Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Visit the Spruce Goose

or Howard Hughes' folly...

Can't afford to fly the real thing? Take up flying models

Here's a video from the Academy of Model Aeronautics.

These days, they fly electric models, so they are quite and clean.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Stars of the Sky, Legends All, by Ann Cooper

The Cover!
Many years ago, when I was thirteen or so, I wandered through libraries looking for books to read. I would look at the titles first of course, and if one interested me, I would pluck it from the shelf and look at the cover. And if I liked the look of the cover, then I'd read the back of it for the plot (for I was mainly looking for fiction) or description of what was within.

That's how I discovered The Hobbit. If I'd just seen the title on the spine I don't know that I'd have picked it up, as it would have conveyed nothing to me, so the book must have been face outward, and on the cover was that of a dragon. And since I liked dragons, I checked out the book, and read it, and loved it...

And that's how I found most of the books I liked to read, prior to becoming familiar with the names of the authors, so then I'd search out authors names, confident that I'd like what they'd written.

Which is a long story to make my point that I really don't like the cover of the over-sized non-fiction work called Stars of the Sky, Legends All, which gives biographies of 50 American women pilots.

The cover features the head and torso of a woman pilot, and yeah, she's wearing the classic cap and goggles of the romantic aviator look of the 20s, but all she's doing is gazing up at the stars!

Now, if I were a thirteen year old looking for a book to read, this cover would not catch my attention at all. But put this girl in the cockpit of a biplane, or standing next to a plane looking devil-may-care (as for example, the illustration used as the flyleaf!!!!), and my interest may have been piqued!

And that title! I don't know that I could think of a better one, admittedly, but it's so generic.

Well, of course it's easy to criticize after the fact. And those are just cosmetic criticisms.

The book
And I'm afraid the interior of the book annoyed me as well. Am I the only one who tinks chronology is important? And if you're not going to go chronological, go by alphabetical order! The women profiled in this book are divided into five chapters...arbitrarily, as far as I can make out. There are explorers, air racers, acrobatic pilots, record setters, all jumbled together.

I hate that!

In addition, all we are given are brief overviews, which are also not chronological. Each entry should have started with when and where the pilot was born...instead we are taken in media res to some incident in their lives, and because we dont' know the year or the place, it's hard to get it fixed in our minds... at least, one would think it would be for the age group at whom this book is aimed...

The illustrations are great, as are the photographs, and the narrative, for what it covers, is good, but it just doesn't give enough of what I would think would be essential info. Still, several of the women here aren't covered anywhere else, so it's worth it to learn a bit about their lives.

Here's the pilots they cover:

Katherine Wright (Wright sister - never flew but was instrumental in their early success)
Jerrie Mock
Phoebe Omlie
Hanna Reitsch
Peggy Chabrian
Kitty Banner Seemann
Colonel Eileen Collins
Willa Brown
Mabel Bell
Patty Wagstaff
Beth Settlemyer
Janet Bragg
Anne Lindbergh
Susan Maule
Suzanne Asbury Oliver
Barbara Gilbertson
Patty Wagner
Dodie Jewett
Mary Feik
Martha King
Ellen Paneok
Anne Bridge Baddour
Commander Trish Beckman
Mae Jemison
Florence Klingensmith
Melba Beard
Lori Cline
Amy Laboda
Dorothy Hester
Fay Gillis Wells
Dot Lewis
Caro Bayley Bosca
Betty Skelton
Mary Haizlip
Laura Ingalls
Bonny Warner Simi
Ruth Maestre
Denise Waters
Connie Bowlin
Reddy Kenyon
Jean Batten
Aide de Acosta
Nicole Malachowski
Mimi Tompkins
E. Lillian Todd
Connie Tobias
Joann Osterud
Mildred Carter
Louise Thaden & Blanche Noyes
Kathy La Sauce

THe book is published by Women in Aviation, so any purchases benefit that organization, as well as you and your kid's (if any) knowledge of women pilots, so check it out.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Women Pilot Firsts, Immortalized at YouTube

Periodically, I visit YouTube and do a search on "women pilots" to see if any new videos have been uploaded.

Here's a selection of videos that I found today. (Some of which I may have shared before, actually, but they're still worth watching!)

The description of this video doesn't even mention who the woman pilot is, but it's Svetlana Kapanina.

I've shared this video before. The first four Pakistani women military pilots:
Saba Khan, Nadia Gul, Mariam Khalil and Saira Batool

A story of ANA (All Nippon Airways)'s historically first woman pilot Kaoru Takashima

Nicole Malachowski First Woman USAF Thunderbird Pilot

Woman pilot ends male domination of Britain's Red Arrows (embedding not allowed, unfortunately.) Interesting that it's from an Arabic newscast.

BBC Middle East Business Report: UAE's First Female Pilot

Interview with the first woman pilot of Iran "Akram Monfared Arya" at radio Pejvak. It's in Iranian, but illustrated with a variety of photos.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Red Bull Air Race Pylon Race - Shredding a Pylon

Pretty cool video...

Thank goodness pylons are made of paper or plastic or something shreddable!

The pilot is Steve Jones. This race took place in Monument Valley.

Fly a pylon race with Mary Haizlip

Just found this at Youtube. It's a recreation of a 1932 pylon air race, with Mary "Mae" Haizlip winning in her Wedell-Williams #92.

Here's the explanatory text from YouTube: "Air Racers," set in 1932, is shown simultaneously on three screens at the Wedell Williams Aviation Museum in Patterson. The audience views the action from the cockpit in a womens air race and feels the effects of the wind on the plane.

Some new articles for Hub Pages

I've been experimenting by writing and publishing a few women-in-aviation articles at HubPages... with little success. I'm hoping that the dearth of views is because two days before Christmas is just a bad time to expect people to be surfing the web.

So I shall continue on with this experiment until at least mid-January, and then if hits don't start happening, abandon the experiment.

Here's what I've done so far:

Book review:
Flying for her Country: a critical account of the discrimination both WASP and Russian women aviators faced during and after WWII.

The Powder Puff Derby: 1947 - 1977

and just for a general role model, a hub sharing a few videos of Pat Summitt, the winnigest coach in college basketball, men or women, and with 8 national championships, just 2 behind the great John Wooden.

Pat Summitt: Her Definite Dozen

Friday, December 18, 2009

index for Oshkosh Memories by Jill Rutan Hoffman

I publish the index here, just for the sake of the search engines. But a PDF, properly formatted, can be downloaded from here:

Oshkosh Memories: Reflections on the World’s Greatest Fly-in
Jill Rutan Hoffman, editor
Writers Club Press

Index includes aircraft mentioned, cities with airports named, and individuals mentioned.

120/140 Club 73
125 Hp Swift 91
332nd Fighter Group, WWII 55
452d Test Squadron 58
51st Fighter Interceptor Wing, Korea 55
88 in 88 event at Oshkosh 73
99s (organization of women pilots) 67
99th Pursuit Squadron (WWII) 55
Acey Deucy bar, Oregon Street, Oshkosh 64, 83
Aeronca C-3 85, 91
Aeronca Champ 91
Aeronca Chief 91
Aeroshell stand at Oshkosh 122
Air Camper (Allen Rudolph) 85
Alesi, Don 9-12
Alesi, Maureen 9, 11, 12
Amelia Earhart Trophy Race (Cleveland Air races, 1935) 67
Anderson, Bob (father of Jim) 95
Anderson, Bud 37
Anderson, Jim 95-96
Anderson, Joe (pilot, Harrier jet) 63
Anderson, John 58
AT 11 91
AV8 Harrier jump jet 23, 64
Avery, Larry 58
Avid Flyer 132
B-25 91
Baby Ace 85
Ballou, Herb 121-122
Bartlett, Al 85-88
Beard, Arlene 67-70
Beard, Melba 67
Beardsley, Bill “Burner” 37
Beatty, Ed 29-32, 89-90
Bee Dee (Maule’s plane) 86
Beech Aircraft 5, 65
Beech Baron 71
Benjamin, Delmar 71
Bickford, Harold 211-222
Blue Skies pilot shop 9
Bolin, Connie 38
Bolin, Ed 38
Bonanza (Beechcraft) 65
Borsch, Rick 59
Bourgeois, J. Rion 123-136
Brady, John 32
British Airways Concorde 36
Broken Bow, Nebraska 11
Brown, Curt (astronaut) 50
Brunner-Winkle Bird 67
Bryan, Laland D. “Dewey” 85
Bucker Jungman 101
Budweiser BD-5 Jet 37
Burbick, Bob 86
Burch, Ken and Jane 185
Bush, George (President) 23
Butters, Bill (husband of Lynn) 111
Butters, Lynn 111-112
C-121 (Navy and Air Force Lockheed Constellations) 30
C150 101
Candiota, Claudio 15-18
Candiota, Clovis 15
Cantrell, Ken 115-120
Carvalho, Jose Alberto 17
Cassutt (homebuilt) 47, 49
Cessna 140 9, 12, 73
Cessna 170 123
Cessna 170 B 91
Cessna 172 95
Cessna Mixmaster 132
Challenger (space shuttle) 48
Charles City, Iowa 11
Cherry, Earl and Paul 205
Christen Eagle 132
Citabria 115
Civilian Flight Test Center, Mojave, CA 3
Clark, Julie 63-64
Clarke, Glen 138, 143, 161
Clarke, Kay (wife of Glen) 138, 144
Cleveland Air races, 1935 67
Closed Course Distance Record, Oshkosh to Menominee 105
Clover Field, Friendswood 49
Cole, Duane 206
Cole, Marion 83
Combat Jets Flying Museum (Jim Robinson) 49, 50, 55
Compass Hill (at Oshkosh) 95
Cook, Leroy 35
Corben Baby Ace “D” (N68KC) 116
Corda, Stephen 58
Curtiss-Wright (Timmerman) Field, Milwaukee 85
Daniel (husband of Montaine Mallet) 83
Davis, Ben (Air Force General, Tuskegee airman) 55
DC-3 15
Deberdt, Andre 23, 25
Defiant (Rutan, twin engine home built) 77, 78
DeHavilland Comet (replica, Bill Turner) 67
Delano, Dan 135
Delano, Dan (pilot, RV-6B) 123
Dietz Airpark 123
Dodge, Marge 41-44
Dorn, Michael 206
Dryden Flight Research Center 57
Dzik, Stan 87
EAA Aviation Museum, Hales Corners 117
Eagle Hangar (EAA) 127
Edwards Air Force Base 58
Endeavor (space shuttle) 50
Ercoupe 85
Estes Park, Denver 10
Evans VP1 101
Evans, Bruce 4, 5, 7
Extra 300S 71
F-100 fighter 81
F-18 chase plane 57
F-86 49
Falco (homebuilt) 101
Family Sculpture on Compass Hill 96
Filho, Joaquim Pedro Salgado 15
Fly Baby (award winner) 137
Flying magazine 13
Flying Magazine 71, 72
Fond du Lac airport 122
Francey, Dave (SSgt) 58, 59, 60, 61
French Connection (Montaine Mallet and Daniel ) 205
Fresno-Chandler airport 67
Gallatin, Harold 87
Garvey, Jane (FAA Administrator) 77
Gee Bee 68
General Aviation News and Flyer 29
Gibson, Robert “Hoot” 47-56
Glasair III 17
Glass Overcast 95 19
Goldin, Dan (NASA Administrator) 47
Gomoll, Stan 29
Green, Kevin (SrA) 58
Greenawait, Sam 33
Greene, Harry (crew chief, Patty Wagstaff) 71
Gunderson, Dave 73-74
Halifax bomber 101
Hamence, Benjamin 103
Hamence, Geoff 103-104
Hamence, Jane 103
Hamilton, Ann (sister of Kay Clarke) 147
Hamilton, Gordon (husnamd of Ann) 148
Hangar Café 128, 130
Hardie, Geo 87
Harpoon fire tanker 124
Harvard aircraft 101
Heintz, Chris 87
Helms, Lynn (Adiminstrator of the FAA) 82
Hillard, Charlie 84
Hoffman, Jill Rutan 27-28
Hoover, Bob (1955, flying at castle AFB) 81
Hopkinson, Keith 86
Howard, Benny 90
Howell, Norm 19
Institute of Brazilian Aeronautical History 15
Iowa Beef Producers Association 73
Iowa Pork Producers 73
Italian Fiat fighter 147
J-3 Piper Cub 5
Jaeger, Michael John 97-100
Jefferson County Airport, Denver, CO 9
Jenista, John E. 65-66, 109-110
Jenssen, Volmer 34
Jodel 139
Judd, Howard (USAF Major) 58, 59, 62
Jungman 101
Kalamazoo Air Zoo FG1 D Corsair 71
KC-135 tanker 57
Kennedy, John F., Jr. 27
Kermit Weeks hangar 67
Kids From Wisconsin (musicians) 31
King, John 12
King, Martha 12
Kinner engine 68
Kitfox 13, 14
Kohn, Leo (photographer) 85
KR-2 132
Kucinskas, Vic 138
Lemay, George 176
Lemay, Jean (daughter of George) 176
Lesher, Professor 106, 107
Little Foot (plane of Geo Meyes) 85
Livingston, Jimmy (pilot) 89
Lockheed Constellation 30
Lockheed Skunk Works 58
Long EZ N112TG 23
Long, Rick (Captain, USAF) 58
Long-EZ 19, 41, 42, 77, 103
Long-EZ PP-ZAD 23
Luscombe 91
Luscombe Silvaire 185
Lycoming 0-235 (108 HP) engines 3
Lyjack, Bob 205
Mallet, Montaine 83-84
Mankins, Jim 176
Marshall, Ken (SMSgt) 58
Martin, Dave 15
Maule Aircraft 65
Maule, B. D. 86
Mazzei, Fred 68
McCarty, Bill 58
McClellan, J. Mac 13
McKeig, Mike 209-210
Meigs airport (Chicago) 14
Melville, Mike 78
Meyer, Robert 57, 59, 60
Meyersohn, Norman (Popular Mechanics) 63
Midget Mustang (homebuilt) 103
MiG-15 49, 50
Mig-21 “Fishbed” 49, 50, 51-55
Milestones of Flight Gallery, NASM 8
Miller, Chris 57-62
Milwaukee General Mitchell Airport 61
Miner, Doug 123
Miss Los Angeles (replica, Bill Turner) 67
Mister Mulligan (piloted by Benny Howard) 90
Moes, Tim 58
Monnet (aircraft builders) 105
Moosomin Flying Club 150
Morris, Red 87
Morrow, Dave (flight instructor) 9
Morton, Roscoe (air show announcer) 81
Moser, Jim 71
Motorglider 17
Mr. Mulligan (replica, race plane) 68
Muelller, Eric (Swiss aerobatic pilot) 205
Munson, Ross (aviation photographer) 71, 72
N269VA (Voyager) aircraft 3
NASA 831 (SR-71B 61-7956) 58
NASA T-38 47, 50, 51
National Air and Space Museum 8
Navion 86
Neuman, Harold (pilot) 89, 90
Nolinske, Lois 86
Oliveira, Jose Selomar 17
Ollie’s Barn 130
Operation Thirst 32
Orr, David 19-20
Overmyer, Bob (astronaut) 47, 48
Owen, Ben 34
OX-5 Hall of Fame 67
P-51 Mustang 37
Park Plaza Hotel, downtown Oshkosh 16
Parrish, Chris (Ssgt) 58
Pennsylvania Air National Guard 30
Pete (replica, Bill Turner) 67
Phelps, Jim 58
Pietenpol 195
Pioneer Airport 96
Piper Aerostar 10
Piper J3 91
Piper J5 91
Piper Pawnee 189
Piper, W. T. 85
Pitts S1-C 115
Pitts S-2S 206
Pitts Special 49
Pitts, Curtiss 206
Plane & Pilot (magazine) 71
Poberezny, Audrey 86
Poberezny, Paul (founder, Oshkosh Fly-in) xv, 55, 85, 96
Poberezny, Tom (son of Paul) 117
Porto Alegre, Brazil 17
Pratt & Whitney J-58 engines 59
Private Pilot (magazine) 71
Protect PT-1 32
PT-PME (N Number) 17
R-3 (pilot, Dick VanGrunsven) 66
Rabung, Virginia 9, 12
Raspet, August “Gus” (Dr.) 86
Rea, Roger Don (pilot) 89, 90
Redina Flying Club 147
Replogle, Myrle 86
Robin (aircraft of Eric Mueller) 205
Robinson, Jim 48
Rogers Dry Lake 57
Ross, Jim (NASA photographer) 58, 60
Rucks, Don and Julie 171
Rutan, Burt 3, 7, 27, 77-78, 82, 105
Rutan, Dick xv, 3-8, 77, 82, 171
Rutan, George 81-82
Rutan, Irene “Mom” 105-108
Rutan, Tonya (wife of Burt) 78
RV-4 118
RV-4 (VH-ZGH) 103
RV-6 119
RV-6 empannage kit 103
Ryan PT22 prototype 101
Salina, Kansas airport 5
Salvay-Stark Skyhopper (film of) 85
Samson (biplane) 23
Savale, George 33-44
Save a Connie Foundation (SAC) 30
Schneider, Ed 50
Schwartzenegger, Arnold 130
Schwitzer 1026 115
Schwitzer 2-22 (sailplane) 115
Scott Air Force Base 47
Selig, Nick 9
Skystar dinner 14
Skyward, When Flyers Fly (Ross Munson, author) 71
Sluyter, Bob 89
Smith, Roger 57, 59, 60, 61
Smolka, Jim 58, 59, 61
Snodgrass, Dale 71
Sonoma County Airport 116
South Scott Hall, UWO 16
Sport Aviation 117
Sport Aviation ag 132
Sport Aviation magazine 41
SR-71 B 57
Stanley Hiller Museum 78
Starduster biplane 47
Stefan Memorial Airport 133
Stinson A 211
Stits (aircraft) 86
Stits, Ray 87
Sun ‘ Fun 34
T-33 49
T-34 63
T-38 37, 49
T-6 Texan 72
T-6—SNJ—Harvard 132
Talbot, Buzz 23-26
Taylorcraft BC12D (1946) 115
Theater in the Woods, Oshkosh, WI 12, 31, 128
Theodor, Theo (USAF Captain) 58
Thompson Trophy Race, Cleveland, 1935 90
Trahan, Jim 35, 38
Trahan, Mike 35-40
Trahan, Sheila 35, 36, 38
Travelair J-5 85
Trent, Earnest L. 91-92
Tresner, Dean 15-18
TriPace 122
True Lies (movie) 130-131
Tucker, Sean 79-80
Turner, Bill 67
Tuskegee Airmen 55
VanGrunsven, Dick 66
VariEze 105, 106, 107
VariEze (piloted by Bruce Evans) 4
Varig (Brazilian Airlines) 15
VariViggen 78, 106
Volmer amphibian project 33
Waco EQC-6 29
Wagner, Bob & Pat 205
Wagstaff, Patty 71-72, 205-208
Webb AFB 37
Weddell Williams Racer (replica) 68
Weeks, Kermit 64
Welter, Mark 213-214
Wentz, Don 123, 129
Whittred, Eric 137-202
Whittred, Eric 137
Wigglesworth, Keith 101-102
Winemakers, The (restaurant) 130
Winterringer, Jim 186
Wittman Field at Oshkosh 24, 47, 89, 137
Wittman, Steve 64
Wood, Charles A. 86
Woods, Jim (pilot, RV-4) 1118
Wright brothers 96
Wright, Orville (signature on license) 89
Yeager, Chuck 37
Yeager, Jeana (no relation to Chuck) 6, 7, 8, 27, 28
York, George 176

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Video: Misty Blues All Women's Skydiving Team

Here's their official website:

2004 Sussex Airshow
Sussex Airport
Sussex, New Jersey
Friday August 27, 2004

IN THIS VIDEO, watch as members of the Misty Blues All-Women Parachute Team exit from their jump aircraft and descend upon Sussex Airport.

Video: An Evening With First Woman Thunderbird Pilot Maj. Nicole Malachowski

Here's the text from the video shared at YouTube, by Smithsonian Videos:
An Evening with America's First Female Thunderbird Pilot
Maj. Nicole Malachowski

What's it like to be first? In March 2006, Maj. Nicole Malachowski debuted as the first woman pilot selected to fly in any American military demonstration team, in this case, the Air Force Demo Squadron better known as the Thunderbirds, flying F-16Cs. Major Malachowski's two seasons as Thunderbird #3 Right Wing broke another glass ceiling for women, but more importantly gave her a chance to do what she loves: fly with (and as) the best.

Major Malachowski saw her first air show at five years of age, started flying with the Civil Air Patrol at 12, and soloed at 16. She set her sights on becoming an Air Force pilot and never looked back. After excelling at the Air Force Academy she flew F-15Es all over the world including a tour in Iraq. Major Malachowski's no-nonsense character and superb flying ability have brought her high accolades throughout her Air Force career but most especially during the Thunderbird tour of duty where she flew as one of the team but endured the spotlight as the "first female." Come hear Major Malachowski speak about her stunning career as a role model, Air Force pilot, and down-to-earth woman as she continues to inspire young women and men to follow her example and achieve their dreams.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The 13 Black Cats

Independent Press-Telegram - October 23, 1966, Long Beach, California

This newspaper did an article on the 13 Black Cats. Pretty interesting. I share it here under fair use laws for educational purposes only.

Click on each photo to view it in its actual size.

Members of the Black Cats:
Bon MacDougall (founder,) Reginald Denny, "Spider" Matlock, "Fronty" Nichols and Hollywood stunt pilot Art Gobel. Sam Greenwald, Al Johnson, Paul Richter, Herb McCelland. Gladys Ingle --wing walker - was the 13th Black Cat.

And here's some interesting info on this group that lasted for 5 years:

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Mike Da Mustang: online animated aviation-themed show for kids

Just came across this show, which is online at Supposed to get kids interested in aviation and teach 'em life lessons as well.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Runway 25 Miles Long: Aviation on the Daytona Beach Beach

I just uploaded part 1 of my article on aviation in Daytona Beach from 1906 to 1929.

Daytona Beach was the place to race motorcycles and cars in the early nineteen hundreds, and try to set speed records.

Aviation was also a big part of the scene, from about 1920 to 1929.

This first part of the article covers the early years, from 1906 to 1916.

Ruth Law flew passengers for the Clarendon Hotel from 1913 to 1916. She also flew exhibitions. And there's a well-known story in baseball series that, to inaugerate spring training in Daytona Beach in 1915, she threw a grapefruit from her plane that the catcher/manager Wilbert Robinson was supposed to catch, but it knocked him flat on the ground. Supposedly Casey Stengel put Ruth Law up to the joke.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Harriet Quimby: May 16, 1911

The Daily News, Frederick, Maryland. May 16, 1911

Harriet Quimby, well-known to the reading public through her writings in Leslie's Weekly Paper (which were syndicated and thus appeared in other, daily, newspapers around the country), wants to become a "skyscraper."

Click on the photo for a larger photo:

Here's what the text says:

Miss Harriet Quimby of San Francisco hopes to attain the distinction of being the first American woman to obtain an aviator's license. She is making daily flights at the aviation school at Garden City. N. Y., in a monoplane. Miss Quimby has had considerable experience in motoring and thinks skyscraping hardly more dangerous than riding in a high power automobile. A far greater number of American women drive cars than do English or French women, and yet there are already several French women aviatois. Miss Quitnby doesn't see why we shouldn't have some good American women air pilots.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Index for Powder Puff Derby of 1929, by Gene Nora Jessen

The Powder Puff Derby of 1929: The True Story of the First Women's Cross-Country Air Race, by Gene Nora Jessen. Sourcebooks. 2002.

The 19 women who participated in the first Women's Air Derby:

Florelce L. "Pancho" Barnes (1901-1975)
Marvel Crosson (1900-1929)
Amelia Earhart (1897-1937)
Ruth Elder (1903-1977)
Claire Fahy (? - 1930)
Edith Folz (1905-1956)
Mary Haizlip (1910-1997)
Opal Kunz (1896-1967)
Jessie Keith-Miller (1901-1972)
Ruth Nichols (1901-1960)
Blanche Noyes (1900-1981)
Gladys O'Donnell (1904-1973)
Phoebe Omlie (1903-1975)
Neva Paris (?-1930)
Margaret Perry (?-1951)
Thea Rasche (1899-1971)
Louise Thaden (1905-1979)
Bobbie Trout (1906-2003)
Mary Von Mach (1896-1980)
Vera Walker (1897-1978)

A few other pilots had intended to race, but were forced to drop out before the race began, for a variety of reasons.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Ruth Elder and women's fashions 1928

Ruth Elder was an extremely famous, and wealthy, aviatrix in the late 1920s early 1930s. Below is a video of 1929 fashions. It is silent, except for piano music, but take a look at 5 minutes 8 seconds in. It showcases Ruth Elder, climbing out of her plane to show off her "chapeau." This was before the 1929 Powder Puff Derby.

Women pilots have been in the newspapers since the beginning - their exploits have always been covered...and yet there are people today who still don't think women can fly...or think that the only woman pilot ever is Amelia Earhart!

That's because (in my opinion) the achievement of women pilots, and other adventurous women - scuba divers, explorers, etc., has always been swallowed up in the "chatter" of mass media's advertisements which do their level best to reduce women to sex object and sex object only.

Take a look at the "reality TV" garbage that girls - and boys - are inculcated with these days. "Little Miss Perfect," about 5 and 6 year old girls all dolled up and prancing precociously on stage. "Wife Swap." "Bad Girls Club."

Are there any sit coms or Reality shows that show strong women going about living their lives, investing in their careers, with men as an adjunct? A necessary adjunct, of course, but still just an adjunct ---- just as wives are typically little more than adjuncts to men and their careers.

Can't Afford Flying Lessons? Try Glider Lessons!

If this poor economy has put a crimp in your plans as far as learning how to fly a plane, why not try glider lessons instead. (Or sailplane lessons, whatever you want to call it!)

Lessons are much more inexpensive, and you still get that wonderful feeling of freedom and being in charge of your own destiny.

And below is a video from 1930, which extolled gliding.... at 5 minutes 12 seconds, hear a famous aviatrix of the time, Ruth Elder, and her enthusiasm for the glider.

PR: Calendar Celebrates the History of Women in Aviation

Just in time for Christmas is the 2010 Calendar, This Day in Women’s Aviation. You too can accomplish great things in the forthcoming year, while drawing inspiration from 365 role models.

This page-a-day desk calendar, published by Powder Puff Pilot, marks the accomplishments made by women in the world of aviation. Each page highlights an event, milestone, or triumph won in the field.

Entries span three centuries —- from balloonists of the early 1800s to the astronauts and military heroines of today. A wide range of aviation endeavors are recognized—glider pilots, the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) of World War II, airplane designers, flight attendants, parachutists, educators, and the “Mercury 13,” the female-astronaut testing program of the 1960s.

The oldest woman referenced is 99-year-old Hildegarde Ferrara, who, in 1996, tandem-jumped with an instructor to become the oldest person to parachute from a plane. The youngest is 7-year-old Jessica Dubroff, who died in a crash that same year attempting to become the youngest person to fly across the U.S.

Though the entries are America-centric, there are many that applaud the accomplishments of women around the world, such as Russian Marina Solovyeva who, in 1966, set a new women’s airspeed record of 1,270 mph; and Australian Linda Corbould, who planned and commanded a night mission into Baghdad during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

The cover of This Day in Women’s Aviation features a photo of Betty Scott, the American adventurer often credited as the first woman in the U.S. to fly solo. Famed airplane designer Glenn Curtiss, founder of the first U.S. airplane manufacturing company in 1907, reluctantly took on Betty as his protégé. As was his usual practice, he inserted a block of wood behind the throttle pedal of his 35-horsepower Curtiss pusher to prevent students from inadvertently taking off while taxiing down the field.

According to some reports, Betty conspired with a mechanic to remove the throttle block and on September 6, 1910, took flight in Hammondsport, New York up to 40 feet high. Those who insist that Betty’s flight was unintentional instead credit Bessica Raiche as America’s first flyer. She was a dentist who, within weeks of Betty’s flight, flew solo with full intention. Regardless of who flew first, women would not be denied their place in the air.

This Day in Women’s Aviation reminds us of the setbacks and discrimination these aviation pioneers endured, and honors those who attained their dreams in spite of the obstacles placed in their way by the societal mores of the time.

The 2010 calendar, which offers all new entries from the inaugural 2009 version, is available for $14.95 at

Web retailer and publisher Powder Puff Pilot was founded in November 2008 by Sue Hughes of Aurora, Colorado. Hughes also authors aviation books for children: The Pilot Alphabet, Claire Bear’s First Solo, and, due out in Spring 2010, What Pilots Fly. For more information or to order Powder Puff Pilot products, visit or call toll free at 888-801-6628.

PR: Flying Musicians' Fly-In Musicfest a Success!

Click on thumbnails for full size photos

The first Fly-In Musicfest held by the The Flying Musicians Association on November 7, 2009 at the Fort Worth (TX) Spinks Airport was a huge success, according to its organizers and attendees.

Lead organization FMA enlisted the cooperation of the cities of Fort Worth and Burleson, the Burleson Chamber of Commerce, Harrison Aviation, Texas Jet and the Fort Worth Spinks Airport (KFWS).

In spite of the low clouds early in the morning, there were several aircraft on display, including the B-25 named Pacific Prowler, a C-47 Skytrain, a huge Russian Antonov AN 2 biplane, an Extra 300LP acrobatic plane, and many more, including a Duo Discus sailplane and its launch vehicle, a Piper Pawnee – courtesy the Texas Soaring Association.

Flying is part – music is the other part – of the Flying Musicians Association, and there were 130 musicians performing on two stages throughout the day. Among the flying musicians performing was Ravi the Raviator, fresh from a speaking engagement at the AOPA Summit in Tampa. Also pleasing the crowds were Bradley Leighton, jazz flutist, who flew a four-seat Cessna 172 from San Diego; Jay Carpenter (aka Slim Zimmerman) and his wife who flew in from Austin; and from Oklahoma, Ramblin' Ray Ricketts and his wife arrived. He told stories and also played familiar hymns and tunes on the saw. Local talent, Paul Karmy and his Advent Brass, also blew the audience away.

In addition to the "flying” musicians, several area groups showcased their talent: the Dorothy Shaw Bell Choir; Flutasia; James Michael Taylor; Blaming Grace; Daggett Montessori Middle School Orchestra; Zizzlebolt; Cheiron; Over the Hill Band; Cowtown Music Club; and Barefoot in Texas. A Native American Flute and Drum Circle brought another flavor to the festival, even as the Fort Worth Songwriters Association maintained two jamming tents. The event culminated with a performance by Grammy Award winner Brave Combo.

There were vendors, bounce houses, clowns, the Ballet Folklorico, an old-fashioned ice cream vendor on a bike. In case the food and fun got people wondering about getting into flying (and for the pilots already in the group), an aviation medical examiner and Colony Home Health provided blood pressure screening and bone density scans for everybody.

Jerry Johnson (a board member of the Mooney Pilots Association) presented an FAA Wings Seminar on Communicating with ATC. Author Denis Murphy arrived from Florida and presented his book: Pan, Pan, Pan. (That’s the pilots’ version of “SOS.”) The FAA Runway Safety Program and the Vintage Flying Museum also had displays.

Said FMA co-founder Aileen Hummel: "We have a assembled a great committee that worked hard, relentlessly, for many months. These great folks are the pilots, aviation enthusiasts, and musicians who have embraced the mission of the Flying Musicians Association. Without their help and support, this event could not have been a success."

(John Zapp and Aileen Hummell)

Fellow co-founder John Zapp said, “What a wonderful blending of the two passions, aviation and music!” Ignoring the obvious pun, he added, “With so much positive feedback this event is sure to take off.”

Many of the attendees have expressed enjoyment of the event and that they are looking forward to the 2nd Annual Fly-In Musicfest tentatively set for November 13 and 14, 2010.
The Flying Musicians Association, Inc. was formed in 2009 by blending two passions, flying and music. Founded by two pilot/musicians, John Zapp and Aileen Hummel who have made it their quest to encourage, promote, educate and support these two passions, and especially to encourage adventure, awe, and experience through flying and music, generating and fostering the yearning for both amongst young people.

The FMA is now composing its first quarterly newsletter, and is actively orchestrating a presentation to give to school music programs. Already over 100 members strong, the FMA is bestowing the title “Founding Member” on anyone who joins during 2009.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Twas the Night Before Christmas - Aviation Style

Found this at Aviation web, written anonymously, by someone who said it "had been floating around the web for a while," so since it is ubiquitous, thought I'd share it here. (I wish I had the talent of this poet!)

'Twas the night before Christmas, and out on the ramp,
Not an airplane was stirring, not even a Champ.
The aircraft were fastened to tie downs with care,
In hopes that -- come morning -- they all would be there.

The fuel trucks were nestled, all snug in their spots,
With gusts from two-forty at 39 knots.
I slumped at the fuel desk, now finally caught up,
And settled down comfortably, resting my butt.

When the radio lit up with noise and with chatter,
I turned up the scanner to see what was the matter.
A voice clearly heard over static and snow,
Called for clearance to land at the airport below.

He barked his transmission so lively and quick,
I'd have sworn that the call sign he used was "St. Nick."
I ran to the panel to turn up the lights,
The better to welcome this magical flight.

He called his position, no room for denial,
"St. Nicholas One, turnin' left onto final."
And what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a Rutan-built sleigh, with eight Rotax Reindeer!

With vectors to final, down the glideslope he came,
As he passed all fixes, he called them by name:
"Now Ringo! Now Tolga! Now Trini and Bacun!
On Comet! On Cupid!" What pills was he takin'?

While controllers were sittin', and scratchin' their heads,
They phoned to my office, and I heard it with dread,
The message they left was both urgent and dour:
"When Santa pulls in, have him please call the tower."

He landed like silk, with the sled runners sparking,
Then I heard, "Left at Charlie," and "Taxi to parking."
He slowed to a taxi, turned off of three-oh,
And stopped on the ramp with a "Ho, ho-ho-ho..."

He stepped out of the sleigh, but before he could talk,
I ran out to meet him with my best set of chocks.
His red helmet and goggles were covered with frost,
And his beard was all blackened from Reindeer exhaust.

His breath smelled like peppermint, gone slightly stale,
And he puffed on a pipe, but he didn't inhale.
His cheeks were all rosy and jiggled like jelly,
His boots were as black as a cropduster's belly.

He was chubby and plump, in his suit of bright red,
And he asked me to "fill it, with hundred low-lead."
He came dashing in from the snow-covered pump,
I knew he was anxious for drainin' the sump.

I spoke not a word, but went straight to my work,
And I filled up the sleigh, but I spilled like a jerk.
He came out of the restroom, and sighed in relief,
Then he picked up a phone for a Flight Service brief.

And I thought as he silently scribed in his log,
These reindeer could land in an eighth-mile fog.
He completed his pre-flight, from the front to the rear,
Then he put on his headset, and I heard him yell, "Clear!"

And laying a finger on his push-to-talk,
He called up the tower for clearance and squawk.
"Take taxiway Charlie, the southbound direction,
Turn right three-two-zero at pilot's discretion"

He sped down the runway, the best of the best,
"Your traffic's a Grumman, inbound from the west."
Then I heard him proclaim, as he climbed thru the night,
"Merry Christmas to all! I have traffic in sight."

Women Aviators in Documentaries: Sourcebook

Finding the website for the documentary on the Powder Puff Derby inspired me to set up a sourcebook for documentaries on women in aviation.

So far the docs listed are:

--The Legend of Pancho Barnes (brand new, showing at film festivals and available at
--Lady Icarus: The Life of Irish Aviatior Mary Heath (a documentary holding fire due to lack of funds)
--The Rag Wind Derby (in production)
--Wings of Their Own (documentary featuring interviews with several WASP and other pilots, available from their official website)
--Fly Girls (PBS documentary on the WASP)
--Women of Courage (documentary on the WASP, no longer available)

There have been so many documentaries on Amelia Earhart that I won't cover them in this sourcebook, but rather in one specific to Earhart herself.

Anyone putting together (or have you put together, or want to put together) a documentary on women aviators - or ground crew, or indeed, involved in aviation in any capacity) please contact me and I'll put your documentary in the sourcebook.

The Rag Wing Derby vs the Powder Puff Derby

Was doing some research on the pilots of the first all-women's air race, the Powder Puff Derby, and came across the website of Archtypal Images, who intend to make a documentary of it.

They're going to call the documentary, The Ragwing Derby

After years of research, Archetypal Images is now ready to make Rag Wing Derby a reality.

And my question is... why? Everyone knows what the Powder Puff Derby was, or if they don't know what it was they would presumably know it was something regarding women, but the "Ragwing Derby"? They might check it out just because they were curious... what's a "ragwing derby"? they'd think, but I still think the doc would lose some of its intended audience by not being more clear. Titles are so important.

Ragwing, by the way, refers to fabric-covered aircraft. Again, who but knowledgeable aviation people would know what that meant?

Well, I don't mean to rag on the ragwing people. (heh heh, heh heh.. ahem).

Moving swiftly on, it's a long-needed documentary, but of course funding is needed.

Check out their website at

Donations are tax deductible:
Individuals may now receive a tax deduction for donating to Rag Wing Derby
Rag Wing Derby is able to work with Foundations who require a 501(c)(3) non-profit status
Rag Wing Derby can now receive grants from entities requiring a 501(c)(3) non-profit status

The producer of the doc is Heather Taylor, owner of Archetypal Images.

Monday, December 7, 2009

OT: Mrs Tiger Woods, Divorce Your Husband Now!

Everyone has heard by now that Tiger Woods had a car accident, and suspicion is rife that it was actually his wife, going after him with a golf club, that caused said accident.

And why would his wife go after him with a golf club? Because she found out he was having an affair. affair is not sooo bad, everybody is saying. Lots of guys have an affair, but still love their wives....

So, I suppose Tiger Woods and Mrs. Woods could just go to marriage counseling and restore the trust in the marriage, and there's no need for Mrs. Woods to divorce her husband over one mistake.

But now it turns out that Tiger had at least 7 mistresses. (Now, that's disugsting in itself, actually. If you're a mistress of a man, you don't oome out and brag about it, surely. The only reason why these women are popping out of the woodwork is because they want to sell their stories for 7 figures to book and magazine authors. They're as bad as Tiger is.)

Well...I've just looked up to see how long Tiger and his wife were married and its been 7 years... so I suppose one mistress a year would have been okay... but I get the impression that he actually had 7 mistresses in the last year....

In any event, if Mrs. Woods sticks with her husband after these revalations, then she's an idiot. Or a gold-digger. (Like many politician's wives, she has probably been prevailed upon by "his people" to stay with the guy for a year or so before she gets a divorce, just to lessen the impact on the public.)

And of course there's the other end of the stick. After all, it was Mrs. Tiger Woods who (allegedly) attacked her husband with a golf club. Who knows what other violent acts she might get up to, as the list of Woods' mistresses mount? Safer for them both to just get a divorce!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Free Aviation book indexes to download

Non-fiction books require indexes, but many books don't have them. (Usually people's memoirs - just the type of books that do need indexes!) When it comes to aviation books, I take care of this by doing indexes myself, and uploading them so others can get the benefit from them.

Book Indexes to Download

At the moment there aren't a lot on offer:

No Limits: A woman pilot's search for the real Amelia Earhart, by Linda Finch with Donald Smith
Zero 3 Bravo, by Mariana Gosnell
The Book of Airshows, by Philip Handleman
------ Photo Index by Alphabetical Aircraft
------ Photo Index by Page Number
Sun 'n Fun: Florida's Aviation Extravaganza, by Geoff Jones
------ Photo Index by Alphabetical Aircraft
------ Photo Index by Page Number

The Powder Puff Derby (1947-1977)
All Participants
Pilots in A Single Race
Pilots in Multiple Races
Pilots, Sorted By Name
Pilots, By Race Year
1977 Passengers

However, in the pipeline are:

Captain Gramma: Single Mon to Sky High by Nancy Welz Aldrich
Patterns, by Bette Bach Fineman
I Live To Fly, by Jacqueline Auriol
Takeoff, by Bonnie Tiburzi
Just for the Love of Flying, by Betty Rowell Beatty

Friday, December 4, 2009

OT: New Moon movie so popular it's scary

I find it very scary and very depressing that Twilight: New Moon is apparently so popular.

I've never seen it, never will, but I take the liberty of sharing the plot that explains exactly why ever independent woman should just sit down any girl who wants to see this crap and explain to her that if she's "nothing" without a man, then she's nothing, regardless.

Eddie and Bella are still together at the start of New Moon. Still broody, still hot for each other, still unable to do anything about it. Bella is obsessing over her age and her looks. She turns 18 at the start of the movie and is having nightmares about slowly aging while Eddie remains eternally young and beautiful. She continues to ask Edward to turn her into a vampire and he continues to refuse. Edward, you see, is worried about Bella's soul. He considers himself damned and doesn't want the same fate for her.

He has other worries. After an incident where Bella gets a paper cut and the blood drives one of the other Cullen boys into a violent frenzy and he tries to eat her (not making that up, really), Ed decides that perhaps being a human living amongst bloodthirsty monsters may not be the best lifestyle choice for young Bella.
So he leaves. Of course, Bella has no choice in this. Big Ed tells her he's leaving with his family:

"I don't want you to come"

They don't intend for that line to have a double meaning, but it does…
Bella is devastated, of course. She mopes for months and starts having nightmares that she can't explain. She weeps, she grumps and generally acts like a teenage girl who's been dumped for the first time. She also blows off her family and friends, becomes distant and uninterested in anything. She is nothing without Edward but an emo wreck in plaid.

Just the kind of pathetic role model that today's girls do NOT need.

This is kind of funny:

Audience for New Moon is 80% women. Sad. Very sad.

Photo index for Sun 'N Fun: Florida's Aviation Extravaganza

I append the list below, so that I can get hits via search engines ; )
but I've also put up formatted PDFs which can be downloaded at the links below.

The aircraft are sorted by page number, and alphabetically by aircraft. The alphabetical index also includes the names of the pilots/designers called out in the text.

P-51 Mustang “Glamorous Jen”, Jim Priebe Cover
Cessna 195, N1504D, Tom Hull Back cover
Cirrus VK-30 Contents page
Avid Flyer Photo ID page

Homebuilts and Kitplanes

Pulsar kitplane, Mark Brown 8
Cekady, Peter Cowan 10, 11
Smyth Sidewinder homebuilt, Harry Flood 13
Smyth Sidewinder cockpit 13
Bakeng Duce homebuilt, Warren Jolly 14
Bakeng Duce cockpit 15
Prescott Pusher homebuilt 16
Hummel Bird, Morrey Hummel 17
Stoddard-Hamilton Glasair 18-19
Glasair III kitplane, Bob Herendeen 20
Aerocet AT-9 Stalker, Glasair III military trainer 21
Glasair TD (taildragger) 22
DC-3, 1943 restored, Roger Holler 23
Raiderhawk I, Dave Riley 23
Vari and Long Ezes, Burt Rutan 24, 25
Hot air balloons 25
Viking Dragonfly homebuilt 27
Rutan Defiants 28
Velocity kitplane, Dan Maher 29
Vans RV-4, Richard Van Grunsven 30
RV-6, Richard Van Grunsven 31
Sun ‘N Fun showplane 33
Hatz biplane, John D. Hatz 33
Tiny Travelair, homebuilt, George Ola 34
MJ-5 Sirocco, Marcel Jurca 35
Sorrell SNS-7 Hiperbipe 36
Swearingen SX-300, Forrest Molberg 37
ThorpeT-18, John Thorpe 38
Freedom Master FM-2 Air Shark amphibian 38
Seawind 2000 amphibian, Dick Moore 41
Kitfox, Dan Denney 42
Zenair CH-701 43


Rans S-6 Coyote II, Randy Schlitter 44
Mosler Super Pup 45
Mosler N-3-2 Pup 45
Loehle Enterprises 5151 Mustang kitplane 46
Rans S-10 Sakota, Randy Schlitter 47
Spirit biplane, Darryl Murphy 48
Sparrow II kitplane, Carlson Aircraft 49
Kelly D-11 50-51
Sun ‘n Fun ultalight strip 52
Kolb Twin Star 53
Maxair Drifter 64, 55
Kolb Firestar ultralight 56-57
Kestrel Hawk, David Saunders 57-58
Supercat, First Strike Aviation, part completed 60, 61


PBY-5A Catalina 62-63
Catalina cockpit 64
Lockheed Lodestar “Sweet Charlotte” 65
P-38 Loghtning, “Nine o’ Nine”, John Silberman 66-67
Fairchild PT-23A, Haevand Avezzie 68
North American T-6 texan 69
DHC-1 Chipmunk 2, Mike Lyon 71
Mike Lyon 71
North American T-28 73
T-28C “Old Ugly” 73
T-28B in flight 73
Douglas A-1E Slyraider, Peter Thelen 74-75
Fokker D.VII replica, Bob Iseman 76
P-51 Mustang “Glamorous Jen III” 76
P-51D NL632OT/44-74497 78
Leeward Air Ranch with P-51s 79-80
P-51D “Gamourous Glen” in the air, Leeward Ranch 82
NA-50 replica “Miss Sarah”, Dan McCue 84-85
On Mark Marksman conversion of Douglas A-26C Invader 87
Aeronca L-16 87
AF Dornier Do 27 N77AX 87
AF Fouga Magister “Dog Whistle”, Rick Korff 88-89

Antiques and Classics

Waco RNF 1930 90
Waco RNF model F 91
Waco DSO NC8558 92
Waco CTO NC7446, Bob White 92
N3N-3 Naval Aircraft Factory, Pete Treadaway 93
Travel Air 2000, Rod Spanier 94-95
Fleetwing Seabird, NC19191, Blake Oliver 96, 97
PT-22, Ryan ST3KR Recruit N53189 98
Monocoupe 90, Ron Tesierman 101
Rearwin 8135 Cloudster, Joseph and Alex Garland 101
Aeronca C-3 Collegian 103
Lockheed 12, James Gerschier 104
Culver cadet, Kevin Miles 105
Cessna 195 hybrid 106-107
Aerocar I, Molt Taylor 108, 109
Globe Swift “Ol Blue” 110
Grumman G-44 Widgeon “Canadian Clipper” 111


DC-3 N34 112
DC-3 Piedmont colors 113
DC-3, Piedmont colors 114
Laser 200, Leo Loudenslager 115
Mudry CAP-10, Montaine Mallet and his wife 116
Beechcraft T-44A 117
Piper Pawnee cropduster 117
PZL-104 Wilga 118
DHC-3 Otter 118
RV-6A, Richard VanGrunsven 119

Splash – in

EA-1 Kingfisher, “Thunder Duck”, Warner Anderson 120
Lake Parker Splash-in at Sun ‘n Fun 121
Brown, Jon 122
Lake Buccaneer, Jon Brown 122
Splash-in overview 123
Republic RC-3 SeaBee 125
Republic SeaBee 125
G-21A Goose, Bill Rose 126
G-21A, N600ZE, Bill Rose 126
Highway West 92 128

Fiction Friday: Part 2 of Chapter 1 of The Girl Aviators and the Phantom Airship!

or see it in annotated form at:

Girl Aviators and the Phantom Airship, Chapter 1, Annotated

But as she crossed the threshold Peggy’s wild swoop became a decorous stroll, so to speak. She paused, all out of breath, beneath a spreading expanse of yellow balloon silk, braced and strengthened with brightly gleaming wires and stays – one wing of the big monoplane upon which her brother had spent all his spare time for the past year. The flying thing was almost completed now. It stood in its shed, with its scarab-like wings outspread like a newly alighted yellow butterfly, which, by a stroke of ill luck, had found itself installed in a gloomy cage instead of the bright, open spaces of its native element.

In one corner of the shed was a large crate surrounded by some smaller ones. The large one had been partially opened and Peggy gave a little squeal of delight as her eyes fell on it.

“Oh, Roy, that’s it?”

“That’s it,” rejoined the boy proudly, lifting a bit of sacking from the contents of the opened crate, “isn’t it a beauty?”

The lifted covering had exposed a gleam of bright, scarlet enamel, and the glint of polished brass. To Roy the contents of that crate was the splendid new motor for his aeroplane. But to Peggy, just then, it was something far different. A bit of a mist dimmed her shining eyes for an instant. Her voice grew very sober.

“Three thousand dollars—oh Roy, it scares me!”

Roy crossed the shed and threw his arm around his sister’s neck.

“Don’t be frightened, sis, he breathed in an assuring tone, “it’s going to be all right. Why, can’t you see that the first thing that happens is a chance to win $5,000?”

“I know that. But that contest is not to come off for more than a month and—and supposing someone should have a better machine than you?”

For an instant that air of absolute assurance, which truth to tell, had made Roy some enemies, and which was his greatest fault, left him. His face clouded and he looked troubled. But it was as momentary as the cloud-shadow that passed over a summer wheat field.

“It’ll be all right, sis,” he rejoined, confidently, “and if it isn’t, I can always sell out to Simson Harding. You know he said that his offer held good at any time.”

“I know that, Roy,” rejoined Peggy, seriously, “but we could never do that. We could neither of us go against father’s wishes like that. He—well, Roy, it’s not to be thought of. Poor dad—”

Her bright eyes filled with tears as her mind travelled back to a scene of a year before when Mr. Prescott had ceased from troubling with the affairs of the world, and commended his children to the care of their maiden aunt—his sister with whom, since their mother’s death some years before, the little family had made their home.

Poor Mr. Prescott had been that hopelessly impractical creature—an inventor. Fortunately for himself, however, he had a small fortune of his own, so that he had been enabled to carry on his dreaming and planning without embarrassing the family. Roy and Peggy had both been sent to good boarding schools, and had known, in fact, very little of home life after their mother’s death which had occurred several years before, as already said.

Mr. Prescott, in his dreamy, abstract way, had cared dearly for his children. But those other children of his—the offsprings of his brain—that surrounded him in his workshop, had, somehow, seemed always to mean more to him. And so the young Prescotts had grown up without the benefit of home influences.

On Peggy’s naturally sweet, vivacious character, this had not made so much difference. But Roy had developed, in spite of his real sterling worth and ability, into a headstrong, rather self-opinionated lad. His success at school in athletics and the studies which he cared about “mugging” at had not tended to decrease these qualities.

It had come as a shock to both of them a year before when two telegrams had been dispatched –one to Peggy’s school up the Hudson, and the other to Roy up in Connecticut, telling them to return to the Long Island village of Sandy Bay at once. Their father—that half-shadowy being—was very ill.

The messages had not exaggerated the seriousness of the situation. Three days after his children reached his side Mr. Prescott gently breathed his last, dying as he had lived, so quietly, that the end had come before they realized it. But in those last brief moments Roy came to know his father better than ever before. He learned that the dream of his parent had been to produce an aeroplane free from the defects of its predecessors—a safe vehicle for passengers or freight. How far he had progressed in this there was no time for him to tell before the end came. But Roy, interested already in aeronautics at school, where he had been president of “The High Flyers”—a model aeroplane association—eagerly took up his father’s desire that he would try to carry on his work, and began to take lessons in flying.

In the shed which had been Mr. Prescott’s workshop the framework of an aeroplane already stood. And with the aid of what money his father had left him, Roy had carried on the work till now it was almost completed. But the three thousand dollars which had gone for the motor had completely exhausted the lad’s legacy. As Peggy put it, all their eggs were in an “aerial basket.”

But how much Peggy had aided him, in what had, in the last few months, possessed all his thoughts, Roy did not guess. To what extent her encouragement had spurred him on to surmount seemingly unconquerable difficulties, and how she had actually aided him in constructing the machine, his ambition never realized. Not innately selfish, Roy was yet too used to having his own way to attribute his success to any one but himself.

Sometimes, brave, loyal little Peggy, try as she might, could not disguise this from herself, and it pained her a good deal. But she had uncomplainingly, ungrudgingly, aided her brother, without hoping for, or expecting, the appreciation she sometimes felt she was really entitled to. But her great love for her brother kept Peggy from ever betraying to him or anyone else an iota of her inner feelings.

So intent had the brother and sister been on their talk that neither of them had noticed, while they conversed, that a big fore-door touring car, aglitter with gleaming maroon paint, and with a long, low hood concealing a powerful engine, had glided up to the white gate in the picket fence surrounding Miss Prescott’s old-fashioned cottage.
FORE-DOOR – not a typo

From it a frank, pleasant-faced lad and an unusually striking girl, tall, slender and with a glossy mass of black hair coiled attractively on her shapely head, had alighted.

Hearing the sound of voices from the open door of the shed in which The Golden Butterfly, as Peggy had christened it, was nearing completion, they, without ceremony, at once made their way toward it. Peggy, glancing up from her sad reverie at the sound of footsteps, gave a glad little cry as she beheld the visitors standing framed in the sunlight of the open door. While she and the tall, dark-haired girl mingled their contrasting tresses in an exuberant school-girl caress, the lad and Roy Prescott were, boy-fashion, slapping one another on the back and shaking hands with just as much enthusiasm.

“Why, if this isn’t simply delightful, Jess, you dear old thing,” cried the delighted Peggy, as, with both hands on her chum’s shoulders, she held Jess Bancroft off at arm’s length, the better to scrutinize her handsome face, “and Jimsy, too,” as she turned to the lad with a bright smile of welcome; “wherever did you two come from?”

“From the clouds?” demanded Roy.

“No, hardly, although I don’t wonder at your asking such a question,” laughed Jess, merrily, exchanging greetings with Roy. “Roy Prescott, positively I can see your wings sprouting.”

They all laughed heartily at this, while Jess ran on to explain that she and her brother were stopping for the summer at Seaview Towers, a summer estate which their father, a Wall Street power, had leased for the season. Of course, explained the merry girl, who had been Peggy’s chum at school, her first thought had been top take a spin over in her new motor car and look up her friends, for Roy and James—or Jimsy—Bancroft had been almost as close chums as the girls.

“And so this is the wonderful Golden Butterfly that you wrote to me about?” exclaimed Jess enthusiastically after the first buzz of conversation subsided.

“Yes, this is it,” said Roy with great satisfaction in his tones, “and I’m proud of it, I can tell you. I think I’ve made a success of it.”

Jess and Jimsy exchanged glances. And then Jess stole a look at Peggy, but no cloud had crossed the face of Roy’s sister.

“Oh, you darling,” thought Jess, “you’re too sweet for anything. I just know how much you contributed to the Golden Butterfly’s existence, and yet you won’t detract a bit from Roy’s self satisfaction.”

As for Jimsy Bancroft, he said nothing. He glanced rather oddly at Roy for an instant. Then his eyes turned to Peggy’s face. Perhaps they dwelt there for rather a long period of time. At any rate, they were still fixed on her brave beauty when a sudden shadow fell across the stream of sunlight that poured into the open portal of the workshop.

“Ah! So this is the place in which young genius finds it habitation,” grated out a rather harsh, unpleasant voice.

They all looked up. Perhaps none of them—Jimsy least of all—was pleased at the interruption. The newcomer was a tall, angular man, with a withered, clean-shaven face—what Peggy called a “monkey making face”; and surely that described Simon Harding, as he stood there’re in his black, none-to-new garments, and his square-toed shoes. One could fairly catch the avaricious glint in his eyes as he squinted rapidly over the new aeroplane’s outlines.

By his side stood a youth who was, so far as dress went at any rate, the exact opposite of the elder man. Fanning Harding—or Fan as he was usually called—was dressed in elaborate motoring costume. His goggles, of the latest and most exaggerated design, were shoved up off his countenance now, exposing to view a good looking browned face. It was marred, however, by the same restless, strained look that could be seen on his father’s visage.

“We’re not intruding, I hope,” he hastened to say, coming forward with a cordiality that seemed somewhat forced.

“Not in the least,” said Peggy, hastily, realizing that none of them had perhaps looked very cordial, “won’t you come in?”

Fan Harding, bestowing an admiring glance on her, seemed to be about to accept. His father, however, struck in:

“I’ll leave you with the young folks, my boy, while I go up to the house. I have some business with Miss Prescott.”

As he shuffled off, Peggy and Roy exchanged somewhat uneasy glances. What business could this old man—in some respects a power financially and otherwise in Sandy Beach—have with their aunt?

“Say Peggy,” spoke up Fan Harding, suddenly, “ain’t you going to introduce me to your friends? And how about inviting us all to have some of those strawberries Pop and I noticed as we came down the path?”

“Well, he isn’t a bit backward about coming forward!” thought Jess as the young couple, with due formality, went through the ceremony of introductions.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Review: No Limits: A woman pilot's search for the real Amelia Earhart

This is a slim volume, only 113 pages long, and it is extremely disappointing.

In 1996, Linda Finch, a wealthy aviator, flew around the world in a recreation of Amelia Earhart's final flight. No Limits was the book published just before she took off on the two weeks long journey.

So how much of this 113-page tome has to deal with how Finch made her money, got interested in aviation, did in aviation, set up the World Flight, and so on?

A whole 20 pages. That's it. 20 pages, for a story that would have been fascinating in its own right.

Instead, we are given an 85-page biography of Amelia Earhart. Now, it's well-written, but it's nothing that wasn't told by Doris Rich in her biography in 1989 (in hardcover, brought out in paperback only in 1996, if is to be believed. I wonder if they brought it out in paperback to coincide with Earhart's 100 birthday which would be in 1997. (She was born in 1897).

There's another book, Amelia Earhart, world flight 1937, world flight 1997, Linda Finch, by Paul Duffy, which is perhaps the story of Finch's flight, but that's a slim tome too, only 100 pages. (Unfortunately, Amazon wants $20 for that, a price I'm not prepared to pay for such a slim tome. I'll try interlibrary loan).

Anyway, Wikipedia has a detailed article on Linda Finch,, and includes the story of the flight.

Finch met with groups of school children at all her stops in the United States and many of her stops overseas. The World Flight 1997 official web site had a multimedia school program that used the flight to teach geography, science, weather and mathematics to students. As well, the high-tech computer and communication equipment in her aircraft allowed children in some 200,000 classrooms around the world to chart her progress via the Internet.[2][7] The website was accessed approximately 30 million times. Finch said she used a laptop in the cockpit of the Electra to answer e-mail messages and she spent four or five hours every day after landing to keep in touch with her businesses and her three children: Julies, Leslie and Katie (ages 28, 21 and two at the time).

The website is unfortunately no more, which is too bad. It would have been interesting to have it as an archive.

Anyway, I can't advise purchasing this book, although it can be had inexpensively through Gt it via Interlibrary Loan.

But Linda Finch, her career and her flight, and her life, sure seem like a story that deserves a real autobiography or biography. Perhaps she'll share that with us some day.

All-Female Medevac Crew Makes History

Found this at Indy Transponder blog, which in turn got it from the Aero-News Network. Please see link for full story.

All Female Medevac Crew Makes History

Four National Guard soldiers serving at Contingency Operating Base Adder in Iraq earned a special distinction last week when they became their company's first all-female medical evacuation crew. (Last week being the last week of November 2009).

The crewmembers are 1) Sgt. Debra Lukan, 2) Capt. Trish Barker, 3) Staff Sgt. Misty Seward, and 4) Chief Warrant Officer Andrea Galatian

1) Lukan, 43, of Keene, New Hampshire, enlisted following 9/11. "I just barely made the age cutoff," she said of her age. Lukan trained as an avionics mechanic and just recently switched from the shop to flight crew. She deployed to Camp Speicher and Tikrit from 2005 to 2006 and served in the avionics field. In the civilian world, Lukan is a federal technician in avionics for the New Hampshire National Guard.

2) Barker, 30, enlisted in 1999 as an aircraft fueler. She went to Officer Candidate School in 2003 and Flight School in 2004. A native of Menominee, Michigan, she was deployed to Bosnia in 2005 as a medevac section leader. When she returns from this deployment, she will resume her job as the state occupational health specialist for the Michigan Army National Guard.

3) Seward, 30, of Owosso, Michigan, agreed with Galation on the uniqueness of the crew. "Same for me," she said. "Never flew with an all-girl crew." In fact, with a total of nine deployments among them and between eight and 12 years of service apiece, this still is a first-time experience for the entire crew, Barker, the operations officer, said. Seward enlisted in 1998 and has served as a medic for 11 years. She has four years as a flight medic and seven on the ground. She deployed to Kuwait from 2001 to 2002 and to Baghdad from 2006 to 2007, both tours as a ground medic. When she returns from her current tour, Seward will resume her job as a security officer at a level-one trauma clinic in Lansing, Michigan, part of Sparrow Health Systems.

4) Galatian enlisted in 1997 and served five years as an administrative clerk before going to flight school in 2002. She has served seven years as a pilot, including a deployment to Bosnia in 2005. As a civilian, Galatian is the business analyst for the real estate division of the Michigan Department of Transportation

The Amelia Earhart Library : Assemble it for Christmas

Amelia Earhart in fact and fiction. Books for children and adults of all ages. Great Christmas or birthday presents, or just presents for a girls so they can learn that they have wings to achieve anything they want, they just need to unfurl them.

Breathe the Sky - A NOvle Inspired by Amelia Earhart

Books by Amelia Earhart
20 Hours, 40 Minutes: Our Flight in the Friendship

The Fun of It, Random Records of my Flying and Women in Aviation

Amelia Earhart Biographies
Amelia Earhart: Image and Icon

The Thrill of It

The Sound of Wings: The Life of Amelia Earhart

East to the Dawn, the Life of Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart: DK Biography

Amelia Earhart, a biography by Doris Rich

Finding Amelia: The True Story of the Earhart Disappearance

Amelia Earhart, The Mystery Solved

Biographies for Kids
Who Was Ameliua Earhart?

Amelia Earhart, Young Aviator

Stories for Kids

Amelia and Eleanor Go For A Ride (Eleanor Roosevelt)

Gve Girls Flight Plans This Christmas: Aviation books

Here are a few books on women in aviation that girls of all ages should get for Christmas!

The Flying Girl, by L. Frank Baum (author of The Wizard of Oz stories. This is the first in a 2-part series which takes place in the real world.)

The Flying Girl and Her Chum, by L. Frank Baum (author of The Wizard of Oz stories. This is the second in a 2-part series which takes place in the real world.)

For the Fun of It, by Amelia Earhart. Non fiction.

Ruth Law Thrills a Nation - Ruth Law's life written for kids

Katherine Stinson The Flying Schoolgirl

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Photos in the Book of Air Shows

Philip Handleman. 1993. Because there is no index - one of my pet peeves. All non-fiction books should have indexes!

Download, for free, two PDFs. One is the photo index listed by page number, the other is the photos listed alphabetically by aircraft. Much nore nicely formatted!

The list of photos
Steve Oliver and wife Suzanne Asbury-Oliver skywriting a happy face pg 10
Annual West Coast Antique Fly in Sign 1989 pg 11
Watsonville Fly-in 1991
Boeing Stearman Model 75 pg 13
Eddie Andreini's Stearman pg 14
Replica, DR1 Fokker triplane pg 16
Albatross replica pg 16
Spirit of Saint Louis Replica pg 17
Arrow Sport pg 17
Restored New Standard pg 18
Gee Bee R-2 Racer replica pg 18
Pioneer Airport - recreation of a county irport - pg 19
Beech Staggerwing, 991 pg 20
Beech Staggerwing, 1989 pg 20
Stearman, 1987 pg 21
Stearman flown by Bob Barden pg 23
Arymy and Navy Stearmans (Kaydet and Yellow Peril) pg 22
Earl and Paula Cherry - wingwalkers pg 24
de Havilland Tiger Moth pg 25
Tiger Moth and a cabin Waco pg 25
Stinson Reliant pg 28
Giuseppe Bellanca air trim pg 29
Piper Cub emblem pg 28
Luscombe sedan interior pg 29
Fleetwings Seabirds pg 30
Lockheed P-38 Liightning, pilot Lefty Gardner pg 32
VAC Warbird Sow 1989 pg 34
North American T-6 Texan pg 34/35
de Havilland Chipmunk pg 37
T-28 Trojan pg 37
Beech T-34 Mentor pg 38
Cessna Bobcat pg 38
P-51 Mustang pg 40
Seversky pg 40
P-47 Thunderbolt pg 41
P-51 Mustang spinner and propeller pg 44
British Spitfire, Japanese Zero, Messerscmitt and Mustang flying in formation pg 43
Messerschmidt Bf 109
P-47 - owner Charles Osborn - pg 45
P-51 with D-Day invasion stripes pg 47
P-51 Bald Eagle pg 47
Vought F4U Corsair 48
Curtiss P-40, Nationalist Chinese markings, piloted by former astronaut John Engle pg 49
Zero look-alikes attack Harlingen field pg 50
T-6 trainer modified to look like a Mitsubishi A6M2 Zeke or Zero, pg 51
Yakovlev Yak-11 pg 52
Nakajima B5N Kate torpedo bomber modified from a Vultee B-13 Vibrator pg 53
Kate torpedo bomber replicas in the air pg 54-55
SBD (Scout Bomber Douglas) Dauntless dive bomber pg 56
Curtiss SB2C Helldiver - only one flying pg 56
TBM Avenger pg 57
AD (Attack DouglasAble Dog) Skyraider (and recenty deceased - at that time, restorer Virgil "Coke" Stuart pg 57
Prayy & Whtney engine logo pg 58
Twin Lockheed pg 58/59
Twin Lockheed Sweet Charlotte in flight pg 60
Beech Model 18, militarized by Bobby Younkin pg 60
Junkers Ju 52 pg 61
Fieseler Storch pg 61
Canadian variant of the Gooney Bird (Dakota) pg 63
Duglas DC-3, Yankee Doode Dandy pg 63
Consolidated PBY Catalina pg 65
Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar pg 65
Kalamzoo Air Museum's Mitchell B-25, 1989 pg 66
North American B-25 Mitchell n flight pg 68
B-25 Mitchell (named after Billy Mitchell) pg 6
Martin B-26 Marauder, Marilyn with D-Day invasion stripes, in flight, pg 70
Douglas A-26 Invader pg 71
Douglas A-26 Invader static display pgs 72-73
Tigercat pg 75
Grumman F7F Tigercat pg 76
Consoldated B-24 Liberator, Diamond Lil, in flight pg 76
B-24 nose turret Jets are for kids pg 77
Boeing B-17, Sentimental Journey pg 78
B-17 Flying Fortress pg 78
B-17 Cooperative Flying Fortress pg 79/80
Memphis Belle nose art, Capt Ted Morgan's B-17 pg 82
Fuddy Duddy B-17 nose art pg 82
Boeing B-29 Superfortress, Fifi pg 84
Rick Brickert's lockheed T-33 Red Knight pg 85
North American F-86 Sabre, the Huff pg 85
Douglas A-4 Skyhawk pg 86
Grumman F-14 Tomcat
F-14 in Flight, pg 88
Air Combat Command Art pg 88
Fairchid Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II pg 91
Northrop T-38 Talon pg 90
A-4 Skyhawk, orange and white paint scheme=Navy trainer, pg 91
F-16 Fighting Falcon pg 92
F-15e Strike Eegle pg 93
Panavia Tornado in flight pg 95
Panavia Tornado statidc pg 95
Boeing 52 Stratofortress aka BUFF (Big Ugly Fat Fellow) pg 96
B-52 in flight pg 96/97.
Rockwell B-1B Lancer in flight pg 100
Boeing KC-135 Stratocruiser in flight pg 101
McDonnel Douglas KC-10 Extender static pg 101
MiG-29 Fulcrum pg 104
Lockheed C-5 Galaxy pg 103
Ilyushin Il-76 Candid pg 106
Mig-29 pg 109
Lockheed-117A Stealth fighter pg 106
McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II pg 109
Voyager surrounded by people at International Experimental Aircraft Ass, Oshkosh, 1987 pg 112
Ultralight with WWII trainer paint scheme pg 113
Rutan VariEze/Long EZ pg 114
Antonov An-124 Rusland (Condor) pg 116, 117
Bonanza V Tail pg 119
An-2 Light transport pg 118
For Tri-motor "Tin Goose" pg 119
DST (Douglas Sleeper transport) DC3 pg 120
Lockheed Constellation pg 120
Goodyear Rubber Plane pg 122
Lockheed XFV-1 experimental VTOL pg 124
de Havilland C-8B Buffalo QSRA (Quiet short haul research aircraft) pg 125
SR-71 Blackbird pg 126-127
Super Corsair, flown by Steve Hinton pg 128
TSUNAMI pg 129
T-6 Racer pg 130
Hawker Sea Fury pg 132-133
Sea Fury "Dreadnought" pg 133, 134
Dago Red, a P-51 Mustang pg 134
P-51 "Strega" 135
Hawker Sea Fury "Dreadnought" pg 136
Formation of F4F/FM2 Wildcat, F6F-5 Hellcat, 7F7 Tigercat, and F8F-1 Bearcat, with a US Navy F-14 Tomcat pg 138
Jimmy Franklin and Eliot Cross in Waco biplanes pg 140
Jimmy Franklin and Eliot Cross fly while Johnny Kazian and his son (dressed as Rocketeers, it looks like) wingwalk, Reno 1989 pg 141
Flying Aviat/Christen Eagles: Charlie Hillard, Gene Soucy and Tom Poberezny, pilots pg 144 and 145
Holiday Inn team, Pitts biplanes static pg 144
North American Team in Texasn Trainers: Ben Cunningham, Steve Gustafson and Alan Henley as pilots in formation, pg 146
French Connection team, French CAP 10Bs, pilots Daniel Heligoin and Montaine Mallet, pg 147
Golden Knights plane, Fokker F27, pg 148
Six of Diamonds, North American Texans, pg 149
F-16Cs flown in formation by Thunderbirds, pg 152
Blue Angels in F/A-18 Hornets formation, pg 153
Same as above, 154
Marine Corps C-130 Hercules pg 154
431 Air Demonstration Squadron, Tutor aircraft, Canadian Snowbirds, pg 157, 158, 159
Italy's Frecce Tricolori in Aermacchi MB-339A/PAN trainers pg 162
Chilean Air Force Team, the Halcones (Falcons) pilots posing for photo, not identified 1990
Welcome to Oshkosh beetle cars pg 164
Oshkosh Fly in flown ins, pg 165
Geoege "Pappy" Boyington signing autographs pg 167
Parachutist unfurling flags pg 166
General Daniel "Chappie" James Jr. Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen, (11 men, none identified) pg 168.
Gene Soucy and Teresea Stokes, wing walker, posing, and flying/walking on a modified Grumman Ag Cat. pg 169
Sukhoi Su-26M taildragger pg 170
Craig Hosking upside down ion his modified Pitts which can take off upside down pg 171
Douglas DC-3 static pg 172
Sue Parish in her trademark straw hat pg 173
Sue's pink Curtiss P-40 Warhawk pg 173

More added tomorrow

Fiction Books About the WASP

This is an audio version of the book - a paperback version is also available for much less!

The Woman In The Wing is a mystery that follows the adventures of Charlotte Mercer and other members of the WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots) during World War II. This organization, made up entirely of women, was loosely attached to the Air Force and did routine flying missions within the United States, such as delivering planes to new locations, or towing targets for gun practice, so that male pilots in the Air Force would be freed for fighting missions overseas. The women in the WASP were not considered full service people, and had no benefits such as medical insurance or even money to cover funerals when a woman died during a mission. Still, women flocked to serve as opportunities to fly and serve the country were rare. Charlotte, know as Char is crushed when weeks from getting her wings, she encounters a Air Force Major who refuses to pass her for graduation unless she performs sexual favors for him.
When Char refuses, she is taken off the flying rotation and given an alternate assignment. She is assigned to work undercover in a plant that builds aircraft, and that has been experiencing sabotage and accidents. Char is to room with an FBI agent named Ellie, and they work at riveting plane wings while trying to discover the spy responsible for the problems. People start to die, both plant employees and women pilots, and the book revolves around the investigation until the spy is captured at the book's climax.

This book is recommended, both for mystery fans and for those interested in World War II history. While I'd heard of the stereotype of Rosie the Riveter and the work these women performed, I had never heard of the WASP, and the women who served their country in this fashion. I found the history as interesting as the plotline and welcomed the chance to learn more about a time that helped lay the groundwork for the women's liberation movement in the next generation. --Sandra Booksie's Blog

(I take this description from the Amazon webpage)

a. Since when does a paperback sell for $27?
b. Here's the description from the website:
Glynn Compton Harper's novel, Arise Beloved, set in WWII, is an adventure-filled story of love and war about an orphaned, rootless young woman, Becky Bright and her first lover, Troy McNutt, a navy pilot. Afraid to fly at first, she agrees to go up with Troy and finds she loves flying. Troy teaches her to fly and she soon becomes a famous woman aviator. After Pearl Harbor, unable to fly because of the war, Becky separates from Troy and joins the courageous Women Air Force Service Pilots, the famed WASP of WWII. Seeking a family, she marries Jerry Crawford, a B-17 navigator, a man with a close-knit family, but Jerry is unfaithful to her and asks for a divorce just before he is shot down and captured by the Germans. Expelled from the WASPs after an unauthorized flight, Becky risks her life in a dangerous mission to exchange her faithless husband for Gunther Hammer, a German POW. In the meantime, her first lover, Troy, is shot down by the Japanese and marooned on a South Pacific island where he fathers a daughter with a Polynesian woman, who later abandons him and their child. After the war, Becky is reunited with Troy, and with his daughter, they become the family she has been seeking all her life.

After reading that description, who needs to read the book? And of course she does it all for (unfaithful) husband and family...