Sunday, August 30, 2009

Planes vs cars at the airport on the Rock of Gibraltar

The only airport, I think, where drivers would't be trying to "beat a train," but rather a plane.

Click on each photo for larger size.

WASP interviewed today in San Diego Union-Tribune

The San Diego Union-Tribune has published a cover story today featuring interviews with two WASP of World War II Joyce: Sherwood Secciani and Vivian Eddy, (as well as Amy Goodpaster Strebe, the author of Flying for Her Country: The American and Soviet Women Military Pilots of World War II.

For Joyce Secciani, who used to dream about flying, it was as if it was in their blood. And being part of the WASP during World War ll was an ideal way for them to do what they loved most. (Laura Embry / Union-Tribune) - For Vivian Eddy, who used to dream about flying, it was as if it was in their blood. And being part of the WASP during World War ll was an ideal way for them to do what they loved most.

Joyce Secciani also expressed her love of flying through her art talent, sculpting and bronzing wooden figurines of a WASP pilot.

At 88, Vivian Eddy still rails loudly about the disbanding of the WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots). It was a program through which she and more than 1,000 other women made a lasting if little-mentioned mark on World War II and U.S. combat aviation.

“I thought it was the nastiest thing they (Army Air Forces officials) could have done to us,” Eddy says while receiving visitors at her home in Coronado. “They fired us. They gave our jobs to Air Force men who didn't want to go overseas. I would have gone overseas in a minute — I was a (heck of) a good fighter pilot.”

See link for complete article.

And check out the various books on the WASP (perfect role models for today's girls and women. Give them a flight plan!:

And let's not forget that African American women pilots would have loved to serve their country as well, but integration would not occur until the 1950s...

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth

A 2-minute clip from the 1960s. Back when TV shows signed off using patriotic material. An F-104 Starfighter goes through its paces, while a narrator recites the poem High Flight by John Magee (1922-1941).

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of—wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air....

Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark nor even eagle flew—
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Tribute to Vicki Cruse

Vicki Cruse died doing what she loved.

The aerobatics show will continue, although the investigation into why her plane crashed is continuing.

"I have had the honour to have known Vicki for 14 years," said Mr DeWitt, UAUSA president, in a website blog.

"Both of us flew Christen Eagles in competition, and later, the Edge 540s.

"I will never forget the memories of flying on her wing tip to or from a contest, meeting new friends, and seeing old friends.

"Vicki was an extraordinary person. She was bright, street smart, unassuming, and possessed a twisted sense of humour.

A meeting of the team managers was conducted this morning and all voted to continue the contest in Vicki's memory Norm DeWitt, president of UAUSA
"She enjoyed pulling a prank on any one of us. I will miss her, greatly.

"I feel very lucky to have been one of her close friends."

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Tragedy at UK airshow

An American woman pilot - name yet to be released officially, but I believe it was Vicki Cruse, crashed and died at an airshow in Silverstone, England yesterday. (According to the airshow's website, there were two American women participating, but Debby Rihn-Harvey was flying a CAP 232.)

Edited: It has now been released officially that Vicki Cruse has died.

Here's a video of her at YouTube "How Vicki Cruse Became The U.S. Aerobatic Champion"
...kind of emotional viewing:

Here's an article about her at

A female pilot died today when her light aircraft crashed at Silverstone race track, police said.

The 40-year-old American woman, who was the only person on board the aircraft, was pronounced dead at the scene, Thames Valley Police said.

The woman was practicing for the 13-day airshow that was to start later on.

The plane that crashed is an Edge E40 plane.

The spokeswoman said: 'Thames Valley Police is currently at the scene of an aircraft crash at Silverstone, Dadford Road, Buckingham.

'Police were notified at 12.12pm that a single aircraft taking part in an acrobatic show at Silverstone had come down on the circuit.

'The pilot, an American woman, was pronounced dead at the scene.

'No one else was injured in the incident.

'Investigators from the Civil Aviation Authority are on their way to the scene to begin their investigation.'

She's flying higher now...higher than she's ever flown before.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

What's coming at the Women's International Air and Space Museum

What Happened to Amelia Earhart? It's a question people have been asking for decades. Join the IWASM on Tuesday, August 25 at 7:00 pm as we welcome Ric Gillespie, Executive Director of TIGHAR (The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery) for a free lecture at IWASM. TIGHAR has conducted several expeditions to the Central Pacific in search of answers to the disappearance and will be heading back to Nikumaroro for DNA evidence in May 2010. Gillespie has recently been featured on ABC News and CNN.

Gillespie is the author of the book, Finding Amelia: The True Story of the Earhart Disappearance. Copies of the book will be available at the museum store for purchase.

For reservations and more information contact the museum office at (216) 623-111.

Sept 4, 2009
A Pre-Air Show Party Benefiting the International Women's Air & Space Museum

Start your air show weekend off right by attending this year's Corks in the Concourse, a pre-air show party benefiting the International Women's Air & Space Museum. Scheduled special guests for this event include Skip Stewart, considered by many to be the premier muscle biplane pilot in the country, who will be performing for the first time at this year's Cleveland National Air Show, and "Amelia Earhart' as performed by Women in History.

The event also features Ohio wineries offering tastings of their finest wines, delicious hors d'oeuvres, live jazz, a special drink in honor of Amelia Earhart, a 1902 Wright Flyer simulator, great silent auction and live raffle... Sounds like the place to be! Be sure to purchase your tickets today! All proceeds benefit the museum and a portion of your ticket is tax-deductible.

Ticket prices:
$55 members
$60 non-members
$35 designated drivers

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Palms to Pines airplane race

Sadly, the Palms to Pines all-women airplane race didn't get a lot of coverage over the weekend. Yet, Fran Bera raced in it. Fran Bera! 84 years young. (The Bend Bulletin has an article on Fran, who has been flying since she was 16.

KOHD had a very brief mention of it:

Touching down at the Bend Airport, a unique race celebrating it's 40th anniversary. The Palms to Pines airplane race, taking pilots from Santa Monica California to Bend, ended Saturday morning at the Bend Airport. Spectators and participants standing along the runway to watch planes come in. Making the race unique, the planes are all single engine, with a minimum of one hundred horse power and the pilots are all women.

"They love their airplanes and their girls. You know they discuss what kind of engines they have, 'oh you have an O-350, what's your handicap?' And they discuss their shoes. 'Where did you get those fabulous shoes?" said pilot and competitor CJ Strawn.

Originated in 1970 by the Los Angeles Palms Chapter of the Ninety-Nines, organizors say it is the longest running all women's air race. Pilots ranging in age into their eighties.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Runway Is Wet

My dad used to fly a T-6, but he wouldn't like to try this...

A squadron of T-6s skim the water over a calm-as-a-millpond lake.

Unfortunately it's from Mefeedia, rather than Youtube, so I can't embed it here, but check it out, it's really cool.

OT: Burquinis

This is a rather sad story:

Burquini banned in France

I care nothing about the burquini per se. Presumably it can be made of fabric just like swimming suits and so why would it carry bacteria? The problem is that the woman concerned is a "convert" to Islam. Presumably she converted voluntarily, and is not one of millions of people being forcibly converted in the Sudan, Somalia and elsewhere.

I simply don't understand how any woman can convert to a relgion where she is automatically reduced to a state less than dirt, where she has to cover her entire body from head to toe because God forbid a man should see an exposed forearm and be inflamed to lust.

Yeah, I don't like the trend in the West, where girls from toddler age upwards are wearing the scantiest clothing possible, all to give boys some free eye candy, but I'd still rather see that than see them in burquas.