Saturday, July 28, 2012

Alaina's Final Scholarship Essay

The time has arrived - when we read the final essays of the Girls With Wings Spring Scholarship Winners and anxiously await the announcement of the Summer Scholarship Winners (August 1st).

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.

This is Alaina's final essay:

"As the summer is winding up, so is my flight training. I have had a month jam-packed full of new experiences, so hold on to your headsets as you read about these new adventures!  First off, my instructor and I worked on towered airports. Thankfully, the Aeronca Champ I had been flying had a radio, so talking to other people while flying wasn’t totally new to me. 

Checking the fuel in the Cessna 150
I was going to begin my tower work at Springfield Beckley Airport, a relatively quiet and tiny Class D airport. As luck would have it, the tower was closed for the day, so instead of throwing in the towel, we went to Dayton International. You know the really busy airport that has jets flying in and out all day long? That one. My first towered airport was in a highly congested Class C airspace; I swore I would never return until I landed on runway 6R in a Cessna 150 while a Delta airliner landed on runway 6L. THAT made the stress of dealing with the crazy instructions totally worth it. It was only until I went back to Springfield Beckley that I learned that towered airports weren’t all that hectic. Also, I soloed in the 150!! I’ve shot some takeoffs and landings at Red Stewart Airfield, Lebanon Warren County, and even Springfield Beckley. I have the sectional maps of Ohio on a poster board in my room; each new airport I land at gets a thumbtack stuck over top of it. I guess without expressly stating it, I have a secret goal to hit all the public airports in Ohio before I leave for the Air Force Academy next summer (if I’m so fortunate to make it in).

Enroute to the 4th airport on my 6 hour cross country flight
As for my solo cross country flight over 150 nautical miles, I chose to take the Champ up around Columbus, Ohio; I hit nine new airports in just over six hours. The trip was over 232 nautical miles of fun, with a mix of grass fields, paved runways, and tons of new faces. Next up is night flight! WOW! The lights of the city are absolutely gorgeous up in the air! If things weren’t so hard to find at night (This glob of lights looks really similar to that glob of lights… and emergency landing spots? Yikes!) I would get no sleep because I’d be flying all night long. Last but not least, I have to mention instrument flying. This is the part of the private pilot training that I was dreading the most—something about not being able to look out of the window seemed terribly frightening to me. However, when I put on the hood, flying instruments wasn’t as bad as I had been envisioning; keep a heading, keep an altitude, don’t turn too steep—not too bad. Navigating could get a little tricky (okay, maybe a lot tricky), but hey, I’m in one piece, and so is the airplane.

So what does all this mean?? I am getting close to my checkride! My instructor says I am on target to have it completed before school starts at the end of August, which is really really exciting because it seems like it is within reach now! I have to give one million thanks to Lynda Meeks and the Girls With Wings Program; without them, this never would have been possible. I’ll make sure to keep you all updated on my flying- you will hear from me again soon!"

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