Friday, August 10, 2012

Natalie'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 essays from the Summer Scholarship Winners (starting Sept 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 Natalie's final essay:

Aviation Dreams Do Come True
Written By: Natalie Campana
Never in my wildest dreams would I have awakened on my birthday with this hope and desire to finish my ticket! This is like an Olympic dream for me. I am thankful to God for blessing me with the knowledge, dedication and passion for this amazing accomplishment! I am also thankful for my husband who stood by me, my CFI instructor who is the best in the business, and my family and friends for their faith in me and encouragement to finish this long awaited goal! Every landing, I think about my late grandparents, Nun and Tut, flying TWA. I aim for the perfect landing each time since they always talked about those wonderful landings! In the fifth grade, I visited Pittsburgh International Airport back when you could shop, eat and watch the planes land. It was great since pilots would speak about their passion for aviation. I believe you should never give up on a dream! No matter how old or how tough, you can accomplish all things through God!

Bessie Coleman, "I refuse to take no for an answer."

You practice, practice and practice having faith in your Flight School and determination within yourself. Then, your Certified Flight Instructor signs you off. In a weird way, it is that same feeling when your Mom gives you the keys to the car. You are excited, yet, understand the responsibility, oath and dedication to be safe. You have to remember to always fly right and realize your learning has just begun.
As of August 6, 2012, I earned my Wings to fly, as a Private Pilot. My Private Pilot FAA Checkride was scheduled to start at 1500z (9:00am). Although, the weather at 2G2 was great VFR, the route and destination airport were IFR to Marginal VFR. Everything was ready to go! The preflight fueling was complete to the Pilot Operation Handbook (POH) yet, I kept hoping Weather Briefer could magically make the weather VFR from 2G2 to KFWQ. It did not work out. As I waited an hour to see the updated weather report, I contacted my DPE and we rescheduled for 2200z (5:00pm) since the outlook forecast showed a VFR forecast. During this time, I reviewed the PTS standards, mentally flew in my head and just relaxed. At 2100z (4:00pm), I preflighted again and checked WX Briefer. Everything was a go! Now, it was my turn to showcase my knowledge and skills as a private pilot.
Amelia Earhart, "My ambition is to have this wonderful gift produce practical results for the future of commercial flying and for the women who may want to fly tomorrow's planes."
Now, I am flying the rental Cessna 172S G1000. It showcases the best advancements for general aviation. However, flying, navigating and communicating are still the same in any aircraft. I contacted Pittsburgh Approach for a flight advisory since flying under Airspace Bravo. This is smart flying to Rostraver, Pa. The early evening brought great weather to fly and many were out for their after-dinner flights. I watched a small aircraft fly under me to Delta calling their waypoint to transition for descent. It was a beautiful flight over.
Colonel Mary S. Fiek, "Aim high and follow your dream."
On the Private Pilot FAA Checkride, I was a little nervous. However, my DPE was professional and passionate about aviation. I felt honored to fly with a Captain of an airliner. He followed the PTS standards which I had prepared for this day. There were no surprises or anything out of the ordinary. I had the proper training and preparation. You just cannot be nervous. As a teacher, I tell my students going into competition, “You are ready. You have prepared and have fun.” This advice was given to me by my Certified Flight Instructor. The flight felt like two minutes. The final landing was my favorite, Emergency power off landings. This landing was my first to learn when I started and I just love it, especially adding an emergency descent. My CFI, Phillip Bender's favorite phrase which is so true, "Stabilized approaches make for predictable landings!" I landed, cleaned up the airplane, and followed shut down procedure from the POH. The DPE shook my hand and said, "Congratulations!"
The Flight home felt like a scene from a movie. It was beautiful, bright and amazing that I was no longer titled "Student Pilot"! I flew home using Flight Watch and switched to VFR once at the Ohio River listening to Pittsburgh Approach's directions. Then, I squawked 1200, I decided to circle around my old neighborhood. It seemed more magical today. Then, as I looked to my left, I realized the airport was three miles away and I flew home a private pilot.
At home, everyone was calling, texting or stopping over to hear the great news! As a celebration, I took my future lady aviators out for ice cream at everyone's favorite local ice cream shop. We talked about preflight, flying around the United States, weight and balance, geography, radio traffic and weather. They truly cannot wait to fly themselves.
I want to personally thank Girls with Wings and the 99's Antelope Chapter for making this scholarship possible. My goal is to continue inspiring other future lady aviators through activities hosted at 2G2 to aviation events from FAA, EAA and AOPA. Our EAA Chapter 859 was so fortunate to have guest speaker, CarolAnn Garrett visit 2G2. She flew in with the Mooney that traveled around the world. I invited my little cousins and neighbor twin girls who have a desire to become future lady aviators. We all were inspired by CarolAnn. She had a great multimedia presentation along with her wonderful books detailing in photographs and text from the three trips around the world to fund research for ALS. Her determination and dedication to let nothing stop her inspired me and the future lady aviators to never allow dreams to fade away. A few times I became frustrated. However, there is no great accomplishment that does not have a few bumps in the sky to keep wings level and fly through. At the age of three years old, I watched an airplane fly over my head at this same airport I took off of to become a private pilot. I knew this dream was going to become a reality. Thank you for believing in my aviation dream!
Happy Flying,
Natalie Campana-Lucas


  1. Nice blog, Natalie. I realize that it was written almost two years ago, but if you haven't found a taildragger and tailwheel instructor, I give tailwheel instruction in a Champ at Finleyville (G05), just south of Allegheny County Airport. If you want to reach me for instruction, or just to talk tailgraggers, my number is 412-667-9422. Or email at: Paul Patterson

  2. Nice essay, Natalie. I realize it was almost two years ago, but if you haven't found a taildragger to fly or a tailwheel instructor, I am giving tailwheel instruction in a Champ at Finleyville (G05). See website at email: call: 412-667-9422