Thursday, June 28, 2012

Alaina's Second Scholarship Essay

The Girls With Wings Scholarship Program provides funds for flight training to selected individuals with a willingness to be superlative GWW role models. Winners show potential to continue her interaction with the GWW organization, via the website and events, so she can assist GWW in encouraging more young girls to have an interest in aviation. Part of the obligation for being awarded the scholarship is to submit at least one picture and an associated journal entry once a month for three months to the Girls With Wings blog to share with others her training, as well as email a final essay summarizing how the scholarship helped her, what she learned and her intent to continue her work as a role model and volunteer for the Girls With Wings, Inc., organization.

Stay tuned for more essays from our other scholarship winner AND DON'T FORGET we have a Summer Scholarship Program, too. Applications will be accepted until June 30th.

United States Air Force Academy
Already it is nearing the end of June—wow! This last month has passed in a whirlwind of excitement. Part of the reason why time flew I feel is because I spent two weeks engulfed in military academies, one week at the Air Force Academy, one week at West Point. Both were extremely enjoyable, mentally challenging, and physically demanding, but in the end I was left with many new friends and a better grasp on the dreams I am chasing; I belong at USAFA. The campus is beautiful, the programs are excellent, and best of all, they are just as enthused about flying as I am. And, as a plus, if you have your private pilot's license by the time you enter, you are eligible to compete on the flight team as a freshman... just one more perk of chasing down that license, huh?

Alaina, farthest to the right
It will all be worth the time and effort in the end; the past few lessons I've received have been quite a challenge. I've moved up to flying a Cessna 150, which is slightly larger and newer than the trusty ol' Aeronca Champ I'm so used to flying. Jumping into the 150 reminds me of when I changed schools during my freshman year of high school; almost everything is unfamiliar, and I don’t know where many things are located anymore. Well, at least that’s what it seems like to me. Instead of flying with a stick, I have a yoke now… the first time I tried to taxi, I tried driving the plane like a car! Looking back, I realize that is totally irrational—I know how a yoke works. Even then, I knew that turning it to the right moves the ailerons and not the tires.

You have my permission to laugh… so did my instructor.

The stick/yoke isn’t the strangest part, however. In a Champ, the throttle is located on the left wall of the plane. Well guess what, in a Cessna 150, it sits to the right of the pilot on the dash. Woah. I feel I could take on the NAV/COM, lights, transponder and other electrical gear easier than the throttle just because I don’t have anything to compare them to (the Champ was built before they had electric systems!).

My favorite part about the Cessna? It has flaps. I don’t know if I could give you a specific reason why—maybe it’s because they are totally new, maybe it’s because they give you some killer drag—but they are awesome. My lesson yesterday consisted of many many many “landing configuration” stalls in the air, and then we moved to the traffic pattern to use those in the landing sequence. Each time before I was allowed to put the flaps down, I had to call out “White arc!” to confirm that we were between VSO and VFE (the minimum and maximum flaps extended speeds labeled on the airspeed indicator by a white arc). To get me into this habit, my instructor compared it to the physical training at the military academies; before beginning, we had to call out each exercise we were about to perform to the platoon leader. Piece of cake now, right? I definitely got lots of practice in that area.

I’m hoping to fit a lot of flight time between the time now and school starts, and I’m sure I will have a lot more adventures to share. In the mean time, I’m going to get back to studying for the written test. Forever tailwinds fellow aviators and aviatrices!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Natalie's Second Scholarship Essay

The Girls With Wings Scholarship Program provides funds for flight training to selected individuals with a willingness to be superlative GWW role models. Winners show potential to continue her interaction with the GWW organization, via the website and events, so she can assist GWW in encouraging more young girls to have an interest in aviation. Part of the obligation for being awarded the scholarship is to submit at least one picture and an associated journal entry once a month for three months to the Girls With Wings blog to share with others her training, as well as email a final essay summarizing how the scholarship helped her, what she learned and her intent to continue her work as a role model and volunteer for the Girls With Wings, Inc., organization.

Stay tuned for more essays from our other scholarship winner AND DON'T FORGET we have a Summer Scholarship Program, too. Applications will be accepted until June 30th.

Every night, I pray for a beautiful VFR (Visual Flight Rules) day. I hop into my Jeep, trying not to speed to the airport with intense excitement. Hangar 19, Sierra waits to be pulled out into the glorious sunshine, my beautiful 172. In any great course, my CFI and I go over the daily accomplishments from the Practical Test Standards (PTS), discuss a flight plan focused on PTS standards, and praises to what was achieved from the following day. My 172 is tugged from her sleepy Hangar ready for her preflight and head out to the taxiway for departure on Runway 14 or 32.

Today, I woke to a usual Ohio area forecast. As soon as I arrived at the airport, I called WXBriefer hoping and praying that the rain would hold off until my lesson was completed then I wouldn’t care if it poured buckets. I was happy to hear no airmets, only a high pressure system, thank goodness no Temporary Flight Restrictions, or TFRs. My flight goals were to fly a heading, track to a VOR, full flap landings and radio clearance into Class Delta airspace. Now, the standard briefing:  KPIT was winds at 110 at 3knots, 10 statue mile visibility. KHLG had a different wind direction at 150 at 3knots, 6 statue mile visibility. The Altimeter was 30.08. Hooray, this was looking good.

Ground School, my CFI and I discussed the flight goals, simulated the flight path in a discussion for me to have visual. This is great to grasp the competencies that need accomplished for the PTS standards. I find that Q&A is helpful since I cross reference my answers to the FARS, AIM, ASA and Gleim textbooks. Utilizing and setting up Ground School as a college course has been successful for me.

Taking off from Runway 14, I flew north to the usual spot practicing turns around a point, S-Turns, Emergency landings, then back to the airport. Turn around a point maneuver, watching where the wind was coming from, adjusting my trim to lock in airspeed, power for altitude, monitoring the RPM. Finally, looking out, making sure the tip of the wing was on my reference point selected by my CFI. I had to observe all this while maintaining good airmanship.  Once, this was accomplished, I was directed to S-Turns maneuver, again upholding my airspeed, altitude and RPM. This maneuver is one of my favorites, I just use the directional compass with the heading bug to complete my 90 degree turns. As I cross the road, my CFI pulls the throttle. He states, "you lost the engine." Immediately, you have to set up Best Rate of Glide which is 70knots in the Cessna 172SP. Then, you should always be looking for a landing site in case of an emergency off airport landing. As soon as, I set up glide, point my LZ, CFI pushed the throttle and pack to pull power. Another emergency landing at the airport being two miles out at 3,000 feet. My CFI pulled the throttle and I immediately set up for Best Rate of Glide. I realized in my practices that you cannot rush, 70knots truly is the best. Practicing these maneuvers has a greater purpose to making a pilot better in various situations from good to bad.

Heading to KHLG, I tracked a heading to the Bellaire VOR, intercepted it and turned while calling Wheeling. I was given clearance. It was for a Runway 21, left pattern. Being able to talk to ATC was great practice especially since it was a woman Air Traffic Controller. After a few landings, we departed to the Northwest for home watching a C130 based out of Pittsburgh flying towards Wheeling at a different altitude was still unique to see.

The end of the Flight Lesson finished with a full flap landings to wrap up the day. It was two hours added to my log book. My CFI and I sat down to discuss the final game plan. The end is near, I still need to study for the FAA Oral portion, I need to finish taking my practice PTS standards and prepare the cross country portion. I believe that dreams do come true, especially when you do not stop trying. Gotta Go Fly...

Written by: Natalie Campana
Photos by: Cloud 9 Aviation

Friday, June 15, 2012

Finding fans of Penelope Pilot - and you can help!

Lynda Meeks and her dad, Norm
Any of you that have had any interaction with Girls With Wings at Oshkosh or an Aviation Inspiration Day has met my dad, Norm. The guy has gone completely crazy about Girls With Wings. And I mean crazy because the guy does a whole heck of a lot of work around this nonprofit organization without any compensation at all.

Well, not completely "at all." He'll tell you that he gets his reward interacting with people instead. Recently we were in a Outfitter's store near the Boundary Waters in Minnesota and he began talking up the Penelope Pilot book. Believe it or not, they bought it. Literally, I mean. They're placing an order for a few copies to try it out. An outfitter's store. That's where they sell gear for hiking, canoeing, camping. Not much in the way of aviation stuff.

For example, he wrote this quick summary of a recent exchange:

I arrived at a friend's house on my motorcycle, not realizing that a package that I had crammed into my jacket pocket had fallen out along the way.  I remembered that in one of the neighborhoods I had seen a woman in the street picking up something after I went by. I went back and stopped at the house and, yes, by golly, she said had seen the bag lying in the street and went out to dispose of it thinking it was trash.  Since it was just filled with miscellaneous hardware, she put it in her garbage.  She was more than a little surprised that I came back for it!

After thanking the lady for her helpfulness, I prepared to start my bike. But then I noticed that there were little girls playing in the drive.  This is always my open invitation to start talking about Girls With Wings and Penelope Pilot....  When I mentioned the book "Penelope Pilot and Her First Day as Captain," two of the little girls said "Oh, we've read that book!' with huge smiles on their faces!

Lo and behold, they had checked the book out of the Rochester, MN, public library the previous week.  Both the girls and the mother were ecstatic in their description of reading the book together and passing it around to other girls in the neighborhood.  I then took the opportunity to describe the GWW website and the (at that time) upcoming Aviation Inspiration Day at Fleming Field in South Saint Paul MN.  The woman told me that they would look at the website and come to the event.

Small wonderful world!

See what I mean? What an amazing coincidence to run into these girls in a town with a population of over 106,000. After all, this is a first time author's (me) children's book, self published, dealing with a book about an airline pilot and how she prepares for a flight. And yes, it is a book for both boys and girls - but just happens to feature a female pilot. And though the book is in several different libraries, at these two at least, the librarians at his and mine assure us that it is unbelievably popular (based on the number of times it has been checked out) relative to the very many children's picture books in their inventory.

Ariel and Sarah, with Madeleine
So great is the appeal of the book that we have actually acquired a few new fans - a couple of which you may be fans of yourself:   Ariel Tweto and Sarah Fraher, the two female pilots of Discovery Channel's Flying Wild Alaska! A recent press release announces the donation of FIFTY Penelope Pilot and her First Day as Captain children's book by Jones Dykstra and Associates, a digital forensics, cybercrime investigation, e-discovery, and expert witness company. The books will be delivered to Alaska's remote villages later this fall. ”I think it’s important for women to fly,” Tweto said. “If what Sarah and I are doing can provide a little glimmer of hope to the people of these villages, that’s just really inspiring for me personally.”

P.s. the young girl with Sarah in the above picture has been mentioned NUMEROUS times in this blog.

This has inspired us to do a little book drop of our own. We always get such rave reviews for the book but far too many people say, "but I have no one to buy it for." So Very Important Pilots, the operator of the Girls With Wings Pilot Shop, is going to contribute free shipping and handling for fans that would like to donate a copy of Penelope Pilot and her First Day as Captain to their local library. This way every kid has the chance to learn that Dreams take Flight! We'll even include a personalized acknowledgement of the generous individual's contribution inside the front cover (if desired). What do you think? I think there are people out there that care this much to let kids know that "Yes, Girls Can Fly!" Don't you agree?

Just go to the Pilot Shop to buy a Penelope Pilot book at $15.95 and enter the code Library at checkout for free media mail shipping. Put the donor's name in the "Bill to" and the Library's name in the "Ship to." Make sure you enter any special comments (please clearly specify donor and recipient if need be) in the appropriate box. You can do it! [Remember, profits from the sale of the book are donated to Girls With Wings, so GWW benefits twice.]

Of course tell your friends that they can do it too. Help spread the our goal to encourage more girls to have an interest in aviation. We thank you. The kids will thank you.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Girls With Wings Aviation Inspiration Day 2012 pt 3

CAF- MN Volunteer Donald
I hope to wrap up about Aviation Inspiration Day soon, but there's just so much to talk about! Held on May 26th in S. St. Paul, MN, the morning dawned with a glimmer of sunshine. We'd been anxiously watching the weather forecast for days vacillating between isolated and scattered thundershowers, but we held out hope that we would get lucky. We got there early, setting up the signage and the exhibitor tables and the Girls With Wings Presentation materials, in the midst of a media frenzy coordinated by Dave Sniadak of Axiom Marketing.

We were incredibly fortunate to have a KMSP-TV reporter broadcasting LIVE from the airport the morning of the event. We had four spots between 7 and 9 am, which you know was the prime time to grab the people when they were wondering what to do that day. My brother, standing at the far left, even brought his three boys along for the activities. We really wanted to stress that Aviation Inspiration Day was for the entire family - that means boys, too - and a segment was dedicated to talking about the availability of Young Eagle flights and that they were intended for all attendees aged 8-17. My nephew Peyton got his split second of fame when he responded "Yup" to the question, "are you excited about the prospect of getting a flight in this airplane today?"

Alas, about the time that I went inside to start giving the first in the series of Girls With Wings presentations, the weather turned foul. I mean really foul. We had a glider outside that got assembled, and then taken apart. Put together, taken apart. The MN State Patrol Helicopter fly-in was canceled. The Commemorative Air Force - MN Wing North American B-25 "Miss Mitchell" Flight: nixed. Tours of the CAF Museum involved a walk outside in what was at times nearly a torrential downpour. Our cookout, funded by Wipaire, manufacturer of Airplane Floats, was replaced by a massive order of pizzas. Sadly, only a dozen kids received their Young Eagle Flights during periods of relative calm. Even more unfortunate was the damage done to the volunteers' airplanes during a period of quarter sized hail.

Having said all that, I would still call the day a rousing success. We had three iterations of the GWW presentation and visits throughout the day from KARE-11 news which did a segment on their afternoon show. The Minneapolis Star Tribune featured the event in Face Time.  And a wonderful article was published in the St. Paul Newspaper. In fact, despite the horrible weather, I would peg attendance to have been the same as last year when Mother Nature was a bit more supportive of our efforts. I daresay we would have been overwhelmed had not so many people chosen to stay away because of the storm. Our Young Eagle pilots, Mike and Joel, are now left with the task of figuring out how to schedule several dozen more kids with their flights sometime over the next few months.

View the Panaroma
This year I sent out a survey to everyone who left their email address with us. Overall, feedback was positive other than the complaints because of the rain. Because of this, people felt the terminal got a little crowded and disappointed that activities were consequently scaled down. To give you an idea of the format, Ed Fink of Big Eye in the Sky provided a 360 degree panorama during a slower time. In it, I have just finished a session and am signing the girls' "Pilot Certificates." Note the dark grey sky out of the picture window - this still early in the day!

Most who responded to the survey rated it some level of "better than expected," with at least one person echoing my sentiment that the event would be improved by having "Women Pilots flying the Girls for Young Eagles." I really did try to contact female pilots in the area to provide flights. This is not to take away from Mike and Joel - but I just wasn't able to get women pilots to join them. I had the use of an airplane, generously donated by Bill Tischer, but other than the times I was in the presentation, you guessed, it - bad weather. People who ventured to the CAF Museum raved about the tour and the volunteers who gave them. Among the many activities, we had several WWII re-enactors, Rosie the Riveter was a huge hit! And the Civil Air Patrol was on hand to let people know of the services they provide to the community - several folks noted their intent to join.

Great response as usual to the presentation, including the following comments:

Yes, my daughter and niece, enjoyed the presentation very much, until my daughter found out KARE 11 was there. She said she put up her hood...which is EXACTLY why I thought your presentation was wonderful. At 9 years old, she already needs more opportunity to build her confidence!

The youngest granddaughter spent the next afternoon going through the hand outs. (7 years). You impressed the oldest with the number of women pilots. Sound positive from both.

They loved it last year so much they had to come back this year. They really wanted to do the Young Eagles ride, but because of the rain were not able to. They thought it was great.

The majority felt it was better or much better than similar events:

We felt you went above & beyond our expectations. Everyone was very helpful and willing to answer all of our questions to satisfy our curiosity about everything.

In answer to the question Were the children enthusiastic before the event? Were they more or less enthusiastic after the event? Everyone said MORE. 

she thought it would be boring, but she loved sitting in the aircraft and visiting the museum. She thought it was really cool and asked if I could buy her a plane. She was sad that we got rained out, but was excited that she would have an opportunity later this summer.

She really wants to get her pilots license now.
More enthusiastic after the event, now they are really looking forward to a flight. They loved being able to climb inside the Miss Mitchell. I was actually surprised how long their attention span was, for checking out all the planes in the "museum". There was one younger volunteer hanging out by the miss mitchell, he was talking to the kids, giving them bits and pieces of information. I think it's a special talent to get the right combination of tour guides to children, when trying to educate the kids on the planes, keeping their attention, and just letting them explore on their own.
Lunchtime Panel of Speakers

They liked the training Linda gave and were excited about have some more speakers at the noon time.

My daughter was looking forward to the flying but with the change in weather

Very interested in Civil Air Patrol. Originally the girls had planned to go to Mall Of America so they were a big apprehensive when they had to change plans.

C/1st Lt Valerie Kolyadenko and
C/Amn Jessica J Erskine

He loved the B-25 and the thought that people flew that exact plane into real battles.

As you can imagine, planning, organizing and conducting this event was no small feat.

All was good. I liked that we were greeted when we came in, and given a schedule and summary.

Great facility, easy to find, wonderful people. Was blown away by how good a job people did.

What would prevent or encourage you to attend this event next year? [Many people lamented the fact the event was "poorly advertised." We did all we can getting on the news and several volunteers spent hours emailing every news source we could think of to get the word out. Alas, we are nonprofits and have no budget for paid ads!]

We only happened to catch the information on Ch 9. If we hadn't been watching we would have missed out on this amazing opportunity. You have given us an invaluable gift of confidence in her ability to accomplish what was previously only a dream.

We absolutely will attend next year, with some more girls in the family who will want to attend, after hearing about our experience. You really had a nice, well rounded presentation and unique opportunity for our girls. Thank you.

We would have missed it if not for my grandmother watching the news. A flight demonstration or show would have been great for our boys who couldn't fly. Fantastic idea though! Looking forward to next year!

My daughter wants to go next year and I look forward to taking her. Thanks and good luck!

And that concludes our recap of Aviation Inspiration Day. It was another amazing event and I cannot thank everyone enough for their support. Again, if you'd be interested in coordinating a similar event at your airport, please send me an email.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Gabby's First Scholarship Essay

Hey everyone,

I got set up with my flight instructor! He seems like a very awesome person and I can't wait to begin my flight training with him. It all starts Monday, June 4th, at 11:00am, and I have never been more excited! I have a lot to learn about aviation and I'm going to make the best out of this opportunity. I have my flight kit and my class 3 medical certificate on hand already. I'm going to study hard and put to practice what I learn. I am very thankful Mrs. Meeks and the Girls With Wings organization for allowing me to receive this scholarship to help make my dreams come true! My dreams have now come to face reality! I will proudly pass on what i learn to other girls, especially my age. I will tell them that as long as you try your best and never give up, your dreams will come true eventually. Also, it'll be good to keep in mind that you're never to old to get your pilot's license!

[update] Its going great! I really enjoyed my first lesson. I learned a lot about the plane. I learned about the instruments, and how to stay at a certain altitude. It was great!

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Alaina's First Scholarship Essay

Track is over, so I have time to fly again! I decided to get a jump start on summer by starting on my private right away; last week I had my first lesson in a Cessna 150. People were really curious to see how it would go. After landing, the best word I can use to describe my flight was... humbling. There were so many new techniques, gadgets, buttons, and nozzles! It seems live a lot at first, but don’t let those scare you away from aviation.

Me with my instructor, Joe Smith; each of us are holding up one finger to represent my first lesson in a 150.

Just know each one of those instruments gives you an opportunity to do something really cool! I discovered there is so more to flying than just from the front seat of an Aeronca Champ; I’m so excited to see what else there is to learn that I’ve scheduled three more lessons before I leave for the Air Force’s and West Point’s Summer Leadership Seminars next week!

This is some point during my pre-flight, my dad was there with the camera the whole time! I will send another update in July to let you know how I am doing and share more fun aviation stories!