Friday, September 12, 2014

Oct 3 at IWASM: The Life and Times of Blanche Noyes

Oct 3 - Dinner with a Slice of History - The Life and Times of Blanche Noyes; a Pioneering Aviatrix - 6:30 pm
This talk shares the rich, colorful history of Blanche Noyes, from her beginnings as a local dramatic stage actress to an award winning air race pilot to one of the most accomplished aviation authors. 

Called the Dean of Women Pilots, Blanche Noyes was one of aviation's most passionate advocates. 

Presenter Dan Zaleski is a local aviation researcher. He enjoys talking and sharing about anything that flies. Dinner will be served at 6:30 pm with the presentation to follow. Tickets are $15 non-members, $13 members. Please RSVP soon- seats are limited!

Check out - that's the website of the International Women's Air and Space Museum - for other events: 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Lt. Alicia Makoutz deploys as the only female pilot in the Minn. Air Reserves to fly C-130 cargo planes

From MPLS Star tribune:

Lt. Alicia Makoutz deploys as the only female pilot in the Minnesota Air Force Reserves to fly C-130 cargo planes.
Four years ago, 24-year-old Alicia Perry boarded a C-130 cargo plane as a senior airman for the Air Force Reserve. She was heading to Afghanistan on her first deployment. For the long flight over she carried a tote stuffed with playing cards and the latest exercise magazines.

There’ll be plenty to keep her busy Tuesday as she leaves on her second deployment. She’ll be flying the airplane.

Now an officer and sporting her married name on her flight suit, Lt. Alicia Makoutz is the only female pilot in the Minnesota-based Air Force Reserves and one of only a handful flying the large military cargo planes.

She and about 100 other members of the 934th Airlift Wing are scheduled to depart for a 120-day deployment that is likely to include missions in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The deployment as a pilot fulfills a girlhood dream for Makoutz, whose twin brother is also in the Air Force.

“All growing up, if you asked me what my dream job is, I’d say to be a pilot,” she said. “If you asked me now what my dream job would be? To be a pilot. Not many people can say that.”

Stationed at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan during her first deployment, Makoutz worked on the ground in aviation resource management — military speak for tracking crew members’ training, flight hours and aircraft logs. It was her foot in the door. She learned she was accepted to flight school while in Afghanistan.

There were several flight schools, survival school and officer training school. Her husband, Chris, uprooted his business to be with her during 13 months of pilot schooling in Laredo, Texas.

Much of her training was in full-motion simulators, the higher-tech equivalent of Google maps where trainers load data for a real airfield and the student pilot makes the flight on computer screens, accurate down to the barns whizzing by in the landscape below.

But nothing compared to the first time Makoutz actually flew.

“Finally it came true,” she recalled thinking. “I do remember taking off. In the simulator you don’t have the windows down by your feet. That was the first time I actually saw the ground rush under me. I thought, ‘This is the real deal. I’m actually doing it.’ ”

She has always preferred the idea of piloting the hulking and reliable C-130s over fighter jets. She likes the teamwork required and she speaks affectionately of the deafening but reassuring hum the plane’s four turboprop engines make. At 28, she hopes to make flying the planes a career. She says she has never felt targeted because of her gender.

“It’s not a male/female thing; it’s, ‘Hey, you’re a pilot,’ ” she said. “Some people say, ‘Oh, you’re the only girl pilot over here.’ They just assume there’s negative aspects to it. I’ve never felt that way.”
But the club of female pilots remains an exclusive one. In the active duty Air Force, 720 females make up 5 percent of the 13,811 pilots. In Minnesota, another female pilot is rotating in to the reserve wing and there are two female C-130 pilots flying for the Minnesota Air National Guard.

“There are very few women in the military and much smaller female-to-male ratio in the pilot world,” she said. “It’s not an easy thing to be in. When you see one, you say, ‘Hey, we got one more,’ and just give a thumbs-up.”

Americans still going over

The deployment comes when many at home might think things are winding down after more than a decade of war. But the missions reflect the still-tenuous nature of the area. The Youngstown, Ohio-based unit the group is replacing recently delivered humanitarian cargo to thousands of Iraqi refugees isolated on a mountain after fleeing the Islamic extremist group ISIS.

For security reasons, the Air Force is vague about where the group will be stationed, but they are expected to fly missions delivering people, cargo and humanitarian aid to parts of southwest Asia, including Afghanistan and Iraq, the Horn of Africa, and other parts of the Arabian Peninsula.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

OT: Get a Speaker Pod before the rest of the world!

This is an OT post about an IndieGoGo campaign called the Speaker Pod. If you love listening to music on your smartphone, you'll love it even more if you listen to it on the speaker pod.

I'm helping out a friend, so please check out his campaign and if you can help - for which you'll receive a Speaker Pod or two, depending on the amount of your pledge, please do so.

If you love to listen to music wherever you go and are tired of carrying cables around, the Speaker Pod is for you!  Join the Pod People!

Speaker Pod represents big sound in a small package. With its innovative acoustic mechanism, Speaker Pod delivers sound that is crisp, clear, and full-bodied. Sound emanates from your phone's speakers and envelops your ears, with no need for wires, cables or Bluetooth!

Our Speaker Pods, which come in snazzy green or basic black, have a starting cost of just $24!
Unlike our first iteration of this technology - the Boom Bx - Speaker Pod is powered by a rechargeable battery. Not having to buy batteries equals a savings cost to the consumer, and is of course a benefit to the environment. All the user has to do is use a mini USB (included) to charge their Speaker Pod.

The Speaker Pod has a simple on/off switch, which is much better than a push button when it comes to quality. (We discovered this with our Boom Bx, which had a push button. We quickly learned that an on/off switch is much more reliable.)

Simply turn the Speaker Pod on. Then, turn on your smartphone or MP3 player  and start playing music. Place this device on the Speaker Pod, and immediately the music, crisp, and clear, will soar out into the room.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Women in Aviation to Honour Captain Koki at Akwaaba


In partnership with the organizers of Akwaaba African Travel Market, Women in Aviation (Nigeria) International-Glowing Wings Chapter said it would honor Capt. Irene Koki.
Capt. Irene Koki is the first Woman in the World to captain the World’s newest Plane -the Boeing B787 Dream liner and would yet again receives recognition for her pioneering role in Africa’s Aviation Industry.  She was recognized at Akwaaba in 2009 as the first African Lady Captain of a Commercial Airliner.

Women in Aviation, International with headquarters’ in the USA, is a non-profit organisation that is dedicated to the advancement of women in all Aviation career field and interests with over 10,000 Professionals all over the world.

The President of the Glowing Wings Chapter- Mrs Ify Megwa who would be leading her Chapter to the fair said: "We deemed it fit to honour one of our own, Capt. Irene has accomplished a feat no female has ever attained in Africa. In doing this, we are not only recognising her for been exceptional, we hope this will encourage more females to reach extraordinary heights in their Aviation careers and also encourage young women to consider aviation as a career too.

"So, we couldn’t think of a better medium to present this award to her other than Akwaaba, a credible platform that has consistently honored pioneers in Africa over the years."

Rwandan First Female Pilot with Rwandair Esther Mwange will also be honored at the event.

Akwaaba: African Travel Market is  the only annual international travel fair in West Africa, drawing attendance from over 15,000 delegates from over 20 countries worldwide and the largest platform to meet with Travelling Public, Airlines, Hotels, Restaurants, Tour Operators, Travel Agents, State Tourism Boards, Foreign Trade and Tourism sectors and similar industry suppliers across Africa

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Amelia Earhart flies again! Namesake to recreate global flight


CNN) -- In 1937, Amelia Mary Earhart disappeared over the Pacific Ocean attempting to circumnavigate the globe.
Later this month, Amelia Rose Earhart will try to do what her namesake could not.
Despite recently discovering she's not related to the more famous Amelia Earhart (for years she'd believed she was), the 31-year-old pilot will attempt to become the youngest woman to navigate around the world in a single-engine aircraft.
CNN spoke with Earhart about her forthcoming record attempt.
CNN: Did your name spark your interest in aviation?
Earhart will make her record attempt in a Pilatus PC12.
Earhart will make her record attempt in a Pilatus PC12.
Amelia Rose Earhart: Getting asked questions day in and day out about my name has always been a part of my life.
People would say to me, "Are you a pilot? Do you think you can ever fly around the world?"
And for a long time, I said, "No, I'm not a pilot but I always thought about flying around the world."
It was always in the back of my mind just as an ultimate goal.
So I took my very first discovery flight, which is basically the first flight that every pilot goes through.
After that first discovery flight, I was totally hooked.
CNN: What was your reaction when you discovered that you weren't related to Amelia Earhart?
Earhart: It was a blow because, for 30 years, I thought that I was related to Amelia in some distant way.
But it really wasn't why I started flying, I wanted to fly because it's a lot of fun.
So at this point, I'm almost glad that the distant relationship isn't there because it shows that you don't have to be named after somebody famous to do something great.
CNN: Why recreate her flight?
Earhart: As pilots, whenever we fly, we have a flight plan. We open that flight plan, and then when we return safely, we close that flight plan.
Unfortunately, when Amelia disappeared in 1937, she never got a chance to close her flight plan and that's what we all, as pilots, hope to do.
If successful, Earhart (31) will become the youngest woman to circumnavigate the world in a single-engine aircraft.
If successful, Earhart (31) will become the youngest woman to circumnavigate the world in a single-engine aircraft.
I started thinking, "What if I could symbolically close Amelia's flight plan for her?"
CNN: When is the takeoff date and where will you start and end the flight?
Earhart: We start and stop the flight in Oakland, California.
When you look at the departure date, we've got a three-day window from June 23 to 26.
The reason for that is we're doing installations on the plane: additional fuel tanks and also a satellite communications system that will allow us to livestream from the cockpit.
CNN: How long will the entire trip take and how much will it cost?
Earhart: The whole trip will take two and a half weeks.
We've got 17 stops in 14 countries.
Over the past year and a half, I would say close to $2 million is probably the total value of the trip.
CNN: Are you nervous about embarking on such a major endeavor?
Earhart: My biggest fear is that the trip will just fly by and the two and a half weeks will be over before I know it.
I've spent years planning this and it is my passion project. I don't have a lot fear around what if something goes wrong with the aircraft.
That's not a concern of mine at all.
I do have realistic expectations if something happens weather-wise.
Flying around the inter-tropical convergent zone is particularly tough for pilots so I'm paying close attention to the weather patterns there.
CNN: Does the legend of your namesake worry you at all?
Earhart: Not at all. Amelia's disappearance unfortunately came at a time when the technology just wasn't there to track her.
Two years of planning and $2 million of expenses will bear out this month.
Two years of planning and $2 million of expenses will bear out this month.
But when you think about how far that's come in the last 77 years, we're looking at whole different world.
I'm flying the Pilatus PC12 which is a single-engine turboprop and it's one of most technologically advanced planes out there.
We've got dual GPS systems on the aircraft.
We've got navigation that shows us exactly where we are and exactly what point in space.
We want to show people that ... even small planes can be very manageable over long trips like this.
CNN: How do you pack for this kind of trip?
Earhart: That is the ultimate question because you have to be very cognizant of the weight aboard the aircraft.
Packing-wise, I have to keep everything very limited.
So we'll pack a certain amount of nutritional products.
Beauty products, I have to keep to a bare minimum, unfortunately.
CNN: What do you do when you're not flying?
Earhart: I'm really close with my girlfriends here in Denver. We will go running together, do stuff outside together.
Trips or getting out of town, that's pretty much to a minimum.
I did just have a chance to go to Geneva, Switzerland, for an aviation conference.
That was a chance to relax even though we were working the whole time.
Things like that, where you're working and playing, I like to blur those lines as much possible.
When I'm always playing and always working, that's when I'm happiest.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Ever heard of Kacy Catarzaro????

Not a pilot, but the first woman to ever complete the American Ninja Warrior challenge - and make it look easy.

Of course it helps that she's only 5 foot tall and probably only weights 100 pounds - but she went through every single challenge with ease.

Apparently she did it last week - I just saw it on TV today. Everyone was cheering her on all the way.

Totally coo-el.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

All-female Grande Prairie STARS crew flaunts a little gender pride with selfie

From Calgary Sun:

STARS Deb Wnuk Kelly Holt Jen Thiel Karen Coulter
Left to right: Deb Wnuk, paramedic, Kelly Holt, nurse, Jen Thiel, pilot, Karen Coulter, pilot, of STARS Air Ambulance. Supplied photo.
It was to be a girls’ flight out.

And the four-woman team couldn’t resist snapping a multi-selfie of one of the rare occasions an entire STARS air ambulance helicopter crew was female, said pilot Karen Coulter.

“It doesn’t happen all that often, not that we don’t enjoy working with our male counterparts,” said Coulter, 43, who’s been flying for 13 years.

“It’s just nice for us to see that we have so many females in the industry.”

The Grande Prairie crew boasts another woman pilot, one who’s on maternity leave, she added.
On Thursday, the four crew members — paramedic Deb Wnuk, nurse Kelly Holt and pilots Coulter and Jen Thiel — were together again as their work schedule dictates.

But bad weather prevented them from responding to a motor vehicle accident at Valleyview and what sounded like a severe bee sting reaction near McLennan.

That could be a typical day aloft for any STARS crew, regardless of gender, said Coulter who shares her gender with her boss, STARS President Andrea Robertson.

“The conversations are different,” she said.

Dealing with difficult calls, particularly those involving children, impact both male and female crews hard, “though the men are usually more stoic,” said Coulter.

Of STARS’ aviation and medical staff, 30% are female, with four women pilots — three quarters of the latter based in Grande Prairie.

STARS officials say there are fewer than 100 female helicopter pilots in Canada.

While the complexion of STARS personnel is continually evolving, some traditions remain the same.

“One of the male pilots brought us bouquets of flowers on Wednesday,” said Coulter.