Friday, December 31, 2010

Polikarpov I-16

January 3 in my Golden Age of Flight Desk Calendar, by Walter J. Boyne. (Probably still available at your local Barnes & Noble or calendar store for half price)

Designed by Nikolai Polikarpov in 1932, the I-16 "Ishak" (or "Rata" as it was known in Spain) made its first flight in December 1933. It was the first cantilever monoplane fighter with retractable landing gear to reach squadron service. "Despite its tricky handling, it did well against the Japanese in Manchuria."

From Wikipedia:
The Polikarpov I-16 was a Soviet fighter aircraft of revolutionary design; it was the world's first cantilever-winged monoplane fighter with retractable landing gear. The I-16 was introduced in the mid-1930s and formed the backbone of the Soviet Air Force at the beginning of World War II. The diminutive fighter prominently featured in the Second Sino-Japanese War, the Battle of Khalkhin Gol and the Spanish Civil War]—where it was called the Rata (Rat) by the Nationalists or Mosca (Fly) by the Republicans. The Finnish nickname for I-16 was Siipiorava ("Flying Squirrel").

Design and development
While working on the Polikarpov I-15 biplane, Nikolai Nikolaevich Polikarpov began designing an advanced monoplane fighter. It featured cutting-edge innovations such as retractable landing gear and a fully enclosed cockpit, and was optimized for speed with a short stubby fuselage (similar to Gee Bee R-1) and a Wright Cyclone radial engine in a NACA cowling. The aircraft was small, light and simple to build.

Full scale work on the TsKB-12 prototype began in June 1933 and the aircraft was accepted into production on 22 November 1933, a month before it took to the air. The TsKB-12 was of mixed construction using a wooden monocoque fuselage and wings based around a KhMA chrome-molybdenum steel alloy wing spar, dural ribs and D1 aluminum alloy skinning on the center and leading edges, with the remaining portions of the wings fabric covered. Another modern feature were the ailerons which ran almost the entire trailing edge of the wing and also operated as flaps (in the manner of more modern flaperons) by drooping 15°.

The cockpit was covered by a 40 cm (16 in) wide canopy which featured an Aldis tubular gun sight which could slide back and forth on runners fitted with bungee cords of rubber. A 225 l (59.4 US gal) fuel tank was fitted directly in front of the cockpit. The main gear was fully retractable by a hand-crank. The armament consisted of a pair of 7.62 mm (0.30 in) ShKAS machine guns in the wings, mounted on the outboard side of the main gear and carried 900 rounds of ammo.

These features were proposed at first by Andrei N. Tupolev, however the NII VVS was more concerned about the stresses a typical combat aircraft was subjected to in combat, and initially considered the risk too great. However TsAGI, with the help of the 3rd Design Brigade under the leadership of Pavel O. Sukhoi and Aleksandr P. Putylov eventually convinced NII VVS that what was being proposed was not only feasible, but would enhance the aircraft's performance.

The TsKB-12 was designed around the Wright Cyclone SR-1820-F-3 nine cylinder radial engine (rated at 529 kW/710 hp); a license to build this engine was being negotiated. As the license was not yet approved, Polikarpov was asked to settle for the less powerful M-22 (Soviet-built version of the Gnome-Rhone Jupiter 9ASB which itself was a licensed version of the Bristol Jupiter VI ) with 358 kW (480 hp). This was deemed acceptable because the projected top speed still exceeded 300 km/h (185 mph).

The M-22 powered TsKB-12 first took to the air on 30 December 1933 with the famous Soviet test pilot Valery Chkalov at the controls. The second TsKB-12 with a Cyclone engine and three-bladed propeller flew in January of the following year. Initial government trials in February 1934 revealed very good maneuverability but the aircraft did not tolerate abrupt control inputs. Thus the TsKB-12 was deemed dangerous to fly and all aerobatics were forbidden.

The M-22 version was preferred due to vibration of the Cyclone-powered aircraft. Pilots commented early on about difficulty in climbing into the cockpit, a trait that persisted through I-16's service life. Before continuing test flights the designers had to answer the question of spin behavior. Wind tunnel testing suggested that TsKB-12 with its short tail would enter an unrecoverable flat spin, but real-life trials were necessary to confirm this. Since Cyclone engines were rare it was decided to risk the M-22 prototype for this purpose.

On 1 March and 2 March 1934, Chkalov performed 75 spins and discovered that the aircraft had very benign stall behavior (dipping a wing and recovering without input from the pilot when airspeed increased) and intentional spins could be easily terminated by placing controls in the neutral position. The stories of vicious spin behavior of the I-16 perpetuated in modern literature is unfounded (perhaps extrapolated from Gee Bee experience). In fact, the I-16's stablemate, the biplane Polikarpov I-153, exhibited much worse spin characteristics.

Service trials of the new fighter, designated I-16, began on 22 March 1934. The M-22 prototype reached 359 km/h (223 mph). The manually-retracted landing gear was prone to jamming and required considerable strength from the pilot. Most of the test flights were performed with the gear extended. On 1 May 1934, the M-22 prototype participated in the flyover of the Red Square.

Approximately 30 I-16 Type 1 aircraft were delivered, but were not assigned to any V-VS fighter squadron. Most pilots who flew the I-16 Type 1 for evaluation purposes did not find the aircraft to have many redeeming characteristics. Regardless of pilot opinion, much attention was focused on the Cyclone powered aircraft and the M-25 (the license built Cyclone). On 14 April 1934, the Cyclone prototype was damaged when one of the landing gear legs collapsed while it was taxiing.

The third prototype with a Cyclone engine incorporated a series of aerodynamic improvements and was delivered for government trials on 7 September 1934. The top speed of 437 km/h (270 mph) no longer satisfied the Air Force, who now wanted the experimental Nazarov M-58 engine and 470 km/h (290 mph). Subsequently, the M-22 powered version entered production at Factory 21 in Nizhny Novgorod and Factory 39 in Moscow. Because it was the fourth aircraft produced by these factories, it received the designation I-16 Type 4. Aircraft fitted with these new engines required a slightly changed airframe, including armor plating for the pilot and changes to the landing gear doors to allow for complete closure.

The M-25 fitted I-16, the I-16 Type 5, featured a new engine cowling which was slightly smaller in diameter and featured nine forward facing shuttered openings to control cooling airflow, a redesigned exhaust with eight individual outlet stubs, and other changes. The M-25 was rated at 474 kW (635 hp) at sea level and 522 kW (700 hp) at 2,300 m (7,546 ft). Due to the poor quality of the canopy glazing, the I-16 Type 5 pilots typically left the canopy open or removed the rear portion completely. By the time the Type 5 arrived, it was the world's lightest production fighter (1,460 kg/3,219 lb), as well as the worlds fastest, able to reach speeds of 454 km/h (282 mph) at altitude and 395 km/h (245 mph) at sea level. While the Type 5 could not perform the high-g maneuvers of other fighters, it possessed superior speed and climb rates, and had extremely responsive aileron control which gave the Type 5 a very good roll rate which lead to precision maneuvers in loops and split-Ss.

A total of 7,005 single-seat and 1,639 two-seat trainer variants were produced.

My Tiny Paper Airplane #2: Thunderbolt

Unlike my Mustangs from yesterday, I folded the Thunderbolt out of one sheet of paper. (The weekends consist of two teeny tiny planes, as the one sheet had to be cut into two) the weekdays out of one large sheet. By large I mean 3 inches by 3 inches.)

Now this is more like it. After the folding and cutting (this isn't exactly origami, as I don't think you use scissors in origami), the colored part of the paper is all that's visible on the wings. It is visible on the tail, but you can believe that's the paint scheme!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Restored de Havilland D.H. 89A "Dominie"

My Golden Age of Flight desktop calendar has, for January 1/2, 2011, a photo of a Restored de Havilland D.H. 89A "Dominie".

Here's the description:

This magnificent de Havilland D.H. 89A "Dominie" was restored by the Croydon Aircraft Company, New Zealand's premier restorer of de Havilland aircraft. The prototype's first fight was April 17, 1934. This Dominie has a top speed of more than 150 mph and is powered by de Havilland Gypsy Queen engines.

The above photo is from: Since its painted in the same colors as the photo in my calendar, I'm going to assume it's the same aircraft.

My Teeny Tiny Paper Airplane #1: Mustang

As is the way of things, as soon as Christmas is over, the prices of calendars go down at all the stores. I visited my local Barnes and Noble, therefore, and picked up two desktop calendars for half price. One is the Golden Age of Flight, by Walter J. Boyne. (Cost $14 orginally, so I picked it up for $7). I also bught a 365 Tiny Paper Air Planes Calendar. Although it has only 30 different models, nevertheless I'll get to fold one each day.

Being too impatient to wait until January 1, I have started today, December 30. And I will make one a weekday, and one on the weekends, for the next 365 days. And I shall take a photo of each one and of my fleet as it progresses.

Today, unfortunately, my camera refused to focus, so you don't get the full impact of my skill. I will say its annoying. The papers are full color on one side, and the other side is ligth blue and has all the lines you're supposed to fold (I couldn't be doing this otherwise!) but for the Mustang, at least, in folding the wings up, the top of the wings have the light blue color, not the colored paper color. So that's a bit annoying. Other than that minor little flaw, I anticipate having a bit of fun each day, amusing myslf with this airplane origami...

And rest assured future photos will be in focus, if I have to buy a new camera to accomplish it!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Press Release: 5th International Exhibition of General Aviation

AOPA France and the Cannes AirShow partnership:

AOPA Members Worldwide Can Register for Free Admission

Cannes, December 29, 2010 - For the 5th edition of the Cannes AirShow, that will take place from June 9 to 11th, 2011 at the Cannes LFMD airport, the AOPA France renews its partnership with the International Exhibition of General Aviation of Cannes, France.

The Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association has nearly 23,000 members in Europe, and any general aviation pilots or owner-members will be welcome on their stand. AOPA also welcomes interested pilots or aircraft owners to bring their question, or just to have information about the activities of the association.

Under the aegis of the Association's dynamic President, Patrick Charrier, and as part of this partnership, all AOPA members are cordially invited to come to what will be the 5th edition of the air show.

Beginning in April, AOPA members will be able to order free tickets (35€ value each) directly from their website,

AOPA was a partner of the 2009 and 2010 editions; in fact they held their annual meeting there, during the show in 2009.

This year, in addition to their active booth presence, they will participate in a number of the conferences Cannes AirShow is organising. And as always, they will be defending the rights and interests of their member pilots

About the AOPA
AOPA is the Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association for pilots and owners of general aviation aircraft.

It was created in the United States in 1939, and has been defending the rights and interests of general aviation pilots ever since. In France, as in the other 66 countries where it is present, AOPA is a rallying point for pilots. With over 470,000 members worldwide, of which nearly 23,000 are in Europe, it is the largest organisation representing and defending general aviation users in the world.

About the Cannes AirShow, The only General Aviation Exhibition in France:
The Cannes AirShow brings together the leading protagonists in general and business aviation to allow a demanding clientèle discovery the latest developments and industry innovations in a geographically logical and appealing setting.

This professional exhibition is designed for owners and pilots, whether passionate fans or professionals, in general and business aviation throughout Europe, Africa and Russia, offering visitors a large and representative palette of the aeronautics industry.

The Cannes AirShow is southern Europe’s leading exhibition in general and business aviation.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

It's Not Earhart, It's Haizlip!

You've just got to laugh at the Reno ... something (The website says RGJ...but doesn't explain what it is. THe name of some newspaper, no dout.)

Reno Man Has Rare Footage of 1933 film that may show Earhart
In any event, on the front page of the site is a headline saying "1933 film may show Amelia Earhart" accompanied by a photo, which I reproduce, of a woman who is clearly not Earhart. Since when did Earheart every wear plus fours, or a skirt, or whatever this woman is wearing, let alone look so bulky.

But more than the actual text of the article it is also clearly stated that the woman is definitely not Earhart and is probably Mary Haizlip. Yet the website newspaper nevertheless uses that headline..just a ploy to get people to read the article, I guess. After all, people would want to look at photos of Earhart...but of obscure (to the unitiated) Mary Haizlip...not so much.

It's still a silly headline and a silly ploy. I'd like to see the film however, to see all these aviation pioneers walking around - that would be something.

A Reno man has come into possession of a film of the 1933 National Air Races in Los Angeles that shows aviation pioneers, possibly including Amelia Earhart.

The 12-minute, 16-mm film has been in the family of Fred Holabird for many years, and it was digitized and delivered to Holabird just days before it was announced that bone fragments found on a South Pacific island are being checked to see if they match Earhart's DNA.

The story passed along to Holabird is that film includes footage of Earhart. The canister has "Erhardt" written on it.

If Earhart, who was declared missing in 1937 in a flight around the world, is in the film, it's not clear. A few seconds of the film show an unidentified woman dressed in goggles and a flying helmet pilot walking and talking with others.

The Reno Gazette-Journal had Dorothy S. Cochrane, curator of general aviation at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum, review that video posted at

Cochrane said she is almost certain that clip does not depict Earhart, saying it does not look like the famed pilot.

It most looks like Mary "Mae" Haizlip, who won the 1933 female Aerol Trophy Race at the National Air Races flying a Wedell-Williams Model 92 aircraft, Cochrane said.

The video posted at also shows Jimmy Wedell, an early pilot and airplane builder who would die in a crash in Lousiana the following year. Wedell made national news when he flew a child from Houston to Baltimore for a life-saving operation.

"Jimmy was a well-known racer and designer of the early 1930s," Cochrane wrote in an e-mail. "In 1933 he won the Thompson Trophy race (a closed-course unlimited speed race) and placed second in the transcontinental Bendix Trophy race in his own Wedell-Williams Model 44 aircraft."

The other 12 minutes of the film shows aircraft flying around the race course, which Holabird said looks like Signal Hill, a community south of Los Angeles now surrounded by Long Beach. One of those aircraft could be piloted by Earhart.

Holabird is part of Holabird-Kagin Americana, which deals in coins, certificates, bottles and other items of historical significance from the American West.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

25 December, 1942

I'm reading On Final Approach: The Women Airforce Service Pilots of World War II. It gives a chronological history of the WASP, but it is not thoroughly chronological, for example ther is an entry on December 19, 1942, but then nothing further until December 28, 1942.

Pesumably, there was a Christmas celebration at the airfield in Houston where the first women pilots were training (not yet called the WASP) in the Women's Flying Training Program, which had begun on November 6, 1942 and would extend until February 13, 1943.

I'll continue this chronology on December 28, 1942 (but prior to that will make a few posts summarizing the history of the WASP until that date). I'll do that tomorrow as today is Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all, and may 2011 be a great year for all of us.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Press Release: DirectFly Alto is Newest SLSA

Training and Personal Transport Configurations Cover the LSA Spectrum

Salem OH, Dec 15, 2010: Corbi Air, Inc. of Ohio and DirectFly s.r.o of the Czech Republic announced ASTM conformance verification of the DirectFly Alto Special Light Sport Aircraft (SLSA) today.

Alto enters the Light Sport Aircraft market as a purpose-built LSA, tailored at the factory for Flight Training use. Corbi Air and DirectFly have been able to produce an affordable, cost-effective aircraft that is durable and reliable enough to work in the flight school environment while including features of the best general aviation aircraft today. Standard equipment includes a Mode S transponder, internal corrosion protection, electric pitch and aileron trim, nosewheel steering, Teflon coated aviation grade wiring, Vertical Power’s electrical distribution system, and the U.S.-made Sensenich composite propeller with its stainless steel leading edge. Another unique feature is the U.S.-supported Beringer wheel and brake assemblies with ALIR™ anti-skid system, ideally suited for training (no more tires with flat spots).

Where other manufactures use separate oil coolers, Corbi Air has included as standard equipment a laminar flow oil to water heat exchanger proven in Europe on the “Glider Tow” version of the Alto. This warms the engine oil to the proper operating temperature more quickly for the day’s first flight, or on those cold winter days; and it also provides superior cooling on those hot summer days.

Not “just another great LSA”
The Alto comes equipped with an aluminum main landing gear, proven stronger and more durable than competing carbon “legs,” while retaining a comfortable ride. The Training configuration includes larger main wheels and tires, a huge 600+ pound useful load – enough to carry full fuel (24 gallons, or about 6 hours), two 210-pound pilots, and over 30 pounds of luggage. Even better, the Alto stays within its center of gravity range at any loading: from zero fuel and a single 120-lb pilot, to any combination of fuel, pilot(s), and luggage, up to its 1,320-lb. gross weight!

Owner- Pilots have not been forgotten.
Corbi Air has developed a style and function package tailored to the owner-pilot including wheel pants and upgraded leather upholstery. This Personal version also sports a useful load of over 600lbs and offers a wide array of optional instrument panel/avionics configurations including such names as Dynon, Advanced Flight, and Garmin, making the Alto a truly desirable and capable personal aircraft.

The Mechanic has not been left out.
The all-metal Alto is easy to work on, using traditional and universal techniques. Convenience and accessibility are emphasized by design features like the removable instrument panel and top cover plus the utilization of the Pro Hub avionics connectors and Vertical Power wiring system, to the floating Beringer brake discs, to an engine installation that allows access on all sides.

President Ron Corbi and Aviation Consultant Dan Coffey have achieved their goals of delivering an aircraft that is durable enough to take the punishment of high utilization and student use, and is stable and predictable, fun to fly. The Alto is straightforward and inexpensive to operate, maintain and insure; best of all, its low acquisition cost (starting at $97,500 FOB Ohio) helps to maximize flight school profitability. Current orders are to be delivered in the first quarter of 2011.

The factory demonstrator will be available for press flights at Spot 612 at the Sebring Sport Aircraft Expo, January 20-23, 2011, in Sebring, Florida.

CorbiAir Inc,
11800 Salem Warren Rd.
Salem Air Park (38D)
Salem, OH 44460

Friday, December 17, 2010

Yahoo News: Lab scans bones that may belong to Amelia Earhart

Lab scans bones that may belong to Amelia Earhart
NORMAN, Okla. – Three bone fragments found on a deserted South Pacific island are being analyzed to determine if they belong to Amelia Earhart — tests that could finally prove she died as a castaway after failing in her 1937 quest to become the first woman to fly around the world.

Scientists at the University of Oklahoma hope to extract DNA from the bones, which were found earlier this year by a Delaware group dedicated to the recovery of historic aircraft.

"There's no guarantee," said Ric Gillespie, director of the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery in Delaware. "You only have to say you have a bone that may be human and may be linked to Earhart and people get excited. But it is true that, if they can get DNA, and if they can match it to Amelia Earhart's DNA, that's pretty good."

The remains turned up in May and June at what seemed to be an abandoned campsite near where native work crews found skeletal remains in 1940. The pieces appear to be from a cervical bone, a neck bone and a finger.

But Gillespie offered a word of caution: The fragments could be from a turtle. They were found near a hollowed-out turtle shell that might have been used to collect rain water, but there were no other turtle parts nearby.

"This site tells the story of how someone or some people attempted to live as castaways," Gillespie said in an interview with The Associated Press. Bird and fish carcasses nearby suggested they were prepared and eaten by Westerners.

"These fish weren't eaten like Pacific Islanders" eat fish.

Lab officials said results of the tests could take week or months.

Gillespie has been traveling to the site since 1989 but acknowledges there's been little progress toward solving the Earhart mystery. It did not help that bones and a sextant box found three years after Earhart's disappearance disappeared themselves after being sent to Fiji.

"It's like science. You take the information you have and formulate a hypothesis, but 9 1/2 times out of 10 you turn out wrong, then you go through the whole thing again — but you're closer," Gillespie said.

Anthropologists who had previously worked with Gillespie's group suggested that he ask the University of Oklahoma's Molecular Anthropology Laboratory to try to extract DNA from the fragments for comparison to genetic material donated by an Earhart family member.

Cecil Lewis, an assistant professor of anthropology at the lab, said the university received a little more than a gram of bone fragments about two weeks ago.

"I think it's best to talk about more when we have something say about it," Lewis said. "Think how disheartened people will be if it's just a turtle bone."

Gillespie said the group had tried to test possible genetic material recovered during a 2007 expedition, but a Canadian lab was unable to extract DNA from dried excrement.

Other material recovered this year also suggested the presence of Westerners at the remote site on Nikumaroro Island, 1,800 miles south of Hawaii:

• Someone carried shells ashore before cutting them open and slicing out the meat. Islanders cut the meat out at sea.

• Bottoms of bottles found nearby were melted on the bottom, suggesting they had been put into a fire, possibly to boil water. (A Coast Guard unit on the island during World War II would have had no need to boil water.)

• Bits of makeup were found at the scene. The group is checking to see which products Earhart endorsed and whether an inventory lists specific types of makeup carried on her final trip.

• A glass bottle with remnants of lanolin and oil, possibly hand lotion.

Some evidence has suggested that Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, landed on the island, but, Gillespie said, "we are constantly agonizing over whether we are being dragged down a path that isn't right."

Still, the island is on the line Earhart planned to follow from Lae, New Guinea, to Howland Island, which had a landing strip and fuel. Gillespie, a pilot, said she would have needed only about 700 feet of unobstructed space to land because her Lockheed Electra would have been traveling only about 55 mph at touchdown.

"It looks like she could have landed successfully on the reef surrounding the island. It's very flat and smooth," Gillespie said. "At low tide, it looks like this place is surrounded by a parking lot."

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wondering what to get your kids for the holidays?

Plenty of aviation themed books for kids out there.

PowderPuff Pilot offers their Claire Bear series, as well as other aviation related fiction books for pre-school kids.

Tami Lewis Brown's new book, Soar Elinor is an excellent book for children. You can purcahse that at, and read our interview with her at: Tami is a pilot as well as an author.

For teens, there's Flygirl, by Sherri L. Smith, about a young light-skinned black woman pilot who passes for white in order to join the WASP and serve her country. We've interviewed Sherri as well, and you can read that interview at:

There are plenty of toher books as well. I recommend Hollywood Buzz, by MAefir Liesche. It's the second book in a mystery series featuring WASP Pucci Lewis (a fictional WASP) as the detective.)

And don't forget my own ebook offering, The Lady and the Tiger...Moth! Only $1.99, for the Kindle (at You can't beat that. (If you dont have a Kindle, don't worry. You can download a Kindle emulator FREE for your Mac or PC, or a variety of phones.) Do it today!

Press Release: BERINGER Switches to New Lube

Better for Product, Employees, Environment
Châtelneuf, France ; December 15, 2010: Beringer Wheels & Brakes, responding to many years of testing and evaluation, has switched to a better‐performing, non‐petroleum assembly oil in its assembly process.

“Beringer always looks for ways to improve its products and processes, and this change is better for the product, for our employees, and for the planet,” said Gilbert Beringer, co‐founder and president.

Practical testing and bench‐testing over 100,000 cycles (including exhaustive tests on a fatigue bench – a pressure‐cycling dynamometer) – far more than the assemblies will do through their lifespans in aircraft – have shown that the newly‐employed vegetable‐derived oil does the job better, while creating a smaller health and environmental hazard than traditional petroleum‐based lubes.

Beringer Company is always looking for ways to achieve more sustainable development through eco‐friendly design and practice.
Their brake cylinders and calipers, for example, are 98% recyclable and have no effective life limit: all wear parts can be replaced
and are available in rebuild kits. Toxic compounds commonly found in the industry, like chrome hexavalent, are not part of the Beringer process.

Reducing shipping byproducts and waste while reinforcing the local industrial network, 90% of Beringer subcontractors are located
near the Beringer plant, further helping the local industry and maintaining nearly a dozen jobs.

Even the wooden building of Beringer Company represents low energy and materials consumption; and their cars burn LPG and help reduce particulate emissions.

BERINGER Company’s commitment to business integrity and sustainability is reflected in the MADE IN RESPECT recognition which the 25‐year‐old company has held for over two years. The certification is proudly displayed near the company’s ISO 9001 certification award.

Friday, December 10, 2010

WASP Files: May 1940 - Nancy Harkness Love writes to General Hap Arnold

Sometime during May, 1940, Nancy Harkness Love writes to Colonel Robert Olds. She knows of 49 women, perhaps 15 more, all having accumulated at least 100 hours of flight time, "on a great many ships". She suggests these women could be used by the Army to ferry aircraft.

Olds broaches the subject with General Hap Arnold. Arnold responds that the Army Air Corps has no need for women pilots, but such women could perhaps take the place of commercial pilots who could then take on military dities.

Here's the background behind Nancy Love's suggestion:

28 September, 1938
Brigadier General Henry H. Arnold, nicknamed Hap, attends a conference at the White House to discuss the possibility of war with Nazi Germany.

Arnold points out that Germany has 8,000 combat-planes, of which 6,000 are combat ready. The United States, on the other hand, has fewer than 1,000 bombers and fighter aircraft, and most of these are obsolete.

Arnold suggests that the Army Air Corps must have 7,500 modern combat planes, plus 2,500 training planes, along with the men - pilots and mechanics.

At this point the Army Air Corps has only 1,650 air officers and 16,000 enlisted men.

President Roosevelt agrees with Arnold's assessment and orders the Air Corps be beefed up immediately.

29 September, 1938
Arnold is appointed Chief of the Air Corps. Knowing that the military at that time has the capacity to train only 750 pilots a year, he sets a plan in motion whereby civilian flying schools witll give Air Corps cadets their initial training.

3 September, 1939
Only days less than a year later, Nazi Germany invades Poland. As soon as President Roosevelt hears the news, he names George C. Marshall Chief of Staff of the United States Army.

28 September, 1938
Jacqueline Cochran, the United States' most famous woman pilot at that time, reads the headlines. Cochran is married to millionaire Floyd Oldum, who controls Atlas Corporation and its subsidiary, Consolidated Vultee Aircraft, writes to Eleanor Roosevelt suggesting that women pilots could help the US Army Air Corps by releasing men for combat duty, taking over "ambulance planes, courier planes...and transport planes." She suggests that a force of 650 women be allowed to start pilot training immediately. Although Eleanor Roosevelt is in favor of the idea, President Roosevelt is not yet ready to consider it.

January 1940
England forms the ATA (air transport auxiliary), a civilian group, and eight women are signed on to ferry planes across the country. (The ATA also has male pilots, who are unfit for miilitary service. The male pilots were of course paid more than their female colleagues.)

9 April, 1940
German panzers invade Norway and Denmark. Meanwhile in the United States, aircraft production has been delayed as various factions in Congress argue the program's merits.

16 May, 1940
Congress is told the news that France is expected to surrender to Germany shortly. Congress approves the funding for 11,000 planes.

It is amid this atmosphere that Nancy Love, independent of Jacqueline Cochran, makes her suggesiton to General Arnold, via Robert Olds.

On Final Approach: The WOmen Airforce Service Pilots of World War II, Byrd Howell Granger, Falconer Publishing Company, 1991

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Interview with Tami Lewis Brown

Tami Lewis Brown, author of children's picture book (and a very good one at that) Soar Elinor, recounting Elinor Smith's record-breaking flight beneath all of the bridges spanning New York's East River, a feat no one had done before, or has done since, was kind enough to give Winged Victory: Women in Aviation an interview.

Check it out at:

And note that if you're looking for someone to speak to school groups, scout troops, book clubs or pilot groups, Tami is more than happy to do so. She'll even do it long distance, via Skype!

Monday, December 6, 2010

German Valentine: Woman pilot

Front of Valentine card, male pilot with bouquet.

Open the door of the plane and girl pilot looks out.

The inscription is "This is not sent to give you the air my Valentine"

When you pull the TAIL of the plane the DOOR FLAP lifts up and reveals a GIRL PILOT inside.. His ARMS also raise a bouquet of flowers up, and his eyes google from side to side...

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Read...and The Lady and the Tiger...Moth at Youtube

The graphic novelette portion of The Lady and the Tiger...Moth is now available at YouTube. Remember you can buy the complete book (the rest of the story is told in prose form) for your Kindle - or Kindle emulator - for only $1.99!!!!!

Friday, December 3, 2010

PR: Avionics announces the MGL Avionics MGL-880 Aviation Headsets

MGL MGL Avionics Headsets Available Now

High class anthracite look, metal frame - hand adjustable, no tools required.
Very comfortable headband resulting in no pressure points due to light overall weight.
Operates as mono or stereo headset with volume and balance controls and very good audio quality.
Super soft gel ear seals with soft material allows for a good acoustic seal even if you are wearing glasses.
Very high passive noise suppression figures over the full audio band.
Filtered, noise canceling microphone.
Gold plated connectors and high quality, long life cable.
Reversible microphone boom.
The MGL Avionics aviation headset offers exceptional value for money - a quality passive headset at a fantastic price!

Stereo and mono operation
Soft silicone gel filled earcups
Gold plated Headphone and Microphone plugs
Metal swivel gooseneck and metal microphone boom
Extremely light and strong at only 20.5oz / 580g
Excellent passive noise reduction rating of 27dB
Clear frequency response from 20-17,000Hz, distortion free through entire range
Adjustable open foam cushioned headband
Quick response noise canceling filter amplified electret microphone with wind muff

Note: Conforms to FAA TSO C57a and TSO C58a

Volume Control:
The headset features two volume control knobs - one on each earcup. The first knob is used to select between stereo and mono operation, and select the volume level of that earphone (if stereo operation is selected). The other knob is used to control the volume level of the other earphone in stereo mode, and both earphones if mono mode is selected.

This headset is manufactured to MGL Avionics's own specifications by one of the world's largest headset manufacturers.
Perfectly matched for use with the MGL V10, but suitable for use with any intercom or transceiver.

Price: $125 each

Monday, November 22, 2010

I'm in Rapid City, SD wiht 6 inches of snow

Although I lived in MPLS, MN for 20 years, that was 10 years ago. Ive been in Yorktown VA where there was never any snow and temps rarely went below 30 so I"m suffering now.

Visiting relatives in Rapid City, will return to Cheyenne tomorrow, God willing and the snow don't fly.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Photos from WASP Museum First Annual 5K Run Fundraiser

A professional photographer was at the event, took lots of photos, and they can be viewed here:

A few photos of the participants, and a lot of photos of the museum with closeups of posters and stuff - turned out so much better than my own photos, I know, so you will want to look at these.

the only flaw is that none of the people in any of the photos are identified. I will see what I can do about working up descriptions for some of them and post that here, which you can print and then use as a reference guide should you choose to visit the web album. Of course the very old lady with the white hair is WASP Mary Vanderventer (Mary Putnam while she was a WASP, nicknamed Put Put.

the photos are very nice so you should do so!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

WASP Museum inaugeral 5K Run

I attended the first annual Wasp Museum 5K Run, 2K walk fundraiser yesterday. I took lots of photos, unfortunately I didn't bring the cord needed to download photos to my computer, so I can't share them here yet. Also, my tip down to Texas is going to be extended longer than I had expected (I'm staying with relatives) so not sure when I'll be able to upload them.

Nevertheless, it was a lot of fun. WASP Mary Putnam Vanderventer was there signing autographs. A female C130 pilot from Dyess Air Force Base was there - Rachel Scott. (I didn't realize that in today's Air Force, there are still only 300 women pilots.)

Don't forget to take a look at the WASP website - or visit the museum!:

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Photo: A 330 landing Amsterdam with dramatic sky

Was sent a lot of cool aviation photos via email, and will share them here.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Lady and the Tiger...Moth

A repeat post, with an easy Amazon order box.

Don't wait until it's almost Christmas...although you can do that with the Kindle, come to think of it...

Anyway....order today!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Soar, Elinor: The story of Elinor Smith, who did something no other aviator ever has!

Just wrote a book review for Soar, Elinor, the new children's book by Tami Lewis Brown that tells the story of Elinor Smith. She set quite a few aviation records in her day, but did one feat in 1928 that no one, male or female, has ever matched. She flew under all four bridges that span New York's East River.

The Wright Brothers designed and flew the first airplane in 1903 - for all of a few seconds. It took several more years before aviation technology had progressed to the point where the average person could fly one of the rickety craft.

Well, "average person" is perhaps a misnomer. Pilots during the early years were anything but average. Aircraft design was still in its infancy -- the Wright brothers had shown the way, but were very quickly inundated with competitors, both in the United States and around the world -- and planes were very fragile. Early planes didn't even have a cockpit. A pilot sat on the bottom wing of the two wing craft, with a couple of joysticks for maneuvering...and no seatbelt.

But adventure seekers flocked to this new technology. And among them were plenty of women who wanted the same thing as their male counterparts - to earn their living as pilots. Even more than men, female pilots were unusual. In the early 1900s, women simply weren't supposed to be adventurous. Their role in life was circumscribed - to be a wife and a mother. If for some reason they didn't get married, they would act as surrogate mothers to their relative's children, and feel ashamed of their unmarried state. There were several women who broke the mold, but they oftentimes faced ridicule and scorn from the society of the day.

Human beings being competitive by nature, competition over the new technology began at once. Who could fly fastest? Highest? Longest? Who could be the first to refuel a plane in the air? To fly from this point to that point? Women pilots desired to set the same records the men did - even though in the books they were divided into male and female records.

And records, in aviation's infancy, were set one day and broken the next. But there was one achievement - one feat - that was accomplished by a woman pilot - and by no one else, male or female, in all of aviation history.

The story of that accomplishment is told by Tami Lewis Brown in the new children's illustrated book,Soar, Elinor.

Courtesy Elinor Smith

Elinor Smith earned her pilot's license in August, 1928, when she was 16 years old. Her parents had supported her ambition to become a pilot since she'd fallen in love with flying at the age of 6.
When Elinor was ten, she began flying lesson. Her teacher strapped blocks to the rudder bar so her feet could reach it, then taught her how to guide the control stick. To Elinor, the engine's exhaust was a spicy perfume.

"She will fly one day with the great ones," an old pilot said. "She has the touch."

At fifteen, Elinor thought she was ready to fly alone. Her father said no. She had to wait until she was eighteen.

But Elinor's mother knew what it was to have a dream, too. When she was a girl, she had hoped to have a singing career, but her parent's wouldn't give her voice lessons.

And Agnes Smith knew her daughter. "If flying airplanes is what you want to do," she said, "be like the U.S. Mail. Don't let rain, sleet or snow deter you.".

By 1928, women had been flying planes for almost 20 years, but some male pilots and lots of the general public continued to complain about the way they defied society's norms.

Elinor was stung when the newspapers of the day nicknamed her the "Flying Flapper," and a male pilot made fun of her. She decided to do something that no pilot, male or female, had ever done before. She would fly underneath all four of the bridges over New York's East River. Flying under bridges was extremely dangerous (not to mention illegal.)

But Elinor set out to do it, and this book, Soar, Elinor shares the story of how she did it.

First, author Tami Lewis Brown shows how young Elinor, age 6, fell in love with aviation, and describes her progress towards her pilot's license, Then, it's time for her to plan her risky flight underneath the Brooklyn, Manhattan, Williamsburg and Queensboro Bridges.

In these vignettes, Brown brings Elinor and the New York City of 1928 to life. Artist Francois Roca's full-color illustrations slmost fly off the page. The book is your typical children's oversize: 11 x 10.

Elinor Smith met with author Tami Lewis Brown many times before she passed away (on March 19, 2010, at the age of 99!), and Elinor has these words of advice for future generations: "Children must be allowed to dream and have a horizon to work toward. For me there was only one path: I knew from age six that I wanted to fly. Flying was the very breath of life to me and I was successful because I loved it so much."

I recommend this book highly.

Girls With Wings: Christmas sale starting early!!!

If you have little ones, think about having Santa bring them some aviation-centric gifts from Girls With Wings. Their Christmas sale started today, November 1.

There are pins, backpacks, decals, patches, purses, all with either the Girls With Wings logo, or of an actual girl with wings.

Check it out!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Air Show Marketers and Book Marketers -- send me your press releases!

A few people send me press releases from time to time, which I post at this blog.

I've decided to expand the service (as part of my re-designing and expanding of the Winged Victory website) and put all press release info into an Aviation Event Calendar.

At the moment, it is just bare bones - I've got the months set out and just have to researach what's happening each month to fill it up! ; ) but I thought I'd get the word out now.

I want to know about any event having to do with Aviation. Whether it's an actual Air Show, a Fly-in, a weekly or monthly talk for history enthusiasts, a guest speaker a museum, a book signing, even just the day a book is actually published, or a new aviation-type article offered for sale.

This is not a service just for women pilots - I want to cover the entire aviation world.

Indeed - any overseas folks who want to send me info - I will be more than happy to include it.

The calendar will comprise the whole year, so people will have to scroll down to the appropriate month to see what's going on. At the end of the complete year, I'll move that year down to the bottom of the page, as an archive, so that future researchers can see what happened in that particular year.


The Lady and the Tiger...Moth -- Kindle Ebook

Some months ago I blogged here about my comic strip, The Lady and the Tiger...Moth. I'd produced 30 strips that introduce Shannon Scott, freelance journalist, and airplane pilot, who is given the opportunity to fly around the midwest USA for three months, attending airshows in a Tiger Moth.

I've converted this comic strip into an ebook (one panel per Kindle page), supplemented it with a prose story called A Tiger Among Eagles, and offer it for sale on the Kindle, for $4.99.

Amazon purchase page for The Lady and the Tiger...Moth

If you don't have a Kindle, never fear. You can download a Kindle emulator for FREE, for the PC, Mac, and various fancy phones.

So if you're interested in aviation fiction, please check it out.

November 3: Austin, TX: Hear a talk on Women in Aviation

Women in Aviation High Noon Talk
Wednesday, November 3, Noon
The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, Austin, TX
inspired by the special exhibit Tango Alpha Charlie: Texas Aviation Celebration

Join Debra Winegarten, author of Katherine Stinson: The Flying Schoolgirl, for a conversation on the diverse opportunities that women have taken on in the field of aviation.

Free admission

Be there or be square!

Friday, October 29, 2010

PR: Save the Day, Sweetwater Texas, Nov 13 - Meet a WASP

Run for the WASP – Nov. 13, 2010
Lace up your Nikes or tighten your Velcro for the first ever Run for the WASP 5K race/1.3 mile walk benefiting the National WASP WWII Museum. The starting gun will fire at 1:00 pm on Saturday, November 13th for participants in seven male and female categories.

Cost is $25 per person/$20 for students and military personnel. Cost on race day is $25 for any runner or walker.

Register here:

The Museum will be open for participants and their families as well as other visitors. Special guests will include active-duty Air Force pilots and a WASP, who will be available for autographs and pictures.

Watch for a fly-over by a WWII airplane at the start of the race.

Timing Specialists of Big Spring will provide expert timing. Awards for the overall male and female runner and the seven classes in ten year age groups will be given shortly after the race’s end.

Enjoy a flat and fast course around the Sweetwater Texas State Technical College (TSTC) campus or the walk from the Museum to the WASP wishing well, located on the TSTC campus.

Save the Day in Long Beach, CA: Flying Musicians: Landing at AOPA Summit 2010

Edited - aince I had been confused and thought this summit was going to be in Fort Worth, TX. But that's just where the Flying Musicians are located.!

Flying Musicians: Landing at AOPA Summit 2010
-- Live Performances at the AOPA Airportfest Stage Sponsored by Sennheiser–

The Flying Musicians Association, Inc. (FMA), a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, will be featured during the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) Aviation Summit on November 11-13, in Long Beach, California. With more than 410,000 members, AOPA is the largest civil aviation association in the world.

Members of The Flying Musicians will provide live music throughout the event on the AOPA Airportfest Stage, which is sponsored by Sennheiser and located at Long Beach Airport. Airportfest is free and open to the public, making it a great place to showcase members and inform the community!

FMA artists will perform Thursday, November 11 through Saturday, November 13 at 11a.m. and 12p.m. each day – see the detailed schedule online at

List of performers:

RAVI; Bradley Leighton; Joe Ellis (Joe.e); Alex & Marti Whitmore; Suzanne Brindamour and Ian Blair Fries, MD.

The Flying Musicians have created an atmosphere where enthusiasts of both aviation and music can share their passions while enjoying a great aviation festival! Come and enjoy the spirit of aviation and music at the 2010 AOPA Aviation Summit: The Flying Musicians always welcome fellow musicians at informal jam sessions, which occur spontaneously, so bring your instrument(s) and enjoy the camaraderie.

PR: Claire Bear Aviation Books Win National Recognition

Two Named as “Best Book 2010” FinalistsAurora, Colorado – On October 26, 2010, named two publications from Powder Puff Pilot as finalists of their Best Books 2010 Awards. Claire Bear’s First Solo was recognized in the Children's Picture Book: Softcover Fiction category, while Claire Bear Explains… What Pilots Fly placed as a finalist in the Children's Picture Book: Softcover Non‑Fiction category. Powder Puff Pilot is a Colorado-based publisher and web retailer that specializes in gear and accessories for women pilots.

Both award-winning titles, written by Sue Hughes and illustrated by Wang DaiYu of International Illustrators, comprise part of a three‑book series that feature Claire Bear, a pink‑clad, aerobatic pilot and mentor to aspiring aviators. Hughes uses lyrical rhymes and colorful, whimsical illustrations to ignite an interest in aviation among the 3 to 7-year-old set, especially girls. “I consider this series as ground school for preschoolers,” said Hughes, “It’s never too soon to start pilot training!”

Hughes, an aviation technical writer and flight instructor, published her first children’s book in 2008. “I put a female bear in the cockpit so that girls could picture themselves as pilots,” she explained. In her initial offering, Claire Bear Presents… The Pilot Alphabet, the aviatrix bear teaches aspiring pilots about Alfa, Bravo, Charlie, and the rest of the phonetic alphabet that pilots use to communicate over the radio. It was a Best Books 2009 finalist.

In Claire Bear’s First Solo, the second in the Claire Bear series and one of this year’s award finalists, the cuddly heroine reminisces about the first time she flew by herself, a milestone that every pilot vividly remembers. While flying the pattern, she introduces youngsters to aviation terms such as “throttle,” “centerline,” and “downwind.” The third book in the series, Claire Bear Explains… What Pilots Fly, debuted in July. In it, Claire presents the different types of aircraft and missions that pilots fly—from gliders and hot air balloons to medevac and jet fighters.

Jeffrey Keen, president and CEO of, said this year’s contest yielded an unprecedented number of entries, which were narrowed down to some 500 winners and finalists. “The 2010 results represent a phenomenal mix of books from a wide array of publishers throughout the United States,” he said. Powder Puff Pilot, an independent publisher located near Denver, competed against industry giants such as Simon & Schuster, Penguin/Putnum, and McGraw‑Hill as well as hundreds of other independent houses. This is the eighth year for the awards, presented for titles published in 2010 and late 2009.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Aviation Career Opportunities” Nov. 12

From AOPA's website:
Women’s Wing offers inspiration, connections
From early pioneers to current industry leaders and innovators, the Women’s Wing at AOPA Aviation Summit will shine a spotlight on women in aviation.

Attendees will have a chance to find out more about women who flew military aircraft during World War II and those who now hold positions at cutting-edge companies and at the top of their field. This year’s offerings include daily mini-forums, chances to fly a full-motion flight simulator, “behind the scenes” movie presentations, daily prize drawings, and more.

AOPA launched Women’s Wing at AOPA Aviation Summit 2009 in a forum room. Based on positive feedback, this year it will be on the exhibit hall floor at the convention center. Attendees can stop by to Booth #217 to “get answers, get connected, and get inspired”—and experience a full-motion simulator flight in a Redbird FMX, sponsored by Redbird Flight Simulations and King Schools.

The wing, Hosted by Women in Aviation, International, includes events every day. On Nov. 11, Veterans Day, meet Women Airforce Service Pilot Bee Haydu, one of the women who paved the way for future female military pilots, in “Women in Aviation History” at 1:15 p.m. and at a book signing at 1:45 p.m.

In the evening, Haydu and Air Force Maj. Samantha Weeks, the second woman to fly in the elite Thunderbirds demonstration team, will join industry leaders in downtown Long Beach for the “Women Leaders in Aviation” dine-around dinner. Women in Aviation, International President Dr. Peggy Chabrian, U.S. National Aerobatic Champion Patty Wagstaff, and Terrafugia Chief Operating Officer and co-founder Anna Mracek Dietrich are also featured guests at the dinner; seats are limited, and tickets are available for purchase online through Oct. 29. Those five notable women will also share their stories in a forum Friday, Nov. 12, at 10 a.m., in Room #204 in the convention center; and attendees can find Wagstaff in the exhibit hall for an autograph session Saturday, Nov. 13 at 11 a.m.

To give many women pilots a chance to connect with one another, Women in Aviation, International, is again hosting its Connect Breakfast Nov. 12 at 7:30 a.m. in the Royal Salon on the Main Promenade Level of the Queen Mary. Tickets are available for purchase through WAI at 937/839-4647.

New to Women’s Wing are “behind the scenes” movie presentations each day, which kick off with a presentation about “Pearl” Nov. 11 at noon. Pearl Carter Scott was awarded a pilot certificate in 1928 at the age of 13. On Nov. 12, attendees will have a look behind the scenes of the documentary “Flyabout,” which looks at writer, director, and producer Monika Petrillo’s trip to circumnavigate the continent of Australia in an airborne version of the Aboriginal spiritual journey, the “walkabout.” The aviation adventures continue Nov. 13 with a presentation on “The Legend of Pancho Barnes.” Florence "Pancho" Barnes was a rival of Amelia Earhart's who became Hollywood's first female stunt pilot.

For those looking into aviation careers or just thinking about flying, Women’s Wing will provide the miniforums “Aviation Career Opportunities” Nov. 12 at 1 p.m. and “Everything You Wanted to Know about Learning to Fly but were Afraid to Ask” Nov. 13 at 1:15 p.m., both hosted by Chabrian. Find out more about the events at Women’s Wing during AOPA Aviation Summit online.—AOPA ePublishing staff

PR: Texas Youth Invited to Celebrate Aviation History, Shuttle Launch

Ceremony and activities planned at The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum Nov. 1

AUSTIN, TX, October 26, 2010 – Texas-area students are invited to a day celebrating space exploration at The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. Monday, November 1, the Museum will host educational activities, a film screening in the IMAX® Theatre, a public unveiling ceremony for an out-of-this-world souvenir, and a viewing party for the final launch of the Discovery Space Shuttle. The day of activities is FREE to invited student groups.

On November 1, from 1 – 3:30 p.m., students of all grades can participate in educational activities presented by the Museum's Education Department, Capital BEST Robotics and GirlStart. Activities include interactive robotics and hands-on science demonstrations. Students will also receive FREE admission to the Museum's permanent exhibits and the temporary special exhibition Tango Alpha Charlie: Texas Aviation Celebration. In addition, school groups can enjoy a FREEscreening of Hubble 3D, the seventh awe-inspiring film from the award-winning IMAX Space Team.

The celebration will kick off with the 1 p.m. unveiling ceremony of an Expedition 20 flight coin, gifted to the Museum by NASA Astronaut Colonel Timothy Kopra—a native Texan—after his summer 2009 expedition to the International Space Station. The gift commemorates Austin's first-ever live downlink from the International Space Station to the Museum's IMAX Theatre in August 2009, when Col. Kopra addressed some 300 students and answered questions about science and life in space. The Museum has
permanently installed the flight coin in the colorful terrazzo floor of the building's Rotunda; look for it embedded in the night sky of the campfire scene. Col. Kopra, an Austin native, will introduce the unveiling via a special pre-recorded video message.

The day will culminate with a live viewing of the launch of the Discovery Space Shuttle (STS-133), with Colonel Timothy Kopra on board, at 3:40 p.m., pending no delays in the launch schedule. The day's activities will still take place even if the shuttle does not launch on schedule.

The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum in downtown Austin, Texas, tells the Story of Texas with three floors of interactive exhibits, the special effects show. The Star of Destiny. in the Texas Spirit Theater, and Austin’s only IMAX® Theatre featuring the signature large-format film .Texas: The Big Picture.. The Education Department brings the Museum to life through engaging, fun, and educational programming for a wide variety of audiences. The Museum also has a Cafe with indoor and outdoor seating and a Museum Store with something for the Texan in everyone. The driving force behind the creation of the Texas State History Museum was former Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock. The Museum is a division of the State Preservation Board.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Movie: Almost Mercury -- The Story of Jerrie Cobb
Jerrie Cobb was one of the Mercury 13, and perhaps the most accomplished of those 13 women who strove to become astronauts during the early 1960s. (13 women took the same tests as the male astronaut candidates did - over the course of many months, however, not all at once - and several of them scored better than the men did. But when the rules were changed so that only jet pilots could become astronauts, the women were left out in the cold.)

The movie is in the works, but appears to cover the entire Mercury 13 program, with the emphasis on Jerrie Cobb's story. (The women did not arrive to be tested as a group, as the men did.)

A sample post from the Almost Mercury blog:
Finding Jerrie…
Posted on September 1, 2010 by Mary
Some say that casting is where the movie is really made, practically 100%. And in the lead role especially. Now as a director who slaves over every choice of color palette in the production design thru color timing of the final not to mention a million other tiny details I like to think a little more goes into it… but in some ways those who say this are right. Finding the right actress for a lead is as central as the script, the idea, who is directing, really there is no more important moment.

Some directors might choose to not blog or share anything about a casting process because there is such a fear or concern about doing/saying the wrong thing. I guess I think differently and I like to hope that the more I share of myself and my process the better chance the right people will read and see who I am, how I approach things and the right people will gravitate to this film. “Right” meaning like minded collaborators, people with a passion for the work and people who either think similarly or are a good compliment to our approach. Also knowing what a closed field film at the higher levels is, I think many budding filmmakers can learn from this process.

Sometimes you long for the old days starting out in theater or short films when you just picked up the phone, had a great idea and called actor friends you know and they looked to see if they liked your idea and were free and viola, instant casting! Everybody was so excited! I have to wonder if at the highest level with very well known directors and actors who all know each other this may still happen again. But with high powered careers and money in play and cosmetic contracts and comic book characters that pay many millions and establish franchises that support oodles of people this model sort of falls by the wayside. Instead actors may have a lot to lose picking the “wrong” project, either in time, money or momentum. Similarly a film must consider not just who seems to be the very best actor but also who is “bankable” and who can lead the film into good financial support.

While I understand and navigate those concerns, gosh darn, I just can’t help but secretly hope that at it’s essence it still really is just and artist to artist response… that a screenplay is read and evaluated at the other end and finally reaches a person who loves film, wants to make meaningful films and know in their soul when they read a part they would be perfect for and want to give that effort their all.

Of course if I am hoping for this on the other end of this equation I must myself provide the complimentary part of this equation… take on projects I am deeply committed to, listen to financial concerns but know when to move in instinct and convictions. And at heart to take cues from the material and story itself… because Jerrie Cobb lived her life with a certain integrity.

Finding Jerrie… a complicated dance that at it’s essence might really be so simple. May these next weeks and months lead us to just the right person for this role.

The "Mercury 13"

Myrtle Cagle
Geraldyn "Jerrie" Cobb
Jan & Marion Dietrich
Janey Hart
Gene Nora Stumbough Jessen
Jean Hixson
Wally Funk
Irene Leverton
Sarah Lee Gorelick Ratley
Bernice "Bea" Steadman
Geraldine "Jerri" Sloan Truhill
Rhea Allison Woltman

Sunday, October 17, 2010



Ethiopian Airlines celebrated the maiden flight of its female Captain Amsale Gualu Endegnanew. Captain Amsale proudly took off her first flight from the left hand seat of the flight deck of a Q-400 aircraft from Addis Ababa to Gondar then to Axum and finally returned back to Addis Ababa after a total of 3.6 flight hours.

Amsale joined Ethiopian Airlines Pilot Training School on July 10, 2000 and started her career as first officer on November 26, 2002. Since then, she has trained and worked on Fokker-50, 757 and 767 aircraft as first officer. Captain Amsale has been able to complete successfully all the necessary training requirements and passed through rigorous checks to gain her four stripes. She has a total of 4475 flight hours under her belt when she becomes the commander-in-chief of her flight.

Ato Tewolde G. Mariam, designate chief executive officer of the airline, families and friends of Captain Amsale warmly welcomed her at the Addis Ababa International Airport on her return flight from Axum. During the occasion, Ato Tewolde said: “We congratulate Captain Amsale on her outstanding achievement. Captain Amsale deserves the recognition as she has demonstrated tremendous dedication to reach the pinnacle.”

In her brief statement to the audience of staff, friends and family members Amsale said: “It is a great privilege to become the first female captain of the national carrier. I have been trained and passed through various ladders at Ethiopian Airlines. The company has been very supportive of my efforts to realize my vision of becoming a captain.”

Congratulating Captain Amsale on the occasion, Wzo Elizabeth Getachew, senior vice president human resource management and the highest ranking female executive in the airline said: “Captain Amsale’s success is a great achievement on her part and it is also an achievement for the airline. It is my hope that other females will be inspired by her success and Ethiopian will see more female candidates in the near future.”

Ethiopian currently has four female pilots working as first officers.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

WASP Musuem, Avenger Field, Sweetwater, TX

I visited the WASP museum today. I have much to say about it, but for tonight will just share a handful of photos.

Hangar One, Avenger Field. Fifinella in the center, above the three wide doors. The black plaque near the smaller, entrance door features the WASP wings - with the diamond in the center.

Hangar One from Avenger Field Road. Continue on this road to what is now Avenger field, adjacent to a technical college.

Avenger Field - an FOB that honors the WASP. This field is adjacent to the technical college. Within the building is a few notes about the WASP, but it's an actual, working airport for general aviation.

Surviving WASP who have visited the museum have left their handprints and signature in cement. This is "Deanie" Parrish. These are all within the museum.

WASP gazing toward the sky. In the distance, gigantic poster of Nancy Harkness Love. To the right, a Link trainer. To the left, flags from each of the states where a WASP was born. You can kind of see a line of photos of the WASP and brief bios underneath the flags. These run all along the walls.

Facing the other way, gigantic poster of Jacqueline Cochran. To the right, you can see the benches in front of a large TV screen which runs a 10 - 15 minute film about the WASP. To the right, beneath the flags, the white space that you can't really see are large placards giving the timeline of the WASP.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


french paper caption attached to back of photo) Une photo montrant les appareils de sauvetage qu'équipaient l'Américan Girl en cas d'amerrissage forcé.
Des combinaisons en caoutchouc, rembourrées de laine.
Voici Miss Ruth Elder et le Cap. Haldeman essayant ces appareils la veille de leur départ.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Take your kids to a Halloween party at the IWASM

Halloween at IWASM- Fri. Oct. 29, 6-8 pm

Join them for Halloween fun at their second annual IWASM Kids Club Halloween Party! This year's party is packed with fun. Explore the Aviation Education Center, fly the Wright Glider Simulator, listen to spooky stories, trick-or-treat through the museum & more. Cost for the event is $5 per child (parents are free!) and includes pizza, drinks, candy and all activities. For reservations contact Michelle Epps, Education Manager at (216) 623-1111

Don't miss this spooktacular party!

Joan L. Hrubec Aviation Education Center opens October 8, 2010

Joan L. Hrubec Aviation Education Center

It's been a busy summer at the Joan L. Hrubec Aviation Education Center and it hasn't officially opened yet!

Thanks to a grant from the Wolf Aviation Fund, IWASM hosted students for a variety of classes during the summer. Their aviation history class introduced children to the science of flight and included time in the Wright Glider simulator as well as fun with paper airplanes. Living & Working in Space gave students the chance to make rockets and they learned about life on the International Space Station.

And in their Careers in Aviation & Space class, participants learned about marshalling airplanes and met the Aircraft Rescue & Firefighting Team at Burke Lakefront Airport (where the IWASM is located). More classes will be rolled out in October.

They will be officially dedicating the center on Friday, October 8 from 6:00-8:00 pm. All are welcome to attend and enjoy the completed center for the first time!

Ruth Elder Gallery - Ruth in 1927

Ruth Elder, October-1927.

When Charles Lindbergh made his crossing from New York to Pairs, Ruth Elder was 23 years old, and making her living as an actress. Inspired by Lindbergh, she decided she wanted to be the first woman to fly across the Atlantic.

She had a handful of competitors. She herself knew how to fly, but had not yet acquired a pilot's license.

She aquired a Stinson "Detroiter" airplane, which she named "American Girl". Sge cgise a co-pilot, George Halderman, who flew the plane on take off from Roosevelt Field, Long Island.

Elder said, "On October 11, 1927 in spite of bad weather, we took off. The American Girl carried 520 gallons of fuel, enough for 48 hours of flying time." Lindbergh made the flight in 21 hours, 40 minutes, so Elder believed the American Girl would make it even if they ran into worse weather conditions.

The American Girl flew for 28 hours through storms during most of the trip over the Atlantic. Unfortunately, a severe oil leak forced them to ditch into the ocean. Since the plane's course had been charted near the active shipping lanes, a Dutch oil tanker soon came across them.

They received a tumultuous welcome in Paris, and again in New York.

Elder continued flying and in 1929, she came in fifth in the first Women's Air Derby (more famously known as the Powder Puff Derby). She then retired from aviation and went on to become a successful Hollywood actress. She was married 6 times.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Amelia Earhart Gallery: Hawaii

1935: Amelia Earhart giving a talk in Hawaii.

Friday, September 24, 2010


I've been spending the last couple of years, intermittently adding pages to the Women Aviators Wiki. I haven't had a chance to do anything with it in a couple of weeks. I checked it today, and it's been hacked. All of the text is gone, and my virus protection kicked in to prevent a virus to download.

So, I'm kind of annoyed about that.

And I guess it shows the dangers of contributing to other people's websites. Apparently its owners, Women Fly, have abandoned the site (I no longer see a link to it on their webpage), and so my two years are now gone, and I've got nothign to show for it.

Well, a women's aviator wiki will return, and I'll just start all over again, and this time it will belong to me.

Amelia Earhart photo gallery: Amelia 1926

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Save the day: premiere of Wings on Oct 8, 2010

Written by Arthur Kopit
Directed by Sarah May
Starring Cleveland theater legend Dorothy Silver

Step inside the brain of Emily Stillson as she experiences a potentially life-shattering stroke. Experience her journey as she draws the strength and courage from her early years as a daring aviatrix and wing-walker to soar to a triumphant recovery. Thrilling, funny and imaginative...everything you would expect from a Kopit play. Three talk-backs with stroke experts from the Cleveland area's top medical institutions will take place after the following performances: October 17, October 23, November 5. Before the play, be sure to see a special exhibition in Beck's lobby about women in flight organized by the International Women's Air & Space Museum.

International Women's Air & Space Museum | 1501 North Marginal Road | Room 165, Burke Lakefront Airport | Cleveland | OH | 44114

New exhibit at Cleveland's International Women's Air and Space Museum

From the IWASM website:

Virginia Thomas was born in 1922 in Springfield, Ohio. In 1943, while working for Bauer Bros. Co. she, along with other employees, formed the 105 Aero Club at Springfield Municipal Airport in an effort to promote aviation. In January 1944 Virginia made her first solo flight. When Virginia was 34 she earned a commercial rating. In 1951 she won the Blanche Noyes Airmarking Trophy for getting 100 cities and towns in Ohio to paint the names of their towns on prominent buildings to help lost pilots find airports. Later in life, Virginia and her husband traveled around the country collecting historical data and books on women in aviation, a collection that is now housed at IWASM. Virginia Thomas is one of IWASM's 100 Ohio Women in Air & Space.

This special exhibit runs through January 2, 2011.

International Women's Air & Space Museum | 1501 North Marginal Road | Room 165, Burke Lakefront Airport | Cleveland | OH | 44114

Monday, September 20, 2010

Earhart photo gallery: Earhart at Langley Research Building

Group photo on the steps of the Langley Research Building in 1928.

Front row, left to right: E.A. Meyers, Elton Miller, Amelia Earhart, Henry Reid, and Lt. Col. Jacob W.S. Wuest.

Back row, left to right: Carlton Kemper, Raymond Sharp, Thomas Carroll, (unknown person behind A.E.), and Fred Weick.

To her left are Henry Reid and Co. Jacob Wuest, Langley base commander.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

PR: Thunder Mustang Kits Available Soon!

Dean Holt Construction, L.L.C. of Mount Vernon, WA purchased assets and is soon to start kit production.

September 17th, 2010, Reno, NV. - The Thunder Builders Group, LLC is very excited to announce that we have reached an agreement with Dean Holt Construction L.L.C. of Mount Vernon, WA to buy the Thunder Mustang molds and intellectual property. Production of this incredible, high performance P51 replica kit will begin shortly.

The Thunder Builders Group was formed with the primary goal of assuring our members the delivery of all the parts necessary to complete their kits after Papa51 Ltd. ran into financial difficulties in 1999. Once we successfully accomplished this goal, our focus was then directed to preserving the assets required to someday see this authentic P-51D replica go back into production. This day is now here.

Additionally, much experience has been gained by the builders of the 17 flying Thunder Mustangs. This operating experience will significantly reduce the time required to restart operations and deliver a quality kit. The Thunder Builders Group

will continue to work with Dean to help ensure his success.

Dean has been involved in aviation since 1968 and operates a successful FBO out of Skagit Regional Airport (BVS), Washington. Dean has extensive experience as a pilot, including corporate and airline flying. Dean’s interest in the Thunder Mustang began in 1997 when Dan Denney was looking for investors in Papa 51, Ltd. Although he did not make an investment at that time, Dean has continued to follow the development of the Thunder Mustang.

Thunder Mustangs have been regular competitors at the Reno Air Races over the past 10 years. This year, two Thunder Mustangs are competing in the Super Sport Class and are approaching speeds of 400 mph.

Email inquiries should be sent to, or call Dean Holt at 360-202-6271

Saturday, September 18, 2010

RUTH phoo added

INITIATED INTO THE LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA BREAKFSAST CLUB, RIDING THE CLUBS STEEDS. LEFT TO RIGHT: LOUISE THADEN, PITTSBURGH, PA; MARJORIE CRAWFORD, HOLLYWOOD, CA; BOBBY TROUT, LOS ANGELES, CA AND RUTH ELDER, BEVERLY HILLS, CA. TAKEN August-1929. This would be a fantastic addition to your collection! It is a reproduction 8 x 10 inch glossy real photo with white border. It is crisp and clear and perfect focus. You will love it! --------------------ABOUT RUTH ----------------------------------------------Ruth Elder was a twenty-three year old, some-time actress when she heard of "Lucky Lindy's" flight from New York, to Paris. She made up her mind that she would be the first "Lady Lindy," the first woman to fly across the Atlantic. Her stage critics and others immediately held her in ridicule when she made her announcement. Some called her proposed flight a publicity stunt, prompted by Lindbergh's success and designed to help her acting career. In part, they were probably right. The publicity generated by her announcement was good exposure for her career. However, it was more than that. Elder was out to prove that a woman was equal to a man. It was that simple. The ocean crossing that lay ahead of her was far from simple, however. Ruth Elder was a very deliberate person. In plotting her routes, she made doubly sure to avoid the worst of the Atlantic storms. However, that was not good enough. In her headlong approach to this goal, she ignored some basic advice: to avoid the North Atlantic in winter. Sure, Lindbergh succeeded, but perhaps he was lucky. Everyone before him tried and failed. Elder's backers urged her to wait until spring, but other women were preparing to attempt the flight also. She did not want to lose out to one of them; she tasted the victory. She was going to be the first. Elder chose a Stinson "Detroiter" airplane. It had been proven for its ability in long distance flying. She called it the American Girl. "Looking back," she said, "perhaps my drive to succeed clouded my judgment. The weather was awful. My choice of copilot, George Halderman, was as deliberate as my choice of airplane. He was one of the best pilots of the day." Because of the rash of accidents that occurred at Roosevelt Field, Long Island, plus the fact that Elder did not have a pilot's license, the owner of the field refused to let her take off. He only backed off after she agreed to have her copilot, Halderman, pilot the plane while she acted as copilot. Elder remembers, "On October 11, 1927 in spite of bad weather, we took off. The American Girl carried 520 gallons of fuel, enough for 48 hours of flying time." Lindbergh made the flight in 21 hours, 40 minutes, and Elder felt the American Girl would make it even if they ran into worse weather conditions. The press at first did not take her seriously. Elder, they were sure, was just an attractive actress and liberated woman looking for publicity. They downplayed it until they realized that on October 13, the American Girl was overdue. Then they splashed the front pages with headlines voicing concern and wishes for her safe arrival. The newspapers sold out when they hit the streets. The New York Times reported, "Everybody in France is eager to see this audacious girl succeed in proving that she is not a weak woman. If she does succeed, that lovely American will have a triumph as great as Lindbergh's. The daring and self-confidence of that American girl has imbued public opinion with the conviction that she will succeed. There will be no ... pessimistic predictions that sought to discourage flights since the recent scenes of transatlantic disasters." Elder was almost successful in the dangerous crossing. The American Girl flew for 28 hours through storms during most of the trip over the Atlantic. Elder and Halderman flew within 360 miles of the Azores. An oil leak forced them to land in the water. Elder anticipated the possibility of a water landing and charted her course near the active shipping lanes. A Dutch oil tanker rescued them a short time after they ditched. They found a tumultuous welcome in Paris, and again in New York. But not everyone hailed her valiant and brave attempt as heroic. Katherine Davis, a sociologist, agreed with many of the male attitudes about flying and said publicly, "There is no woman alive today equipped for such a flight. She should not have even attempted such foolishness." In a few short years, Amelia Earhart proved Davis embarrassingly wrong. Elder continued flying and in 1929, she came in fifth in the First Women's Air Derby. Elder then retired from aviation and went on to become a successful Hollywood actress. She was married 6 times. ---------------------------------------------------------I will ship in a photo mailer for safety. (Note: ONLYCLASSICS-WEB-IMAGE print-does not appear on product-only on scan)In other words-the photo you get has no writing on it. Check out my other auctions for other great special interest, auto racing and motorcycle prints, posters and photos. Thanks for looking!..p1643

Amelia Earhart Photo Gallery: Amelia in her Autogiro

In 1932, Amelia flew an autogyro across country. This photo was taken in Los Angeles.

Earhart Photo Gallery: Earhart in Ireland

Amelia Earhart landed at Culmore, in Northern Ireland on May 21, 1932. To her lefts are Mr. & Mrs. Laughlin, who were among the first to greet her after her flight. Amelia is holding a stack of congrulatory telegrams.

Assembling a Women Aviator's Collection Via Ebay

You can find practically anything on Ebay, even autographs and photos and other memorabilia from women aviators. Not nearly so many as you'd find for male aviators, but they're out there.

Beware - the days of getting bargains onm Ebay is pretty much exhausted. Ebay sellers find that people will pay exorbitant prices for items that are in "poor" condition, so of course they set minimums as high as they can.

But, if you want the item, you want the item.

There seems to always be a lot of stuff for Amelia Earhart. A search today reveals:

1,261 results found for Amelia Earhart

The results range from photographs cut out of vintage newspapers, to actual photos, to Amelia Earhart liggage, to books.


13 results found for women airforce service pilots

And for "Women Pilots"

961 results found for women pilots

Of these, quite a few are "sexy adult costumes" for stewardesses and for pilots, presumably for use only at Hallowe'en, but other items that came up were pilot, watches, Soviet Women pilot postcards, advertisements featuring women pilots, and so on.

As for specific pilots (apart from the world-famous Amelia Earhart):

Katherine Stinson - there was a 1919 article about her form The American Magazine. You can't go get this one, because I've just bought it! [But it is outrageous. They're charging $18.95 for the article - you dont' even get the magazine! Talk about price gouging. But...if you want it you want it.)

Pancho Barnes

3 items - form the Valerie Bertinelli movie

Jackie Cochran

33 results found for jackie cochran
Mostly books about her, but a couple of photos

If you're interested in a particular aviator, do a search by her name, but also try "woman pilot" and "woman aviator" and other permutations, just to see if someone's offering a photo of a woman pilot, without knowing the identity of the person in the photo.