Friday, April 30, 2010

PR: Trisoft Aircraft Covers: Practical, Versatile Damage and Injury Prevention

Trisoft Aircraft Covers:
Practical, Versatile Damage and Injury Prevention
Trisoft Aircraft Covers, a favorite at big maintenance facilities and with US and foreign militaries, has begun expansion into the owner, corporate, and smaller-facility market, including MRO and FBO facilities.

Trisoft covers protect both the aircraft (for example, trailing edges, gear doors) and employees (prop tips, antennae), with a unique foam cover that stays in place, fits well, and (unlike much of the competition or home-brew solutions) is both fuel and UV resistant.

Joe Garland, President and founder, saw the need for both kinds of protection when he ran an aircraft-washing business. “We saw aircraft damaged by very light contact with maintenance stands and ladders; and we were always aware of the injury potential posed by the sharp edges that are all over high-performance aircraft. Cheap and makeshift covers break down in sunlight; they dissolve in fuel; and sometimes they actually stick to the paint, causing as much damage as they prevent.”

The patented Trisoft covers are fuel and UV-resistant, and are die- and waterjet-cut from foam in a high-visibility red color that vividly contrasts with most aircraft. Certain covers are furnished with “Remove Before Flight” tags. They protect people and capital during manufacturing, maintenance, cleaning, preflight, ground handling; or any time the aircraft is near people or equipment.

Trisoft covers last for years and fit multiple aircraft; a small assortment will protect many different aircraft. Trisoft triangular covers and bumpers (available in 72” lengths to protect long and short trailing edges, gear doors, antennae, or wing and propeller tips, easily cut to length) are generally shipped immediately, from stock. Additional uses can include things like door edges and openings – or tail rotor blades – anywhere personnel or aircraft protection is an issue.

Trisoft Covers Inc.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Haiti pilots recognized by U.S. senators

From the Alaska Dispatch:

Now, where's the news in the papers in the Lower 48???

Haiti pilots recognized by U.S. senators

After the country of Haiti was smashed apart by a mighty earthquake in January, general aviation pilots swooped in to give whatever help they could.
General aviation pilots flew over 4,500 flights in the month following the earthquake, according to a press release from Sen. Mark Begich's office. Begich is a member of the Senate's general aviation caucus.

"With Haiti's transportation network in ruins, general aviators from across the country selflessly volunteered their time, money and most importantly their planes, to help ship over one million pounds of cargo and supplies to the people of Haiti," Begich said. "This resolution is a meaningful way to recognize their contributions and encourage their continued generosity."

If you're a Bush Pilot regular, you've known about this for months now. Bush Pilot contributor Matthew Keller wrote a number of posts about his brother flying a helicopter around Haiti. When Zach got back home this is what he had to say.

By God's grace I was healthy the whole time, and the helicopter worked flawlessly. We flew 18 people to the hospital for medical emergencies. We also flew medical supplies, food, and medical teams. We did several survey flights to assess the need for medical attention and water in remote villages, and just a couple of beach landings to take a quick swim. It was an amazing experience that I feel privileged to have been a part of.

From Begich's press release:

Founded in September of last year, the Senate General Aviation Caucus works with pilots, aircraft owners, the aviation industry, and relevant government agencies to promote a safe and vibrant environment for general aviation. Alaska has an estimated six times as many pilots and 16 times as many aircraft per capita as the rest of the country. There are over 220,000 GA aircraft and 650,000 certified pilots in the U.S.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Women Pilot's Milestones for 26 April - 2 May

May 1911
A Belgian female pilot, Helene Dutrieu, wins the Coppa del Re (Kings Cup) after beating 14 male rivals.

30 April - 12 May 1963
American Betty Miller makes the first transpacific solo flight by a woman. The 4-stop flight is from Oakland in California to Brisbane in Australia.

1 May 1963
Jacqueline Cochran, flying a Lockheed TF-104G Starfighter sets a new 100 kilometer closed circuit world speed record for women of 1,937kph (1,203mph).

Found this at:

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Cessna finding new ways to build airplanes

Cessna re-examines airplane building in quest for new efficiency
After losing half of its orders and half of its jobs in the downturn, Cessna reports a sweeping new strategy for efficiency that has involved a new approach to its production line. Changes have included raising jet wings to a vertical position to allow technicians to move around them more quickly, improving customer service, and acquiring and attaching the most expensive parts last to reduce the holding time for higher-priced inventory. "We said 'Let's go re-examine how we build airplanes and how we can become better at it'," said Jack Pelton, Cessna's CEO. "Not only has it affected the cost of quality, which the customers will view positively, but it also will help our employees." CNN (4/23)

Despite Cessna Q1 loss, corporate profits getting stronger: With order rates meeting expectations and cancellations slowing for Cessna, the company is looking beyond its first quarter earnings. Cessna posted $433 million in revenue in the first quarter revenue, down 43% from the same period a year ago, and a $24 million loss, compared to a $90 million profit a year ago. "We really do see a lot of small business and corporate activity coming back," said Scott Donnelly, president and CEO of Cessna parent company Textron. He noted that sales picked up in the last part of the quarter: "We believe that the cycle is going to follow the normal course. We see the right early indications, including most recently, corporate profits getting stronger." The Wichita Eagle (Kan.) (4/23)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Airplane Encyclopedia: Wright Flyer III

The Wright Flyer III was the third powered aircraft built by the Wright Brothers. Orville Wright made the first flight with it on June 23, 1905. The Flyer III had an airframe of spruce construction with a wing camber of 1-in-20 as used in 1903, rather than the less effective 1-in-25 used in 1904. The new machine was equipped with the engine and other hardware from the Flyer II and was essentially the same design and same performance as Flyers I and II.

Note the elevators are in the front of the plane (and it's called a plane because the wings, at this point, are called planes).

They almost doubled the size of the elevator and rudder and moved them about twice the distance from the wings. They added two fixed vertical vanes (called "blinkers") between the elevators (but later removed) and widened the skid-undercarriage which helped give the wings a very slight dihedral. They disconnected the rudder of the rebuilt Flyer III from the wing-warping control, and as in most future aircraft, placed it on a separate control handle. When testing of Flyer III resumed in September, improvement was immediate. The pitch instability that had hampered Flyers I and II was brought under control. Crashes, some severe, stopped. Flights with the redesigned aircraft started lasting over 20 minutes. The Flyer III became practical and dependable, flying reliably for significant durations and bringing its pilot back to the starting point safely and landing without damage.

On October 5, 1905, Wilbur flew 24 miles (38.9 km) in 39 minutes 23 seconds[2], longer than the total duration of all the flights of 1903 and 1904. Four days later, they wrote to the United States Secretary of War William Howard Taft, offering to sell the world's first practical fixed-wing aircraft.

To keep their knowledge from falling into competitors' hands, the Wrights stopped flying and disassembled the airplane on November 7, 1905.

For this reason, when the brothers first went to France 2 and a half years later to show off their aircraft, they were scoffed at by the French who hadn't believed their stories. But... seeing is believing.

Having won American and French contracts to sell their airplane in 1908, they refurbished the Flyer with seats for a pilot and passenger and equipped it with upright control levers. They shipped it to North Carolina and made practice flights near the Kill Devil Hills from May 6 to 14, 1908 to test the new controls and the Flyer's passenger-carrying abilities.

On May 14, 1908 Wilbur took up mechanic Charles Furnas, making Furnas the first passenger the brothers ever flew. Orville also flew with Furnas for four minutes. Orville's flight with Furnas was seen by newspaper reporters, hiding out in the sand dunes, who mistakenly thought both Wilbur & Orville were flying together. Later that day, Wilbur was flying solo when he moved one of the new control levers the wrong way and crashed into a sand dune, suffering bruises. The Flyer's front elevator was wrecked and the practice flights ended.

Flyer III was left in the North Carolina hangar unrepaired. In 1911 the Berkshire Museum of Pittsfield, Massachusetts obtained virtually all of the components from both the abandoned Flyer and the 1911 Wright glider, but never assembled or exhibited them. The parts of the 1905 aircraft remained in Massachusetts for almost forty years, until Orville requested their return in 1946 for the Flyer's restoration as a central exhibit at Edward A. Deeds' Carillon Park in Dayton, Ohio.

Some Kitty Hawk residents also possessed pieces of the 1905 airplane; Deeds and Orville also obtained many of these for the restoration. At the end of the 1947-1950 restoration process, craftsmen estimated that the 1905 aircraft retained between 60 and 85% of its original material.

The 1905 airplane is now displayed in the Wright Brothers Aviation Center at Carillon Historical Park and is a part of Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park. The restored 1905 Wright Flyer III is the only fixed-wing aircraft to be designated a National Historic Landmark by an act of Congress.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Airplane Encyclopedia: Wright Flyer II

The Flyer II was the second powered aircraft built by Wilbur and Orville Wright, in 1904. The design of the Flyer II was very similar to the original 1903 Flyer, but with a slightly more powerful engine and construction using white pine instead of the spruce they used in the 1903 machine as well as the gliders of 1900-1902. An important change was reducing the wing camber to 1-in-25 from the 1-in-20 used in 1903. The brothers felt that less camber would reduce drag though less lift was actually achieved. With these alterations Flyer II was heavier by some 200 pounds than the 1903 machine.

The Wrights tested the new aircraft at Huffman Prairie, a field outside of Dayton, Ohio, which is now part of Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park and also part of the present-day Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. They flew the 1904 machine 105 times that season, ultimately achieving flights lasting five minutes. They succeeded in flying full circles on some of these flights, which Wilbur accomplished for the first time on September 20. Also by September they had enlarged the front elevator which partially remedied the Flyer's undulations and sudden darting for the ground. Likewise as of September 7 they began using a weight and derrick(catapult) to assist the Flyer on takeoff when the winds were down or had changed direction in conjunction with the position of their launching track.

The Wrights disassembled the airframe of the Flyer II during the winter of 1904-05. They salvaged the propeller chain drive, its mounts, and the engine. The tattered fabric, wing ribs, uprights and related wooden parts were reportedly burned (according to Orville's memory) in the early months of 1905. The salvaged propeller parts and the engine went into the new airframe of the Wright Flyer III.

Note that the Flyers I and II were launched into the air via a "launch rail" rather than taking off under their own power, and had no wheels. They would skid to a halft on the ground.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Airplane Encyclopedia: The 1903 Wright Flyer

This aircraft was the first powered aircraft designed and built by the Wright brothers. They flew it four times on December 17, 1903 near the Kill Devil Hills, about four miles south of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, U.S.

The U.S. Smithsonian Institution describes the aircraft as "the first powered, heavier-than-air machine to achieve controlled, sustained flight with a pilot aboard."

It needs all this qualifications because plenty of people prior to the Wrights were trying to develop powered, controlled flight... and either they had the control but not the power, or power but not control. The Wright Flyer put it all together, with the Wright's "wing-warping" innovation, which they would patent. It was a patent they would fight for, too, as will be revealed in later installments.

One key thing about this plane to note is that the pilot lay face down at its center.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Why no Astrid figurine?

Let's say you're a girl. And you've just gone to see How To Train Your Dragon. And you really liked the character Astrid, the girl Viking who is the best dragon fighter in the training class. (Hiccup is better, but he's cheating, he knows Dragons don't like eels, and he knows they are trainable.)

Astrid is pretty, she's strong but feminine, she's smart, everything a little girl would like to be (one hopes.)

So you go to a Walmart with your parents, intending to pick up an Astrid figurine, and maybe even the rest of the characters - both the boys and the dragons...

And what do you see? The only character not available is Astrid!

Well, you decide maybe you'll get an Astrid t-shirt. You can't even do that. But there is a T-shirt with brother and sister Vikings Tuffnut and Ruffnut. (Ruffnut being the girl.) Tuffnut has his sister in a headlock and appears to be giving her head an Indian burn. The text on the T-shirt? "Only the strong can join!"

So what is this saying - "hey girls, don't you dare try to get involved in baseball, football, fencing, playing with us guys when we play "How to train your dragon," because you're not strong enough?

I find this all infuriating. It reminds me of a few years ago, when the last Pirates of the Caribbean came out, and all the toys that accompanied. There was a series of notebooks, with Jack Sparrow and WIll Turner. But Elizabeth Swann, in her really, really cool Chinese armour outfit? No - she doesn't appear in the series at all!

Having said that, I've just checked Amazon and there are a couple of Elizabeth Swann action figures. So that's something at least.

Nevertheless, back to the notebooks. I like buying notebooks, and what I'd really like to do is buy notebooks with female role models on them. And you can get Wonder Woman covers, but that's it. There's a Batwoman, Batgirl, The Invisible Girl, Black Widow...plenty of female characters they could choose, but they don't. It's Batman, Superman, a variety of other characters, but only Wonder Woman for the girls.

But for the younger movie-going audience, for the 4 - 8 age group that probably loves How To Train Your Dragon, there's no Astrid to be found.

Rosie The Riveter: Website

Rosie the Riverter Memorial Park
Designed by visual artist Susan Schwartzenberg and landscape architect/environmental sculptor Cheryl Barton, the Rosie the Riveter Memorial: Honoring American Women's Labor During WWII is the first in the nation to honor and interpret this important chapter of American history.

An estimated 18 million women worked in WWII defense industries and support services including steel mills, foundries, lumber mills, aircraft factories, offices, hospitals and daycare centers.

Over 200 people including over 200 "Rosies" attended the dedication ceremony on October 14, 2000. Developed for an existing waterfront park, Schwartzenberg and Barton's design recalls the history of shipbuilding at Richmond's Kaiser Shipyards, the largest and most productive of the war.

Sited at the former Kaiser Shipyard No. 2, the memorial evokes the act of constructing the ships with mass-assembly techniques adopted by Kaiser to make ships in Richmond more quickly, and the process of reconstructing memories of women who worked on the home front.

Selected through a 1998 competition open to West Coast artists, the team describes their design as a "construction metaphor exploring the symbolic connection between building ships and the reconstructive processes of human memory."
The principal component is a walkway, the length of a ship's keel, which slopes toward the San Francisco Bay and aligns with the Golden Gate Bridge.

The path is inscribed with a timeline about the home front and quotes from women workers sandblasted into white granite. Sculptural elements of stainless steel encountered on the walkway are drawn from ship's blueprints and suggest the unfinished forms of hull, stack and stern under construction.

Two gardens - one of rockrose and one of dune grass - occupy the location of the ship's fore and aft hatches.

Porcelain enamel panels on the hull and stack reproduce memorabilia and letters gathered from former shipyard workers during the course of the Memorial project, along with photographs of women at work in jobs across the nation.

The panels, quotes and timeline illustrate the complex opportunities, challenges and hardships faced by women during the war years, including gender discrimination, hazardous working conditions, food rationing, and shortages of housing and childcare.

The Memorial was commissioned by the City of Richmond and the City of Richmond's Redevelopment Agency

Monday, April 12, 2010

1st Lt. Aleda E. Lutz, Army flight nurse

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—On Saturday, April 17, five former military members with Michigan connections will be enshrined into the Air Zoo’s Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame. The Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) and author Andrew Layton will also be honored during the ceremony.

The 2010 Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame enshrinees include:

Aleda E. Lutz to be enshrined in Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame

Lutz was born in Freeland. While enlisted in the Army Nurse Corps, she participated in six separate battle campaigns over a 20-month period, flew combat missions, and conducted all-weather medical evacuations in Tunisia, Italy and France. On November 1, 1944, she was fatally injured in a Medevac C-47 crash near St. Chaumon, France.

At the time of her death, Lutz was perhaps the most experienced flight nurse in the U.S. military service. She had the most evacuation sorties (196), most combat hours flown by any flight nurse (814) and the most patients transported by any flight nurse (3500+). Lutz has been honored with an 800-patient hospital ship—the USAHS Aleda E. Lutz—and a C-47 cargo plane christened Miss Nightingale III in her honor.

In 1990, Saginaw Veterans Hospital was rededicated as the Aleda E. Lutz Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The oldest flying Boeing in the world - restored Boeing 40

These photos have been making the email rounds, so thought I'd share them here:

"This is as it should be -- passengers in closed cabin, pilot in open cockpit so he will stay awake. The airplane is in Spokane, WA and is the oldest flying Boeing in the world."

After 8 years of repair and rebuilding, and 8,000 hours of toil, the Boeing 40C rolled out last winter as a finished airplane, but it took a few weeks for the snow to melt before it was taken out of the hangar. Project personnel received the Standard Airworthiness Certificate from the FAA and completed the engine pre-oil and fuel flow tests for the first of the taxi tests.

Facts about the Boeing 40 project:
221 1/2 gallons of dope/reducer and 120 yards of 102 ceconite fabric.
12 gallons of poly urethane paint for the sheet metal.
The wings have 33,000 individual parts in them.
The airplane weighs 4080 lbs empty and has a gross weight of 6075 lbs..
It is 34 ft long and 13 feet tall with a wing span of 44 1/2 feet.
Wing loading is 10 lbs per sq ft and power loading is 10 Pounds per HP.. It should cruise at 115 mph using 28 GPH, and 32 GPH at 120 mph. It carries 120 gallons of fuel in three tanks.
350 two-inch brushes were used to apply 6 gallons of West Systems epoxy, and 181 rolls of paper towels were used for cleanup.
A total of 62 volunteers worked on the project to some degree, 21 of whom performed a significant amount of work, and nine of them worked on the plane continuously throughout the 8-year project.

PR: Alto 100: All-Metal SLSA to Debut at Sun ’n Fun

Alto 100: All-Metal SLSA to Debut at Sun ’n Fun

Targeted at flight schools and serious cross-country LSA owners, the Alto 100 will make its US debut at Sun ’n Fun in Lakeland, Florida, starting on April 13. In this heavily-populated class, the Alto 100 needs to do a lot to stand out. So it does.

It hits the maximum values for the class in speed and weight, and it has all the best class features and components: a 100hp Rotax 912S engine and Sensenich carbon fiber ground adjustable prop; Matco wheels and brakes; a 7” Dynon Skyview EFIS/EMS glass; PS Engineering intercom; electric pitch and roll trim; and its all-metal construction features internal corrosion protection for long life – all in the base model, and all for $99,995. “Advanced” and IFR models are also available, ranging to $115,284. Options, including advanced Garmin navigation and comfort items like a bronze-tinted canopy and leather, are also available.

Ron Corbi, President of Corbi Air, the importers and US support for the Alto 100, said, “Dan Coffey and I knew that we had to bring more than just a high-quality, good-flying airplane to a field that already had so many entries. We have that with the Alto 100. It is a machine that distinguishes itself in its manners, its practicality, its capability, range -- and its level of attention to pilot/owner needs.”

What makes the Alto 100 better than the competition, other than its overall clean and robust design? Detail, like all Teflon-coated wiring, to withstand high temperatures, as certified aircraft use. Detail, like a glovebox on the passenger side on the Basic model that may be replaced by a second glass panel in the Advanced and IFR models – and note another detail: all Alto 100s are fully prewired utilizing Vertical Power’s VP-50 electronic switch and circuit breaker system and Fast Stack’s Pro-G Hub for painless upgrades at any time. Dozens of significant details all add up to result in an airplane that is “the class of the class,” without making a mockery of the spirit of affordable flight promised by the LSA movement.

Myriad practical items abound, from thoughtful connectors in the wiring harness, to cockpit layout and amenities, to dozens of other details that attendees at Sun ’n Fun will appreciate next week!

Corbi Air will be in Sun ’n Fun’s new hangar, in space EH41. The public and dealers are invited.


Salem, Ohio, USA

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Hanadi Al-Hindi, one of the “100 Greatest Women in Aviation”

From the Saudi Gazette

A story of great courage and indeed heroism for Hanadi Zakaria Al-Hindi. In Saudia Arabia, women aren't allowed to drive a car, let alone pilot a plane. But Hanadi, like Bessie Coleman a little less than a century ago, did not let the naysayers stop her, and travelled to a different country to pursue her ambition. (And unlike Bessie Coleman, Hanadi's life could actually be in danger because of her refusal to conform to female stereotypes in Muslim countries like Saudi. Who knows when some fanatic Saudi might not decide Hanadi needs to be taught a lesson before she "infects" other Saudi women?

DREAMING of being able to drive a car was never enough to satisfy the high hopes of Hanadi Zakaria Al-Hindi, 33, who broke through the boundaries facing women in the Kingdom by becoming the first female Saudi commercial pilot.

The rules and restrictions preventing women in the Kingdom from undertaking what is considered to be a man’s job only served to encourage Al-Hindi to strive until she succeeded in the career that she had chosen.

“My father always dreamt of having one of his children becoming a pilot, so I decided to get a private jet license even though I knew that I would not receive any official support from my country when I studied to get the license in Jordan,” Al-Hindi said.

Born and raised in Makkah where people place great importance on following Islamic rules and the old customs, Al-Hindi faced rejection from her relatives after she decided to become a pilot.

“I lived a normal life in Makkah and studied at Umm Al-Qura University until 1998 when I discussed with my father the possibility of becoming a pilot. That was the real turning point in my life,” she said.

According to Al-Hindi, she gave up everything for the sake of making her father’s dream come true.

She left university where she was studying English literature in 2001 to study in Jordan’s Middle East Academy of Aviation.

“I spoke with the manager of the academy about the possibility of becoming a student, and he said that it was the first time he had had a request from a Saudi woman and, therefore, he insisted on speaking with my father to make sure that I had my family’s permission,” she said.

Al-Hindi described her first solo flight in 2004 as the beginning of her actual career. “Two days after my solo flight, I discovered that my name was all over the world and that I had become a celebrity. I had calls from my family and friends saying that everyone was talking about the first female Saudi pilot,” she said.
Getting a private pilot’s license was hard work and affected Al-Hindi’s life in ways that she had not expected. Some of her relatives did not want her to meet with their daughters out of fear that she would change their lifestyle and way of looking at the world.

However, she insisted on completing what she had started.

“After I came back from Jordan with a private pilot’s license, I felt that I wanted to make flying airplanes my career for which I needed to study to get a commercial pilot’s license. All of which made me realize that I needed to be sponsored by someone to get a scholarship,” she said.

People that Al-Hindi knew introduced her to Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, who offered his support.

“Prince Alwaleed gave me a scholarship, and with his support, I was not worried about the future,” Al-Hindi said. “Before I even received my commercial license, Prince Alwaleed offered me a job as a pilot in his Kingdom Holding Company,” she added.

However, what was difficult for Al-Hindi was not being able to do her job in her own country.

“I was not registered as a pilot with the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) which is why I was not able to fly in my country, and that was really difficult, being a pilot who cannot fly in her own country,” she said.

However, Al-Hindi can write her name proudly in history as she has been included in the book “The 100 Greatest Women in Aviation”, which contains biographies of famous female pilots from the dawn of aviation until today.

The book documents the story of the struggle of women to be allowed to fly airplanes from 1910 until 2009.

In the book, Hanadi Zakaria Al-Hindi was described as the first Saudi woman to get a pilot’s license, in a country where women are still not allowed to drive.

“Although I am grateful for being listed among the 100 greatest women in aviation, I still do not feel that I have fulfilled all my hopes and dreams and that I want to do more for my country,” Al-Hindi said.

After working for several years between Jordan and London, Al-Hindi in 2008 returned to the Kingdom due to her health problems.

“I discovered that I had a kidney stone and had surgery done in the United Kingdom, after which I developed several complications that affected my health and stopped me from flying,” she said.

Al-Hindi returned to the Kingdom and underwent several abdominal surgeries. “I feel better now and hope that I can fly again soon,” she said. “I feel lost without flying but will not return to my job until I feel completely healthy again,” she explained.

Al-Hindi is also thinking of undertaking a flight related job, such as flight dispatcher or flight instructor, which will allow her to be the first in her country for a second time. –SG

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Video: Women in Aviation Conference - why aviation as a career?

From Aero-News Network:

WAI Conference Attendees Offer Their Perspectives on the Aviation Industry
On February 25th through February 27th, 2010, the Women in Aviation International organization held their 21st annual conference; over 3,000 women and men gathered at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort to celebrate the 2010 WAI Conference theme, "Aviation Its a Small World." Developed in 1990, Women in Aviation, International is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the encouragement and advancement of women throughout aviation career sectors and interests.

WAI's year-round assistance provides networking, education, mentoring, and scholarship opportunities for all who seek careers in the aviation and aerospace industries, both women and men. Additionally, WAI strives to promote public education on historical contributions of women within the aviation industry. Looking towards the future, WAI remains fiercely dedicated to the further advancement of women in aviation. The organization's 8,000+ membership includes a wide-range of industry representatives including astronauts, corporate pilots, maintenance technicians, air traffic controllers, flight attendants, air show performers, educators and students; through this extensive international membership network, WAI offers a diverse base for both personal and career development opportunities, particularly for women within the industry.

In an effort to optimize these networking opportunities, Women in Aviation, International began annual WAI conferences, holding the first gathering in 1990. Now, twenty years later, the WAI conferences remain a crucial hub for both career advancement and education.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Warbirds at New Zealand Air Show

Just came across this article from a New Zealand paper. There was a German woman wing-walker involved...:

Warbirds over Wanaka exceeds expectations

Wanaka Airport, April 2 to 4.

A Japanese fighter was supposed to be the drawcard at the weekend's Warbirds Over Wanaka air show, but a bunch of Australians and a madcap Lithuanian stole the show.

The Japanese A6M3 Mitsubishi Zero was still an impressive sight. Piloted by former United States Marine flyer Colonel Stephen W Barber, it amply demonstrated how this agile and powerful warplane gave the Japanese a dog-fighting edge early in World War 2.

But the show-stopper routines came from four Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18 Hornet multi-role jet fighters, which beat up the airfield with a series of mock-attack passes at almost 1000kmh.

Later, a single F/A-18 came back with All Black captain Richie McCaw in the co-pilot's seat. He declared via a radio transmission from the cockpit that he was having a ball.

Still later, the Australians returned for a display in which the 17-metre jets, with a wing span of 12.4m, performed precision aerobatics with as little as two metres between them.

Another crowd-pleaser was Lithuanian pilot Jurgis Kairys, the archetypal magnificent man in his flying machine – in this case the Juka stunt plane he designed himself. Kairys' aerial clowning was breathtaking, and culminated in a corkscrew roll around a low-flying DC3.

In such company, the distinctive sweet-sounding growl of the Mark IX Spitfire's Merlin engine seemed almost a sentimental distraction.

Belonging to the family of New Zealand Battle of Britain ace Alan Deere, and bearing his insignia, the Spitfire would usually have been worth a trip to Wanaka in itself. Here, flown by former RNZAF pilots Wing Commander John Lanham and Squadron Leader Sean Perrett, its relatively low billing served to underline the depth of quality in this year's air show.

The aeroplanes just kept coming, flying almost continuously for two hours in the morning and nearly three in the afternoon. When did we last get to see 11 Harvards in formation? Or seven Yaks?

And where in one place could you find all these, plus flying examples of Tiger Moths, two Kittyhawks, a Corsair, a de Havilland Vampire, an Aero L-39 Albatross, two Mustangs, a Catalina, and more, along with the aerial displays of the Royal New Zealand Air Force and two helicopters dancing a pas-de-deux?

For added novelty value, German wing-walker Peggy Krainz recreated the old barnstorming tradition by climbing on top of a Boeing Stearman, flown by her partner Friedrich Walentin, and then clambering her way out on to the wings.

One of the Australian pilots, Squadron Leader Grant Taylor, told reporters on the ground that Warbirds was "a nice little niche airshow", which is probably accurate in world terms.

However, it is firmly established as New Zealand's premier air show and one that delivers beyond all expectations.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Pam Ann Safety Video (hilarious comic videos from a stewardesses perspective)

I really, really dislike YouTube's new layout. It's supposed to make things easier - at least, I think that's what it's supposed to be, but of course now it's impossible to find anything.

Pam Ann is apparenlty a comedy series of skits on the aviation industry. Here are a few videos from it. That's all I know. Well, also that they're British (or maybe Australian????), and have a British sense of humor. (And they're very popular, if the amount of people who've watched them, most average over 100,000 hits.)

Friday, April 2, 2010

Four women in orbit will set a new record

NASA astronaut Clayton Anderson shares smiles with the three women on the shuttle Discovery's crew after their arrival at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. Naoko Yamazaki (a Japanase astronaut) and Stephanie Wilson are at left, and Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger is at right. Another woman astronaut, Tracy Caldwell Dyson, is already on her way to the International Space Station.

Four women in orbit will set a new record
Men still outnumber women more than 2-to-1 aboard shuttle and station

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Space is about to have a female population explosion.

One woman already is circling Earth in a Russian capsule, bound for the International Space Station. Early Monday morning, NASA will attempt to launch three more women to the orbiting outpost — along with four men — aboard shuttle Discovery.

It will be the most women in space at the same time.

Men still will outnumber the women by more than 2-to-1 aboard the shuttle and station, but that won't take away from the remarkable achievement, coming 27 years after America's first female astronaut, Sally Ride, rocketed into space.

A former schoolteacher is among the four female astronauts about to make history, as well as a chemist who once worked as an electrician, and two aerospace engineers. Three are American; one is Japanese.

But it makes no difference to educator-astronaut Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger's 3-year-old daughter Cambria.

"To her, flying is cool. Running around is being cool. Just learning and growing up as a kid is cool. There aren't a lot of distinctions, and that's how I want it to be," said Metcalf-Lindenburger, 34, who used to teach high school science in Vancouver, Wash.

Indeed, the head of NASA's space operations was unaware of the imminent women-in-space record until a reporter brought it up last week. Three women have flown together in space before, but only a few times.

"Maybe that's a credit to the system, right? That I don't think of it as male or female," said space operations chief Bill Gerstenmaier. "I just think of it as a talented group of people going to do their job in space."

Discovery's crew of seven will spend 13 days in space, hauling up big spare parts, experiments and other supplies to the nearly completed space station. It's one of four shuttle flights remaining. Monday's liftoff time is 6:21 a.m. ET.

Metcalf-Lindenburger and Japanese astronaut Naoko Yamazaki, both rookies, will become the 53rd and 54th women to fly in space — and the 516th and 517th spacefarers, overall. Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the world's first space traveler in 1961. The Soviet Union followed with the world's first spacewoman in 1963: Valentina Tereshkova.

"I'd love to have those numbers be higher," said astronaut Stephanie Wilson, 43, who will be making her third shuttle flight. "But I think that we have made a great start and have paved the way with women now being able to perform the same duties as men in spaceflight."

Wilson became the second black woman in space in 2006; one other has since followed her.

Yamazaki will become the second Japanese woman to fly in space. Dr. Chiaki Mukai was the first in 1994.

Perhaps even more astounding, at least in Japan, Yamazaki's husband quit his space station flight controller's job to follow her career and help care for their 7-year-old daughter.

"It is very rare. In Japan, it's general for men to work and for women to stay at home," Yamazaki, 39, said. Just as she was inspired by Mukai, "hopefully, I can inspire younger women as well."

Rounding out the foursome will be Tracy Caldwell Dyson, who was launched aboard a Soyuz rocket from Kazakhstan on Friday with two Russian men. They will arrive Sunday and settle in for a six-month stay.

Caldwell Dyson, 40, who has a doctorate in chemistry, grew up in Southern California assisting her electrician father. She wasn't sure what to do with her life until she learned that a schoolteacher was reaching for the stars. Christa McAuliffe died trying; she was killed along with six others aboard Challenger in 1986.

McAuliffe, a high school teacher, also inspired Metcalf-Lindenburger, who was 14 years old when she attended Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala., several years after the Challenger launch accident.

Now it's Metcalf-Lindenburger's turn to ride a rocket.

"Of course, the shuttle has its risks. But we've tried to make it as safe as possible, and there are so many things that we gain from it and there are so many reasons to fly it," she said.

Metcalf-Lindenburger was a young earth-science and astronomy teacher when she stumbled onto NASA's want ad for astronaut-educator in 2003. A student had asked how astronauts go to the bathroom in space, and an embarrassed Metcalf-Lindenburger promised to look up the answer.

Today she's no longer fazed by toilet questions.

"My daughter is just potty training, and now I talk about it on a daily basis," she said with a chuckle.