Friday, May 30, 2014

An update from Brittany, GWW Dreams Take Flight Scholarship Winner!

This is the first journal entry provided to us by Brittany Danko, who was selected for a Dreams Take Flight Scholarship from Girls With Wings. The Girls With Wings 2014 Scholarship Program includes the Dreams Take Flight Scholarship was designed to introduce the world of aviation to someone who would benefit from experiencing the joy of flight. This scholarship is intended to fund introductory flight training to encourage achievement of a stated goal, whether in aviation or in another field of study.  There is no prerequisite flight training required for this scholarship, just enthusiasm and the desire to learn.  The Dreams Take Flight Scholarship is in the amount of $500.00, funded by the generous donations from supporters of Girls With Wings, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Brittany's application essay is published here

This is a quick journal update from Brittany Danko. 

First, again let me say, I am very grateful to have been awarded the Girls Take Flight Scholarship. 

On Thursday, April 10th, I was able to take my first flight lesson thanks to the Aviation program at Prosser Technology center. Since that time, I have been flying several times a week at the Clark County airport. 

And they aren't lying, once you get bitten by the aviation bug, there is no turning back! Flying has just been one of the most fantastic experiences to me. Now, I have finished with the hours provided to me by Prosser and am about to start being able to utilize the scholarship money awarded by Girls With Wings! 

The scholarship money will kick in just as I am coming up on my solo in the next couple weeks and I couldn't be more excited. It is rather apropos that I will solo with the help of Girls With Wings! This organization really is about empowering women in the field of Aviation and I have never felt more empowered in my life than when I sit in the seat of a Cessna and take flight! 

My instructor and I were talking and he said to me, "I am just so proud of you, not only for being 17 and working so hard, but for being a girl in this industry." It was a prideful moment and I realized that I wouldn't want it any other way. I have just been so entirely blessed with this entire process and I could not be any more grateful for this scholarship.

Essays about flight training from the other awardees will be published here as they are received

An update from Willow, GWW Private Pilot Scholarship Winner!


This is the first journal entry provided to us by Willow Seward, who was selected for a Private Pilot Scholarship from Girls With Wings. The Girls With Wings 2014 Scholarship Program includes the Private Pilot Scholarship, to help defray the cost of flight training lessons in pursuit of a private pilot certificate. This scholarship targets those individuals who have soloed but have not completed the Private Pilot Course.  The Private Pilot Scholarship is in the amount of $1000.00, funded by the generous donations from supporters of Girls With Wings, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Willow's application essay is published here.

I'm not even sure that the expression, “I'm on Cloud 9” describes how I felt on Wednesday, May 21, 2014. I remember waking up that morning with a stomach full of nerves. It was a big day for me, my final FAA check ride for my private pilot license was scheduled for 9 am and my high school graduation was that night at 7:30 pm. Barely 18, these are huge milestones, and I was flooded with emotion! The dedication, devotion and hard work that I had endured was about to be recognized. 

I remember sitting down in the left seat of the Cessna 172, my heart was racing. The words of the check ride pilot as we began our taxi out put the reality of the situation into perspective, “This is it, are you ready to become a private pilot?” I looked him straight in the eye and confidently announced, “Alright lets do this!” Maneuver after maneuver everything was going smoothly, however, he was a man of few words and even fewer expressions. At this point, I was confident in my ability, but the question was, “Is he?” Finally, what seemed like forever, he spoke. “Willow” he exclaimed and then paused, and paused, and paused....oh my nerves! The anticipation of his next words silenced the airplane, but finally, loud and clear, I heard him proclaim “You are now a private pilot.” My face grew a smile from ear to ear. I couldn't do anything but smile the whole way back to the airport. 
 
Later that night, as I sat at my graduation and looked around at my fellow classmates, I once again had an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment. Our principle spoke many words of wisdom, but one thing he said, drove it all home for me. “Today is only one of the many successes that you are about to experience in life, be proud of yourself, remember this feeling, and experience it again and again.” Twice, in one day, I had experienced success. I must admit, I LIKE IT! 

As much as I like to say “I did it”, the truth is, I did it with a lot of support! I want to give a huge shout-out to UND Aerospace for the excellent training. Words cannot express what a great program they have. I never once fell behind in my flight training thanks to my instructor James Irby for always working out his schedule to accommodate my high school academic and athletic schedules. I would like to thank my mom and dad for all the money and sacrifices they had to make to ensure I was in the air at least three times a week. Lastly, I would like to say Thank You to Girls With Wings for the financial assistance and the support! I am proud to be apart of this organization and I am looking forward to being there for the next girl who wants to take it to the sky! 

Thank You Again, 
Willow Seward 

Essays about flight training from the other awardees will be published here as they are received

An update from Deborah, An Advanced Rating Scholarship Winner!

This is the first journal entry provided to us by Deborah Katvala, who was selected for an Advanced Training Scholarship within The Girls With Wings 2014 Scholarship Program to help defray the cost of flight training lessons in pursuit of an Advanced Rating or Certificate such as instrument rating, commercial pilot certificate, flight instructor certificate, instrument flight instructor certificate, multi-engine rating or multi-engine flight instructor certificate. This new scholarship award is in the amount of $1000, funded by the generous donations from supporters of Girls With Wings, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Deborah's application essay is published here.

Today I passed my Instrument Airplane Written! I was working a lot this past month so didn’t have as much time as I would have liked for actual flying. So, I used the time on my overnights to study for my written with the plan to complete it by the end of May. Well, I completed it just a couple days early! The written always feels like a huge accomplishment and once completed allows me to really focus on the flying. 

I followed the written by flying for over three hours in the 152 I have been renting. I completed ILS approaches and holds at Mineral Wells airport. I am finally managing to keep on the glide slope all the way down. Hurray! 

Now, I am planning a loooooong (for me) cross country to Huntsville and back to the DFW area. I plan to take pictures to share and I am sure will have lots of stories after completing this trip! Just the preparation has been a great experience for me and has furthered my knowledge. It is the longest cross country by far that I have planned and will take me at least two days to complete. One of the things I am really hoping to improve while on this trip is talking to Air Traffic Control. Up to this point, I have mostly flown at an uncontrolled field and have never felt completely comfortable on the radios in a controlled environment. I am very excited to get more exposure!

Thanks again to Girls with Wings for the scholarship! My long cross country to Huntsville wouldn’t have been possible without the scholarship. 

Essays about flight training from the other awardees will be published here as they are received.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

An update from Rachel, An Advanced Rating Scholarship Winner!

This is the first journal entry provided to us by Rachel Borsa, who was selected for an Advanced Training Scholarship within The Girls With Wings 2014 Scholarship Program to help defray the cost of flight training lessons in pursuit of an Advanced Rating or Certificate such as instrument rating, commercial pilot certificate, flight instructor certificate, instrument flight instructor certificate, multi-engine rating or multi-engine flight instructor certificate. This new scholarship award is in the amount of $1000, funded by the generous donations from supporters of Girls With Wings, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Rachel's application essay is published here.



Girls With Wings
Journal #1
5/22/14 

First Flight for Instrument Rating add-on to Flight Instructor Certificate 
 
Let me start by saying I have never flown an airplane without some kind of GPS. Whether it is the glass cockpit G1000 in the Cirrus airplanes, or the Garmin 430s in the Arrow and Seminole, there has been something to help with the process of instrument flight. I was in for a good laugh when I climbed into the right seat of the Cessna 172 with only a single VOR and ILS components. 

I started my training at CRAFT flight school in Charleston, South Carolina. They are right on Charleston International/AFB which is so cool. I took off behind a C-17 military cargo aircraft! It was amazing, that airplane is huge! 

My first flight was to get used to the airplane. So we left and went to Charleston Executive airport to shoot an approach and then come back to Charleston to shoot another and land. We were on our way to Charleston Exec, when I realized I didn’t know how to identify the fixes. I’ve never done it before without the GPS as a primary means to establish myself on the route. I was so confused looking at all of the round dials, that I hardly use, and sitting in the right seat, which takes away visibility of half of the instruments. So, I started asking questions. I mean a lot of questions. 

By the time the approach started, I was pretty much set up and thought I had it all down. On the approach however, I was still a little lost. Needless to say, it wasn’t a good one. By the time we got back to Charleston International, I felt a little bit better and was able to set up my approach and fly it to a nice landing. I love landing Cessnas. They float forever and then just set you on the ground. If you ever want to impress someone who doesn’t small planes; land in a Cessna. 

After the flight, we debriefed and I’m going to go into the full motion Red Bird simulator available to the flight school for training. This way, I can get even more used to the airplane and hone in on my teaching skills. I really want to get this rating before I head out for Air Race, which is in 2 weeks! 

I’m excited to keep flying and I’ve been studying for the Check Ride like crazy this past weekend. None of this would be possible without GWW! Thank you so much for helping with this rating and I’ll be keeping everyone updated on my progress!   

Girls With Wings 
Journal #2 
5/29/14 

Earlier this week I flew in the simulator to get used to the airplane and also to practice my instrument teaching skills. It’s a lot cheaper than the airplane; which means more flying practice later! 

Today…. I took off behind a Dreamlifter! The reason I am in Charleston is the internship I have with Boeing this summer. Boeing is an amazing company and I feel blessed that I have the opportunity to work there for a few months and see what they do. Anyway, they make the aft section of the 787 there and also assembly the entire airplane at the plant. Which is beyond cool. The Dreamlifters, which there are only four in existence, are always flying in and out, taking and bringing aircraft parts for the airplanes. It is truly amazing to watch. The Dreamlifters’ category is Heavy Giant – which means they are massive. 
 
I was able to do three approaches today around Charleston. Two to uncontrolled fields and one into Charleston International. I feel a lot more confident in the navigation equipment I’m using and in my instrument skills. I was able to teach while I did everything. When mistakes were made; it was a teachable moment. Today was a great flying day, until we saw this huge thunderstorm coming in, then we decided to go land! 

Over the weekend, I’m going to try to fly one or two more times and then take my check ride. Wish me luck! I’ll be studying all weekend! If anyone has any study guides or tips they would like to share, I’d love a shout out. 

Essays about flight training from the other awardees will be published here as they are received.

An awesome update from Natalia, A Private Pilot / Rick Dahl Scholarship Winner!


This is the first journal entry provided to us by Natalia Dzyndra, who was selected for a Private Pilot Scholarship from Girls With Wings / Rick Dahl. The Girls With Wings 2014 Scholarship Program includes the Private Pilot Scholarship, to help defray the cost of flight training lessons in pursuit of a private pilot certificate. This scholarship targets those individuals who have soloed but have not completed the Private Pilot Course.  This special Private Pilot Scholarship, established to remember Rick Dahl, is in the amount of $2500.00, funded by the generous donation of Jennifer Jordan, a huge supporter of Girls With Wings, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Natalia's application essay is published here.

I started my flight training at the end of January and had been flying twice a week, on average. That is, until April rolled around, and I was running out of money. I flew a few times until I completely ran out. There’s only so many hours I can work in a week as a graduating student with two bachelor’s degrees, but I worked as much as I could and saved up for my next lesson which was supposed to be my first flight to a towered airport. But as deadlines and graduation approached I realized I couldn’t really work anymore; so with my instructor’s advice I decided to put flying on hold, even if it meant not flying for a month. Then May happened...I got the news that I was awarded the scholarship, and I was in disbelief (only for a moment, though). I was so grateful and excited, and I quickly scheduled my next flight lesson. We were off to learn tower communications and flight following. At this point my mind had been so overwhelmed with classes and final projects and making sure I had everything ready to graduate, that I had quickly forgotten much of that flight. I was pretty discouraged and lacking confidence in myself. It was a good introduction and good practice planning a flight log, but I realized if I kept flying while I was still in school, I wouldn’t be gaining much from the lessons. So, grudgingly and reluctantly, I said no more flying until I graduate. I needed to declutter my mind and catch up on sleep so my body could function normally again. 

So here I am now, three weeks later and thrilled be graduated and done with school. But more importantly, I can fly again! Today was my first cross country flight as well my my first attempt talking to tower. Although my first experience with tower was confusion, I wasn’t ready to give up so easily. Last night I planned my route with the proper checkpoints (avoiding the Air Force Base), calculated my winds, heading, speeds, and times, and made sure I had everything I needed clipped neatly to my kneeboard. I arrived at the airport this morning and preflighted the little Cessna 150 as usual and filled the tanks to the top so we’d have plenty of fuel on board. The day was quite windy, but sunny and clear. I was ready to take off. Except for I forgot one thing: file a flight plan. Silly me...so back inside I went with my instructor, Jen. Today she decided she was going to be mean to me and have me call and file the flight plan. “You want ME to call? I don’t like phones! I don’t like talking to people I don’t know! I don’t know what I’m doing! Why don’t you do it this time and I’ll just watch and listen?” I had no choice, she was making me do it. Of course she was still somewhat nice to me as she did walk me through it first. So then we called in, and I told the briefer that it was my first time and I was a student pilot. It actually wasn’t all that difficult. It was pretty simple, and she was very nice and slow (part of my confusion with radio communications is that it all happens so fast). I felt pretty good, and now I can easily file another plan anytime. There’s really nothing to it. 

 Back to the airplane we went. We loaded all of our stuff into the plane and proceeded with our checklists. My first checklist was to take a picture for this journal entry. I couldn’t forget that! Then we taxied to the end of the runway to do our typical run-up. This is when I began to worry a bit and here’s why...when we flew three weeks ago, during the run-up carb heat check, the carb heat increased rpm instead of decreased. We decided to fly anyways but when we got back and finally talked to our mechanic, Bob, he said that was no good. So I marked it in the squawk sheet and forgot about it–until today. I looked at the log and there had been at least 10 flights since we flew it last. When Jen saw the increase in rpm she immediately said we’re taking it back to Bob. We weren’t going to fly today, at least not in that plane. The only other option was the Piper Archer which I had never flown before. So as I cleaned up the C-150 and moved everything into the Archer, Jen preflighted and amended our flight plan. Two hours after I had arrived at the airport, we were finally on the center line, taking off, and I was getting a crash course on the differences between the two airplanes. I was definitely feeling the AIRMET turbulence as I was struggling to fly straight and level. But aside from that, it was just like flying my little C-150, but better! Even though the flight log I had planned was for the other airplane, we still used it for our pilotage and dead reckoning. Surprisingly, the numbers weren’t far off. The flight was great! I was passing all the right checkpoints at the right time, and I was feeling very proud of little flight log. 

That was the fun and easy part, then came tower communications. Jen told me what to say when I radioed in, but I forgot before she finished saying it. So I wrote it down, word for word, and then made the call. And then I didn’t know (or actually, didn’t remember) what to do after tower responded so I looked to Jen with a pitiful expression hoping she’d jump in and save me. And like the good instructor that she is, she did. I listened carefully as she communicated with tower because I knew there would be no mercy for me next time. We were cleared to land and as I was maneuvering to the extended centerline, Jen reminded me that we were in a different airplane and the outside “picture” would be different upon landing. “Oh great!” I thought to myself. “Low-wing airplane, gusts up to 24kts, different airport...I can’t do this.” I was pretty content just letting her land the plane. But that wasn’t on her agenda because she just kept talking me through it all the way down and just barely helped toward the end. I landed that thing pretty much by myself! I was excited! Now I was waiting to get permission to taxi. Which is still a new concept to me because my home airport isn’t towered so I do what I want, when I want. Anyways, we taxied back to the runway as I stuttered with tower. It’s really not that hard, but not knowing what to expect and forgetting what I’m supposed to say is what’s giving me a hard time. Jen gave me some radio calls that I can study before my next flight so I’ll be more prepared and expectant. 

The flight home was a little more eventful when I realized I was overflying an airport that was about 8 nautical miles off of my intended route. Uh-oh. I checked my heading and indeed, it was way off! If I would have kept flying that heading, I would have ended up right in the middle of the Air Force Base which also had a TFR at the moment. I quickly corrected to get back to the original heading. The rest of the way home was fairly easy until we got on the final leg and Jen realized how bumpy it was. She definitely had to help me land the plane this time! Now that I was on the ground, I realized the time. We hadn’t even flow for 2 hours. This Archer is fast compared to the C-150! It should have taken us at least 2.5 hours based on my calculations for the 150. I think I like the Archer...it may be more expensive to rent, but it’s faster so I can get more done in an hour than I can with the little plane. So hopefully soon, I can get checked out in that plane as well. As we were cleaning up the Archer, I realized I had completely forgotten to take pictures of the flight! There is a section of the route that is really pretty and I knew I wanted to get a picture, but I forgot! I shouldn’t be surprised though, since anytime I go flying everything else just vanishes from my memory. So we decided we could at least take a picture next to the Archer. I also found a picture in my cell phone when I rode along with another student on a part of the route. It was taken a couple months ago but still looks the same right now. It doesn’t matter how many time I fly over mountains or canyons, I’m still amazed each time! It’s just so beautiful! I can’t imagine my life without ever flying. Seeing your home town from a different perspective gives you new dimensions and meaning to life. 

Well, now I get to study, study, study. Jen has a policy where students can’t go on a solo cross country until they get the knowledge exam done. So I’m hoping to get that done in the next couple weeks and in the meantime, we’ll be working on some more radio communications, and I need to review some of my basic maneuvers that I haven’t practiced for a long time. I was never grounded as a child, but now I know what it feels like since I had be physically grounded for three weeks. Not the best feeling. I’m thrilled to be flying again! 

Essays about flight training from the other awardees will be published here as they are received. 

An update from Susana, GWW Private Pilot Scholarship Winner!

This is the first journal entry provided to us by Susana Mai, who was selected for a Private Pilot Scholarship from Girls With Wings. The Girls With Wings 2014 Scholarship Program includes the Private Pilot Scholarship, to help defray the cost of flight training lessons in pursuit of a private pilot certificate. This scholarship targets those individuals who have soloed but have not completed the Private Pilot Course.  The Private Pilot Scholarship is in the amount of $1000.00, funded by the generous donations from supporters of Girls With Wings, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Susana's application essay is published here.

It was soon after hearing about my GWW scholarship that I took my check ride, one of the most terrifying yet exhilarating experiences of my life. I still think that it was one of my best flying days; I felt prepared and like I was nailing every maneuver. It was a busy day at Fox Field where I was taking the exam but I didn’t feel nervous. The weather had been awful and turbulent for the week and a half before, to the point where I was doing simulated check ride procedures with my instructor in bumpy, 30kt winds (an unfortunate side effect of training over the Mojave Desert), but like a breath of fresh air the day of my check ride was clear and calm and blue. I left my exam feeling confident, ready to go to new places, and excited to keep learning. 

I attached a few pictures to illustrate my journey. I finally found a photo from my first solo. The first few were too blurry because I was jumping up and down! Unbeknownst to me, the entire airport knew that I would be soloing that day, and were hiding out in the FBO listening over the radio, silently cheering for me. I love how pilots support each other, no matter whether they’re near or far, local or virtual. The next one is of me and a female pilot I befriended. We flew to the 99’s Antelope Valley Poker Run, which is a fun event where pilots collect cards by traveling to various local airports in support of AV women pilots. Grace got her license just a month before me. We were both each other’s second passengers! The day after I got my pilot’s license I flew as pilot in command to Lake Isabella, and I included a picture of that as well. Having found a fellow female pilot and flying with her is really just an amazing experience, one that I didn’t realize would be so important to me. Sometimes it can be lonely as a female pilot, on the periphery of the boy’s club, but meeting fellow women pilots, talking to them, flying with them, has made me more confident in my abilities and my hopes to continue training. 

The Private Pilot scholarship has not only helped me fulfill my dream to fly, but it’s allowed my dreams to expand. Now that I’ve completed what was once the seemingly fantastical goal of becoming a private pilot, I just want to keep getting new ratings. I find that the more time I invest in flying, the more I’m introduced to amazing aviators and aviatrixes. I’ve found that even when I’m not flying, there’s no better feeling than sitting around, getting advice from some experienced pilots, and hearing their stories. I like keeping up with fellow GWW members on facebook, and knowing that we constantly support each other and are rooting for each other. I’m happy to be a representative of GWW because I hope that you hear my story and are inspired to fly and realize that your unrealistic dreams are actually very very possible. It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s work that any girl is more than capable of. 

Just today I got my pilot’s license in the mail! I carry it around with pride! 

Essays about flight training from the other awardees will be published here as they are received.

Monday, May 26, 2014

An update from Erin, GWW Advanced Training Scholarship Winner!

This is the first journal entry provided to us by Erin DeYoung, who was selected for an Advanced Training Scholarship within The Girls With Wings 2014 Scholarship Program to help defray the cost of flight training lessons in pursuit of an Advanced Rating or Certificate such as instrument rating, commercial pilot certificate, flight instructor certificate, instrument flight instructor certificate, multi-engine rating or multi-engine flight instructor certificate. This new scholarship award is in the amount of $1000, funded by the generous donations from supporters of Girls With Wings, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Erin's application essay is published here.

With news that I had been awarded a Girls With Wings Scholarship, I knew I would be able to begin my instrument training in earnest, and I wasn’t completely sure what to expect. I had started my instrument training informally when I was still a private pilot (and I had completed the ground school before I soloed), so I was already used to thinking about life after VFR , but I had never been able to focus solely on my training the way I would have liked. My instructor and I have been sticking instrument lessons in the midst of currency checks and flight reviews for the last year, so I had never had a flight lesson that was only focused on my instrument rating. This one would be my first: 

We started with a blind takeoff. The aim is simple: takeoff without being able to see. The application seems more complicated. My first thought was, “How will I know I’m on the centerline?” Dover has a 150’ wide runway (it spoils a pilot awfully fast), so we had plenty of room to work with. But the answer to my question was deceptively simple: follow the heading indicator. Because I had flown approaches on the same runway, I knew the exact heading (013), and I could use that to make sure I was holding the centerline. I taxied to the centerline, put on my foggles, pushed full throttle, and we were off! Wow, was it a rush! I could have sworn I was swerving back and forth, but the HSI held true, and my instructor didn’t say a word. 

Once we were in the air, everything felt “normal.” I was used to sitting under the foggles while we were flying, and I felt more confident about holding my heading without the ground underneath me. Today’s lesson plan was fairly simple: basic maneuvers with the foggles. I would be doing some stalls, steep spirals, turns with the magnetic compass, and then we’d “shoot the RNAV to 32.” I’d run through all the maneuvers before, but I was hoping to clean up my flying a bit. There was also one catch: I’d be flying partial panel. 

I was simulating a “no-gyro” malfunction. This means I lost both my heading indicator and my attitude indicator, and I would be using my magnetic compass for navigation. Flying with the magnetic compass always makes me more appreciative of the early days of flight. Even though I fly with only the standard six pack (no glass cockpit here!), I realize how lucky I am to even have this many instruments, and how grateful I am that my compass is only a “back-up.” The lack of precision coupled with the turning errors, among other things, has quickly made the compass my least favorite (even if the most used) instrument on my panel. 

Setting up for slow flight, stalls, and, eventually, steep turns wasn’t a terribly stressful ordeal. I enjoy trimming the airplane and getting her to sit just at the edge of a stall while in slow flight (and my turn coordinator is great to make sure I am keeping my wings level). I also love stalls. They are my favorite maneuver, and I love how quickly the airplane will recover. Just nose over and add power…she’ll gain airspeed before you know it. I find it reassuring to remember just how much my airplane wants to fly. I knocked stalls and steep turns out of the way early, even though I ran through steep turns a couple times just to get the feel for them again; then, it was on to the timed turns. 

Timed turns are difficult for me for several reasons. The first is wrangling with the magnetic compass (remembering UNOS, my latitude, adjusting for my roll out heading, etc.), but the second is patiently watching the second hand on the clock. With the dozens of things I should be doing in my airplane while I’m flying, I am sometimes frustrated by watching the “sweeping second hand” (it is expressly required by 91.205). Still, the timed turns are good for me. They force me to be patient, and they force me to remember that few things happen quickly in an airplane and that a standard rate turn should never be one of those things. 

Finally, we let timed turns become vectors for an approach (an RNAV). I’ve been missing one radio call fairly consistently as we’ve been shooting approaches (the one at the final approach fix when I’m established on the glide slope), but this time I got it. I pulled throttle, nosed over, and let the airplane settle on the glide path. I found my wind correction angle early, and it was one of the first times I was able to really just watch the airplane settle into a stabilized approach. I was beyond thrilled. Normally, I am making minor adjustments for a good half mile while on approach. My needle seldom deflects more than ¼ (within PTS standards), but it’s not as centered as I want it to be. This time, it was there. I hit the bulls-eye and I held it. I don’t think I was more proud when I soloed. 

I hit the minimums for a circling approach, leveled off evenly, and turned to make my visual landing. It was one of those maneuvers where you know you’ve hit things just right. It was the first time I’ve felt that way in my instrument training, and it felt good. 
 
I’m itching to get back in the air and do it again! 

Essays about flight training from the other awardees will be published here as they are received.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

An update from Lisa, GWW Private Pilot Scholarship Winner!

 This is the first journal entry provided to us by Lisa Kienholz, who was selected for a  Private Pilot Scholarship from Girls With Wings. The Girls With Wings 2014 Scholarship Program includes the Private Pilot Scholarship, to help defray the cost of flight training lessons in pursuit of a private pilot certificate. This scholarship targets those individuals who have soloed but have not completed the Private Pilot Course.  The Private Pilot Scholarship is in the amount of $1000.00, funded by the generous donations from supporters of Girls With Wings, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Lisa's application essay is published here.

What an amazing year it has been for me. One year ago this month, I attending the Continental Luscombe Association’s annual fly-in at 022 in Columbia, CA. My good friend, Al, the same friend that introduced me to flying 35 years ago suggested that I join him there. I was recovering from fatigue due to a thyroid problem and I figured “why not?” I had enjoyed flying decades ago and thought that a weekend hanging out with pilots and perhaps having the opportunity to go up in a Luscombe again would be fun. Little did I know that a year later I would be well on my way to obtaining my Private Pilot’s License. 

I did indeed go for a flight, thanks to the owner/pilot of a beautiful polished Luscombe. I was hooked again! I lined up another flight or two for the following day. Unfortunately, the wind kicked up that next morning and everyone took off for home earlier than expected. A couple of days later, I emailed Randy, one of the pilots I met at the fly-in and arranged to go flying in his Piper Cub. It was a great, scenic tour of San Francisco bay, complete with a stop for lunch at an airport cafĂ© and low flying over the Golden Gate Bridge. I had such a great time that when I got home I just had to figure out how to go flying again. I thought of a friend of my son’s that had been interested in flying. I looked him up and found that he was now a pilot, flying out of Santa Paula (SZP) airport. Michael was kind enough to take me flying in his Taylorcraft. I had a great time and I loved everything about SZP – the location, the people, the airplanes. I followed that up with a weekend at the Piper Cub fly-in in Lompoc (LPC). I was in heaven - a few days of meeting super nice people and multiple flights. Randy and his friends even brought their Cubs to SZP for a day of flying with my family.

Within a couple of months I found myself at CP Aviation at SZP inquiring about flight lessons. In September I had my first lesson in their Cessna 150. I started out with lessons once a week, which grew to twice a week in January. The aviation community has been so kind to me. Girls with Wings has offered me this scholarship which has allowed me to continue my twice weekly lessons. The Ventura County 99’s have welcomed me into their fold, sharing their knowledge –Mignon and Mary Beth have offered to help me study for my checkride. My instructors, Mark & Judy, have been so supportive through the ups and downs of my flight training. Randy took me flying again and gave me my first lessons landing a taildragger in the grass at Frazer Lake Airpark (1C9). Chuck took me flying in San Diego and the desert east of there. Wilma took me along on a fly-out to Death Valley. Zach let me fly with him to deliver Chuck’s Cub from SZP to San Diego and he was kind enough to be my PIC to this year’s annual Luscombe fly-in in my very own polished Luscombe. Yes, my very own airplane! Al flew my plane with me from Enumclaw, WA (WA77) to its new home at SZP and Sammy took me flying in her locally. I still have to complete my training, pass my checkride and get my tailwheel endorsement – but I’m well on my way, thanks to the help and encouragement of awesome, supportive aviation community. What an amazing year it has been. 

Essays about flight training from the other awardees will be published here as they are received.

Monday, May 19, 2014

The man behind the Rick Dahl Scholarship, and the woman who made it happen.

Just recently Girls With Wings, Inc., announced its 2014 Scholarship Recipients. Girls With Wings' scholarship awards include Private Pilot Scholarships to help defray the cost of flight training lessons in pursuit of a private pilot certificate, targeting those individuals who have soloed but have not completed the Private Pilot Course. Because of a generous donation made in memory of Rick Dahl, an aviation buff who greatly supported women’s achievement in the aviation field, one $2500 award this Spring will be awarded to Natalia's (full essay here).

In addition, the Dreams Take Flight Scholarship was designed to introduce the world of aviation to someone who would benefit from experiencing the joy of flight. This scholarship is intended to fund introductory flight training to encourage achievement of a stated goal, whether in aviation or in another field of study.  There is no prerequisite flight training required for this scholarship, just enthusiasm and the desire to learn. One Dreams Take Flight Scholarship award of $500, again funded in the memory of Rick Dahl, was awarded to Jamie (full essay here).

We wanted to take a minute to tell you about the man behind the award, as shared with us by Jennifer Jordan, who arranged for the funds in memory of her friend, Rick Dahl.

"[Rick] being a goofball."
"Rick Dahl was one of my truest friends in life. We were an odd pair, he was 20 some years my senior. We met when I was a student at K-State working in the print shop, and he was a full time employee there. For whatever reason, our friendship clicked and never wavered. We were at opposite ends of the spectrum in more ways than one. But, we were besties.

From the beginning of my flying days, he was my biggest cheerleader. The day I soloed, I also did a long cross-country with my instructor. Rick met me at an airport, and we celebrated together with breakfast. It was one of the proudest days of my life, and I could see the pride and happiness in his eyes.

Jen in green tee to right
Shortly after Rick passed, I went to Oshkosh for the first time. I met Lynda there, and volunteered at her booth. I fell in love with GWW and their mission. It was a great time. It was then I began formulating my idea to help with her scholarships. Rick was a true philanthropist and champion of rights. He was also a huge aviation buff. I thought it was only right to share with GWW the gift he so generously shared with me. I miss Rick every single day, but I know that this gift helps him to live on. And hopefully, it will inspire the same spirit of giving.

It was an honor and a privilege to donate scholarship funds this year, and to help with the process of selecting winners. Each and every applicant brought joy to my heart. The future of aviation is very bright."

Thank you, Jen, for your generosity in giving funds to Girls With Wings that you could use toward your own flight training, and many thanks to Rick for his support of you. We can all use a cheerleader and a friend to keep an eye on us.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Willow, A Private Pilot Scholarship Winner!

This is Willow's essay from her application. As an awardee of this scholarship, she has agreed to send us updates on her flight training, which will be posted here when they are received.



Ever since I was a little girl people have asked me “What do you want to be when you grow up?” With High School graduation quickly approaching that once innocent question, now holds merit. Fortunately, I have an answer. I believe that we all have a unique purpose in life and by discovering our passion we are able to fulfill our greatest potential. I have a passion to fly and a dream of becoming a pilot. I was raised in a family of aviation enthusiasts; my dad, grandfather and uncle are private pilots, my mother is a flight attendant, and I have another uncle who is an A&P mechanic. I have experienced the world of flight on many levels first hand; however, the reality of how much I wanted to fly became apparent when I logged my first hour as a pilot.

Words can not explain the feelings that I experienced when I flew an airplane for the first time. The overwhelming sensation of accomplishment and astonishment paralleled with the thrill of the experience fueled my passion. I understand the commitment and devotion necessary to become a pilot. I have a firm belief in my personal abilities as well as my level of commitment. I am driven to push myself to meet challenges and reach goals.

 I have been accepted to the aeronautical program at Embry Riddle University in Prescott, AZ. I plan to major in Aeronautical Science and minor in Unmanned Aircraft. I plan to earn my commercial flight rating and pursue a career as a commercial pilot. Embry Riddle Aeronautical University is ranked number one in the world for aerospace and aviation college education. With small class sizes, professional instruction and hands on skills training, my professional career is “off and flying” and my future is full of potential.

 I am currently 17 years old, a senior in high school, graduating in the spring of 2014. In addition to my high school education, I am currently enrolled and attending college aviation courses at Chandler Gilbert Community College, Gilbert, AZ as well as obtaining my private pilot certificate through the University of North Dakota Aerospace program at Williams Gateway Airport, Mesa, AZ. My high school junior year I successfully completed aviation courses through the East Valley Institute of Technology, Mesa, AZ. The professional instruction and hands on skills training that I have received has provided me with a strong basis of knowledge as well as an excellent opportunity to put my dream “in-flight”.

Although I have not “worked” at a conventional job, (for example at the mall or at a fast food restaurant) I have “worked” very hard for the past 12 years. I started playing softball at the age of 5. I have committed myself to improving my skills and growing from my weaknesses. I devote 6 hours a week to strictly practice time. I devote 18-20 hours a week on the field playing competitively at the “Gold” level on an elite travel team. The experiences I have gained from “working” as an athlete are priceless. I have learned how to be: self-disciplined and focused. I have developed the skills necessary to be a strong leader as well as a team player. I understand sacrifice and reward. I know how to push myself to meet challenges and commitments. My experience as a “working” athlete will play an important role through out my life and has provided a solid foundation of the person that I have grown to be today and will continue to be in the future.

In addition to being a devoted and committed individual, I am also filled with kindness and compassion for others. I volunteer on a regular basis at a 55+ community where I grocery shop, provide transportation and just “be there” for older people who need a helping hand or a friend by their side. I’m also very involved in volunteer projects such as “Hope Takes Flight” in which I help my mom along with several other people in the aviation industry raise money for United Way by participating in various fund raising projects through out the year. I am a member of Women in Corporate Aviation, Women in Aviation and the Ninety-Nines. All organizations which provide support to women who have a passion for aviation.

The cost of tuition and flight training is very expensive. I have committed myself to growing and developing in the area of academics and athletics. With regard to tuition expenses at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, I have been awarded a merit scholarship for my academic efforts along with an athletic scholarship for my ability to play softball, but there is still a large amount of tuition that needs to be paid in order to fulfill my dream of attending a university that is considered the world’s leader in aviation and aerospace education. In an effort to reduce future college expenses, I elected to pursue my private pilot license outside of Embry Riddle. The Rick Dahl Memorial Private Pilot Scholarship would be extremely helpful in completing this venture. I am an only child of two very hard working people. My father started his own business in 2001 in the construction industry. At this time, my mother was a flight attendant for United Airlines. The tragedy of September 11, 2001 ended my mothers career with United Airlines. My mother devoted her efforts to raising me and helping my father grow his business into a what was once very profitable. Unfortunately, about 6 years ago the economy of our nation went into a severe recession and the construction industry took a volatile downward spiral. My parents devoted endless hours and all of their financial resources to their business. The economy was very slow to recover and even though things were finally starting to improve, my parents made the difficult decision in June of 2013 to close the business that they had devoted their lives too. Fortunately, my mother was able to gain employment with US Airways as a flight attendant. As a new employee, her starting wages are low, and do not afford any extra income. My father was fortunate to gain employment as well in November of 2013. Again, as a new employee, his wages are contributed to covering our household expenses.

Sadly, women account for only 5% of the commercial pilots in our industry. Today as I read an article about a passenger on a WestJet flight that left a note for the female Captain of the flight stating, “The cockpit of an airliner is no place for a woman” my focus became clear. As a future pilot, I can make a difference. I hope to bring more attention to the field of aviation by educating others and leading by example. Acquiring a solid foundation of knowledge and developing a strong skill set is essential to my success and to bringing more women into a non-traditional career field. The opportunity to change the way our society views women in the cockpit is a challenge that I would be proud to be a part of. Working as a CFI and mentoring other young women who share my passion is a goal that I plan to achieve! Setting an industry standard rather than an industry exception is a challenge that I proudly am willing to accept.
Thank You for the opportunity to successfully fulfill my dream,
Willow Seward

The Girls With Wings 2014 Scholarship Program includes the Private Pilot Scholarship, to help defray the cost of flight training lessons in pursuit of a private pilot certificate. This scholarship targets those individuals who have soloed but have not completed the Private Pilot Course.  The Private Pilot Scholarship is in the amount of $1000.00, funded by the generous donations from supporters of Girls With Wings, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.