Monday, May 30, 2011

A Poem for Memorial Day

He's talking about soldiers, but let us not forget the 38 WASP who made the ultimate sacrifice in WWII, the men and women of the ambulance corps and other services who have been killed in wars since the beginning of time, and of course the women (and men of course) who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan.

They died for honor and country.

The young dead soldiers do not speak.
Nevertheless, they are heard in the still houses:
who has not heard them?
They have a silence that speaks for them at night and when the clock counts.
They say: We were young. We have died.
Remember us.
They say: We have done what we could but until it is finished it is not done.
They say: We have given our lives but until it is finished no one can know what our lives gave.
They say: Our deaths are not ours: they are yours, they will mean what you make them.
They say: Whether our lives and our deaths were for
peace and a new hope or for nothing we cannot say,
it is you who must say this.
We leave you our deaths. Give them their meaning.
We were young, they say. We have died;
remember us.
Archibald MacLeish, 1941

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Where is Jackie Cochran's Monocoupe?

From a message board called The Straight Dope
Jackie Cochran's Monocoup

In 1937, she [Jackie Cochran] had a Monocoupe custom-built to fly as her personal aircraft. This plane was very fast, although not enough to enter in the Bendix competition. It was also quite the handful to fly and eventually crashed, killing another pilot who was flying it at the time. At this point, the plane (or its wreckage anyway) seems to have been forgotten.

During our examination and test flight of the purchase aircraft, he mentioned his small collection of aircraft in a nearby hangar and offered to give us a tour. I followed him through a small door into the hangar, and when he turned on the lights, this is what I saw. You guessed it… back in the corner is Jackie Cochran’s custom-built 1937 Monocoupe. He acquired the remains several years ago, and has completely rebuilt it. He uses this machine as his “daily-driver” (so to speak).
A great deal of the parts are original, although a significant portion had to be built from new, due to crash damage. It is still certified as “experimental” and according to him it is capable of at least 250 knots (288 mph). For the pilots, the airspeed indicator has no limitation markings. No white or yellow arc, no redline. Whether this is a product of its age, or the experimental category, I don’t know.

Of course the author of this piece doesn't say who the guy is! All we know is he's in the Dallas Fort Worth area.

Flying Sorcery - Inspired by Amy Johnson

Al Stewart - who is apparently rather big in music circles but whom I only know from Year of the Cat, wrote a song called Flying Sorcery, inspired by Amy Johnson.
Amy Johnson CBE, (1 July 1903 – 5 January 1941) was a pioneering English aviator. Flying solo or with her husband, Jim Mollison, Johnson set numerous long-distance records during the 1930s. Johnson flew in the Second World War as a part of the Air Transport Auxiliary where she died during a ferry flight.

I share the Youtube video and the lyrics. Truth to tell I can't stand to listen to this song, his vocal technique gets on my nerves. Maybe if it was sung by someone else it would have been a better hit...

With your photographs of Kitty Hawk
And the biplanes on your wall
You were always Amy Johnson
From the time that you were small

No schoolroom kept you grounded
While your thoughts could get away
You were taking off in Tiger Moths
Your wings against the brush-strokes of the day

Are you there?
On the tarmac with the winter in your hair
By the empty hangar doors you stop and stare
Leave the oil-drums behind you, they won't care
Oh, are you there?

Oh, you wrapped me up in a leather coat
And you took me for a ride
We were drifting with the tail-wind
When the runway came in sight

And the clouds came up to gather us
And the cockpit turned to white
When I looked the sky was empty
I suppose you never saw the landing-lights

Are you there?
In your jacket with the grease-stain and the tear
Caught up in the slipstream of the dare
The compass roads will guide you anywhere
Oh, are you there?

The sun comes up on Icarus
As the night-birds sail away
And lights the maps and diagrams
That Leonardo makes

You can see Faith, Hope and Charity
As they bank above the fields
You can join the flying circus
You can touch the morning air against your wheels

Are you there?
Do you have a thought for me that you can share?
Oh, I never thought you'd take me unawares
Just call me if you ever need repairs
Oh, are you there?

Early life
Johnson was born in Kingston upon Hull and was educated at Boulevard Municipal Secondary School (later Kingston High School) and the University of Sheffield, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics. She then worked in London as secretary to the solicitor, William Charles Crocker. She was introduced to flying as a hobby, gaining a pilot's "A" Licence, No. 1979 on 6 July 1929 at the London Aeroplane Club under the tutelage of Captain Valentine Baker. In that same year, she became the first British woman to obtain a ground engineer's "C" licence.

Aviation career
Her father, always one of her strongest supporters, offered to help her buy an aircraft. With funds from her father and Lord Wakefield she purchased G-AAAH, a second-hand de Havilland Gipsy Moth she named "Jason", not after the voyager of Greek legend, but after her father's trade mark.

Johnson achieved worldwide recognition when, in 1930, she became the first woman to fly solo from Britain to Australia. Flying her "Jason" Gipsy Moth, she left Croydon, south of London, on 5 May of that year and landed in Darwin, Australia on 24 May after flying 11,000 miles (18,000 km). Her aircraft for this flight can still be seen in the Science Museum in London. She received the Harmon Trophy as well as a CBE in recognition of this achievement, and was also honoured with the No. 1 civil pilot's licence under Australia's 1921 Air Navigation Regulations.

In July 1931, Johnson and her co-pilot Jack Humphreys, became the first pilots to fly from London to Moscow in one day, completing the 1,760 miles (2,830 km) journey in approximately 21 hours. From there, they continued across Siberia and on to Tokyo, setting a record time for flying from England to Japan. The flight was completed in a de Havilland Puss Moth.

In 1932, Johnson married famous Scottish pilot Jim Mollison, who had, during a flight together, proposed to her only eight hours after they had met.

In July 1932, Johnson set a solo record for the flight from London to Cape Town, South Africa in a Puss Moth, breaking her new husband's record. Her next flights were as a duo, flying with Mollison, she flew G-ACCV "Seafarer," a de Havilland Dragon Rapide nonstop from Pendine Sands, South Wales, to the United States in 1933. However, their aircraft ran out of fuel and crash-landed in Bridgeport, Connecticut; both were injured. After recuperating, the pair were feted by New York society and received a ticker tape parade down Wall Street.

The Mollisons also flew in record time from Britain to India in 1934 in a de Havilland DH.88 Comet as part of the Britain to Australia MacRobertson Air Race. They were forced to retire from the race at Allahabad because of engine trouble.

In May 1936, Johnson made her last record-breaking flight, regaining her Britain to South Africa record in G-ADZO, a Percival Gull Six.

In 1938 Johnson divorced Mollison. Soon afterwards she reverted to her maiden name.

Second World War
In 1940, during the Second World War, Johnson joined the newly formed ATA, whose job was to transport Royal Air Force aircraft around the country – and rose to First Officer. (Her ex-husband Jim Mollison also flew for the ATA throughout the war.)

On 5 January 1941, while flying an Airspeed Oxford for the Air Transport Auxiliary from Blackpool to RAF Kidlington near Oxford, Johnson went off course in adverse weather conditions. Reportedly out of fuel, she drowned after bailing out into the Thames Estuary. Although she was seen alive in the water, a rescue attempt failed and her body was never recovered. The incident also led to the death of her would-be rescuer, Lt Cmdr Walter Fletcher of HMS Haslemere.

A memorial service was held in the church of St. Martin's in the Fields on 14 January 1941.

Disputed circumstances
There is still some mystery about the accident, as the exact reason for the flight is still a government secret and there is some evidence that besides Johnson and Fletcher a third person (possibly someone she was supposed to ferry somewhere) was also seen in the water and also drowned. Who the third party was is still unknown. Johnson was the first member of the Air Transport Auxiliary to die in service. Her death in an Oxford aircraft was ironic, as she had been one of the original subscribers to the share offer for Airspeed.

However, in 1999 it was reported that Tom Mitchell, from Crowborough, Sussex, claimed to have shot the heroine down when she twice failed to give the correct identification code during the flight. He said: "The reason Amy was shot down was because she gave the wrong colour of the day [a signal to identify aircraft known by all British forces] over radio." Mr. Mitchell explained how the aircraft was sighted and contacted by radio. A request was made for the signal. She gave the wrong one twice. "Sixteen rounds of shells were fired and the plane dived into the Thames Estuary. We all thought it was an enemy plane until the next day when we read the papers and discovered it was Amy. The officers told us never to tell anyone what happened."

Honours and tributes
The KLM McDonnell Douglas MD-11 named Amy Johnson.During her life, Johnson was recognised in many ways. In June 1930, Johnson's flight to Australia was the subject of a contemporary popular song, "Amy, Wonderful Amy", composed by Horatio Nicholls and recorded by Harry Bidgood, Jack Hylton, Arthur Lally, Arthur Rosebery and Debroy Somers. She was also the guest of honour at the opening of the first Butlins holiday camp, in Skegness in 1936. From 1935 to 1937, Johnson was the President of the Women's Engineering Society.

A collection of Amy Johnson souvenirs and mementos was donated by her father to Sewerby Hall in 1958. The hall now houses a room dedicated to Amy Johnson in its museum. In 1974, Harry Ibbetson's statue of Amy Johnson was unveiled in Prospect Street, Kingston upon Hull where a girls' school was named after her (the school later closed in 2004).

Public edifices to Johnson's honour includes the "Amy Johnson Building" housing the department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering at the University of Sheffield is named after her. The "Amy Johnson Primary School" situated on Mollison Drive on the Roundshaw Estate, Wallington, Surrey, is named after Johnson and built on the former runway site of Croydon Airport. Street names named in her honour include

"Amy Johnson Avenue", a major arterial road in Darwin, Australia connecting the Stuart Highway to Old McMillan's Road
"Amy Johnson Avenue" in Bridlington, East Riding of Yorkshire
"Amy Johnson Way", close to Blackpool Airport, in Blackpool, Lancashire
"Amy Johnson Way" in the Rawcliffe area of York
"Mollison Way" in Queensbury, London.
Other tributes to Johnson include a KLM McDonnell-Douglas MD-11 named in her honour and "Amy's Restaurant and Bar" at the Hilton Stansted, London named after her.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Passenger Keeps Her Cool, Fellow Pilot Helps Out

A 70-year old pilot became hypoxic. His wife, equally elderly, didn't panic and managed to follow instructions from a pilot in another plane, before her husband recovered and landed the plane.

I wouldn't say that the wife "took over" the was on autopilot, nevertheless it took great courage to keep her cool!

Wife takes over plane when pilot-husband can't fly
DENVER – A woman whose pilot-husband was having trouble breathing and speaking took over the controls of a small airplane during a flight from California to Colorado and flew toward a nearby airport while receiving guidance from ground controllers and another pilot, authorities said.

The Federal Aviation Administration released audio and a transcript of the May 17 incident on Thursday.

"Have you ever flown an aircraft before?" asked the other pilot, who was flying a Great Lakes Airlines flight in the area and was in radio contact with the woman. "Do you have any experience?"

"No," the woman replies.

The Great Lakes pilot then instructed the woman on how to turn on the autopilot function and begin a controlled descent.

"Hang on, I'm trying to get him to put auto ... autopilot," the woman said. "I don't know how to do this."

The FAA declined to release the names of the pilot and the passenger, citing privacy concerns, and the specifics of the man's medical problem weren't available. The single-engine Cirrus SR22 is registered to the Colorado Springs-based Alcar Aviation. Records at the Colorado Secretary of State show the registered agent for the business is Albert Briccetti.

The couple was flying from San Bernardino, Calif., to Colorado Springs, Colo. The woman spoke to KCNC-TV in Denver on Wednesday about the ordeal.

"I was terrified — terrified," she said.

During a routine conversation earlier in the flight, an air traffic controller in Longmont, Colo. — Charlie Rohrer — noticed that the single-engine plane's 70-year-old pilot appeared to have difficulty breathing, KCNC reported. The woman said her husband was slurring his speech and was unable to push the buttons.

The plane then began to make erratic maneuvers, and as Rohrer tried to get back in touch with the small plane, the Great Lakes pilot — who was on the same radio frequency — offered assistance to Rohrer.

Rohrer told the Great Lakes pilot that he believed the smaller plane's pilot was having trouble functioning because he was hypoxic, a condition that results from a lack of enough oxygen. Both the pilot and his wife were wearing oxygen masks because of the Rocky Mountain altitudes.

With the Great Lakes pilot's help, the woman flipped on the autopilot function. But at one point, the plane swerved away from its emergency landing route and headed toward the high terrain of the San Juan mountains in southwestern Colorado.

"We're going down," the woman said. "I don't know where."

Rohrer then told the woman to turn away from the mountains, and eventually the plane headed toward lower terrain. As the plane dropped in elevation, the woman said her husband was becoming more lucid.

The husband came on the radio and indicated he would continue his course to Colorado Springs. But Rohrer warned that, to do that, he would have to climb to 17,000 feet and risk becoming hypoxic again.

"OK, you're still not, uh, sounding like you're very coherent," Rohrer said. "Suggest heading (to) Farmington."

The pilot later landed the plane safely in Farmington, N.M.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

WASP: Ethyl Meyer Finley Deleware Military History: Ethyl Meyer Finley
Some 1,100 Americans were Women Air Force Service Pilots (WASP) in World War II. Thirty-eight died in the line of duty.

Ethel Meyer Finley (1921 - 2006) was a WASP. A native of Minnesota, she won her pilot’s license in 1940 in her senior year in college. Her instructor was world-famous Max Conrad.Invited into the military, Ethel Meyer won her WASP wings in September 1943. She qualified in 12 different types of aircraft and ferried planes from factories, test-hopped planes after repairs, and taught male cadets to fly.

“The WASP instructors were the outstanding members of the squadron,” stated an official report at Shaw Field, S.C. Ethel and Air Corps Colonel James A. Finley married following disbandment of the WASP. Frequent visitors to Rehoboth, where his family had a home, they moved permanently in 1980. The Finleys had two daughters and a son. Col. Finley died in 1988.

Active in the WASP WWII organization, Ethel has served as national president and as editor of WASP News. She served two terms as director of Region One, which includes Delaware. She is now responsible for the region’s newsletter and air show participation.

She was on the board of the Air Mobility Command Museum Foundation. She holds the
Trailblazer Award of Delaware for her work in establishing half-way houses for women and for service on the Delaware Commission for Women. Ethel Meyer Finley of Rehoboth Beach, DE, died on February 24, 2006 at the home of her daughter in Forked River, NJ. She was 85.

Mrs. Finley, who was born in Lake City, MN, lived on a farm near there until graduating from high school in 1937. She earned a bachelor’s degree in science, mathematics and physical education from Winona State Teacher College, and she was the first woman at the school to participate in the Civilian Pilot Training program, training with renowned aviator Max Conrad. She taught school for a year before she learned she could not earn a living and have enough left to fly planes, so she went to work operating the Link trainer at the airport in exchange for flying time.

In March, 1943 she entered the army as a member of the Women Air Force Service Pilots (WASP). She was one of about 1,000 women who were the first to serve as U.S. military aviators. She trained military pilots, logging more than 1000 hours of flying before the WASP were disbanded in December, 1944.

While in the Army she met James A. Finley Jr., from Media, PA and Odessa, DE, and they were married in December, 1944.

She left aviation to raise a family, living in West Virginia and Pennsylvania before settling in Summit, NJ in 1952. They lived there for 30 years, and she became active in women’s affairs by starting halfway houses for women recovering from substance abuse.

After moving to Rehoboth Beach Mrs. Finley again became active with the WASP
organization. She served a variety of positions and continued to travel to national air shows and events throughout the country telling the story of the women aviators and encouraging young women to follow their dreams. She was president of the organization 1992-1994, during which time Congress granted the women veteran’s status.

She received the Delaware Trailblazer Award in 1995 and was named to the Delaware
Aviation Hall of Fame in 2001. She is a member of the Board of Directors of Wright Flight Youth Program in Tucson, AZ, and served on the Dover Air Mobility Museum Foundation Board. For seven years through 2005, she organized the WASP activities at the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Fly-In in Oshkosh, WI and the national Sun and Fun Air Show in Lakeland, FL.

In Delaware, Mrs. Finley remained active in the women’s affairs, serving on the Delaware Commission for Women and helping to establish Tau House and Houston Hall in

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Katherine Sui Fun Cheung—Aviation’s first female Asian-American pilot

The Epoch Times: Katherine Sui Fun Cheung—Aviation’s first female Asian-American pilot

It was through flying that she defied the laws of gravity—and cultural and gender stereotypes.

Katherine Sui Fun Cheung was born in Canton, China on December 12, 1904. She was 17 when she immigrated to America’s west coast in 1921 to live with her father, a Los Angeles businessman.

Intent on pursuing a career in music, Cheung enrolled at the University of Southern California (USC) and went on to earn a degree in academic piano from the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music. She continued her education at California State Polytechnic University in Pomona.

Course Shifted by Fate
Cheung’s life direction was to change dramatically. While being taught to drive by her father in a parking lot adjacent to southern California’s Dycer Airport, Cheung’s attention was riveted by the allure of planes taking off and in flight.

With eyes focused toward heaven, Cheung’s love of aviation was born.

After leaving the music program at USC, in 1924 Cheung married her father's business partner, George Young, who supported her desire to become a pilot.

In 1931, Cheung’s cousin who happened to be a pilot invited her to take an airplane ride. She did not hesitate afterward to sign up for flying lessons, and received her pilot’s certificate in 1932—a time when a mere 1 percent of licensed pilots in the United States were women.

A Compass for Adventure
Not only considered a “natural” pilot, Cheung was also daring and adventurous by nature. She trained in aerobatic flight, mesmerizing audiences at county fairs along the California coast.

From 1933 to 1937, Cheung entered numerous competitive air races, while pursuing a career in aerobatics and researching advanced flying techniques of the era.

When asked why she chose a path in aviation, Cheung responded, “What’s the point of flying a plane, if you can’t have fun doing it?”

Joins The Ninety-Nines
In 1935, Cheung was invited to join The Ninety-Nines, a prestigious international organization of women pilots established in 1929 by 99 women pilots.

The Ninety-Nines’ first president was none other than Amelia Earhart, who was awarded the Distinguished U.S. Flying Cross for being the first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

It is the mission of The Ninety-Nines to promote the advancement of women in aviation through education, scholarships, and mutual support, while honoring each other’s unique history and sharing a passion for flight.

Honored for Her Contribution
The Museum of Flying honored Cheung on March 4, 2001, inducting her into the Women in Aviation International Pioneer Hall of Fame.

Cheung is listed as the nation’s first Asian-American female licensed pilot in the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum.

A Full and Long Life
Living up to her Chinese birth name, Katherine “Sui Fun” Cheung fulfilled her destiny of a “long life.” On Sept. 2, 2003, at the age of 98, she passed of natural causes at her home in Thousand Oaks, Calif. She left behind two daughters, two grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

In a touching documentary of Cheung’s life, granddaughter Judith Wong said, “She was my inspiration for her impact on just the general attitude that the Asian-American woman can be anything she wants to be. My desire to go to law school was influenced by my grandmother. There’s no such thing as ‘no’—if you really want to try something, give it your best shot and go for it!”

General Aviation: Catapult Aircraft: Seaplanes that Flew from Ships Without Flight Decks

Catapult Aircraft: Seaplanes that Flew from Ships Without Flight Decks, by Leo Marriott
Pen & Sword Aviation, 2006
157 pages plus Appendices, Bibliography and index
Library: 623.746 MAR

During World War I, the navies of the opposing forces discovered the value of aerial reconnaissance and many experiments were made to allow larger warships to carry one or sometimes two aircraft aboard. In the early days these were float planes that were lowered by crane into the sea and then lifted back aboard upon their return. This was a length affair and when a speedy departure was necessary, time was of the essence. A new system was devised so that a powerful catapult system or a short ramp could, with the added speed of the ship, get an aircraft airborne in a fraction of the time previously required. Thus was born a highly specialized type of aircraft.

This book includes all the major designs that flew in the First and Second World Wars and includes aircraft used by all the combatants. It looks at how the aircraft evolved and how the warships were modified to accommodate the aircraft and the catapult system. Eventually these fixed-wing aircraft were superseded by the helicopter in the early post WW II years.

Table of Contents
1. British and Commonwealth Navies
2. United States Navy
3. Imperial Japanese Navy
4. Germany
5. Italy
6. France
7. Other Nations
Appendix 1: Aircraft and Submarines
Appendix 2: Aircraft Technical Data

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

New York Guard Women Are At Home in The Sky

This is a press release from March 18...still worth reading!
LATHAM, NY (03/18/2011)(readMedia)-- The women who keep the New York Army and Air National Guard flying found inspiration in the skies and on the ground.

Spc. Amy Klemm, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Michelle Roxby, 2nd Lt. Amy Bonilla, Senior Master Sgt. Terri Santoro and 1st Lt. Amanda Coonradt are among the nearly 2,500 women in the New York Army and Air National Guard, and they routinely take to the skies, logging flying time in Blackhawk helicopters and C-130 Hercules transport planes.

Klemm, Roxby and Bonilla are Soldiers in Company B, 142nd Aviation Assault Helicopter Battalion based in Ronkonkoma, N.Y.; Santoro is a member of the Niagara Falls-based 107th Airlift Wing; and Coonradt is a member of the 109th Airlift Wing, which is based in Scotia, N.Y, at Stratton Air National Guard Base.

"I like to fly and see different things," said Klemm, a Blackhawk crew chief and Mastic, N.Y. resident. "The people in aviation are great people."

Klemm's inspirations were both remote and close to home -- aviator Amelia Earhart and her Vietnam veteran father. While attending junior high, she did a research paper on Earhart, Klemm said.

"She was able to fly an aircraft, and she was the first woman to fly across the country," Klemm said of Earhart.

Klemm's father, who served in the infantry and received the Purple Heart, told her great things about the military and encouraged her to enlist, Klemm said. She joined the New York Army National Guard because she wanted to be close to her family and community, she added.

Three years later Klemm went to war herself, logging about 500 hours as a CH-47 Chinook helicopter door gunner with the 3rd Battalion, 126th Aviation Regiment, Massachusetts Army National Guard in Afghanistan in 2006. While there, she volunteered to go to Iraq with her own unit. She returned from Afghanistan, and after a month off, deployed with her unit to Iraq.

Woman's History Month validates the role of women in the military and other professions, Klemm said.

Roxby, a Blackhawk pilot-in-command, said she heard the call for Army aviation in 2003, while deployed to Iraq with the NewYork Army National Guard's 442 Military Police Company. She and other Soldiers lived near a helicopter landing zone in Iraq, she recalled.

"When we were living next to the (landing zone), it re-ignited my interest in aviation," said Roxby, of Staten Island, N.Y.

Her family also inspired her, Roxby said. She enjoys the variety that aviation offers, she added.

"Every day is different," she said. "As a pilot-in-command, I like mentoring people and bringing out the best in them."

She also enjoys flying, finding herself in what she called "special moments" while behind the controls of the helicopter.

"Sometimes it just hits you and you think, 'wow this is amazing. I'm really lucky I'm able to do this,'" Roxby said.

One of the pilots Roxby mentors is Bonilla, of Queens, N.Y. She initially joined an Army Reserve military police unit in 2007, Bonilla said.

"I knew I wanted to be an officer, but I wanted to get some enlisted experience first," she explained.

Inspired by her parents and professors, Bonilla earned her commission through the St. John's University ROTC program and her aircraft operations degree from Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology. Then came the opportunity to become a Blackhawk pilot, which she said was good timing.

"I felt excited," Bonilla said. "My hard work finally paid off. My dreams were coming true."

Bonilla describes herself as a "new stick" in the unit, said that she focuses on flying while in the air, and only remembers the thrill of it when she's on the ground.

"It's like another day at the office," she said of flying a Blackhawk helicopter. "I'm just another Soldier doing my job."

Santoro is an airman whose flying jobs have taken her across the world, America and New York State. Santoro is from Medina, N.Y. and like Klemms, she was inspired by her father, who was a gunner on a B-52 bomber, and Amelia Earhart.

"She was a go-getter, a female in a man's world," Santoro said of Earhart. "She made it in a man's world." Santoro said she also wanted to follow in her father's footsteps, so she joined the Air Force in 1985. Navigator and pilot positions are held by officers, and she was too short to qualify, Santoro recalled with a laugh.

"I wanted to fly, so I elected to stay enlisted," she said. She served as a boom operator on KC-135 Stratotankers in Plattsburgh and with the 107th Air Refueling Wing until 2008. As a boom operator, she was responsible for controlling the KC-135 and refueling other aircraft, she said.

"When I started in 1985, there wasn't that many female boom operators," Santoro recalled.

When the 107th was converted into an airlift wing, Santoro changed too, and trained to become a loadmaster aboard C-130s. As a loadmaster, she's responsible for any cargo loaded on the C-130, including multiple tons of equipment and military personnel, like airborne troops, Santoro said. The unit has 20 loadmasters, seven of whom are female, she added.

"We have a lot of females, very sharp individuals," Santoro said.

For her, flying is a stress-reliever, she said.

"You could be having a bad day on the ground, but in the sky, you can clear your mind and relax," Santoro said.

Coonradt, of Troy, joined the 109th Airlift Wing in 2000. Her enlisted job, however, didn't challenge her or give her sense of accomplishment, Coonradt said. She was inspired to become an aircrew member by unit members and the unit's Antarctica mission.

"I really wanted to be part of the mission myself," she recalled. "It was hard for me to sit on the sidelines and see others explore the world."

With their ski-equipped LC-130s, the 109th Airlift Wing has provided airlift support for the National Science Foundation's South Pole research since 1988. Since 1999, the unit has been the sole provider of this type of airlift to the National Science Foundation and United States Antarctic research efforts, and is the only unit in the United States military equipped with ski landing gear.

She spoke with aircrew members and gravitated toward the navigator position - an officer job which would allow her to fly and engage her interest in geography and math, Coonradt said. She earned her commission in 2007, and since has traveled to Greenland, Hawaii, New Zealand, American Samoa and air shows all over the country, in addition to Antarctica, she added.

"We're the only unit in the world that does this mission," Coonradt said. "I feel fortunate to be part of it." She enjoys the teamwork of the aircrew, who don't treat her differently yet give her respect, she added.

She also enjoys flying.

"It feels great, it's so much fun, it puts a smile on my face," Coonradt said. "I get very disappointed if we don't take off."

Thursday, May 12, 2011

PR: 5th International Exhibition of General Aviation

5th International Exhibition of General Aviation

The Fifth Annual Cannes Airshow, held at Aéroport International de Cannes-Mandelieu (LFMD) on Thursday-Saturday, June 9-11, is in final stages of preparation for the arrival of exhibitors and visitors.

Not only is this show geared specifically to General Aviation, it is held in one of the most-beautiful settings in all Europe: Cannes, on the French Riviera, in June.

This venue is the ideal place for lovers of private aviation, entrepreneurial business pilots, sport aviation enthusiasts, and aviation trainers to meet manufacturers and other exhibitors from all over Europe and the world.

It’s a family venue, as well. Adults who have fostered a lifelong dream of flying, or who still dream of resuming long-abandoned flight training, will be inspired to take to the air, since experts in training, aviation information, and fellow pilots will be there, smiles and enthusiasm at the ready. Youngsters can nourish their curiosity and get to see and touch and experience the airplanes they may soon fly.

Business, too, is in focus, as company executives, engineers, and pilots make themselves available to everyone, an opportunity all too rare in other industries… and where else is doing business a more pleasurable experience?

Plan now to attend. Next year is a whole year away, but the Cannes Airshow will soon be upon us!


About the Cannes Air Show
The only General Aviation Exhibition in France. The Cannes AirShow brings together the leading protagonists in general and business aviation to allow a demanding clientèle discovery the latest developments and industry innovations in a geographically logical and appealing setting. This professional exhibition is designed for owners and pilots, whether passionate fans or professionals, in general and business aviation throughout Europe, Africa and Russia, offering visitors a large and representative palette of the aeronautics industry. The Cannes AirShow is southern Europe’s leading exhibition in general and business aviation.

PR: The Alternative Engine Round-Up Has Found A New Home.

Belted Air Power's RV6 has been flying since 1996 with a converted 4.3 liter Chevy Vortec V-6, and has attended every Alternative Engine Round-Up, with Jess Meyers presenting a forum.

CONTACT! Magazine website: (PO Box 1382
Hanford CA 93232-1382)

CONTACT! Magazine’s 8th annual Alternative Engine Round-Up, normally held at the tiny airport in Jean, Nevada, has outgrown its home and is moving to Marysville California, to be held in conjunction with the Golden West Regional Flyin & Airshow, June 10, 11 & 12, 2011 at the Yuba County Airport (MYV). Although the Golden West Fly-in is slated for three days, the Alternative Engine Round-Up will be on Saturday, June 11th only.

In keeping with the tradition that the Round-Up will always be a free event for those who fly in with a display aircraft, anyone who chooses to bring to the event an experimental (homebuilt) aircraft that is powered by an “alternative engine” and puts their plane on display with all the others, admission for them and their passengers will be waved for the day. Preregistration is required to take advantage of this offer and can be done by visiting the CONTACT! Magazine website. www.ContactMagazine.comIn addition to aircraft being on display, the Round-up will include an entire day of educational forums focused on alternative engines, including automobile conversions and propellers. The forums are free and don’t require any preregistration.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

ACONE to honor first female shuttle pilot, commander

AOPA Online: ACONE to honor first female shuttle pilot, commander

Flying a 360-degree pitch maneuver in a space shuttle is just one of the firsts credited to 54-year-old retired Air Force Col. Eileen Collins. She’ll be honored June 22 with the Aero Club of New England’s Godfrey L. Cabot Award for her efforts in the space program.

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According to NASA, Collins was the first female shuttle pilot, flying the STS-63 Discovery in February 1995, and later became the first female shuttle commander in 1999 of the STS-93 Columbia. Collins also was a crewmember on the STS-84 Atlantis in May 1997 and STS-114 Discovery in July 2005.

A 1979 graduate of the Air Force Undergraduate Pilot Training at Vance Air Force Base in Oklahoma, she later served as a flight instructor and assistant professor of mathematics. She was tapped for the astronaut program while training at the Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base in California. She graduated from the school in 1990, according to NASA.

Collins has received many awards for her accomplishments in the Air Force and shuttle program, including NASA Space Flight Medals and the National Space Trophy.

The Aero Club of New England award is named for one of the club’s founders and longtime president and honors “individuals or teams who have made unique, significant, and unparalleled contributions to advance and foster aviation or space flight,” according to the club’s website.

Friday, May 6, 2011

First Hungarian woman pilot: Lilly Steinschneider

The life of Lilly Steinschneider, (January 13, 1891, Budapest – March 28, 1975, Geneva) Hungary’s first qualified female pilot during the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, was no less adventurous. Lilly was trained as a pilot in Wiener Neustadt, Austria, flying Etrich aircraft, she got her license in 1912. Although she could not yet try her skills in a much-awaited competition in August 1912, thousands of people witnessed the ascent of the fist Hungarian female pilot to the altitude of 50-60 metres in the same year.

Lilly won the speed race next year, and was runner up in un-interrupted flying, and in the flight time contest. In World War I, she offered her services to the Ministry of Defence, but she was rejected and chose to contribute to the war efforts as a nurse for a short time.

Flying Career
In August 1912 she received the fourth pilot license issued by the flying school established in Wiener Neustadt. Her teacher was the renowned aviation pioneer Karl Illner. She flew an Etrich Taube.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Warren [Ohio] girl gets to be Pilot for a Day Warren girl gets to be Pilot for a Day

Eleven-year-old Ashley Moorhead offered an apt description after the turbo-prop engines of the huge C-130 Hercules aircraft fired up.

“It was real loud. We had to wear earplugs,” said an excited Ashley after being named Pilot for a Day on Wednesday at the 910th Airlift Wing at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station.

One of the best parts of her day was being taxied down the runway in the C-130, said her aunt, Tammy Moorhead.

The program reaches out to the community by providing a fun-filled day of activities to children who have a chronic health situation, said Maj. Brent Davis, head of the Office of Public Affairs for the 910th.

“The future of the Mahoning Valley rests with our children who will someday be the leaders of our community,” Davis said. “The 910th hopes to put bright rays of sunshine into the lives of children who may not be able to envision a very hopeful future at this point in their lives.”

Ashley receives treatment for cerebral palsy at Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley in Boardman.

The Willard K-8 School fifth-grader was sworn in as an honorary Air Force second lieutenant, the beginning of a day full of activities with the 910th.

Ashley rode on a base firetruck, called a super-soaker, received a genuine air-crew flight suit fitted to her size, and had a tour of the base that included a visit to the Life Support Shop and firing the Fire Arms Training Simulator.

“It’s a nice program. It was fun. Ashley doesn’t get to do a whole lot. Wednesday, she got to go and enjoy herself for a day,” Tammy Moorhead said.

“Taxiing in the plane was really fun. Not many kids get to do that,” Ashley said. “I got ‘dog tags’ with my name on it, and my name was on the plane right above the doorway. I’m going to tell my friends about it at school.”

Ashley loves music, and Justin Bieber, the 17-year-old Canadian pop singer-songwriter, is her favorite singer.

The Youngstown Air Reserve Station Base-Community Council is the program’s financial co-sponsor.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Lost Squadron: A Fleet of Warplanes Locked in Ice for Fifty Years

The Lost Squadron: A Fleet of Warplanes Locked in Ice for Fifty Years, a true story by David Hayes
Chartwell Books/Madison Press Book, Text 1994, book 2007
Oversize, 207 pages, plus acknowledgments, Picture and illustration credits, Bibliography and index. Several b&w and color photos scattered throughout book.
Library: 940.544973 HAY

Pat Epps pointed downward at theglittering white icefields of southern Greenland. In August of 1980, after a week of buzzing around the Arctic in a single-engine plane, Epps and his friend Richard Taylor were flying home. The night before, in a bar at a remote airstrip, the talk turned to the legendary Lost Squadron. This squadron, so the story ran, was on a World WAr II mission when it ditched in Greenland in 1942. The crews had been rescued but but their brand-new warplanes were left on the icecap. Someone said they had been seen as recently as the sixties.

Epps and Taylor were intrigued. They returned to their jobs and families in Atlanta smitten with the allure of the Arctic and the notion that an intact squadron of World War II planes could be found there. For the next twelve years, this fascination would lead Epps and Taylor into an extraordinary adventure that would prove more challenging than either of them could have dreamed possible.

On July 15, 1942, a squadron of six P-38 Lightnings and two B-17 Flying Fortress bombers was flying from Greenland to Iceland when they ran into an Arctic blizzard. As conditions deteriorated, they decided to turn back, only to discover that the base was socked in. Running desperately low on fuel, the two bombers and six fighter planes crash-landed on the ice cap in the largest forced landing in history.

In August of 1981, almost forty years after the aircraft were abandoned, Patt Epps, Richard Taylor and two associates arrived at the site with winter camping gear and two magnetometers. Unable to locate the planes, they concluded that Greenland's winters had buried them in perhaps as much as forty feet of snow.

Many expeditions were to follow, with friends and family recruited as volunteers. It wasn't until 1988 with the help of subsurface radar, that they managed to locate the eight large objects beneath the ice. But a steam probe confirmed what they feared to hear. The planes lay 260 feet down - the equivalent of a 25 story building. And no machine in existence was capable of digging hundreds of feet into solid ice to retrieve a ten-ton plane with a fifty-two foot wingspan.

How a determined group of people overcame astonishing odds to finally rescue one of the P-38s of the Lost Squadron and bring it home to fly the skies again is a compelling modern adventure story. Here, it is grippingly told and lavishly illustrated with hundreds of fascinating photographs, paintings and diagrams.

Table of Contents
Part One: The Legend
1. Squadron Down
Part Two: The Search
2. You haven't failed until you quit
3. Here lies Big Stoop
Part Three: The Recovery
4. Tar Baby
5. Dreamers of the Day