Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A FIRST: woman pilots a balloon in Libya during Women Pilots Week

I take the liberty of repeating this entire blog entry from the Women's Centennial of Flight site.

Allie had set two goals for herself during Women Pilots Week 2010: to pilot a balloon in Libya and to introduce local women to aviation.

She did fly over sand dunes and the ancient city of Ghadames. However, she was unable to convince any local girls or women to experience flying. She did the next best thing. When a woman with her daughter Bernadette came up to the basket, they had a lovely chat and she invited the little very shy girl into the basket.

Barely back from her trip, Allie is planning a Women's Balloon Event in October near Oxford. Check out the upcoming events section to see the details of her planned event when they become available.

Why not bookmark the Centennial of Flight blog to keep abreast of all the efforts going on in 2010 to introduce 2010 new girls and women to the freedom, and joy, of flight?

Events at the International Women's Air And Space Museum

Received my IWASM newletter today:

In less than one month IWASM's newest special exhibit will open. 100 Ohio Women in Air & Space features biographies, photographs and over 50 artifacts celebrating the accomplishments of women in our home state. The exhibit is being created in honor of the 100th anniversary of American women in powered flight. 100 Ohio Women in Air & Space is being presented with support from the Ohio Humanities Council.

CarolAnn Garratt will be speaking at IWASM on Tuesday, June 29 at 7:00 pm. Garratt, with co-pilot Carol Foy, broke the record for flying around the world westbound in a single engine plane in December 2008. Garratt and Foy circled the globe in 8 1/2 days. The women undertook the trip to raise money and awareness for ALS. Garratt has written two books describing her adventures.

And if you aren't using GoodSearch ( as your search engine, consider doing so. You can choose any charity or organization you please (that participates in the program), and each time you do a search, a penny goes to that organization. It all adds up!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

PR: ATP Announces New Partnership with Scotts-Bell 47

Brisbane, CA, March 30, 2010 -- Aircraft Technical Publishers (ATP) of Brisbane Calif. announced today a new partnership with Scotts - Bell 47 of Le Sueur, Minn. to provide single-source, digital, technical publications services for the Bell 47 helicopter.

Scotts - Bell 47 recently acquired the Type Certificate for the Bell 47 helicopter. According to Scott Churchill, President of Scotts - Bell 47, “We are committed to the advancement of the helicopter industry and the needs of the people who depend on our products and services. With the help of ATP we are expanding service and support of the Bell 47 helicopter for the industry.

“ATP has been providing Bell Helicopter publications for many years, and we are pleased to work with Scotts - Bell 47 to provide access to Bell 47 helicopter technical publications," said Rich Marino, President of ATP. Combining the Bell 47 digital libraries with ATP’s existing helicopter offerings as a single source solution through the NavigatorV® software platform increases productivity for maintenance professionals by allowing them to access, search and manage all their publications in one place.

About ATP
For almost 40 years, Aircraft Technical Publishers (ATP®) has been the leader in providing the global aviation community valued and effective information solutions. The company has a worldwide customer base including fixed base operators, repair stations, aircraft and component manufacturers, regulatory agencies, airlines, schools and corporate operators.

ATP’s general aviation solutions facilitate content distribution and access for aircraft manufacturers and include the NavigatorV® software platform, subscriber management, print-on-demand provisioning, and branded portal needs. Additionally, the AskBob® online community from ATP is one of the largest and most informative online aviation forums.

ATP’s commercial solutions promote the collaborative management of essential and required operational documents, and prepare Part 121, 135 and 145 certificate holders for regulatory audits with the use of the ICAPSM compliance and conformance tool. The ICAP tool is an essential platform in building a Safety Management System (SMS) foundation.

About Scotts Bell 47
Mr. Churchill has worked in the helicopter industry for over 38 years. He currently operates over 25 helicopters, 19 of which are Model 47s, under the company Scott’s Helicopter Services. With this experience, Scott has become internationally known as being an expert in all facets of operation for the Model 47. With his well recognized reputation for service, Scott is looking forward to providing continued support for this classic aircraft.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

More on the WASP

As the Congressional Medal ceremony has brought new attention to the WASP, a lot of local newspapers are printing stories about "their" WASP.
Hodgson recalls honor, courage of WWII WASPs
By Judith McGinnis
Posted March 28, 2010 at 12:01 a.m.
Times Record News, Wichita, TX
Spring can be pretty raw in Texas but by the time you get to Sweetwater, as the old-timers say, there isn’t anything to hold the wind back but barbed wire.

“It was just tumbleweeds and sand,” said Georgia native Marion Hodgson, recalling her first view of Avenger Field in March of 1943. This was where she and 1,000 young women trained to become Women Airforce Service Pilots — WASPs — during World War II.

“It was flat and unbelievably hot in the summers but that’s where we met some of the best people in the whole wide world.”
Washington DC
Despite Challenges, Female WWII Pilot Has Fond Memories of Experiences
by BRIAN TROMPETER, Staff Writer
Ask Gayle Reed about her service with the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) during World War II, and she will pooh-pooh any notions of hardship and sacrifice.

“We flew the best planes in the world inside the United States and nobody was shooting at us,” she said over iced tea at the Vienna Inn. “These were the best two years of my life.”

The WASPs were the first women in history to fly U.S. military aircraft. Reed was among about 200 WASPs present on March 10 when President Obama honored the pilots with the Congressional Gold Medal. The half-pound medal features an AT-6 aircraft and four pilot portraits on the front side and three aircraft on the back.

A native of Kansas City, Mo., who has lived in Vienna since 1962, Reed enrolled in the Civil Pilot Training program when it became obvious the United States would enter the war. She obtained her private pilot’s license in the summer of 1941 - before she knew how to drive.

Remembering the Women Air Force Service Pilots of WWII
Saturday, 27 March 2010 17:28 Cheryl Lawson, Sulphur Springs Library Director
Sulphur Springs, Texas
American air power during World War II was fortified by the mighty B-26s and B-29s flown in air raids throughout the Pacific in 1941. Legions of accounts have been documented of airmen and their experiences in the deadly air battles that took many lives. However, history tells another story, one hidden for more than 60 years. It was recently revealed that the U.S. Air Force trained women (Women Airforce Service Pilots) to fly military aircraft, including B-26 and B-29 bombers, in World War II.

On March 10, 2010, after patiently waiting their turn for recognition, this group of courageous women received the Congressional Gold Medal, considered the nation’s highest civilian honor, and will finally be included in historical records as active U.S. military.

Slightly more than 1,100 young women, all civilian volunteers, performed routine activities such as ferrying planes extensive distances from factories to bases, testing newly overhauled planes, even towing targets to give ground and air gunners target practice with live ammunition.

Although many have passed away, several remain to tell their stories of life as a WASP.

A National Public Radio piece by Susan Stamberg, “Female WWII Pilots: The Original Fly Girls,” offers accounts of women who were on active duty during the two-year period before the program was cancelled.

One member of the group, Margaret Phelan Taylor, recalled explaining to her father the reason she needed $500 for a pilot’s license to fulfill her adventure. “I told him I had to do it," Taylor said. "And so he let me have the money. I don't think I ever did pay it back to him, either."”

After discovering she was half an inch shorter than the 5-foot-2-inch requirement, she recalled, “I just stood on my tiptoes.” Upon arriving at Sweetwater, where most WASPs signed up for training, she learned that she was not the only short one. “We laughed about how we got in,” Taylor remembered.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Elinor Smith has died

I've been on travel for the last two days, and only today have I had a chance to get caught up on the news.

It is to my great sorrow that I learn that aviation legend Eleanor Smith has died, on March 23, 2010.

Here is her obit from the Washington Post.

Pioneering pilot Elinor Smith Sullivan dies at 98

By Patricia Sullivan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Elinor Smith Sullivan, 98, a record-setting aviatrix who was named by fellow fliers the 1930 female pilot of the year over Amelia Earhart, died of kidney failure March 19 at a nursing home in Palo Alto, Calif.

Miss Smith, who was known in aviation circles by her maiden name, set multiple solo endurance, speed and altitude records. In answer to a male chauvinist challenge, she flew her plane under four bridges along New York's East River, a stunt that landed her in hot water with federal authorities but secured her fame.

Celebrated in tabloids as Long Island's "youthful air queen," "intrepid birdwoman" and "the flying flapper," Miss Smith was featured on a Wheaties cereal box in 1934. Although now virtually unknown compared with her friend and rival Earhart, she was among the flashiest early aviators.

"She's not a household word, but she probably should be, because she did some really significant flying," said Dorothy Cochrane, a curator at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, where Miss Smith's photo hangs in the Golden Age of Flight gallery.

Miss Smith, who was born Aug. 17, 1911, in Freeport, N.Y., took her first airplane ride at age 6, her father tying her blond braids together so they would not blow in her face. The sensation and sights mesmerized her, and she was hooked.

Before she was 10, she flew with an instructor, propped up with a pillow and with blocks tied to the controls so she could reach them. By age 12, "I could do everything but take off and land," she said.

Practicing her skills before school started in the mornings, she soloed at 15. Miss Smith became the youngest licensed pilot in the world at 16, after appealing to Orville Wright, chairman of the National Aeronautic Association. Only 117 women were licensed pilots by 1929, and she was one.

Miss Smith was unstoppable. A month after she received her license, an obscure barnstormer bragged about his failed attempt to fly under a bridge, then spread rumors that Miss Smith had chickened out of trying the same feat. She decided to best him by clearing the Queensboro, Williamsburg, Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges.

After much preparation, on Oct. 21, 1928, she stepped into her cockpit with words of encouragement from Charles Lindbergh: "Good luck, kid. Keep your nose down in the turns." Newspapers went wild for her, dubbing her a daredevil and plastering post-flight photos of her powdering her freckled nose.

Her career took off. She sold sightseeing rides from a Queens sandbar airport with a difficult takeoff, she wrote in her memoir, "Aviatrix" (1981). "Every landing was cross wind, and the width of the landing strip depended solely on the whim of the tide."

Soon, she was setting altitude, endurance and speed records. In 1931, trying to fly above 30,000 feet, her engine died. While restarting it, she accidentally cut off her oxygen and passed out, high over the Chrysler Building in Manhattan. She recovered at 2,000 feet, with her plane "in a power dive right into the Hempstead Reservoir," she said, before managing a landing.

At 18, she was hired as the first female executive pilot of the Irvin Air Chute Co., dropping parachutists. The next year, she became the first female test pilot for Fairchild Aviation Corp. and Bellanca Aircraft Corp. She endorsed goggles and motor oil. NBC radio hired her as a commentator covering international flights and races.

She was most proud that her fellow pilots voted her the best female pilot of 1930, at a time when her hero, Jimmy Doolittle, was named the best male pilot of the year. It was an honor she didn't expect; Earhart was in the news, but pilots considered Miss Smith a better flier.

"Maybe Amelia would have been a natural had she had the proper instruction and the amount of practice that went into it, but she never seemed to practice, to really stick at it," Miss Smith told a documentary filmmaker years later.

Her son, Patrick H. Sullivan III, said the rivalry with Earhart largely stemmed from the fact that Earhart's manager, George Putnam, was trying to make money off a female flier and had been offering contracts to other women with draconian terms in his favor. They all turned him down until he found the novice Earhart, Sullivan said.

"Amelia's fame was largely puffery, and the other female pilots resented the hell out of it," Sullivan said. Putnam "kept pulling all these dirty tricks," such as offering Miss Smith money to make a record-breaking flight and then, upon landing, to hunch down in the cockpit while Amelia would take over the cockpit and the attention. So it was with trepidation that she allowed actress Mia Wasikowska to play her in the 2009 film "Amelia."

Miss Smith married New York legislator Patrick Henry Sullivan II in 1933 and retired from flying at 29 to focus on her family. After her husband died in 1956, she accepted an invitation to address the Air Force Association and soon resumed flying.

In 2000, she became the oldest pilot to complete a simulated shuttle landing. Her last flight was in April 2001, when she flew an experimental C33 Raytheon Agate, Beech Bonanza at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia.

In addition to her son, of Santa Cruz, Calif., survivors include three daughters, Elinor Patricia Sullivan of New York, Kathleen Worden of Grand Junction, Colo., and Pamela Sullivan of Glen Cove, N.Y.; five grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Flying For Her Country - American and Russian women in WWII

Just got the news today that Amy Goodpaster Strebe, author of Flying For Her Country, has set up a Facebook account.

I have created a fan page for my book Flying for Her Country. Please check it out if you get a chance. I have posted some new photos from the WASP Congressional Gold Medal ceremony in Washington, D.C. Here is the link:!/pages/Flying-for-Her-Country-Book/111122345569355?ref=ts

I suggest you sign in to Facebook before clicking on the link...otherwise it will ask you to do so and then take you to your own facebook page! So silly!

Friday, March 19, 2010

F-35 Lightning II makes first vertical landing

Lockheed Martin issued a press release on their F-35 Lightning II

The F-35B Lightning II stealth fighter has completed its first vertical landing. In the demonstration of the Short Take-Off Vertical Landing (STOVL), Lead Pilot Graham Tomlinson performed an 80-knot (93 miles per hour) short takeoff, a one minute hover and a vertical descent onto a 95-foot square pad. The Rolls-Royce LiftFan system generated 41,000 pounds of thrust.

“Today’s vertical landing onto a 95-foot square pad showed that we have the thrust and the control to maneuver accurately both in free air and in the descent through ground effect,” said F-35 Lead STOVL Pilot Graham Tomlinson.

“The low workload in the cockpit contrasted sharply with legacy short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) platforms. Together with the work already completed for slow-speed handling and landings, this provides a robust platform to expand the fleet’s STOVL capabilities.”

The F-35B is designed to operate at sea or on shore, and is one of three variants of the Joint Strike Fighter.

The conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) F-35A is the lightest and smallest version, while the F-35C is designed specifically for the Navy. The F-35B gives up some if its fuel capacity to incorporate the shaft-driven, counter-rotating LiftFan system which is driven by a single Pratt & Whitney F135 turbofan engine. The Rolls-Royce system includes a three-bearing swivel duct that vectors engine thrust and under-wing roll ducts for lateral stability.

Three F-35B STOVL jets are currently undergoing flight trials.

“The successful first vertical landing today met our test objectives and demonstrates the F-35B’s capacity to operate from a very small area – a unique capability for a supersonic, stealth fighter," said Doug Pearson, Lockheed Martin vice president. "This is the first of many such tests to fully define the short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) characteristics of the world’s most capable 5th generation fighter. We will routinely conduct vertical landings and short takeoffs to further expand the operational flight envelope for the F-35B.

Lockheed Martin is developing the F-35 with Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems.

Book overview: Flygirl, and two dates for your calendar!

Come meet Sherri Smith at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC this Saturday, March 20, 2010 from 2pm to 4pm in the Museum Shop on the National Mall.

3/23/10 – Sherri will be at the Rust Library in Leesburg, VA for a talk on writing at 7pm. Hope to see you there!

This is an overview of the young adult fiction novel, Flygirl, by Sherri L. Smith. A detailed review will appear at the Winged Victory: Women in Aviation site very shortly.

Here's how the dustjacket describes the book:

All Ida Mae Jones wants to do is fly.

Her daddy was a pilot, and even years after his death, her connection to him still feels strongest when she's in the air. But in 1940s Louisiana, being black and being a woman are two strikes against her, no matter how light-skinned she may be.

When the United States enters the World War, the army forms a group called the WASP-Women Airforce Service Pilots-and Ida finally sees her chance to take action: do what she loves and help her brother who is stationed overseas. As if being a woman in a man's army is not hard enough, Ida must use her light skin to pass as a white girl to be accepted by the WASP.

But Ida soon realizes that a new name and a new outfit can't hide who you really are inside. She can't escape the burden that comes from denying one's family and self. As she chases her dreams, Ida finds out that it's not what you do but who you are that really makers the difference after all.

Bessie Coleman was the first African-American woman, to earn a pilot's license, and she had to take French lessons and travel to France to do it, as no flight instructor in the US would take her as a student. (There were black male pilots in the US at this time...they wouldnt take her as a student either.)

She earned her pilot's license in 1921, returned to the US, and began flying in airshows. She would continue to do so, successfully and to great acclaim, until April 30, 1926. She was the passenger in her new plane, and while her mechanic, William Wills, was flying, she leaned out to survey the ground where she would be performing the next day. The controls of the plane jammed and Colemam, who was not wearing a parachute, fell out and fell to her death. The plane itself crashed, killing Wills. A wrench was discovered jammed in the controls and it was concluded that when Wills had been working on the plane the day before, he'd left the wrench in the plane, it had worked its way into the gears and jammed.

Mourning in the African American community was intense, and many Bessie Coleman clubs sprung up to encourage African Americans to fly.

But discrimation against African Americans - as well as other minorities, of ocurse - was rampant in the US at this time, and more so against African American woman, who found the same kind of descrimination against women in their own communities that white women did in theirs.

Here's a brief bio of Janet Bragg, for example, from Black Wings:
Janet Waterford Bragg was a pioneer female African American pilot whose leadership in black pilot organziations in the 1930s created opportunities for others. After graduating from high school in 1927, she enrolled in Spellman College in Atlanta and earned a degree in nursing from MacBicar Hospital on Spellman's campus. Eventually she moved to Chicago and began her nursing career.

In 1933, she enrolled in the Curtiss Wright Aeronautical School where she was the only female in an aircraft mechanics class of 24 black males. Although her race and gender provided constant challenges, she continued to pursue her passion for flying. While doing postgraduate work at Loyola University and the University of Chicago, she worked as a registered nurse at several hospitals and saved enough money to buy her first of three planes.

For $500 she purchased a plane, which she shared with other flying enthusiasts. This group, inspired by Bessie Coleman, formed the Challenger Air Pilots Association, which later evolved into the Coffey School of Aeronautics. The Association built its first airstrip in the township of Robbins, Illinois, in 1933.

Bragg encountered discrimination against women at the Tuskegee black pilot training school when she passed the flight test for her commercial license and was denied the license. She received her commercial license in 1943 at the Pal-Waukee Airport near Chicago. During World War II Bragg tried to join the WASPs but was turned down because of her skin color. In 1946, she purchased a Super Cruiser, in which she logged many hours of cross-country flying. Bragg continued to fly for pleasure into the 1970's. Her autobiography, Soaring Above Setbacks, with Marjorie Kriz, was published in 1996.

Janet Bragg tried to join the WASP and was turned down, the fictional character Ida Mae Jones succeeds because of her light skin. (There actually were two minority women in the WASP, two Chinese-Americans, Hazel Ying Lee - one of the 38 WASP who died for her country, and whose family had to fight a legal fight to allow her and her brother, a soldier killed in France on almost the same day, to be buried in a "white only" section of an Oregon graveyard (a spot they wanted because of its view overlooking the Willamette River, which they felt honored their children who had given their lives for the United States) and Maggie Gee who, after the war, became a computer programmer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.) Black women could serve in other areas of the military beginning in 1944 - for example in Ocotober 1944 the WAVES were integrated.

The first black female pilot in the Air Force was Theresa Claiborne, an Air Force brat who entered the Air Force herself and graduated from pilot training in 1982.

The book is told in the first person, and in the present tense. Here are the opening paragraphs:

December, 1941

It's Sunday afternoon, and the phonograph player is jumping like a clown in a parade the way Jolene and I are dancing. We're cleaning the Wilson house and Nat King Cole's singing on the record. It sounds fine. This is one of the best places to clean because they have a big yard and no neighbors close enough to hear our ruckus. Otherwise, working on a Sunday would be a real drag. But the Wilsons are gone for the weekend and Mr. Wilson said he'd pay extra for a clean house when he gets back. With Christmas just a few weeks away, the money will come in handy.

The story jumps forward to August, 1943

The war is not going well. Thomas has been gone for more than a year and a half, and his letters are few and far between. It's for the best, I know. Mama couldn't read more of the kind of news he'd been sending. We'd barely started fighting Japan when Germany and Italy jumped on top of us, too. The whole world's gone to war.

Thomas is a field medic for the colored infantry in the South Pacific, where we're fighting the Japanese. I don't know how he gets along. He survived the Battle of Midway just months after enlisting, and we thanked our lucky stars. But our Thomas is still on the other side of the world, where boys are dying like flies in the Augiust heat. This war looks like its here to stay.

There's more work now that the war effort is on. In addition to the Wilsons, Jolener and I are cleaning for the LaRoches and the Thibodeaux family on Camp Street. The money's good, but I'm not any closer to Chicago. Daddy's Jenny is up on blocks in the barn for the time being. Airplanes and fuel are reserved for the war effort, not for colorewd girls who dust crops without their licenses. There's not much else for me to do these days except for clean houses and keep my promise to Thomas.

Finally she is accepted by the WASP, to the anger of her mother, who resents that she has done so by passing for white (and more, of course, had to do so that way.) But Ida Mae wants to serve her country as a pilot.

The Valiant is an everyman plane, a basic trainer every WASP checks out on as an intermediate. Flying one of these across country will be like making the trip with an old friend. Twelve planes are lined up in the hangar at Boeing's Pennsylvania factory, just outside of Philadelphia. The City of Brotherly Love is just a smudge in the distance across the ice-crusted river. I'd have liked a chance to see the Liberty Bell, but I'll get plenty of sightseeing from tbhe cockpit over the next few days.

"California, here we come," Patsy says.

"I can't wait," Lily exclaims. Neither can I. It will be warm in California.

We've got our baggy flight suits on underfleece-lined leather coats, with our maps strapped to our right thighs. Flying in February isn't exactly a warm position, even with an engine-heated cockpit. A quick briefing with the commanding officer at the plant confirms our orders. These planes are due in California at the Long Beach base by Wednesday. It's Friday morning. The plan is simple - fly as fast and as far as you safely can, taking whatever pit stops you need. We'll meet up at designated sleep points along the wayt, but this isn't a conga line. It's every woman for herself, as long as we're all there by twelve o'clock Wednesday afternoon. And if I know these ladies, they will be.

I do my flight check twice, annoying the engineer.

"Lady, just get on with it. It's a new plane," he says.

"I know that, mister. And I don't care. This is my first real ferrying job. I'm not going to mess it up just because some 4-F flyboy didn't fuel her up right."

It was the wrong thing to say. The engineer glares at me. Some of these boys wanted to be pilots and didn't cut the mustard. It must burn him up to see women behind the sticks of these planes. The colored parlor maid inside me wants to duck her head and apologize immediately, and I almost do, but the pilot part of me wins. I know I'm right. I'm following procedure. I take a deep breath. Being colored, female, or both-none of that's going to help me fly this plane safely to CAlifornia. We finish the rest of the flight check in near silence. As it turns out, the plane is in perfect order. But now we both know it's true.

The author of Flygirl, Sherri L. Smith, gives her bio on her website:
Sherri has worked in film, animation, comic books and construction. Film highlights include Tim Burton's MARS ATTACKS!, where she worked in stop-motion animation -a truly cool art form. Sherri also worked for three years at Disney TV Animation, helping to create stories for animated home video projects.

After leaving Disney, Sherri found an unlikely home with a construction company, working in a triple-wide trailer on the tarmac at Los Angeles International Airport. Currently, Sherri spends her nights writing novels, and her days working at Bongo, the comic book company that brings you THE SIMPSONS in print.

She lives in Los Angeles with the love of her life, and is currently working on her next book. Her previous books are Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet; Lucy the Giant, and Sparrow.

PR: Feminine-Friendly Gear Brightens Cockpits

Powder Puff Pilot Teams with Oregon Aero

March 19, 2009, Aurora, Colorado – What happens when you cross women pilots with one of the nation’s foremost suppliers of aviation products? Pink pilot gear! That’s just what happened when Denver-based Powder Puff Pilot, a web retailer that specializes in pilot gear and accessories for women, approached Oregon Aero, Inc., designer and manufacturer of aviation products. That meeting resulted in the customization of two of Oregon Aero’s most popular products for feminine flyers: a pink version of Oregon Aero® Super Cushion® Portable Cushion, and an Oregon Aero® headset bag with just a touch of pink.

Powder Puff Pilot is the exclusive retailer of the customized Super Cushion® Portable Cushion—a hot-pink, 13 by 13-inch “piece of heaven” that makes long flights much more tolerable. “It was hard to find a seat cushion off-the-shelf that was pink, so I approached Oregon Aero about making one for us,” said Sue Hughes, who founded Powder Puff Pilot in 2008. “I always use a seat cushion when flight instructing, since many airplanes, especially the older ones, don’t accommodate those of us who are less-than-average height,” she continued, “…and why not pink?”

The Super Cushion® Portable Cushion is a logical addition to the Powder Puff Pilot product line, right next to the pink pilot logbook and pink aviation headsets. The new item supports the company’s mission—to attract more women and girls to aviation by making the cockpit just a little more female-friendly. “I was concerned that pink would show dirt,” Hughes remarked, “but when I discovered the zipper on the cushion’s washable nylon pack cloth cover, I was sold. Best of all, we can end our preflight briefing with ‘and the seat cushion can be used as a flotation device.’”

Hughes is equally enthusiastic about her Oregon Aero headset bag, which sports a Powder Puff Pilot patch on one side and an uncharacteristically pink Oregon Aero logo on the other—resulting in just enough color to distinguish it from everyone else’s bag. The durable, hand-sewn bag protects all standard-sized aviation headsets, and has an outside pocket for storing books, charts, or instrument plates.

Since 1989, Oregon Aero has designed and manufactured products for aviation, law enforcement, the military, and other industries that prevent and eliminate pain, improve impact protection, and reduce noise. Based in Scappoose, Oregon, the company is the title sponsor for Steve Oliver and Suzanne Asbury-Oliver, the nation's only husband-and-wife professional aerobatic and skywriting duo. For more information, visit

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

Deanie Parrish, age 80, shows off her legs

It's too bad she's not seated in the other direction to match the nose art of the plane.

See the complete article and more photos at:

Thursday, March 18, 2010

PR: Flying Musicians to Land at Music and Aviation Events

Fort Worth, Texas – March 18, 2010: The Flying Musicians Association, Inc., a non-profit organization, will land at several well-known music venues this spring: MerleFest in April and the Kerrville (TX) Folk Festival in May/June. Both are well-established, with over 70,000 patrons. In addition, FMA has committed to the celebrations at the Cowtown Warbird Roundup (Ft. Worth, May 22-23) and the DFW Summer Balloon Classic & Airfest (June 11-13).

MerleFest, in Wilkesboro (NC), is an annual celebration of the traditonal music of the Appalachian Region plus whatever additional styles the attendees are in the mood for.

The Flying Musicians are teaming up with the Wilkes Flying Club to establish a new venue by creating a campground at the Wilkes County Airport from April 25 through May 2nd. Primitive camping is available with a main canopy/tent for refreshments, socializing, hangar chat and, of course, jamming. Shuttle service to the festival grounds will be provided. Camping and services are free to FMA members; others will be charged a nominal fee consistent with other camping venues during the festival. Viewing the festival from above is fascinating and adds a new perspective. The Flying Musicians have created an atmosphere where enthusiasts of both aviation and music can converge to share their passions while enjoying a great music festival! That’s MerleFest 2010.

For MerleFest, an RSVP is required to reserve tiedown and camping spots.
Contact for reservations.

Good news: MerleFest has extended the Early Bird Discount Ticket Prices to April 6.

Sponsors of this event are: the Wilkes Chamber of Commerce, Wilkes County Airport, and Dove Aviation.

The Flying Musicians Association, Inc. took off in 2009 by blending two passions: flying and music. FMA was founded by two pilot/musicians, John Zapp and Aileen Hummel, who have made it their quest to encourage, promote, educate and support these two passions. The mission of the organization: “Pilot Musicians sharing their passion while encouraging and educating youth in the science and art of aeronautics and music.”

John Zapp

For more information about Flying Musicians, please visit

For more information about Wilkes Flying Club, please visit

For more information about MerleFest, please visit

For more information about Cowtown Warbird Round-up, please visit

For more information about DFW Summer Balloon Classic & Airfest please visit

For more information about Wilkes Chamber of Commerce, please visit

For more information about Wilkes County Airport, visit

For more information about Dove Aviation, visit

For more information about MX Aircraft, visit

The Lady and the Tiger, Strip #2

Click on the strip to see the full-size version.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Emily Howell Warner - request to rename an airport after her

Came across this at the Sky-Hi Daily News

Jerry Teitsma — Emily Howell Warner well known in aviation circles
To the Editor:

I am one of the pilots at the Granby Airport, I would like to encourage the renaming of the airport to include Emily Warner's name.

As a pilot, I have nothing to gain by this renaming. However, as a pilot, I am more aware than general citizenry about the nature of her accomplishments.

Much as Hank Aaron broke the color barrier in baseball, Emily broke down barriers to become the first female captain of a major airline. It was not easy — it took persistence and a thick skin to thrust herself into a man's world. Today, female pilots have a much easier time.

She is known and respected nationally for her accomplishments but just as importantly, she is well known within the Colorado and Granby pilots associations. If not Granby, I predict that her name will be used to honor another airport in Colorado.

But, why not Granby? This has been a home to her for many years and I suspect that she is as close to a national aviation hero as Granby will ever have.

Denver airport, DIA, is named after Jeppesen, a man who pioneered the printing of navigation aids for pilots in the early years. Chicago O'Hare is named after Butch O'Hare, a famous military aviator. Kremmling Airport is named after McElroy for his generosity with land donation for the airport.

Let's not lose this opportunity to add Emily Warner's name to the Granby Airport's name. It would be an honor for Granby and for Grand County.

Jerry Teitsma, RRC, RRO, CCCA


and this article from KOLD news also talks about Emily Howell Warner:
Want to fly? Tucson Ninety-Nines make it happen

Want to fly? Tucson Ninety-Nines make it happen
Posted: Mar 12, 2010 10:19 AM EST
Updated: Mar 12, 2010 12:42 PM EST
By Scott Kilbury – email

Emily Howell Warner knows her way around an airplane.

The part-time Green Valley resident has been flying planes more than 50 years

"I remember being 18 years old and riding in my first plane," Warner reflected. "I asked the captain if I could go up in the cockpit and they let me.. and it hit me ‘This is it!'"

Everyone who knows Warner know her as Captain Emily. Some even refer to her as a living legend of aviation. In 1973, Warner became the first female commercial pilot in the world when she took over the controls for Frontier Airlines.

"It's hard to believe," Warner admitted. "The first year was very difficult. I wasn't very popular. It took about a year for acceptance. It seemed to bother the flight attendants the most and I thought that was interesting."

Another hurdles for Frontier wasn't If Warner could take off in an airplane but what she would put on.

"They asked me what I was going to wear," Warner said. "I told them the pant suit was in fashion why not use it and add some stripes?"

It was only a matter of months before the other airlines and military followed suit and allowed women in the cockpits. Women were allowed to pilot military planes but not go on missions.

Warner gives some of the credit to the Ninety-Nines, a women's international organization of licensed pilots, in helping her cause. Now she helps mentor aspiring pilots.

"I like seeing others break in the business like I did," Warner said.

The Tucson Ninety-Nines awards scholarships to women getting their pilot licenses. This Saturday they're holding their biggest fund raiser. They're offering 20-minute plane rides for 15 cents a pound per person.

Juliana Rose Teal is the chairman of the local Ninety-Nines chapter, "This weekend is very important for our organization," she said. "Our scholarships depend upon it."

Jennifer Treese received one of those scholarships. She works at the Marana Airport while picking additional flying hours. "The number of women pilots is increasing," Treese said. "The scholarships the Ninety-Nines are giving out helps them."

"We hope plenty of people come out for a ride and they eat a nice big meal beforehand so they really tip the scales."

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

PR: Partnership between Eur-Avia Cannes 2010 and Daher Socata

Partnership between Eur-Avia Cannes 2010 and Daher Socata

CANNES, France, 15 March 2010: Daher Socata has announced as a partner of the 4th edition of Eur-Avia Cannes Exhibition.

The French aircraft manufacturer, a regular exhibitor and participant in the late Spring General Aviation tradeshow held annually on the French Riviera, strengthens its presence in 2010 through sponsorship of the event.

"Through its location in Cannes, international centre for general aviation between Southern Europe and Russia, with easy access for our customers and our prospects, all with a human-scale design, EUR-AVIA is the ideal place to show off the latest on our star craft, the TBM 850 high-speed turboprop, to a demanding public. In just a short time, EUR-AVIA has forged itself a place on the agenda of aeronautical events in Europe,” said Philippe de Ségovia, Director Communications and Marketing, Daher Socata.

The French company will exhibit the TBM 850, TB-20 and retrofit G-500 alongside all the major brands in General Aviation, joining such companies as Cessna, Hawker Beechcraft, Embraer, Cirrus, Diamond, Tecnam, and Pilatus, who represent some of the manufacturers who exhibit at the event, presenting their innovations.

The 2010 Eur-Avia Cannes show runs June 4, 5, and 6 on the International Airport of Cannes Mandelieu (LFMD).

About Eur-Avia:
The Eur-Avia Cannes exhibition brings together the leading protagonists in general and business aviation to allow a demanding clientéle discovery of 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, offering visitors a large and representative palette of the aeronautics industry.

Eur-Avia Cannes is southern Europe’s leading exhibition in general and business aviation.

Get your girl Aviation-centric decor... is a website that sells:

Airplane Vinyl Wall Art Decal, Girl Skywriter

Our cute skywriter airplane wall decal is perfect for a nursery or kids room. Our removable vinyl wall sticker is personalized by a very skilled little girl pilot. It's not surprising her hero is Amelia Earhart!

This sweetie will carefully write your child's name in smoke with her special skywriter airplane. She practices every day and is very good at what she does. She maneuvers the plane into fantastic positions to absolutely master the same perfect cursive handwriting techniques taught in school. This vinyl wall decal will look amazing in your child's room, above a bed/crib, or simply in a playroom to add fun!

The length of the decal will vary depending on the length of your chosen name. The airplane measures approx. 20" x 13". The two-colored layers will come pre-hand assembled, so it will apply to your wall in one easy piece. The name, along with the (3) clouds will come as separate decals.

For reference, the name "Becky" in our sample measures 30" x 11.5". This brings the total decal to measure approx. 50" x 13". The colors in the photo are Strawberry and Licorice.

Girl Skywriter Decal Kit includes:
• How-To Application Instructions
• Free Squeegee
• Free Plastic Removal Blade
• Free Surprise Gift
• (1) Girl Airplane (20.25" x 13.25")
• (3) Clouds (8" x 4")
• (1) Custom Name

To complete your order, simply enter the following info in the "MESSAGE TO SELLER" box during your checkout process:
1. Primary Color (airplane)
2. Secondary Color (pilot, wheel, prop)
3. Cloud Color
4. Name

Graphic Spaces’ wall stickers are actually a very thin, removable, matte vinyl. This decal material is manufactured by Oracal. We use the Exhibition Calendared 631 which is used in museums and other non-permanent applications. The vinyl is backed with a low-tack adhesive which allows for easy residue-free removal without any damage to the surface. These decals are removable, but not repositional, so please plan accordingly. They will last for many years if taken care of and kept out of extreme heat and direct sunlight. In addition to excellent indoor durability, the product has a minimum 3-year outdoor durability guarantee as well. A variety of colors are available and look expertly hand-painted on any wall or smooth surface.

Added on Mar 12, 2010

Costs $50.

Remember, girls need flight plans, not fairy tales!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Chinese women fighter pilots, and more

First, from September 17, 2009
China's female fighter pilots brace for debut flight on National Day
BEIJING, Sept. 17 (Xinhua) -- Sixteen female fighter pilots are expected to make a debut during the upcoming National Day Parade on Oct. 1.

As the country's first group of female fighter pilots, they graduated from the No. Three Flying College of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force in April. Their first task is to take part in the National Day Parade.

"They have so far undergone more than 100 hours of flight training for the parade," said Jiang Ming, team leader for the group and also deputy dean of the No. Three Flying College, which had nurtured Shenzhou-7 astronauts Zhai Zhigang and Liu Boming who orbited the earth for three days in September last year.

According to statistics of PLA air force, China is among the 16countries in the world to have female pilots in active service. And China is one of the eight countries to have female fighter pilots.

PLA air force started enrolling female pilots in 1951 and has successfully trained about 300 women cargo-transport plane pilots.

China also concluded the preliminary selection of candidates of the country's second batch of astronauts on Thursday. They included 30 men and 15 women who are all air force pilots.

Among the candidates, five men and two women would be chosen to join the space program. And "it is the first time that women are among the candidates for astronauts," authorities said.

The preliminary selection had been conducted by the PLA Air Force since May. Applicants had undergone through physical and psychological examinations.

PLA Extends Pilot Training to High Schools

China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force has launched a program to train talented high school students as pilots, military sources said on Monday.

The Air Force had begun a special class in Baoding No. 1 High School, in Hebei Province, to train selected students, Wu Mou, director of the Air Force's bureau responsible for pilot recruitment, told Xinhua.

Twenty-four students from the first grade at the senior high school, will take special physical trainings to improve their flexibility, coordination and balance.

They will also take aviation education programs along with the standard curriculum and operate paramotors and gliders in aviation clubs to gain flying experience.

The students were selected from 350 candidates from 59 high schools in the province after a series of physical and psychological exams.

To become a member of the class, a candidate had to meet strict requirements for height (162cm to 175cm), weight (45kg to 48kg), have a an excellent sense of three-dimensional space and eyesight, according to a regulation issued by the Air Force.

The qualified students should have no criminal record and no girlfriends, according to the regulation.

The PLA Air Force recruits about 1,000 pilot trainees each year mainly from graduates of high schools, colleges and universities. Those graduates from the Air Force's special class need to pass the national college entrance examination before being recruited.

The PLA has trained students with outstanding physical and psychological capabilities at the last year of senior high school since 1998. The class in Baoding No. 1 High School is the first for the Air Force to put the training in an earlier phase.

Wu said the Air Force planned to set up 10 more special classes at the first year of senior high schools around the country by 2012.

The PLA Air Force planned to recruit about 1,100 pilot trainees this year from China's high school and college graduates.

The Air Force recruitment offices around the country received about 7,000 more applications than last year with greater attention and enthusiasts among Chinese youth thanks to the high-profile demonstration of the air shows on the National Day parade and a series of celebrations to mark the Air Force's 60th founding anniversary in 2009.

On Oct. 1 last year, 151 military aircraft, mainly from the PLA Air Force, showcased the largest air fleet in the history of National Day parade of the People's Republic of China.

The Spring Festival Evening Gala for the Chinese lunar new year last month starred the 16 female fighter pilots who flew their jets on the National Day parade.

"To ensure the Air Force selects the best candidates among increasing applicants eager to fly a fighter jet one day, we will introduce harder scrutiny methods, especially in the psychological examinations," Wu said

"The 38" WASP Posthumously honored

There are only about 300 surviving WASP who received (or will receive) Congressional Medals thanking them for their service during World War II. However, the WASP who have passed away were honored as well, including the 38 who died during the war.

One of these was Marian Toevs, and her story was told by the Fresno Bee today.

WWII honors rekindle a family's bond with lost kin
When Congress honored the female pilots of World War II by awarding them gold medals last week, one posthumous honoree was Marian Toevs (rhymes with waves,) who died in a plane crash while assigned to Lemoore Army Air Base.

She was one of 38 "fly girls" who died flying in the Women Airforce Service Pilots program.

The Bee morgue has this Feb. 18, 1944 story with a San Jose dateline: Crash Kills Woman Pilot.

"A 26-year-old woman pilot of the Army's ferry command died in the crash of a single engined military plane near here today.

"She was identified by Otto Toevs, a resident near the scene of the accident, as his niece, Mariam Toevs, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John E. Toevs of Aberdeen, Ida."

The ceremony in the nation's capital has revived her memory for her family.

"She was very athletic," said younger cousin Margie Chally, who lives in Davis and grew up with Marian in Idaho. "She was quite involved in school sports in Aberdeen. She was on the basketball team, she was a swimmer and she played tennis."

After teachers college, Marian taught in White Salmon, Wash.

"She got the bug that she wanted to fly," Chally said. "She was a pretty determined woman."

She took lessons, got into the WASP program and was assigned to Lemoore on Dec. 17, 1943, flying BT-13 bomber trainers around.

Sadly, the plane crashed near the home of her aunt and uncle near San Jose.

Her aunt "went out there and held her in her arms when she breathed her last," Chally said. Chally said she doesn't know what caused the crash, but family members were told that BT-13 aircraft were difficult to control. Marian was one of only two WASPs trained to fly the aircraft, a family member said.

"Her death was incredibly hard for my grandmother," said nephew Gordon Toevs, 58, of Washington, D.C., born after the war. "She was the only daughter."

Gordon and a cousin attended Wednesday's ceremony and received the gold medal on behalf of the Toevs family. The invitation, from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, arrived in Aberdeen.

Nephew Ritchey Toevs, 55, a potato farmer in Aberdeen, said Marian taught in rural Idaho, and he has met people who were her students.

"They all mention how fun she was, how much they enjoyed her," he said.

Ritchey gave his youngest daughter the middle name Marian in honor of the aunt he never knew.

The gold medal has given the family a new appreciation for her, he said: "Even I, 67 years later, now feel an unexpected bond to Marian."

Mar 3, 1944 newspaper account of her funeral

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Lady and the Tiger, strip #1

Click on the strip to see the full-size version.

The Lady and the Tiger is my comic strip featuring Shannon Scott, a young freelance writer who gets the opportunity to fly around the country attending airshows in a Tiger Moth.

Marine pilots featured at the Women in Aviation Expo

From the Mariners website:

Marine Corps diversity on display at WAI

3/1/2010 By Cpl. Michael S. Darnell, Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island

The countless women pilots who have written their legacy in the skies were honored at the 21st Annual Women in Aviation International Conference, held in Orlando, Fla., Feb. 25-27.

There, dozens of displays and seminars were dedicated to the women who have made careers out of breaking down barriers in a male-dominated career field.

From booths dedicated to the Women Air Force Service Pilots, the very first women to fly for the military, to commercial airlines workers, nearly every conceivable group was represented.

The Marines were there in support of the WAI, and its ideals of strength through diversity – an ideal the Corps shares.

“If you don’t change, if you’re not flexible at all, you’re going to fail. That’s not something the Marine Corps does,” said Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Holbrook, the assistant diversity coordinator for the Marine Corps. “Being diverse gives us more flexibility and more points of view … having that diverse pool of people to draw from is critical.”

To highlight why that concept is so important, the Marines were represented at the conference by a few legends of the Marine aviation field, all of whom are highly decorated female officers.

They were women such as Lt. Col. Sarah Deal, the very first female Marine pilot, Capt. Jill Stephenson, the first women Marine to fly the EA-6B Prowler into combat and Maj. Jennifer Marino, a highly-decorated CH 46E Sea Knight pilot who is now part of HMX-1, the squadron that transports the President of the United States.

While each pilot in attendance was dedicated to the ideals of the WAI conference, and each carried multiple combat deployments under their belts, they all had one qualification they were most proud of – the Eagle, Globe and Anchor.

“Being in this position, it makes us feel proud, sure,” Marino said. “Not because we’re female, but because we’re Marines.

“We’re setting the good example because we’re performing the way the Marine Corps demands, we’re performing the way we’re expected to as Marines.”

Those expectations have changed since 1995 when Deal stepped onto the flight deck as the first Marine female “winged.”

“The Navy had female pilots before then, but the Marines had none – we had to start from ground zero,” Deal explained. “Being the first was lonely.”

Deal said in the beginning, gaining acceptance among Marine pilots was difficult. It took years to prove to the Marines around her that she deserved her spot in the flight rotations.

Deal has cemented her reputation as one the most experienced aviators in the Corps, logging more than 1,600 flight hours. Along the way she has opened doors for the pilots who have followed.

“The Marine Corps says, ‘We don’t care what your race, sex or background is,’” said Capt. Elizabeth Pham, a F/A-18 Hornet pilot with VMFA-AW 242. “All they care about is that you’re the best pilot you can be.

“But we’re here because of the women before us, and our peers around us now,” Pham added.

Nor, the pilots said, would they be able to be successful without both the support of the Marines around them and the diverse nature of the modern Corps.

“We wouldn’t make it without the support of our brothers and sisters in our squadron,” Marino said. “Like everything else in the Corps, it’s a challenge, it’s difficult, but to meet those challenges all you have to be is a professional. You just have to be a Marine.”

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Here' Video of the WASP Congressional Medal Ceremony

Three weeks ago....the planning to get as many surviving WASP as possible to the ceremony [Women in Aviation, International appealed to its members to help send the Womens Air Force Service Pilots from WWII to Washington, D.C. March 10, where they will be accepting their Congressional Gold Medal at the Capitol. AirTran Airways (corporate member) stepped up with airfare for every WASP and a companion. And WAI members reached into their pockets to help with cash, too. [I myself contributed $30 via their website. Not much, but the very least I could do]]:

Speaker Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Republican Leader John Boehner, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, and other Members of Congress hosted a Congressional Gold Medal ceremony today in the Capitol in honor of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) of World War II. This video is of the Speakers remarks.
(Well, it was posted by Nancy Pelosi's office, so it is mainly of Nancy Pelosi. Nevertheless.... )

The Women Airforce Service Pilots that served during World War II are set to receive a Congressional Gold Medal. Former WASP, Bernice "Bee" Haydu talks about her experience and meets with Holly Hutchinson, a modern-day female pilot:

Below, a two-minute clip of news coverage of a couple of local women receiving the medal: The recognition was a long time coming, but for Mildred Doyle and Suzanne Parish, the wait was worth it.

They and about 1000 other women were members of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) during World War II. Now, they received the Congressional Gold Medal

Rep. Phil Hare speaks on the House floor to honor Moline native Geraldine Jordan who is posthumously receiving the Congressional Gold Medal for her role as a Womens Airforce Service Pilot during WWII.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Women Airforce Service Pilot WASP videos

Frontiers of Flight, Dallas, Texas-- WASP Deanie Parrish's remarks on behalf of the WASP-- at the ceremony honoring the TEXAS WASP.

Nancy Parrish, Director Wings Across America and creator of the Fly Girls exhibit speaks--WASP speak.

Clips from WASP in documentary Blue Horizon

Major Nicole Malachowski in a wheelchair during WASP ceremony

From left are: Malachowski, journalist Tom Brokaw, House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio, Parrish, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky.

Female WWII pilots get overdue recognition
The photo shows Deanie Parrish receiving her medal. Nicole Malachowski is in the wheelchair. The article doesn't say why, but you can see that she's got a foot in a cast, so it's clear she just has a broken foot, and nothing of a more serious nature.

EDITED: She slipped on some ice near her home and broke her leg. When she went to the hospital, she discovered that she was pregnant with twins! Congrats Nicole!

As I said in an earlier Obama, he was off preaching to Unions in West Virginia...still,it was nice that Brokaw was htere, Mitch McConnell and John Boehner. More importantly, at least the ladies got their medals, athough several will have to be delivered to some of those who were unable to make it.

I hope there will be video posted on YouTube shortly.

From the article:
The 90-year-old [Barbara] London gained fame flying military aircraft built in Long Beach and Southern California into combat zones during World War II. She was one of the first to respond to the call for duty in 1942, when females were allowed for the first time to fly the dangerous flights.

As one of 25 charter members of the Air Transport Commands Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron, she shuttled several hundred new military planes to various bases from Long Beach's Douglas Aircraft Co., now part of the Boeing Co.

London, who began her aviation career in Seattle, on the swing-shift assembly line at the plant where Boeing built left wings for the B-17, was the only woman pilot from World War II to receive the Air Medal.

On Tuesday, London was flown from her home in San Jose by her granddaughter Kelly Rinehart. Rinehart is a corporate pilot who lives in Goleta, and is a volunteer for Angel Flight West. London's daughter, and Kelly's mother, Terry Rinehart, who is also a groundbreaking aviatrix was one of the first women hired as a commercial airline pilot and the first ever to fly for Western Airlines. She is now retired from Delta Airlines.

(I title my post as I did because I've been getting some search hits on Malachowski and wheelchair, and I figured I'd make a post about it pointing out that I don't really know...but it does seem obvious she just has a broken foot and nothing more debilitating).

On the 100th anniversary of the first woman to earn a pilot's license...

In Washington, a couple hundred surviving WASP were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal - the country's highest civilian award.

Female WWII aviators honored with gold medal
WASHINGTON – A long-overlooked group of women who flew aircraft during World War II were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal on Wednesday.

Known as Women Airforce Service Pilots, or WASPs, they were the first women to fly U.S. military planes.

About 200 of these women aviators, mostly in their late 80s and early 90s and some in wheelchairs, came to the Capitol to accept the medal, the highest civilian honor bestowed by Congress.

In thanking them for their service, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said these women pilots went unrecognized for too long.

So.... no President Obama? Well, he's busy travelling the country talking to Unions about Obamacare... Meantime, it was George Bush who pinned the medals on the surviving Tuskegee Airmen, who were awarded medals in 2006, and although Reagan signed the paperwork to award medals to the Navajo code talkers, it was Bush who presented them in person, too.

But the WASP get Nancy Pelosi.

Having said that, some of the WASP were present when Obama signed the final paperwork on July 4, 2009. (jeez, so much paperwork!) The young brunette at the far right is Major Nicole Malachowski, the first woman pilot in the Thunderbirds Air Force demonstration team. None of the women in the photo are identified in any news report I've seen that had the photo, except obliquely (
"A reservist from the 459th Air Refueling Wing was selected to visit the White House Oval Office and witness as President Barack Obama signed into law a bill to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the Women's Airforce Service Pilots on July 1 at the White House for their invaluable service to the nation more than 60 years ago.

Major Kara Sandifur, KC-135 Pilot with the 756th Air Refueling Squadron was one of five current female Air Force pilots who joined WASPs Elaine Danforth Harmon, Bernice Falk Haydu and Lorraine H. Rodgers in the White House Oval Office.

"I was honored to be there," said Maj. Sanidfur. "It was an unforgettable experience and I eagerly await the day the women are officially awarded their gold medals."

Found the White House website that says who was in attendance, but again, doesn't really ID the women so that you know who each one is! (Perhaps one is to assume that they are ID'd left to right. I know for sure the one on the far right is indeed Malachowski.)

Women’s Airforce Service Pilots
Elaine Danforth Harmon
Lorraine H. Rodgers
Bernice Falk Haydu

Active Duty United States Air Force Pilots
Colonel Dawn Dunlop
Colonel Bobbi Doorenbos
Lieutenant Colonel Wendy Wasik
Major Kara Sandifur
Major Nicole Malachowski

Here's video of the Bill that Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson introduced 11 months ago.

No video yet at YouTube of the presentation.

The WASP, while forgotten until the 1970s, have long been pursued by admirers who wanted to document their exploits. Many books have been written, and audio histories are available.

Check out:
WASP on the Web:
Women Air Force Service Pilots:

Monday, March 8, 2010

Women mark 100 years in aviation by taking to skies

I blogged about this Women's Centennial of Flight earlier, and the work of women, and men, around the world to get girls up into airplanes. Now, local newspapers are sharing the story as well, as March 10 is only days away!

Women mark 100 years in aviation by taking to skies
Taunton Daily Gazette, Taunton, Massachusetts

A local flight school is encouraging women of all ages to earn their wings next week and possibly help set a world record in the process.

As part of the 100th anniversary celebrating the first woman to earn a pilot’s license, Atlantic Aviation at Taunton Municipal Airport is offering deeply discounted flights for aspiring female aviators from March 6 through 12.
“We will be flying short flights to women of all ages throughout the week in an effort to attract young women to becoming a pilot,” said Atlantic Aviation owner Deanna King.

The promotion is part of an international commemoration of the day when Raymonde De Laroche, an experienced French balloonist, received her pilot’s license on March 8, 1910.

All females taking to the sky on March 8 will be part of a worldwide attempt to set a record for the most women pilots introducing women to flying in a single day.

During each flight, the female pilots explain how airplanes fly and take passengers through the proper preparations for a safe flight. After a short introductory airplane ride, each woman pilot and each woman passenger will receive a certificate of participation in the potentially record-setting event.

The celebration is one of many aviation-themed events in Taunton this year. Last month, members of the famous all-black World War II fighter squadron, the Tuskegee Airmen, visited the Old Colony Historical Society.

The exhibit “Soaring to New Heights: Aviation in Taunton, 1919-2009,” which details the history of the former King Airport and air travel in Taunton, runs through March 27 at the historical society.

For information on the female aviation event call Deanna King at 508-979-7878.

Contact Tim Faulkner at

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Aviation Engine Ringtones

I've been playing around with ringtones lately, and got the idea to do aviation engine ringtones. (There are aviation-centric ringtones out there, but they seem to all be related to error messages in the cockpit, not the sound of engines.)

It's harder than I thought to find these... this post will be an ongoing document so bookmark it if you're interested.

They are all MP3 files. To download, right click on link and SAVE TARGET AS. To listen, just click normally.

Stuka Dive Bomber
Spitfire Engine runup
Harrier Vertical Lift Off Ringtone
Japanese Zero with Original Engine

For anyone named Mr. Chambers
Don't get on that ship! The rest of that book, to serve man... It's a cookbook!

For those who get calls from Germany
This is Germany calling. This is Germany calling. (From Green for Danger)

Never, ever try a backblast
The backblast backlash will bounce back and destroy everything

And for those with a science fiction bent:
This is the Voice of the Mysterons
Queen to Queens level 3, captain Kirk?
I assume you play chess?
Stand by for action. Stingray crew to report to control tower immediately
Anything can happen in the next half hour

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Fran Bera: Winningest Women Air Race Pilot

View the video:

For my Kindle subscribers, hop on your computer and visit: (or just go to YouTube and do a search on Fran Bera)

Reference Library: AOPA Pilot, December 2009 TOC

AOPA Pilot, December 2009 TOC

Bound for the Bahamas, Thomas A. Horne
Safety Pilot Landmark Accidents: Comfortable and Complacent, Bruce Landsberg
Captive No More, Phil Scott
Let's Go Flying Sweepstakes: As Good as it Gets, David Hirschman
2010 Sweepstakes: Meet Your New Fun Machine, Jill W. Tallman
GA Serves America: The Accidental Aviator, Mike Collins
The Resurrection (Lone Star Flight Museum), Stephen Coonts
AOPA Medica Services Program: Don't Get Lost, Julie Summers Walker
Technique: How To Get an A in C and D, Alton K. Marsh
Turbine Pilot: RNP Primer, Marc Henegar
Wx Watch: Icing Intensities, Thomas A. Horne
Avionics: The Aera Era Begins, Dave Hirschman

President's Position: Flying Healthy
Letters: Rotten Air
Waypoints: The Future of Engine Controls
Proficient Pilot: The Left Seat
Pilotage: Rough Riders
License To Learn: A turn for the better
Pilot Counsel: Pilot and Aircraft Documents
Fly Well: Making medical matter

Hangar Talk: The Story behind the story
AOPA online: Exclusives online
AOPA Action: Power of GA reaches senate
Let's go flying: Dog day afternoon
Frugal Flier: Backseat learning
Pilot Briefing: Humans 500, Bears 0
Never Again: Heart attack aloft
Test pilot: Tracking Santa
Pilot Products: New GPS resouces from Max Trescott
Fly by Wire: Index of Advertisers
Pilots: Dan Sorkin

Friday, March 5, 2010

The 1947 Powder Puff Derby

The first Powder Puff Derby Race took place in 1929, and featured 20 pilots including Amelia Earhart, Louise Thaden, Ruth Nichols, Marvel Crosson, Pancho Barnes, and so on. It was held in conjunction with the National Air Races being held in Cleveland that year.

There was no such race held the next year.

In 1935, women were allowed to compete against the men in the Bendix Trophy Race. In 1936, Louise Thaden and Blanche Noyes won this race.

During WWII, of course all air racing stopped.

After the war, the Powder Puff Derby race was revived.

The 1947 race perhaps doesn't really count, as only two teams participated. The race began in Palm Springs, California and ended in Tampa, Florida. It was termed the Amelia Earhart Memorial Derby.

The Florida Chapter of the Ninety-Nines, full of WASP, founded the Florida All-Woman Air Show and invited races to terminate in Tampa as part of the show.

Unfortunately, further details were not sent out, so that when the time came, only two entries from the California Ninety-Nines began the race. Mardo Crane was the chairwoman of the race.

Dianna Bixby was to fly her military A-26 bomber and Caroline West, with co-pilot Bea Medes, flew a Eurocoupe.

As it turned out, Bixby had engine problems and never even got started, but West and Medes completed the entire journey. It took 21 hours and 45 mintues. It was only when they touched down in Tampa that they learned that Bixby had never started.

From this inauspicious beginning, the Powder Puff Derby began and would run for 30 years (with one miss in 1973 due to the oil shortage), with the final race taking place in 1977.

At its height, over 100 women would take part in the race each year.

After the Powder Puff Derby (more officially known as the All-Women's Transcontinental Air Race (AWTAR) ended, a scaled-down all-women's race was intorduced called the Air Race Classic.

The 2010 Air Race Classic, or ARC, will take place from June 22 - 25, 2010, from Fort Myers, FL to Frederick, MD.

Award-wise, the Air Race Classic started in 1977 with an $8,550 purse for the top-ten crews, with additional leg prizes for those finishing outside the selected group of ten. The awards have been increased over the years, so that the current top-ten purse is $15,000.

In 1947, Carolyn West and Beatrice Medes, who only participated in this race out of all of them, flew from Palm Springs to Tucson, AZ, Tucson to El Paso, TX, El Paso to Dallas, Dallas to Shewveport, LA, Sheveport to Monroeville, Al, Monroeville to Cross City, FL, Cross City to Dunellen, and Dunellen to Tampa.

The winners were awarded trophies and cash to cover their gas and oil for the round trip back to California.

The start committee had consisted of Mardo Crane, Dee Thurmond, Irma "Babe" Story, and Helen Hooper Moore.

2 New Books Added to Our Library

The Winged Victory: Women in Aviation library has added two more books:

High, Wide and Frightened, the autobiography of Louise Thaden, published in 2004 by the University of Arkansas Press, and The Roaring 20: The FIrst Cross-Country Air Race for Women.

Unfortunately both of these books, which I purchased used from Amazon, are library de-accessions. My gain, but the loss of every girl and woman - or guy - who might have visited this particular library and been able to read these books.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

PR: Specials at the Red Prop Pilot Store

Here's the promo code to use through March, for 15% off: RPPS1

2H Innovations’ New Satisfaction-Driven Pilot Store does it differently with store-backed guarantee

Orlando, Florida – March 3, 2010: 2H Innovations, parent of the innovative ArmBoard system for pilots, has launched a pilot store with an important difference: a full 12-month guarantee on all merchandise, backed by the store itself.

“We’ll fix or replace anything defective, and we’ll assume the battle,” promises founder and president, Hussein Aboul-Ezz. “We know our customers are busy, and we know the manufacturers are busy. We believe that, as the ‘middleman,’ we can make both our suppliers and our customers better off by offering this guarantee. There are no hassles for customers – they get immediate turnaround, and their problem is gone!”

Of course, the fact that Red Prop handles only top-quality merchandise makes the job easier; but any product can develop a problem. “We just don’t think that those problems should be our customer’s problems,” Aboul-Ezz says.

Building on the success of their innovative ArmBoard (introduced in the fall of 2008), the new online pilot store offers high quality aviation products, pilot and aircraft supplies and training materials.

The online store,, offers quick navigation with a vibrant and seamless zoom to aviation products. The on-line store serves a wide range of aviation enthusiasts from student to professional pilots, as well as satisfying the general public’s interest in aviation-related gear.

About 2H Innovations
2H Innovations is family-owned and -operated, and is located in Orlando (FL). The company was initially formed to market the innovative ArmBoard, developed under the belief that the constrictiveness and space requirements of a traditional knee board are uncomfortable and inconvenient. (The ArmBoard delivers everything a traditional knee board does, minus the space requirements and the discomfort; it continues to be a best seller in the new Red Prop Pilot Store.)

Customer Service: 866-735-9276


Monday, March 1, 2010

Violet the Pilot: 4 books

Powder Puff Pilot has introduced four new children's books featuring Violet the Pilot:

Violet the Pilot Book Series
By Bettina Bathe

"Violet the Pilot was a happy and fun girl. Gliding on a jetstream to another world. Her smile took you to the Stratosphere where the moon said hello to her on a sandy beach...."

In this four-book series, Violet the Pilot flies different types of aircraft on travel adventures all around the world. Her journeys take place in:

Winter - in the Arctic on a ski plane
Spring - in Hawaii on a helicopter
Summer - in Canada on a floatplane
Fall - in France on a hot air balloon
Traveling with three devoted animal friends, Violet collects other animals and plays musical instruments in each adventure. She always encounters weather and a wide range of geography too!

Softcover, recommended for ages 5 to 9.