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!

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