Sunday, June 28, 2009

Press Release: The Flying Musicians Association

Recently recieved this press release:

Two Passions, One Goal: the Flying Musicians Association is born.

For more information about Flying Musicians and the upcoming Fort Worth Fly-In Musicfest please visit

Fort Worth, Texas – July 1, 2009. The blending of two passions, flying and music, has led to the birth of a new group called Flying Musicians Association, Inc. Founded by two pilot/musicians, John Zapp and Aileen Hummel, the group’s goal is to encourage, promote, educate and support these two passions among those who share them. “I have met several pilots who are also musicians or who share an interest in music. One goal of the Flying Musicians Association is to generate the desire and yearning for both amongst the young people. Often, all a young musician or budding aviator needs is encouragement,” said Mrs. Hummel.

Mr. Zapp added, “Math, science and music: after years of being associated with musicians and aviators I have realized there are many attributes which are shared by both groups. We believe that by flying around the country and visiting music programs we can expose youngsters to the thrill and fascination with aviation. Musicians and aviators alike love to share their passions and that is why we have decided to undertake this venture.”

The first Fly-In Musicfest, organized by the group, is scheduled for November 7, 2009 at Fort Worth Spinks Airport (KFWS), and sponsors are now signing up.

Anyone with an interest in aviation or in any type of music is invited to join the group. Enthusiasts of both music and aviation; teachers and students; and civic groups (including local pilots and musicians) are encouraged to attend the Fly-In Musicfest. One does not have to actually fly in or be a pilot to join, and one does not need to be a member to attend!

For more information about Flying Musicians and the upcoming Fort Worth Fly-In Musicfest please visit

John Zapp

Aileen Hummel

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A flying car: Science fiction becomes science fact

Just saw this in the Washington Times:

An important moment in the history of aviation doubled as a milestone in the history of motoring in early March when a small, privately held corporation successfully tested its first "roadable aircraft" -- a roundabout way of saying "flying car."

The vehicle, known as the Transition, looks somewhat akin to a futuristic Volkswagen Beetle but features wings and a propeller at the rear.

The test took place March 5 on a runway at Plattsburgh International Airport in New York, where the Transition flew a short distance before landing on the same stretch of tarmac. The flight lasted only about 30 seconds but was enough to confirm the vehicle's reliability. The test pilot, retired U.S. Air Force Col. Phil Meteer, said he was satisfied with the vehicle's smooth handling.

Oh, I dunno. I'd be suspicious of any flight that only lasted 30 seconds. Granted, that's 14 seconds longer than the first Wright Brothers flight, but they flew several times a day after that.

The flying car has been a stock image in science fiction, from "Blade Runner" to "The Jetsons," ever since the first airplane was flown by the Wright brothers in 1903. Several have been designed over the years, but none has managed to get off the ground, mostly because of lack of funding.

The first known attempt at such a vehicle, the Curtiss Autoplane, was built in 1917. This aluminum contraption failed to fly but reportedly took a few small hops in the air.

Pretty intersting article, on some of the other attempts to make a flying car. Check it out.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Denver, Co pilots to fly in Air Race Classic

Another press release from Powderpuff Pilot, showcasing the two Denver-area women who are participating in the race, the 80th anniversary the women's air racing:

Local Pilots to Compete in Women’s Air Race

Denver Start Marks 80th Year of Women’s Air Racing

June 15, 2009, Aurora, Colorado – When the starter signals for the 2009 women’s transcontinental Air Race Classic to begin at Centennial Airport on June 23, two locals will be among the 34 teams at the hold line. Stephanie Wells of Arvada and Roxie Juul of Broomfield are partnering to compete in their first air race.
Wells, a 13,000-hour pilot was introduced to the idea of air racing a few years ago, but it wasn’t until she met Juul, a pilot who owns a Piper Archer, that their plans to compete crystallized. The Air Race Classic rules stipulate that each racing team consist of two women, one of whom must hold an instrument rating. “Since I have the rating and experience, and she has the airplane, it seemed like a great match,” said Wells.

To say that Wells is an experienced pilot is an understatement. Armed with a meteorology degree and commission as a U.S. Air Force officer, she was among the second group of women admitted to Air Force pilot training in 1978, and went on to spend 8 years on active duty flying T-37s, T-38s, and the WC-130 “Typhoon Chaser.” After joining the reserves in 1985, she added C5 Galaxy pilot and Desert Storm veteran to her resume. She went on to fly for NASA as a training officer, managing astronaut flying training at Johnson Space Center, before coming to Denver in 2003 to work for the FAA as an inspector for general aviation aircraft.

“About half of my flight time is military, and half is civilian,” explained Wells, who flew in the 1977 Powder Puff Commemorative Race, a non-competitive event that marked the last of a series of 30 all-women transcontinental competitions. That same year, the Air Race Classic held its inaugural race, maintaining the 80-year tradition of women’s air racing that began in 1929 with what humorist and aviation enthusiastic Will Rogers dubbed as the “Powder Puff Derby.”

Juul, who will serve as pilot-in-command, is eager to compete in her four-seat, fixed gear, 180-hp aircraft. A certificated pilot since 1996, she decided to enter the race last year when she found out it would start in Denver. ”I recently retired,” explained Juul, a former Qwest employee of 30 years, “and had saved up to do something special. This will give me a chance to see the U.S. in a different light, and to meet other women pilots.”

The two racers will be coordinating a lot in the coming year, since Juul and Wells were recently elected as president and vice president, respectively, in the Colorado Chapter of The Ninety-Nines, an international organization of women pilots. Their chapter, along with Centennial Airport and Denver-based Jeppesen, are major sponsors of the start of the race. Although many competitors look to sponsors to defray their expenses, Juul and Wells are funding the entire endeavor themselves. “We estimate it’ll cost at least $5000 from start to finish,” said Juul, “but the experience will be priceless.”
Powder Puff Pilot, a sponsor of the 2009 Air Race Classic Start, was founded in 2008 by Sue Hughes of Aurora, Colorado. She has authored This Day in Women’s Aviation, a page-a-day calendar, and a series of children’s picture books featuring Claire Bear, a pink-clad aviatrix. Her first two titles, The Pilot Alphabet and Claire Bear’s First Solo, are currently on sale with a third, What Pilots Fly, in development.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Get a free 2009 PowderPuff pilot calendar with purchase of 2010 version!

Just visited the Powder Puff pilot website and see that they are offering the 2010 page a day calendar. If you purchase it now, you also get a 2009 calendar free. that's a pretty good deal. Lots of good info on a page by page basis.

Disclaimer: Not affiliated with Powder Puff Pilot, just like their products! (Well, their calendars. My favorite color is actually blue... ; ) )

Kirsty Moore joins Red Arrows

Flight Lieutenant Kirsty Moore, 31, will fly as a member of the prestigious RAF display team from 2010 until 2012. She had joined the RAF in 1998, is originally from Lincolnshire, and is currently flying with a Tornado squadron based in Norfolk.

Until recently, no female fast-jet pilot had advanced far enough in their career to join the display team based at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire.

Flt/Lt Ben Plank, 30, who is based at Cottesmore in Leicestershire, will also be joining the display team from next year. Both he and Flt/Lt Moore, will start training with the Red Arrows in September.

Some 30 fast-jet pilots apply to the Red Arrows every year but only the very best are successful.

Flight Lieutenant Moore, who is originally from Lincolnshire, is not the first woman to apply for a place, although she was the first to make the short list.

Successful applicants must have scored better than average marks in their flying career, have flown for a minimum of 1,500 hours and have completed at least one front line tour.

Several papers in Britain had the story:

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Press Release: Women's Air Race June 23, 2009

Just received this press release from Powder Puff pilot.

The two pilots featured below are looking for sponsors, as they are flying to raise money for Wings of Hope

June 11, 2009, Aurora, Colorado – A couple of Denver-area pilots are preparing to compete in their first air race as the 2009 women’s transcontinental Air Race Classic comes to Denver. Marijke (Mar‑aye‑ka) Unger of Longmont and Kara Pruitt of Broomfield will taxi up to the hold line at Centennial Airport on June 23 for this year’s competition, which marks the 80th anniversary of women’s air racing. The two will compete in Unger’s 1976 Bellanca Citabria—a two-seat, aerobatic, fabric-covered aircraft with a 150-hp engine. They’ll join 33 other teams scheduled to fly the 2715-mile route over 4 days, with Atlantic, Iowa as their final destination.

Unger is looking forward to a great experience in terms of flying and mingling with other racers, but stressed, “I was looking for something that would live on after I’ve crossed the finish line, something that would have a long-term, beneficial impact.“ To that end, she has transformed the competition into a fundraising venture for Wings of Hope, an international organization dedicated to fighting poverty.

Wings of Hope, whose missions utilize volunteer pilots and flight nurses to provide air ambulance service in the U.S., as well as medical care and transportation to impoverished corners of the world, fulfilled the criteria that Unger insisted on for a charity to support.

“I was looking for an organization that did solid, good work and had a connection to aviation. It also had to be international,” said Unger, who was born in the U.S. of a Dutch father and Argentinean mother. She also sought an organization that allocates a large percentage of funds to programs, rather than administrative costs. Unger reported, “Wings of Hope is highly rated by Charity Navigator,” which shows that 87% of their funds go to program expenses.

In addition to fighting poverty, Unger, who works for the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, and Pruitt, a fixed-wing instructor for Rotors of the Rockies in Broomfield, will also fly the race carbon-neutral. Partnering with TerraPass—a sponsor of clean energy and carbon-reduction projects that result in a verified, measurable reduction in carbon emissions—the flight team has already reduced their carbon dioxide emissions by 2 metric tons in 2009.

Unger and Pruitt will report their racing and fund-raising progress on their website They are also soliciting donors to join their four-tiered sponsor list which includes: Platinum – Zelkova Brewing, USI,, and Data Network Group; Gold – PE & KS Menchen; Silver - Lucile's Creole CafĂ©, Suits USA, IAC Chapter 12; and Bronze – RA Young, M Mantei, LD Felix & Olathe Spray Service, J Cain, J Stella, C Irvin, R & M James, Air West Flight Center, New Attitude Aerobatics, E Buckley, and Powder Puff Pilot.

Powder Puff Pilot was founded in 2008 by Sue Hughes of Aurora, Colorado. She has authored This Day in Women’s Aviation, a page-a-day calendar, and a series of children’s picture books featuring Claire Bear, a pink-clad aviatrix. Her first two titles, The Pilot Alphabet and Claire Bear’s First Solo, are currently on sale with a third, Claire Bear Explains… What Pilots Fly, in development. She also writes a column, “Airlooms,” soon to be published regularly in Aviation for Women magazine. For further information or to order Powder Puff Pilot products, visit or call toll free at 888-801-6628.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Night At The Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian

Amy Adams as Amelia Earhart

Just saw this movie, and I was disappointed by most of it. Hank Azaria as Kamun Ra, the villain of the piece, did an excellent job. Lovely bicep muscles, lovely British/Karloff accent, chewed the scenery with eclat, nice fencing duel at the end.... but the rest..... eh.

All of the "stars" of the previous movie were back, but in much smaller roles. Azaria had the most screen time, followed by Amy Adams as Amelia Earhart. No offense to Amy Adams, but the writers of her character just sucked big time. I was tremendously disappointed with it.

Sure, she pointed out that she did things - such as flying - "just for the fun of it," and she liked to have adventures, but she also did her best to seduce Ben Stiller's character, Larry, and that is just not Amelia Earhart! Earhart would never have been "perky," she's the more serious type who would have loved to have gone around the museum discussing things with people..let Stiller fall in love with her and then chase her! Or have it be a mutual thing, except she knows she's a mannequin...something a bit more poignant.

At the end she does fly a few of the characters back to the Musuem in New York in her Vega, then supposedly flies back to the Smithsonian - a bit illogical there...

They also make jokes about her getting lost, which I didn't think were very funny. It wasn't that she had a bad sense of direction, it was that she was trying to find a teeny tiny island in the middle of the blood Pacific Ocean!

Azaria as Kah Mun Rah. Check out those biceps. And it's not a dress, it's a tunic!