Sunday, January 27, 2008

And I've bemoaned the US's obsession with women's looks

This is one of the saddest stories I've ever heard.

Brazil carnival star eyes surgery record

Brazilian model Angela Bismarchi will dance nearly nude ahead of a 300-person drum corps in next month's Carnival parade, hoping her sculpted beauty as a "percussion queen" will lead her samba group to the championship.

But she has another goal in mind as well.

In preparation for Rio's five-day Carnival blowout in February, she's having her 42nd plastic surgery — closing in on the Guinness World Record of 47 surgical procedures held by 52-year-old American Cindy Jackson, who calls herself a "Living Doll" and now promotes her own skincare line.

"I always was vain," Bismarchi, 36, acknowledges at the medical clinic near Rio where her plastic surgeon husband has operated on her 10 times. "And for carnival, you have to feel especially pretty."

You wonder if she married her plastic surgeon husband because she loved him, or because she figured it'd be easier to afford her operations this way.

Read the whole article - Brazilians are scary. Even poor Brazilians (those who aren't robbed or killing themselves riding on the tops of subway trains) get plastic surgery on the installment plan.

Scary, scary, scary and depressing, depressing, depressing...

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Scientific American - in business since 1908!

is the URL for an article that Wilbur Wright wrote for Scientific American, which appeared on September 29, 1908.

The Wright Brothers, ably assisted by their sister Katherine, had no problem with women flying as passengers in planes, but certainly didn't think they could be taught to fly them! Of course, the brothers were just echoing the sentiment of the times. If flying was so easy that a woman could do it (it wasn't easy, but a woman could do it!) then that diminished the glory for the men!

Wright doesn't address that in his article - which makes interesting reading - I just thought I'd bring it up...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Desiree Horton!

I was surfing the web today, looking for websites for women pilots, when I came across a blog for helicopter pilot and TV personality Desiree Horton. I confess I'd never heard of her before, but then I've spent all life in the midwest - Minnesota - and now in Virginia, and she's based for the most part out of Los Angeles.

According to Wikipedia:
Desiree Horton (b. May 18, 1971), nicknamed "Chopper Chick," is a helicopter pilot and television personality based in Los Angeles, California. She is one of the few female helicopter pilots/on-camera reporters in Los Angeles television history.

Her blog, which I've been reading for the last hour, is at:

Also according to Wikipedia:
Beginning in January 2008, Horton will star in her own television series Sky Racers on truTV (formerly Court TV). The show puts viewers inside the cockpit with Horton covering breaking news in the Los Angeles area.

So since I've got satellite, I'll be able to see this.

I hope to be able to interview her in the near future....she seems to be quite the role model for today's women.

Interview with Bette Bach Fineman
We've just completed an interview with Bette Bach Fineman, who's been flying planes since the 1970s. She flew a Tiger Moth open-cockpit biplane for decades, and has her rating in a glider, as well. It all makes for pretty interesting reading so check it out!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

How totally, totally cool

Was surfing the web this morning looking for historical photos of the Oshkosh Fly-in, and came across a hotel called the Alexis Park Inn. It's at 1165 S. Riverside Drive in Iowa City, Iowa 52246. And you can fly-in to it.

They have 26 suites, 18 of them furnished in the style of the time period of the aviator or plane involved. And if you click on the individual photos on the page in the link above, and scroll down, you can see photos of each room and all the decorations/furnishings, etc.

And it is totally, totally cool, from the Wright Brothers suite (1900s, Early Days of Flight), the Red Baron suite (1910s, World War I Theme) all the way up to the Apollo suite (1960s, Race to the Moon Space Program Theme).

It makes me wish I had a reason to go to Iowa City, as I would love to stay in the Red Baron suite. Heck, I'd love to visit there 18 times and stay in a different suite each time.

Those suites are sweet!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Rosie the Riveter / Amelia Earhart and the Autogyro

In this video, among other stories, "Rosie the Riveter" Bette Torres fondly remembers toiling away in the factory that built up to 500 Liberators in a single month.

I picked up a copy of the magazine Aviation History today, March 2008 issue. A Spitfire was the photo on the cover, but also named on the cover was Amelia Earhart's Autogiro Adventures.

Inside the issue, in the Briefing department, was a one-page article written by Stephan Wilkinson, about some surviving "Rosie's" who were given rides on Labor Day 2007 in a Liberator. Rose Monroe, the original Rosie - she starred in a wartime promo film made by Walter Pidgeon, died ten years ago, but present were 5 "Rosie's": Josephine Rachiele (82), Georgette Feller (86), Anne King (85), Connie Mancuso, and another whose name was not mentioned.

There's also footage of Earhart in an autogyro at You Tube:

A real "Rosie"

Famous poster

A "Wendy the Riveter"

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The Red Baron Loved to Fly...

but he's been grounded.

Schwans halts sponsorship of Red Baron Squadron at Air Shows.

I'm tempted to stop buying Red Baron pizza now, as a form of protest..

Hopefully some other sponsor will step in...but it must cost sooooooooo much to train these guys, maintain the planes, transport everyone...

Still, a 28-year tradition over.

Very sad.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Blohm und Voss VV 238

Worlds Worst Airplanes, Jim Winchester. 2nd in the "Bad timing" section.

The BV 238 was originally designed as a passenger flying boat to be used after WWII. However, it was adapted in 1941 for military use. It was to be used as a maritime patrol and transport aircraft.

It was completd in 1944, the largest aircraft since the Maxim Gorkii and the heaviest built to that time. Indeed, loaded to capacity, it would have needed assistance from rockets to get off the ground.

Again, in the incompetence department, "The BV 238 was too heavy, and lacked the necessary power to make it a viable proposition. Despite these failings, it was pronounced fit for service."

However, after the prototype was sunk by machine gun fire, the project was abandoned.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Interview with Donna Kohout, first woman to fly the Nighthawk

The first interview conducted by Winged Victory is now uploaded:

Donna Kohout Douglass, first female pilot of the Nighthawk.

Other interviews will be uploaded shortly.

A new feature at the site is the aviation photography of Scott Wolff, who has provided a photo of Major Nicole Malachowski (the first woman to be part of the USAF Demonstration Squadron, the Thunderbirds) as well as photos taken of other craft at various airshows.

Kohout is one of the service people discussed in this book.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Tricked! Photo of Lt. Kara Wade, Navy test pilot

I've been getting a lot of hits from people looking for "Lt. Kara Wade." I'm assuming that these people have fallen for the same trick I had. They received an email that purported to have photos from Valiant Shield, 2006, and one of the photos was of "Kara Wade" in the cockpit. But that's from a movie called Stealth. However, a real woman has flown the Stealth (in fact, at least 3, now), and that'd be Donna Kohout, whom I interviewed for Winged Victory, and you can read that interview here:

Donna Kohout: 1st woman to fly the F-117A - Nighthawk.

This is the photo of the fictional Kara Wade:

Lt. Kara Wade (Jessica Biehl!) in the cockpit of the prototype F/A-37. (Fictional movie, Stealth!)

A photo of the exercises held during Valiant Shield, 2006

Kohout is one of the service people discussed in this book.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Abingdon: Pilot's watch designed for women

I was checking my blog stats this morning, and found a visitor who came from a blog called I Can Fly at:
"Juice" Welch is a female pilot, and an excellent writer. Her blog is excellent - check it out.

She is also a businesswoman - she designed and now sells two pilot's watches for women.

Abingdon Watches

So I thought I'd share that link here.

I'm not affiliated with Abgindon Watches in any way, just providing a link to a business I'd like to see succeed. Although I do see that she was kind enough to provide a link to my blog on hers...

Worst Aircraft: Aviation Traders ATL-90 Accountant

For Christmas this year, I got a book from Barnes & Noble called The World's Worst Aircraft, by Jim Winchester. It's a hard-cover, oversized book, part of a series that includes THe World's Worst Automobiles. Only cost about $15 because it's published by B&N themselves, as a discount book. Full color illustrations, at least a couple for each plane mentioned. Good quality.

In addition to discussing women aviators on this blog, as well as women ground crew, etc., I figured I'd also discuss the history of aviation itself. And I'll start with commenting on these Worst Aircraft...because you've got to wonder what these men (yeah, all these craft were designed and produced by men - no, that's not a feminist dig, just a reminder that incompetence runs across all genders, not to mention race, creed and color, and things are as bad today as they have been throughout history, since no one ever, ever learns from past mistakes. ; ) )

Aviation Traders ATL-90 Accountant
There were only two things wrong with this plane, according to Winchester. The name was ridiculous (agreed), and it was simply unveiled at the wrong time as the market was already saturated with similar planes.

This was an attempt to replace the DC-3 after WWII.

Aviation Traders, owned by Freddie Laker, was a small British company, which worked on the Accountant starting in 1952. It would have a crew of 2-3 and 28 passengers.

The ideas behind the Accountant changed considerably from the time they built the protoype to the time they built the working model. Author Winchester states: "the company...promised that the production aircraft would differ greatly from the prototype, which was perhaps not the wisest marketing strategy."

The prototype was displayed at the 1957 Farnborough Air Show. There was some interest, but no orders.

Video magazine added to Winged Victory webzine

is the URL for a new feature at Winged Victory. There are several videos at YouTube featuring women pilots - from footage of Amelia Earhart to documentaries on the WASP of WWII, to today's acrobatic pilots, to astronauts such as Shannon Lucid, Eileen Collins and Sally Ride, and I've created a "video magazine" to showcase those videos.

Check it out today!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

NASA's airline safety report of little use

I'm very disappointed to read this news. Shouldn't every agency in the USA be striving for perfection, rather than mired in a morass of bureaucracy and incompetency?

Redacted Air-Traffic Safety Survey Released
NASA Downplays Pilots' Complaints About Fatigue, Security

NASA yesterday released partial results of a massive air-safety survey of airline pilots who repeatedly complained about fatigue, problems with air-traffic controllers, airport security, and the layouts of runways and taxiways.

Reacting to criticism about its initial decision to withhold the database for fear of harming airlines' bottom lines, NASA released a heavily redacted version of the survey on its Web site yesterday afternoon. But the space and aeronautics agency published the information in a way that made it difficult to analyze.

NASA Administrator Michael Griffin told reporters in a conference call that the agency had no plans to study the database for trends. He said NASA conducted the survey only to determine whether gathering information from pilots in such a way was worthwhile.

---Read the rest of the article by clicking on the link.

The obtuseness of NASA Administrator Michael Griffin seems beyond belief. ""It's hard for me to see any data the traveling public would care about or ought to care about," he said. "We were asked to release the data, and we did."

Sorry, Mr. Griffin, but you seem to be an idiot. This study cost "about $11 million and was conducted from 2001 to 2004" - and the data isn't going to be studied or even considered?

How stupid is that?