Saturday, October 27, 2007

Review: Wings and Rockets: The Story of Women in Air and Space

Review: Wings and Rockets: The Story of Women in Air and Space
Heannine Atkins, illustrations by Dusan Petricic

I'm busy writing the review for this, which will be published on the You Fly, Girl website, but here's the TOC. It's for kids and teens, and recommended, though there are a few very minor annoyances with it.

Here’s the table of contents for Wings and Rockets

Dreams and Beginnings (1903-1926)
1. Katharine Wright (the Wright Brothers’ sister)
2. Blanche Stuart Takes Off
3. Brave Bessie Coleman

The First Woman’s Cross-Country Air Race (1929)
4. Amelia Earhart - the race begins
5. Disaster for Amelia Earhart
6. Amelia Earhart and Another Dream

Friendships and War (1932-1944)
7. Jackie Cochran Learns to Fly
8. Jackie Cochran and Amelia Earhart
9. Jackie Cochran and the WASP
10. After the War - Ann Baumgartner and Jackie Cochran

How High Can We Go - Women in Space (1960-1999)
11. Jerrie Cobb and the Mercury 13
12. Shannon Lucid and NASA
13. Eileen Collins and the Air Force
14. Shannon Lucid in Mir
15. Commander Eileen Collins

A note from the author

Important years in women’s aviation history


Web sites


Friday, October 26, 2007

Great Minds think alike

I'm compiling biographies of women pilots, and today - just five minutes ago - I thought to myself... I'll start a wiki called PilotPedia. So I checked out GoDaddy for the domain find it had already been taken.

They're doing what I wanted to do...but they're not getting any help - the site hasn't been updated since March!

Well, I'll see if I can't add some stuff to it...

If you're knowledgeable about the history of aviation, check that site out and start adding info! And spread the news that it exists!

The Ninety-Nines, and the Museum of Women Pilots

is the URL for the Museum of Women Pilots - a verrrrrrrrrry nice site, housed in the Ninety-Nines headquarters in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and

is the URL for the Ninety-Nines.

Here's a paragraph of info from their website:

The organization came into being November 2, 1929, at Curtiss Field, Valley Stream, Long Island, New York. All 117 American female pilots had been invited to assemble for mutual support and the advancement of aviation. Louise Thaden was elected secretary and worked tirelessly to keep the group together as we struggled to organize and grow until 1931, when Amelia Earhart was elected as first president and the group was named for the 99 charter members.

Today Ninety-Nines are professional pilots for airlines, industry and government; we are pilots who teach and pilots who fly for pleasure; we are pilots who are technicians and mechanics. But first and foremost, we are women who love to fly!

There is a LOT of information at their website about women pilots past and present, so check it out.

The You Fly, Girl website proceeds apace...I hope to have news soon.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Zoe Dell Nutter

My father, a retired pilot (Air Force, then cargo, then passenger, for AIA/MarkAir) still has a subscription to AOPA Pilot, but he has the issues sent to my brother (who learned how to fly 20 years ago, soloed, nad never did anything with it since...).

He had one issue left at his house here in VA, which was the December 2005 issue, and imagine my delight to see the back page of the issue devoted to Zoe Dell Nutter (and written by Julie K. Boatman).

Nutter learned to fly after World War II - and her favorite airplane, of all those she has flown, is a Cessna 120. Among many other activities, she organized the Monterery Bay Chapter of the Ninety-Nines. IN 1968, she participated in the Powder Puff Derby.

She was 90 at the time this article was written. It was more of a promotion piece for hte National Aviation Hall of Fame (of which she ws president from 1988-2005).

Monday, October 22, 2007

Two women in charge of two spacecraft at same time

Women will call the shots during shuttle mission
CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (AP) -- A giant leap is about to be made for womankind.

Discovery shuttle commander Pamela Melroy is the only female shuttle pilot left at NASA.

When space shuttle Discovery blasts off Tuesday, a woman will be sitting in the commander's seat. And up at the international space station, a female skipper will be waiting to greet her.

It will be the first time in the 50-year history of spaceflight that two women are in charge of two spacecraft at the same time.

This is no public relations gimmick cooked up by NASA. It's coincidence, which pleases shuttle commander Pamela Melroy and station commander Peggy Whitson.

"To me, that's one of the best parts about it," said Melroy, a retired Air Force colonel who will be only the second woman to command a space shuttle flight. "This is not something that was planned or orchestrated in any way."

Indeed, Melroy's two-week space station construction mission was originally supposed to be done before Whitson's six-month expedition. Find out more about Discovery's latest mission »

"This is a really special event for us," Melroy said. "... There are enough women in the program that coincidentally this can happen, and that is a wonderful thing. It says a lot about the first 50 years of spaceflight that this is where we're at."

NASA refuses to disclose results of air safety survey

NASA refuses to disclose air safety survey
Not only is NASA refusing to disclose the result of a 4 year survey - but they are also DESTROYING the results.

"Official said revealing findings could damage public confidence in airlines"

Well, gee. I'd say revealing that a survey exists with findings that could damage public good enough - so there's no need to muzzle the report.

Moreover, by disclosing the report, the airlines involved could perhaps do something to solve the problems, ya think? Which they can't if they aren't told what they are. (Although, realistically, you'd think they'd know...)

NASA is run through OUR tax dollars. If they're going to conduct a survey, we deserve to know what they found. And the fact that they're going to destroy the results of four years work - that's plain ridiculous.

See link for complete article.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

More on Michelle Wie

After reading a couple more articles on Wie, the girl does have more of my sympathy than I was initally prepared to give her.

She's still an immature, childish kid, but if you read her background, you can understand why. If your parents don't teach you manners and class...where are you going to learn them from?

Wie thinks better days are ahead after disastrous '07

And I doubt if her parents are teaching her any manners. Indeed, it looks like her parents won't let her get away from them:

"Wie is rarely seen without her parents. At the Samsung, Bo sat a foot away from a pyramid of golf balls on the range while her daughter practiced. B.J., who caddied, was never far away all week. Even while she attends Stanford her parents aren't far away; they are renting a house nearby. Neither parent would comment for this story. But Gilchrist, who coached Wie for two years when he worked for her current coach, David Leadbetter, says she needs to break away."

She is living in a dorm room...but she probably visits her parents every day to bring her laundry...'s only guys who do that!

Anyway, here's hoping Wie can get her act together, and go back on tour as a more mature individual and win some tournaments and be a credit to the women's game.

Astronaut Shannon Lucid talks about MIR

Not sure where this clip comes from (apart from Youtube, of course), but it's pretty interesting. The audio isn't in synch with the video, but just close your eyes and listen if that bugs you.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Role model - of how NOT to behave: Michelle Wie

Here's the latest article on Michelle Wie

Given a mulligan, Wie would not have played this year

As I mentioned in my first entries in this blog, golf is not really a sport that interests me, but I watched from time to time to see the much-hyped Michelle Wie. Hyped not so much for her golf, as for the huge amount of money she got in endorsements.

And has she earned that money? No. She's looked bad in tournaments, she's come across as childish...she's soured lots of people on her.

And yet she still has fans. How can this be possible. She's won nothing since she turned pro, she's come in last several times, she gets injuries and then whines abou tthem instead of playing through them... and yet she still has fans. Worse, she still has endorsements.

Is she that pretty? I'm a straight woman, but I know beauty when I see it, in both men and women, and she doesn't look that beautiful to me. Attractive, yes, but worth multi-millions in endorsements before she ever did anything to merit it? Based strictly on her looks and her amateur career?

Yes, she's only just now turned 18...perhaps the maturity will come...but I doubt it. Blame her family, I suppose, or her entourage...nevertheless....she's been soooo bad for women's golf.

Wie is not entirely to blame, of course. The LPGA must shoulder its fair share, for creating exemptions designed specifically to allow Wie to play in some events...despite the fact that she continually did poorly in them!

Here's a link to a thread on about the LPGA's culpability.

(Although a link is provided in that thread to the source of the article in question, the San Francisco Chronicle, the link takes you to a dead page. One wonders if the LPGA brought pressure to bear on the Chronicle to have the article removed?

I just visited to see how many books have been written about Wie, and I see five, all written for kids, touting her as a role model. Latest one published April 2007.

This one isn't a biography, but rather a lesson in how other golfers can duplicate her swing.

"Dissecting one ofthe most envied swings in golf today,John Andrisani demonstratesthe five keys to mastering Wie'spower swing: the grip and setup,powering your backswing, creatinga "flat spot," improving tempo,and shifting balance to change thedominant side. With detailed, stepby-step photographs from renowned golf photographer Yasuhiro Tanabe, Andrisani breaks down Wie's swinginto easy-to-follow instructions."

Of course, the swing isn't much good if you've got a sore wrist which you never stop to let heal....

Sunday, October 14, 2007

No "hells" or "damns", please

This is an interesting article from Aero Digest, March, 1930, about teaching women to fly:

Instructors had to modify their language around women...

The article ends with this line:

It is time to adopt the proved policy of the automobile dealer - Cater to the woman.

Found on Youtube: Videos ofwomen pilots

Below are4videos. Click on the white arrow to start.

Gladys Ingle (?) wing-walking, climbing onto another plane, and changing a tire:

A 2 -minute clip of Amelia Earhart. At the end she flies an autogyro.

Russian video, acrobatic pilot Svetlana Kapanina :

7 minute Patty Wagstaff video, another aerobatic pilot:

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Women and Flight

Women and Flight: Portraits of Contemporary Women Pilots was a traveling Smithsonian exhibition, way back in 1993. Interviewer/photographer Carolyn Russo talked to 36 women pilots - student pilots, pilots, astronauts, etc., and tells their story in the book.

In subsequent entries in this blog, I'm going to chronicle my attempts to discover what has happened to these 36 women, 12 years later.

Ellen Paneok - Alaskan bush pilot
Linda V. Hutton - Captain, United States Navy
Fay Gillis Wills - Aviation pioneer
Marsha Ivins - astronaut
Victoria Van Meter - student pilot
Marty Goppert - Flying Circus pilot
Patrice Clarke-Washington - Captain
Krista Bonino - 1st Lt, US Army, Helicopter pilot
Linn Buell - glider pilot
Jean Ross Howard-Phelan - Aviation pioneer
Mary Edna Fraser - Aerial artist
Mayte Greco - Search and rescue pilot
Florence Partlett - Airport operator
Shannon Lucid - Astronaut
Lori Love - crop duster
Madge Rutherford Minton - WASP
Kim Darst - Heilcopter pilot
Patty Wagstaff - Aerobatic pilot
Ida Van Smith-Dunn - Pilot
Susan Pierce - Hang glider pilot
Susan Still - Lt, US Navy, combat pilot and astronaut
Mary Ellen Weber - Astronaut
Gayle Ranney - Alaskan bush pilot
Suzanne Ashbury-Oliver - Skywriter
Yvonne McDermott - Pilot
Betty Skelton-Frankman - Aerobatic pioneer
Michele Summers - First Officer
Troy Devine - Captain, USAF
Evie Washington - pilot
Bonnie Wilkens - Helicopter pilot
Dorothy Aiksnoras-Vallee - First Officer
Marilyn Bridges - Aerial photographer
Doris Lockness - Flying octogenarian
Eileen Collins - Lt Colonel, USAFand Astronaut
Patricia Jenkins - Helicopter pilot
Marsha Neal - Astronaut

Who is Peggy Whitson?

Pop quiz.

Name every female astronaut that's ever been aboard the International Space Station.

Okay...that's probably not a fair question, as in these blase space exploration times, I doubt if anyone could even name all the men who've been aboard the ISS.

Peggy Whitson is the first female commander of the International Space Station, and she's on board now, along with Russian flight engineer Yuri Malenchenko.

It's not Whitson's first time on the ISS - she was there for 184 days, 22 hours and 15 minutes in 2002.

For the complete article, see Astronauts 'Home' Again on Space Station, and I'll be doing an article on the crews of the ISS in one of the forthcoming issues of You Fly, Girl.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Kono: the martial arts magazine for kids

Yesterday when I strolled through Sports Authority, heading toward the rack of baseball gloves, I paused at their magazine rack and saw a magazine called Kono, with Batman kicking "butt" on the cover. (The animated Batman, wit implausibly chunky arms, chest and legs.)

This is issue 4 of a magazine that is presumably aimed at kids age 6 - 12, and I have to confess I was unimpressed with it. There were a lot of anime-style illustrations, and just one or two photos of real people... not the type of thing to make a kid feel that they have a "role model" to follow.

To me, if I were a kid, I'd want to see ids my own age, dressed in karateuniforms, doing karate or whatever martial art in a dojo. To me the stuff in this mag is just pretend, like a comic book, and doesn't apply to the real world of a child.

Being a completionist, I present the contents of this issue:

1. Inner cover: ad for stikfasgames, plastic figurines looking like samuraiu warriors, doing some fighting, one with sai, the other with a sword in one hand anda a naginata in the other. (A naginata is a two-handed weapon, traditionally used by a female samurai.)

2. Table of contents:
The four departments: Your world, Dynamo Bodies, Superheroes, and Yoyodo

3. Full page ad for the Martial Arts channel, geaturing a black adult martial artsist and a white adult female doing Tai-Ci.

4. The Kono team: Brief bios of the contributors to the issue. Illustrated faces, with each a a character from Batman. Of 6 individuals, 2 are women, HK Kim, editor-in-chief, and Laura Franklin, senior designer.

5. Editor's Letter: With a top illustration featuring trick-or-treating kids: 3 kids, 2 girls, one as blond cat, one as a green faced witch, a ghost of indeterminate sex, and behind them all an adult, a woman dressed as a superhero.

6. Kono mailbag: Featuring one letter, and then half a page of contest winners

7. Full page ad: "If pressure's pushing you to get high and get into things you're not really into...maybe it's time to push back. The illustration doesn't really catch the eye, but as an adult I know it's an anti-drug message. I wonder if kids age 6-12 will get the message.

8. Your world: Must see TV. Dates for certain tv programs.

9. Random information: Fun facts and features: 4 info boxes. According to the top box, in 2006 the most popular Halloween costume was a princess costume. Second most popular was a pirate's costume.

10. Check it out: All the things you need to experience in October. Full page of 16 thumbnail photos. An ad for KidNation, a reality TV series feauring kids. Also a review of The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass-DS, and - a site to create your own animation, and, a site for a teacher and six kids to create their own educational website.

11. Get pinned: A full page of photos of pins to collect.,.none of those shown had a martial arts theme, interestingly.

12. Get to Know: An NBA Mascot. I assume this is the mascont of the Phoenix's a guy in a gorilla suit, but wearing a basketball on fire tshirt. The page itself makes no mention of what team he's a mascot for!!! And then of course there's the fact that he's an NBA mascot...what's he doing in a martial arts magazine...

13. What's it like to develop animated characters? : Two page article. Again, all drawings, no photos. 2/3rds of the page spread is an illustration, presumably of and by the guy in question, and then there's a single column of text. His name is Brett Jubinville, he's 25, and apparently he works on the Batman cartoon. He makes between $50,000 - $100,000 a year, which parents of artistic kids might like to know!

14. Look what they did: Brought martial arts to the masses: 2 page article - 1 full page photo of 4 guys in street clothes, with hands in pockets, one column of text of who they are: the Sideswipe Performance Team. [Why are they not in an "action shot", doing their routine??

15. Legends and History: the art of the fighting dance: An article on Capoeira, a martial art from Brazil. Again, no photos, just drawings. 3 page artile, 2 total columns of text.

16. Cool stuff: Mimobot memories: Two page spread on something for parents to buy kids, with absolutely nothing to do with the martial arts.

More to come

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I'm 45 And I Bought Myself a Baseball Glove Today...

There's a truism regarding books: girls will read books written for boys and girls, but boys will only read books written for boys. And, frankly, I can't blame the boys. Who in their right mind wants to read a book about a girl getting all weepy and moany because she likes a boy who doesn't like her, and all the little tricks and things she tries to do to get him to notice her?

I never read those things when I was a kid. I read mystery stories, like Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, and the Three Investigators, science fiction books like Tom Corbett, and the Little League books of Curtis Bishop. My favorite book of his is Little League Double Play, and I still own a copy today. [Indeed, it's a pity his books are out of print, but you can buy themat]

I was born in 1961, and there was no Little League for girls when I was growing up. If there had been I don't know if I would have had the nerve to play, of course, as I probably would have been the only girl on the team. But I wanted to share the fun that was embodied in those books by Bishop. I played catch with my Dad, and brother, (sister was never interested), and with other friends, but that was it.

But I grew older and times changed, especially with the passage of Title IX. I was on a softball team for a summer youth league when I was 16 or 17. When I worked at a company in Minneapolis they had a softball team and I played on that for a year. I was an excellent batter, but couldn't judge a pop-fly to save my live, so I mostly played catcher. I at no point had the elite kind of skills that would have gotten me a scholarship to some college, but it was the type of activity I enjoyed.

About 15 years ago my gloves and other sports equipment were stolen out of my garage, and I never got around to replacing them.

But, every year, around playoff time, while I'm watching the games, I muse aloud to friends with whom I'm watching that I'd like to go into a batting cage and see if I can't hit against balls coming over the plate at 80-90 miles an hour, just to see what it's like.

Well, the batting cage is yet to come, but today I went over to my local Sports Authority and bought a glove. I'm left handed, so of course there were three columns of left handed gloves of various sizes, and 10 or more columns of gloves for righties.

I ended up buying a Unisex Youth glove for $25. They had an adult glove I liked, but it was $60, and while I'm in to nostalgia, $25 of nostalgia will be just fine, thank you.

I don't have anyone to play with - my boyfriend will watch sports but he doesn't play them, my friends prefer tennis or biking - but I've got a brick facing over my garage and when I got home today I rooted out a tennis ball and played a bit of catch with the wall. It certainly felt good to move around and catch the ball - I hadn't lost any of the old skills. (I've never had any problem catching the ball, thrown at any speed, anywhere from foot to eye level. It's just when it's over my head, I can't do it.)

And, who knows. I live in a townhouse and in the court in which I live, there are a few kids, as well as adults of course, and who knows, one of them might decide it looks like fun, get a glove of their own if they don't already have one, and we might get our own mini-team going.

I only spent about 15 minutes at it today, but it is fun. Out in the sunshine, moving around, getting the arm muscles of your throwing arm moving, judging where the ball is headed and gloving it with your ball... yes, I suppose a bit of the feel-good feeling was an onrush of nostalgia for my youth, but ... it's just a fun thing to do.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Golf Explosion

I've been reading and enjoying The Women's Guide to Golf. Very educational. It still doesn't make me want to go out and invest in golf I said in a previous post, give me miniature golf any time.

I don't watch that much golf...when Tiger Woods is plaing in a tense match..Annika Sorenstam... I tried to watch Michelle Wie but I'm afraid her bad-sport behavior has turned me off her forever.

Nevertheless, women are beginning to golf in record numbers, as evidenced by the fact that there are two magazines for women out there.

I'll have to visit mu local B&N later on today and see if it carries these two magds...or for that matter, any women's sports magazines. I'm sure they local Walmart has at least 3 Women's "sports and fitness" type magazines, so I'm sure B& N will have an even greater selection.

However...if you want to do these magazines a great service...get a subscription. Bookstores take such a commission out of their sales that you wouldn't believe...they make pennies on a sale. With a subscription...they make dollars.

The Women's Guide to Golf

The Women's Guide to Golf, A Handbook for Beginners, by Kellie Stenzel Garvin is an excellent intro, not only to the game itself, and the skills needed to play it, but the terminology you'll need to know to converse about the game intelligently with fellow players, spouse or boyfriend, children, etc.

Here's the Table of Contents:
Part 1: Introduction and Purpose

Part II: Lessons (each one prefaced with terminology)
1. The Golf Course
2. The Golf Hole
3. The Goal of the Game
4. The Equipment and Yardage Chart
5. Holding the Club
6. Setup
7. Aim and Alignment
8. The Waggle
9. Pre-shot Routine
10. Putting
11. How Do I Get this Small Ball into the Air?
12. The Short Game - Chipping and Pitching
13. The Full Swing
14. What'd I Do Wrong, Coach?
15. Home on th Range
16. The Hazards of Amateur Advice: The Prince Charming Syndrome
17. Playing a Round of Golf, plus etiquette
18. Bunkers: Green Side, Fairway and Buried Lies
19. Irregular Lies
20. Bad Lies
21. How to Choose an Instructor
22. Taking Lessons - How to Get the Most for your Time and Effort
23. The Rules You Need to Know
24. Club Fitting - How do you know what club's right for you?
25. Golf's Bottom Line - Cutting Costs
26. My Favorite Training Aids
27. How To Play Faster
28. Playing in Ladies' Day
29. Are Women People in the World of Golf
30. Watching Golf on Televisin
31. Playing Pregnant - To Swing or Not To Swing
32. What is a handicap, and how do I get one

Part III. Conclusion
Part IV. Glossary

My own comments
Personally, I'm not a golfer, but I need to brush up on my knowledge for You Fly, Girl. I LOVE miniature golf, however - it takes skill, and it doesn't take as long! However, this book has taught me everything I need to know!

The You Fly, Girl Manifesto

I am shortly going to be launching a new ezine called You Fly, Girl.

The main focus of You Fly, Girl will be on women pilots, but we'll also cover women athletes in all sports, as well as businesswomen, and even stay-at-home moms who have succeeded in one of the most difficult jobs in the world - raising children healthy in body and mind!

The purpose of this blog will be to provide reviews on various books that fit our goals, discuss various issues (for example, what to do when a role model goes bad - i.e. the astronaut Lisa Nowak, or sprinter Marion Jones), and announce various events - such as when an important speaker is coming to town, etc.

We hope you'll enjoy this blog, check back frequently, leave comments, and eventually begin to read You Fly, Girl.