Tuesday, March 31, 2009

FAA Weight-Shift Control Flying Handbook

I received this press release today, and thought I'd share it here:

FAA Weight-Shift Control Flying Handbook FAA-H-8083-5
By Paul Hamilton, CFIS, DPE (SPE/SPIE/PE)

The Sport Pilot Rule, adopted in 2004, added new kinds of aircraft to the FAA’s registry. When ultralighting began in the US, spawning two-seat ultralights developed for training, machines such as PPCs (powered parachutes) and Trikes (or weight-shift control – WSC) became common. These machines required different pilot inputs than the classic fixed-wing powered machines and gliders.

The FAA recognized the need for specialized training, and in 2007 produced Powered Parachute Flying Handbook (FAA-H-8083-29) Now, the Administration has added the FAA Weight-Shift Control Flying Handbook (FAA-H-8083-5), to guide trike pilots through the information required in the knowledge test and WSC pilot and instructor checkrides, necessary to become licensed in this type. This handbook helps explain how these little-understood ultralight-derived aircraft have become practical United States registered (N-numbered) aircraft.

As author and instructor Paul Hamilton says, “We now have a national standard to live by, rather than having to rely on different myths and legends that developed and evolved in different areas of the country.”

This handbook on Weight-Shift Control machines is similar to the FAA flight handbooks for Airplanes, Gliders, Rotorcraft, and Seaplanes. The FAA Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge is the companion book for the WSC Flying Handbook, as it is for all categories.

The WSC Flying Handbook is comprehensive and applies to the Sport Pilot and Private Pilot, and provides common knowledge areas on how WSC aircraft interact with Airplanes (e.g., traffic patterns, airspace).

Hamilton added, "I was able to author the book and obtain expert advice from several industry experts who supplied photos and helped with the most difficult part of the project: explaining the aerodynamics of the WSC flying wing.” That expert input was particularly useful because, “There is little technical data to utilize for the basis for this manual. Additionally, explaining WSC-specific unusual flight situations, such as whip stalls, tuck, tumble -- even how to land in water – all are unique challenges."

The book is perfect-bound, 280 pages, featuring top quality printing and glossy photos throughout. It will prove a valuable resource for all trike students, pilots and instructors. $44.00, through the Government Printing Office or
Adventure Productions at www.trikepilotstore.com or (phone) 775-747-0175

Chapter 1: Introduction to Weight-Shift Control
Chapter 2: Aerodynamics
Chapter 3: Components and Systems
Chapter 4: Powerplants
Chapter 5: Preflight and Ground Operations
Chapter 6: Flight Maneuvers
Chapter 7: Takeoff and Departure Climbs
Chapter 8: The National Airspace System
Chapter 9: Ground Reference Maneuvers
Chapter 10: Airport Traffic Patterns
Chapter 11: Approaches and Landings
Chapter 12: Night Operations
Chapter 13: Abnormal and Emergency Procedures

Monday, March 30, 2009

News From Hangar One

I received my Hangar One News newsletter today, from the National WASP WWII Museum. (They're located in Sweetwater, Texas, and will be another stop on my museum tour during my drive across America this summer.)

It's a four page newletter, full-color photos.

Top news was Women in Aviation Day, 2009, which was apparently commemorated on March 7. (March is Women's History Month, I believe, but it gets a lot less press than other history months...)

Anyway, the Museum commemorated the day the first WASP trainees arrived at Avenger Field with a Women inAviation Day brunch, open house, and Young Eagle's flights, provided by the Abilene chapter of the EAA.

Hangar One - where the WASP museum is, on the grounds of an airport, are expanding. The new space will include a visitor's center, museum store, eduucational center, theatre, and lots of new gallery space. (One wonders if any "Stimuls" money is headed its way. There should be, such money would be much better spent than where 99% of that money appears to be headed...)

A PT-19A - a primary training aircraft - is soon to be on display. It was manufactured in 1944, and sold by the Army as surplus in 1945. The plane is already at the museum, just being made ready...

Homecoming 2009 At Hangar One
Avenger Field, Sweetwater Texas,
Saturday , May 23
Free open house begins at 10 am
Dinner at 7 pm features Major Bridget McNamara, USAF
Tickets are $25 (presumably for dinner!)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Share your flying story in a new documentary

I am a subscriber to the newsletter of Wilco Films, a company that is producing an aviation documentary called A Pilot's Story. http://apilotsstory.com/

A trailer for the still unfinished doc is available for view here: http://apilotsstory.com/index_elements/trailer2.html

A Pilot's Story Contest

Would you like to have your "Pilot Story" featured in the film? By entering this contest, you may get that chance! Will and Rico just launched the first contest in connection with A Pilot's Story and are asking you to submit yours. The pilot with the most compelling story will be featured in the film and win great prizes!
Why did you become a pilot?How becoming a pilot has changed your life? How have you been able to impact others around you? What does being a pilot and flying mean to you? How have you been able to promote aviation and inspire others to fly? What kind of plane do you fly or have flown? Tell us the most memorable event during your flying career.

The "Grand Prize" contest winner will receive:
* The producers of the film will come and film their story at their airport/hanger. Some of this interview will be featured in the film.
* Two tickets to the premier of the film (location and date to be determined)
* A Lightspeed Aviation Zulu Headset Winner of the 2008 Aviation Consumer "Product of the Year" award.
* A pair of Scheyden Aviation Precision Eyewear Sunglasses
* An iPod Touch loaded with ForeFlight Software the official Preflight Intelligence software of "A Pilot's Story"

The "Second Place" contest winner will receive:
* A Lightspeed Zulu headset
* An iPod Touch Loaded with ForeFlight Software,the official Preflight Intelligence software of "A Pilot's Story"
* A pair of Scheyden Aviation Precision Eyewear sunglasses:

Three "Third Place" contest winners will each receive:
* ASA Flight Bag with Instrument & Private rating kits
* A pair of Scheyden Aviation Precision Eyewear sunglasses

All winners will receive:
* A copy of the finished film on DVD
* A free one year subscription to Plane & Pilot magazine and Flight Plan Magazine

More prizes to be announced soon...

Contest Rules:

*** Contestants can submit their stories to: contest@wilcofilms.com
*** Contest ends on June 30th, 2009 at 12PM PST
*** Winners will be announced July 20th, 2009 via email and an announcement on www.apilotsstory.com
*** Contest is open to legal US residents of the 50 US states 18 years or older. Void where prohibited.
*** Participating sponsors, vendors, suppliers and members of their immediate families are not eligible to participate.
*** The producers reserve the right to verify the eligibility of the winners.
*** Wilco Films Privacy Policy
*** You may enter this contest via through AOPA's Let's Go Flying Blog Here:
A Pilot's Story Contest-LGF-Blog

A Pilot's Story Upcoming Events

The producers of A Pilot's Story will be at the following events:

* March 21st, 2009
Speaking engagement at Van Nuys, CA. EAA Chapter meeting at the Whitman Airport.

* March 25th, 2009
Speaking engagement at the Concord, CA. EAA Chapter meeting.

* March 31st, 2009
Speaking engagement at the Fresno, CA. EAA Chapter meeting.

* April 2nd, 2009
Speaking engagement at the Monterey/Salinas, CA EAA Chapter meeting.

* April 4th, 2009
Speaking engagement at Stockton, CA. EAA Chapter meeting.

* April 21st to April 25th, 2009
Attending and speaking at Sun 'N Fun at Lakeland, FL. Friday April 24th at 7PM. Look for us!

Chicks Fly...

I got a new car a few days ago. Well, a new, used car. I've been busy vacuuming out all traces of the previous owner and making it over in my image. My Doctor Who scarf is now draped over the back seat, I've got a new steering wheel cover with dolphins on it, there's an Aviator antenna ball on the antenna, and today I received my Chicks Fly key chain.

The key chain came from the shop at the International Women's Air and Space Museum, and it would certainly make the perfect gift for any young little chicks out there who may be thinking of taking up aviation as a hobby or a career. ; )

So pleased am I that this summer, I'll actually be driving down to that lil ol' museum in my new car....

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Freedom Seat Reviews for Kindle

I've taken advantage of Amazon.com's Kindle Ebook reader publishing tools, to start a new series for the Kindle, called Freedom Seat Reviews. It's a monthly "e-pamphlet" with a focus on women in aviation.

Issue 1 was published March 1. I just submitted the April issue, issue 2, expecting it to take 7 days before it was published, as had happened with issue 1, but instead the delightful people at Amazon turned it around in 1 day. So rather than wait until April 1 to announce it, I'll list it here as well.

Freedom Seat Reviews is exclusive to the Kindle, for now anyway.

The first issue features extensive, critical reviews of three books:
1. Wings Around the World: The Exhilarating Story Of One Woman's Epic Flight From the North Pole to Antarctica, by Polly Vacher
2. Flying Higher: The Women Airforce Service Pilots of World War II by Wanda Langley
3. Night Witches: The Amazing Story of Russia's Women Pilots in World War II, by Bruce Myles

The entire pamphlet is about 5,000 page in length.

For the same price, but twice as nice, is issue 2, which has assumed the length (10,000 words) and format that it will have for all subsequent issues. Each issue will have two articles about general aviation, and at least three book reviews, usually but not always focused on the female aviator.

1. Aviation on Stamps. Q8: "Mail by Aeroplane" A 1913 US parcel post stamp.
2. Nine Women Aviation Artists
3. Review of Jerrie Cobb, Solo Pilot
4. Review of Spitfire Women of World War II
5. Reviews of 3 Amelia Earhart biographies: Amelia Earhart: Young Air Pioneer; Amelia Earhart: A Biography, by Doris L. Rich; and East to the Dawn: A Biography of Amelia Earhart, by Susan Butler

Saturday, March 21, 2009

No cockpit, no seatbelt...

Just found a website that has a very brief clip, circa 1913, of a woman pilot and her plane. She's not flying it, but rather sitting on the bottom wing, showing how the steering wheel works. Only 10 seconds long, if that, but it's worth a look actually, if you want to see what those pioneer pilots flew!

The woman in question is Alys McKey Bryant (1880 - 1950). Her claim to fame is that she was the first woman to fly in Canada. (She was American, but no Canadian women had flown that early.) The man in the clip is her brother in law, Frank Bryant.

Sadly, her husband of ten weeks, Johnny Bryant, also contributed a first to Canada's aviation history...he was the first person to die, during an airshow on August 6, 1913.

As an aside, the website I'm sending you to is http://www.lincolnbeachey.com/. It has quite a few Quicktime clips of pioneer aviators.

"Welcome to the Lincoln Beachey web site. Between 1905 and 1915, the Pioneer Era of Aviation in the United States, hundreds of women and men learned to fly, in airships, gliders and aeroplanes. One of the very best aviators among these pioneers of the air was Lincoln Beachey, who flew balloons, one-person dirigible airships, biplanes and monoplanes during his ten-year aerial career. This site will chronicle his life and career, as well as offer thoughts on his place in aviation history, the myths and legends which have surrounded his life and career, and his significant accomplishments."

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Alverna Williams - first double-amputee pilot

In inputting a few Powder Puff Derby pilots into the Women Aviators Wiki today, I discovered the story of Alverna Williams.

At the age of 1, she was run over by a street car and had to have both her legs amputated above the knee. She learned to walk on her hands, and has had a pretty full life. In 1944, she earned her pilot's license, thanks to the Ercoupe which didn't need its pilot to have any legs. But had to sue the FAA for them to give her her license. It is believed she was the first double-amputee to earn her license.

Her profile is at a website called inMotion, and I used it for her AviatorsWiki entry:


Another website of interest will be the International Wheelchair Aviators:

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Watch a documentary about the Mercury 13

It's called The Mercury 13: The Secret Astronauts. I don't think that's actually true...Jerrie Cobb at least got several bits of news coverage out of it... at least one article in Life...

Anyway, embedding has been disabled, so you have to go to Youtube to see it.

Here's the URL to part 1:


The Mercury 13 underwent the same tests as the male astronauts of the Mercury 7, but they were never really a group. They were tested individually, and it wasn't an official program, although they fought hard for their right to go into space, before President Lyndon Johnson put the kibosh on it by changing the rules so that astronaut candidates had to have jet experience. To that time, only Jackie Cochran had ever flown a jet - and that only very briefly, thanks to her good friend Chuck Yeager.

The Mercury 13
Myrtle Cagle
Jerrie Cobb
Jan Dietrich
Marion Dietrich
Wally Funk
Janey Hart
Jean Hixson
Gene Nora Stumbough
Irene Leverton
Bernice Steadman
Sarah Ratley
Jerri Truhill
Rhea Woltman

Monday, March 16, 2009

Evelyn Bryan Johnson: Just has over 50,000 hours in the air...

Every day I input a handful of names into the Women Aviators Wiki. Today I came across the story of Evelyn Bryan Johnson, and I'm somewhat ashamed to admit that this is the first time I've heard of her.

She was born in 1909 and is still alive at the time of this writing...although she stopped her flight instructor training in 2006 as the result of glaucoma, she is still the manager of the Morristown, Tenn., city airport. At 100 years old, she still doesn't feel old enough to retire.

She's in the Guinness Book of World Records: the 57,635.4 flight hours she has logged during her career are the most flying hours of record for any female pilot.

Her male counterpart, John Edward "Ed" Long, has more than 64,000 hours -- seven years -- in the air.

Read more at:

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Hilary Swank stars as Amelia Earhart

I've been doing some research on Amelia Earhart lately, and just now came across the fact that a movie has been made of her, to be released in 2009, presumably. It's currently in post-production.

Hilary Swank stars as Amelia Earhart, and Ewen McGregor stars as Gene Vidal (a good friend of Amelia's and father of Gore Vidal). Richard Gere plays George Putnam, Amelia's husband, and Mia Wasikowska plays Elinor Smith.

Will be interesting to see how the movie unfolds. Amelia Earhart was 23 before she started flying, and never wanted to get married. George Putnam was divorced by his wife (who got remarried about a month later), and married Amelia. It was a marriage of convenience - Amelia sends a letter to him pointing out that she doesn't expect him to be exclusive to her, or she to him - he is just going to promotoe her flying career.

In their early years together they were apparently quite fond of each other, but according to Doris Rich, Amelia was sick of him by the start of her final round the world flight...he was selfish, bombastic, etc. etc.

Just because it was a marriage of convenience doesn't mean Putnam was a "beard." By all accounts Amelia was heterosexual, quite attractive in person, and vivacious around friends (pace those photos of her which make her look like a thin stick) she had many male friends, at least one, Gene Vidal, linked to her romantically after her marriage to Putnam.

How good of a flyer was Amelia? Doris Rich comments quite a few times that she wasn't very good at landings....and Elinor Smith, quoted years later, wasn't impressed with her either. However, she and Jackie Cochran were firm friends, and although Edna Gardner Whyte didn't think she should be racing pylons, the two of them were friends as well.

I'll cover Amelia's life in more detail in an article I'm writing for the Winged Victory: Women in Aviation website (http://winged-victory.com).

As far as the movie goes, this is actually the first I've heard of it - although it was apparently announced by Variety in 2008, and the IMDB entry already has a thriving message board about it. Looks very much like they're going to make it a triangle between Earhart, Putnam and Vidal...


In 1994 there was a TV movie about Amelia starring Diane Keaton, with Rutger Hauer as Fred Noonan and Bruce Dern as Putnam. It was based on Doris Rich's book. It's out on VHS, but not DVD.

However, there's a few documentaries...

As for books, although Doris Rich's book was the first Earhart biography, I have some issues with it, which I'll cover in my article, however you can get it here:

A more recent biography, which goes into much more detail about Amelia's forbears, is

Friday, March 13, 2009

Amelia Earhart on Youtube

There's quite a bit of footage of Amelia Earhart at YouTube.

Last footageof Amelia Earhart

Where Is Amelia Earhart - a documentary

Amelia Earhart newsreel

Amelia christens a Terrapane, 1932

Amelia's Lockheed Vega - documentary on Earhart's legacy

Amelia Earhart song, First Lady of the Air

Amelia Earhart and Jerrie Mock

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Interview with Nancy Welz Aldrich

Up on Winged Avenger: Women in Aviation, is an interview with Nancy Welz Aldrich, aka Captain Gramma.


Aldrich's book Captain Gramma: Single Woman to Sky High is an inspiring book for anybody, but in particular middle-aged women whose children have moved out into the wide world (would it be more politic to call them "empty nesters") who think..what can I do with the rest of my life?

Nancy Aldrich was in her mid-thirties, divorced, with one grown child and one eighteen year old, when she decided on Mother's Day, 1977 to take the flying lessons that she'd always wanted. She enjoyed the flying as much as she'd expected, and decided to make of it a career. With great perseverance - it was the late 1970s and women and commercial airline captain were two words that were very rare together - Aldrich was hired by United Airlines and moved her way up the ranks to captain. She retired as a Captain at the mandatory age of 60, in 1999.

In Captain Gramma, she tells her story.
Read our review at: http://thethund.ipower.com//YouFlyGirl/BookReviews/CaptainGramma.html

Her website, where you can get the book, is http://www.captaingramma.com/

Monday, March 9, 2009

OT: FIrst female sea captain dies at 93

Daily Press (Hampton Roads, VA) reported yesterday that Molly K. Carney has died, at the age of 93.

As Molly Kool, she was the first woman in North America to become a licensed ship captain.

Molly Kool, although she died in Bangor, Maine, was born and raised in Canada. She won her captain's papers in 1939 and sailed the Atlantic Ocean between Alma, New Brunswick, Canada and Boston for five years.

(In other words, thanks to the World War which sucked men out of the work force, women were given their opportunity to shine..)

Her father was a Dutch ship captain, and she was 23 when she got her own papers. She sailed her father's 70 foot boat in the "dangerous waters of the Bay of Fundy).

In 1944 she married and left New Brunswick for Maine. Her first husband died after 20 years of marriage, she then married John CArney.

She appeared on an episode of Ripley's Believe It or Not.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Andrea Read, flight instructor at Spitfire Aviation

There's an article today in an online newspaper called Daily Sound which is a profile on Andrea Read.

The title is "FLight School Continues to Soar" and the first 3 paras are:

Most pilots with the sort of flight time that Andrea Read has under her belt are flying the “heavy metal” as senior captains at major airlines.

The 40-year-old has logged approximately 14,000 hours in the cockpit, equating to more than a year and a half spent airborne.

She passed many of those hours in a four-seater Cessna 172 as president, chief pilot and certified flight instructor at Spitfire Aviation, a company based at the Santa Barbara Municipal Airport that celebrates its 10-year anniversary this month.

Nice to know some general aviation companies are still managing to float in this disaster of an economy the Dems are giving us.... forgive political rant, but Obama and his policies are going to spell financial ruin for this country!)

The article then says:

As a female pilot and flight instructor, Read says she stands out in a male-dominated industry. That has paid off in terms of gender diversity among her clients.

While just 3 percent of licensed pilots are women, Read says roughly 15 percent of her students are women.

I thought 6% of licensed pilots today were women...and that ratio has held steady since 1911! I wonder where they get those numbers from?

Here's the part I really like, Read owns Spitfire Aviation:
In the past 10 years, Spitfire Aviation has seen dramatic changes as well. When she started the business in March 1999, Read had one plane and one full-time instructor — herself.

Now she owns eight planes, employs four flight instructors, brokers plane sales and runs a full-service maintenance hangar

You fly, girl!

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Ugliest Planes That Actually Flew

I've got a tremendous amount of work I should be doing right now, not least of which is formatting my interview of Captain Gramma author Nancy Aldrich, but I've been working on a certain project for two days straight and I'm at the point where I have to veg for a few hours.

And what better way to veg than surf the web?

I found this page of photos of "The Ugliest Planes That Actually Flew" and they are certainly a treat to look at.


Delanne Duo-Mono
Handley Page Heyford
Westland Lysander P-12
Pemberton-Billing PB - 25
Westland-Hill Pterodactyl
Linke - Hofmann R1
Breguet 765 Sahara
Caproni Stipa
Stout Amphibian
Vedo Villi
Caproni Ca.60