and continued until June 7, 1933. Throughout its lifespan a total of about 200 aircraft were produced. It was popular with the military and was sold all over the world. Unlike his famous cars, trucks and farm tractors, Ford did not make the engines for these airplanes.

As of 2007, there are 18 Ford Tri-motors in existence, five of which are flyable: N1077, N414H, N8407, N9612 and N9651. Others are in museums. One such aircraft resides at the Air Zoo in Kalamazoo, Michigan.[4] A second is located at the EAA Aviation Center in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.[5] A third is at the San Diego Air and Space Museum.[6] As mentioned above, the oldest flying Ford Trimotor is Greg Herrick's 1927 4AT-A, Serial No. 4, C-1077.[2] It is based at Greg's Golden Wings Flying Museum [7] near Minneapolis, Minnesota.

It is a beautiful airplane though, isn't it? It was flown by Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart among many others; makes me reminisce for those romantic times...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Going Green

I've got an older sister who lives on a organic farm for whom "reduce, reuse, and recycle" isn't a trendy mantra, it's the way she has been living her life for years. I was kinda green, but not really into it until I saw The Story of Stuff, and really started learning about the three R's myself. I'm trying to use Freecycle to the best of my ability, asking myself if I really need something or just want it, and trying to recycle as much as I can. You wouldn't believe all of the "stuff" that comes off an airplane at the end of a flight. Cans, bottles, cups, glasses, plasticware and newspapers, all easily recyclable items, end up in one garbage bag and thrown in a bin. I usually carry in the papers to the FBO to ask if they recycle, and the answer is usually a disbelieving "No, they don't do that here." Well, it doesn't take much for one person to put aside a box for papers. It doesn't have to be a corporate decision. BTW, the only FBO I've seen with extensive recycling bins was the FBO at Kansas City Metro. Unfortunately, since I wasn't aware of this, everything had already gone in the general garbage bin. If we knew to expect this at every FBO, we could plan on separating...

Ok, so why am I talking about this Well, I kinda feel like I'm being hypocritical recycling a few newspapers off of an airplane that burns a couple thousand pounds of jet fuel on a two hour trip. If held personally responsible for these carbon emissions, I would never be able to make it up! With Earth Day just a few days ago, I was happy to hear there is a lot of attention being paid to such emissions. There was just The 3rd Aviation & Environment Summit 2008 (22-23 April) in Geneva, Switzerland, where the aviation industry has been working together relentlessly to further limit its environmental impact. Their vision is to achieve carbon neutral growth and to eventually become carbon-free. This vision is supported by a four-pillar strategy based on technological progress, infrastructure enhancements, operational improvements and suitable economic instruments. Additionally, that site links to http://www.enviro.aero/, which will tell you everything you ever needed to know about aviation and climate change:

This website is an initiative of the commercial aviation industry. There are many myths and untruths about aviation’s impact on the environment. The aim of this website, developed by the commercial aviation industry, is to set the record straight. We recognise that aviation has an environmental impact and is a part of the problem. Aviation is also determined to be a part of the solution – and we are committed to doing everything we can to limit aviation’s impact on the environment. As an industry, we are taking a great many practical measures to limit our emissions. Each part of the aviation industry from airlines to airports to air navigation services providers to manufacturers is playing an important role. The pages throughout this site will show you the many initiatives and developments underway.
Here are the Questions answered on the site:
What is aviation’s contribution to climate change?
Isn’t it true that emissions at altitude have a far greater impact on the environment?
What is a contrail? What is their effect on climate change?
Do aircraft take the most direct route between point of departure and destination?
Can aircraft use biofuels or alternative fuel sources?
What are aircraft manufacturers doing to improve aircraft technology and design?
Are aircraft engines improving?
Isn’t travelling by train better for the environment than flying?
How does carbon offsetting work?
Is airport and airline waste recycled?
Why do we taxi for such a long time?
Why do we often circle for so long before we land?
Which form of transport contributes the most to climate change?
What sorts of things can I do to limit the climate change impact of my flight?
What is the EU emissions trading scheme, and how does it work?
How are quotas for emissions allocated under an emissions trading scheme?
What does the aviation industry think of its inclusion in the European emissions trading scheme?
Will green taxes help reduce emissions?
Should I be flying less?
Why don’t you pay fuel tax?
What is the aviation sector doing to reduce its impact on the environment?
How often do EU airlines renew their fleet?
Does an aeroplane create more greenhouse gases during take-off?
What is the impact of reducing the weight of aircraft on the emissions they produce?
What role does air transport play in transporting supplies across the world?
Should “food miles” be used as a way of measuring the environmental impact of transporting cargo?
What impact does air cargo have on the third world?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Continuous training and improvement

I've been doing a number of career days and school presentations that had been set up before I got this new job at NetJets. It is time to buckle down and get studying. Got to know those memory items, limitations, SOP call outs and flight profiles.

I have such fun talking to kids from 1-12 grade. (In the picture I am explaining how the flight controls in a helicopter work!) One thing I try to get across to the kids is that even though I didn't consider myself very good at math or science - I have a BA in History - these are things I have to know to be a pilot. It's a great motivator to know you will be able to go fly if you just get through the basic building blocks. So don't rule out any careers just because there's an aspect of it you don't like. The rewards will be great.

Also, the most rewarding jobs require you to go through recertification training to keep your knowledge fresh. I have to do checkrides occassionally to prove I still know what I'm doing. And again, I have to go through training every time I start a new job or learn a new airplane.

Ok, that's it. Time to study. I'll be back!

p.s. If you are in the Northeast Ohio area and would be interested in having me present to your school, girl scout troop, etc., email me.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Survival Training

Yesterday during training we pilots practiced the use of the survival raft. Despite using it in a YMCA pool - which is so unlike the stormy, dark, choppy water that we'd probably find ourselves using it - it still is good that we get some hands on experience.
There are numerous articles on the internet about "airplane ditching," but here is AOPA's take on it (AOPA is the Airplane Owners and Pilots Association).

Bottom line

... statistics show that most ditchings are successful. By one count, 88 percent of all ditchings were survived. Other statistics show a 92-percent successful egress rate. A recent search of NTSB data from 1983 to 1999 shows that there were 143 ditchings on record, and that only 20 of them involved fatalities. Most of those fatalities happened in open-ocean, cold-water environments.

You hear a lot of lore and yarns about ditchings. Most involve fairly tame outcomes. Many times, an airplane will simply settle nose-low, float long enough for everyone aboard to safely escape, then rescue comes shortly thereafter. Then you hear about the pilot who sat on the wing of his ditched airplane for half an hour, and who never even got wet. Those stories are reassuring.

But don't let the statistics lull you too much. Airplanes over water have disappeared without a trace. Airplanes have skipped, then suddenly plowed under, never to be seen again. In a recent ditching northeast of Maui, Hawaii, a Cessna P210 pilot radioed that he was losing oil pressure and was going to ditch. A U.S. Coast Guard ship was in the area, and an officer reported that the airplane skipped off one swell, hit another, then nosed down. Although the airplane remained afloat for some 45 minutes, the airplane's doors never opened, and the pilot never came out. A full accident report is pending.

So never take a ditching for granted. The basic, much-abbreviated keys to survival have been outlined above. More information is available in the Aeronautical Information Manual and other government publications. Attending water-survival seminars, preparing yourself with a positive mental attitude, and carrying the right equipment remains the best and only way to prepare for the rare chance that you'll have to perform a "water landing." That, or buy a float-equipped airplane.

There is also a hugely informative article on AvWeb. They add:

But, what if you only consider open ocean or cold water ditchings where the waves are bigger, hypothermia becomes a bigger problem, and rescue can be far away? Is it hopeless? We know of a number of highly publicized instances where pilots ditching in the North Atlantic survived, which immediately disputes the statements quoted at the top of this article. Moreover, Bertorelli found, "22 blue water ditchings ... there were four fatalities in this group of 22, for a survival rate of 82 percent, not too much worse than it is for coastal or inshore ditchings." So, even the worst possible circumstances don't make that big a difference in the survival rate.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Brenda's Journal Entry

Brenda posted a journal entry today that brings up a good point!:

It is so hot in San Jose! It has been really hot this entire weekend. But that means there's clear skies, which also means nice flying! I just got back from my flying lesson and it was great. My instructor said he was "impressed". That made me happy! We did slow flying in which I pulled the power all the way out to idle and I kept the same altitude while turning. I also practiced a little bit of stalls and steep turns! Those were fun! I had to make 45 degree turns on both ways and kept the nose up because the nose tends to go down during a turn. I also had to turn back to my original heading and still have maintained my altitude. It was great! I was being clumsy this morning....I spilled my Orange juice on myself, and tripped a couple of times and and bruised my pinky while pushing the plane out with the tow bar, so now I have a big fat bruised funny looking pinky! ouch! But you know what, I love it...it was part of flying. I showed off my bruised pinky to everyone at the flying club, haha, I was proud of my bruise! I woke up at 8am (which is REALLY early for me) to get to the airport and get prepared before my scheduled lesson which was at 10am....my instructor has me do weight and balance EVERY time we go up flying, and I can see that I do get better at it as I do it more often. I concluded that the reason why I was being so clumsy this morning was because I didn't get enough sleep! Sleep is SO IMPORTANT! The reason why I didn't get enough sleep was because last night I worked an 8 hour shift over night at the mall, ended up getting out at 4am this morning and.....I slept for about 4 hours in total. I'm glad though, that even though I was being clumsy the entire morning I was able to focus on what I was doing while flying. It was fun...but now I'm going to take a nap because tonight is another long night at the mall. I would like to hear any stories from anyone about a clumsy day, I'm sure it happens often....right?!?

Answer Brenda.

So what about this fatigue (the "official" name for being tired)? We have been discussing this issue at my new job, because it is such a big deal. The pilots need sleep to fly safely, but the airlines need to get their flights done. It is so important to strike the perfect balance (or as close to perfect as possible). It's not just one short night that can do damage - it also concerns whether or not that sleep deficit is recovered in a timely manner:

Sleep is a vital physiological function. Like food and water, sleep is necessary for survival. Sleepiness results when sleep loss occurs. Like hunger and thirst, sleepiness is the brain's signal that sleep is needed. “Sleep loss” describes the phenomenon of getting less sleep than is needed for maximal waking performance and alertness. If an individual normally needs 8 hours of sleep to feel completely alert, and gets only 6 hours of sleep, 2 hours of sleep loss has been incurred. Sleep loss over successive days accumulates into a “sleep debt.” If the individual needing 8 hours of sleep gets only 6 hours a night for 4 nights in a row, an 8 hours sleep debt has been accumulated. The negative effects of one night of sleep loss are compounded by subsequent sleep loss. Sleep loss and the resultant sleepiness can degrade most aspects of human performance. In the laboratory, it has been demonstrated that losing as little as 2 hours of sleep can negatively affect alertness and performance. Performance effects include: degraded judgment, situation awareness, decision-making, and memory; slowed reaction time; lack of concentration; fixation; and worsened mood. Other effects are decreased work efficiency, degraded crew coordination, reduced motivation, decreased vigilance, and increased variability of work performance. The brain is programmed for two periods of maximal sleepiness every 24 hours from about 3-5 AM and 3-5 PM (3).

Read the rest of this informative article here.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

I'm in training!

I have started a new job! I am in indoctrination right now, getting to know the policies and procedures for my company. Next month I will begin flight training on a new aircraft, the Citation X.

Learn a little about it here:

The Cessna Citation X (X as in the Roman numeral for 10, not the letter) is a medium-sized business jet aircraft and it is the fastest business jet and fastest currently flying civilian airplane in the world, traveling up to Mach 0.92 (703 mph). The Citation X is powered by two Rolls-Royce turbofan engines and is built by the Cessna Aircraft Company in Wichita, Kansas. The Citation brand of business jets encompasses six distinct "families" of aircraft, one of which is the X, as it was a completely new design, not a derivative of earlier Citations.

Taking myself up on my own advice, I am already trying to study for the eventual training. The usual term for learning a new aircraft is "drinking from a firehose." There's always a lot of information coming at one very quickly, and it's a struggle to keep up. The more I know going in, the better!

Friday, April 04, 2008

The April Girls With Wings eZine

Click to view in html: http://app.e2ma.net/campaign/193ebe95627e73dc80f6e9622d1617a8

Thank you WIA Conference Attendees! This is GWW's third year at the annual Women in Aviation event, and it gets better every time. There was a lot of positive energy 'round the colorful "Yes, Girls Can Fly!" tees, which I attribute directly to the enthusiasm and energy of the volunteer staff, shown at right. We enjoyed meeting all of the visitors to our booth and look forward to seeing you at future events, like Oshkosh.

In this life we cannot always do great things. We can only do small things with great love.-Mother Teresa
I need your help, as a volunteer or to advise me on how to reach out to more girls' groups. Please email me with your ideas.

The Girls With Wings Program is nearing completion. In less than a year, I will have spoken to nearly one thousand girls! I am always on the lookout for potential certified GWW Reps.
Presentations / Date
Girl Scouts at NASA 21-Oct-06
Brownies at NASA 17-Nov-07
Harrison Elementary 7-Feb-08
Girl Scouts in N. Olmsted 4-Mar-08
N.Ridgeville School 19-Mar-08
Gesu Catholic School Career Day 4-Apr-08
Cuyahoga Community College 19-Apr-08
Saint Joseph Career Day 21-Apr-08
Holy Name Elementary 22-Apr-08
Lakewood Library Program 3-May-08
Lakewood Recreation Center 5/31, 6/28

Flyabout - a documentary from Monika, one of our new Girls With Wings. This is the heartfelt, personal story of a young woman who gets a pilot's license, inspires her father to do the same and, together with him, follows her dream to fly a plane around the continent of Australia. Her introduction to the Aboriginal Walkabout brings on the realization that piloting the plane won't be the hardest part of the trip.
I give it a thumbs up, way UP! - Lynda.

Flyabout is available in the GWW store.

Hey Rotor Heads! Paul Berriff, a British Television Producer/Director, is developing a major television series about women helicopter pilots. They are looking for women in action professions like law enforcement, firefighting, coastguard, etc. Total hours flying is no issue. The series will be 6 x 60 minutes for USA Primetime, UK, European and stations around the world. The programs will promote female pilots as role models and also have a high educational content. Interested?

1st Time in the Girls With Wings Store: Girls or Ladies Visor.

Please visit the Message Board to see all of the new posts. After signing in, you can select "View posts since your last visit" to easily catch up.

Touching History: The Untold Story of the Drama That Unfolded in the Skies over America on 9/11 by Girl With Wings Lynn Spencer.

New Girls With Wings:
Kim: When aviation presented it to me, I took it and ran! My parents were very supportive. I think my mom is really proud that I'm in a male dominated field.

Gabrielle: I just received my Private Pilot's license on March 6th and the day I took my mother flying is a day I will never forget!