Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Hangar Hash: Prop Wash (Kahlua)

9 tsp. instant coffee
2 1/2 cups sugar
4 cups water
3 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups vodka

Simmer uncovered for 3 hours. Add vanilla and vodka.

Recipe by Shanelle Ham

Monday, February 27, 2012

Hangar Hash: Prop Wash (Irish Yum)

1 jigger Irish Cream Liqueur
1/2 cup hot coffee
1/4 cup coffee ice cream

Put a teaspoon in a wine glass and half fill with boiling water. Pour out and add the Liqueur and coffee. Top with some ice cream.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Hangar Hash: Prop Wash (Holiday Punch)

Holiday Punch
1 liter Tahitian Treat
1 liter ginger ale
1 quart pineapple juice
1/2 gallon lime or raspberry sherbert (or ice)

Put sherbet in punch bowl and pour remaining ingredients over.

Recipe by Shanelle Ham

Saturday, February 25, 2012

PR: Wicks Aircraft Supplies Hardware Kit for Onex Exciting single-seater now easier to source

Wicks Aircraft Supplies Hardware Kit for Onex: Exciting single-seater now easier to source
Wicks Aircraft Supply, located in the heart of the Lower 48, has reached an
agreement with Oshkosh-based Sonex Aircraft to supply the hardware kits for
their popular new Onex (pronounced "one-x").

The low-cost aerobatic plane is the latest offering from the Wisconsin
company, and since its Oshkosh introduction in 2011, the folding-wing Onex
has shown that the single-place market is more viable than many have
recently thought, bringing low-cost and efficiency back into fun, personal

"We're happy to provide the convenience of a one-stop hardware source for
Onex builders," said Scott Wick, President of Wicks Aircraft, which also
provides tools, finishes, instruments, and maintenance items to builders on
an á la carte basis. "The Onex is a fun, finishable project, and we're here
to help make sure builders have the proper high-quality parts they need, as
soon as they want them."

Mark Schaible, General Manager of Sonex Aircraft, said, "We are pleased to
have Wicks Aircraft continue their long-standing support of our builders by
adding hardware for our newest kit, the Onex, to their experimental aircraft
hardware kit offerings. Wicks has been a great partner through the years,
offering great customer service to our factory and to our customers around
the world. The Onex is an extremely easy to build aircraft, and purchasing
hardware from a one-stop source such as Wicks makes building it just that
much simpler."

Wicks Aircraft Supply has been serving aircraft builders and maintainers
since 1974 from its headquarters in Highland, Illinois (near St Louis).
Quality product and fast, experienced, excellent customer service have kept
the Wicks base loyal, even as new aviation enthusiasts continue to discover
the Wicks Experience.


PR: Sam LS: Modern Retro LSA Takes Shape

Sam LS: Modern Retro LSA Takes Shape
Concept Unveiled at Sebring; Airplane to Show at Oshkosh

The Sam LS exhibit at the Sebring show gathered a lot of interest: here was a modern LSA design that looked like a WWII trainer, but promised modern economy, comfort, reliability, and repairability to match good air manners. A truly interesting design… but only a design. That is changing fast, as the conforming prototype takes place near Montréal, in Québec, Canada.

The semi-monocoque aluminum design with a 4130 steel protective cockpit cage, is a classic-looking tandem low-wing standard or tricycle gear monoplane that can accommodate two pilots, each 6’6” tall.

Single-pilot operations (from the front seat) take advantage of the glass cockpit with its 10’’ Dynon Skyview and back-up instruments; the ubiquitous 100hp Rotax 912S provides power through its industry-leading composite ground-adjustable Sensenich prop.

One of the versatile features of the design is its ability to carry any of three different outboard wing designs, so that individual owners can choose to optimize cross-country, short field, or high-lift characteristics. With any of the wing configurations, the Sam LS will meet LSA and the Canadian AULA standards.

Thierry Zibi, who served in the French Air Force and is a US-degreed MBA, founded HAIM Aviation to produce “…an airplane that marries the thrill of yesterday’s style to today’s convenience, performance, and reliability. The Sam LS will be economical to fly and maintain; its performance will match the class limits; and its utility is concealed by its striking retro looks.

“It is both practical and unique, appealing to pilots who love to fly and who want to fly something ‘cool,’ an important factor that’s simply left out of common Light Sport Aircraft.”

The HAIM Aviation team worked hard to achieve a good balance between weight and occupant protection, a perennial question in structure design, and “The cage-in-monocoque system of the Sam LS demonstrates an elegant answer,” said Thierry.

Acknowledging that it is unusual to show a project in progress rather than to simply sell the completed item, he continued, “I want people to know that the Sam LS project is real – it’s not just the dream of ‘some guy with a computer.’ I want enthusiasts to follow our progress, to ask questions, to get involved all along the way – to become part of our team.”

The Sam LS will be unveiled at Oshkosh 2012. Introductory price of the ready to fly version will be US $135,000. There’s to be a bonus for the first 5 orders: more than $4,000 in additional equipment, including leather interior, 600X6 tires, complete dual controls, and a 7'' Dynon screen for the rear-seater.

HAIM Aviation Inc.
100 Boulevard Bradford, Building B
Lachute, QC, J8H-3R8


Hangar Hash: Prop Wash (Instant Spiced Tea Mix)

Prop Wash: Instant Spiced Tea Mix
2 c. orange Tang
1 5.5 oz envelope instant lemonade
3/4 c. unsweetened instant tea
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon

Combine all ingredients thoroughly. Will keep indefinitely in a tightly covered container.

Recipe by Leesa Oakes

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Marie Colvin: RIP

Marie Colvin was a journalist rather than a pilot, but her life of courage is one to be celebrated. Many journalists have lost their lives covering wars and uprisings and terrorist activity around the world. Marie Colvin joins that august company.

New York Daily News: Marie Colvin, American-born journalist killed in Syria, remembered as fearless
Marie Colvin, an American war reporter killed in a mortar strike in Syria Tuesday, is being remembered by colleagues as one of the bravest foreign correspondents of the current generation.

Raised in the Oyster Bay area of Long Island, Colvin attended Yale University before starting her career as an overnight crime reporter for the United Press Agency in New York City.

She later moved overseas to work as a foreign correspondent for Britain’s Sunday Times, where she reported for the past two decades.


"Marie was an extraordinary figure in the life of The Sunday Times, driven by a passion to cover wars in the belief that what she did mattered," Sunday Times editor John Witherow said in a statement.

"But she was much more than a war reporter. She was a woman with a tremendous joie de vivre, full of humour and mischief and surrounded by a large circle of friends, all of whom feared the consequences of her bravery."

Colvin, 57, was renowned for her fearless reporting from notorious war zones including Afghanistan, the Balkans, Baghdad, Beirut, Chechnya, East Timor, Libya and Sri Lanka, where she lost an eye after being hit with shrapnel in a 2001 attack.

"So, was I stupid? Stupid I would feel writing a column about the dinner party I went to last night," she wrote in the Sunday Times after the attack in Sri Lanka. "Equally, I'd rather be in that middle ground between a desk job and getting shot, no offense to desk jobs.

"For my part, the next war I cover, I'll be more awed than ever by the quiet bravery of civilians who endure far more than I ever will. They must stay where they are; I can come home to London."

Colvin married and divorced twice. She had no children.

Colleagues said she spent her life defending and reporting on the plight of women and children in insufferable war zones.

"She was among the greatest human beings I have ever met because she was always on the side of truth. She was always on the side of the oppressed. She never once tired. She never once faltered. All that mattered to Marie was the truth," American journalist T.D. Allman wrote in the Daily Beast on Wednesday.

She was believed to be the only British journalist in Homs - and was last seen making the media rounds eerily close to her death. In an appearance on the BBC on Tuesday night, she described seeing a baby die in front of her. And in her last report published in the Sunday Times over the weekend she wrote that people in the besieged Syrian city were, "waiting for a massacre."

The scale of human tragedy in the city is immense," she wrote. "The inhabitants are living in terror. Almost every family seems to have suffered the death or injury of a loved one."

Peter Bouckaert, the emergencies director of the Human Rights Watch told Britain's Telegraph newspaper it never occurred to Colvin to evacuate the war zone.

"Just yesterday, after she filed her news story, one of the first things Marie Colvin did was get in touch to tell me just how horrible the situation was in Homs. It was vintage Marie Colvin -- I could just imagine her happily chatting away with me as the shells fell around her building, and being totally in her element," he said. "She was one of the most fearless and dedicated ... reporters I have ever met, and someone I looked up to as a hero and an inspiration."

Colvin shrugged off her many accolades and awards and was known for her quick wit, laughter and for being the life of any party, Sky News defense and security editor Sam Kiley wrote.

"She was, however, never coarse. Always elegant. She did not get around to having children but yearned for them without bitterness," he wrote. "Her maternal warmth was so gentle and magnetic than when she played with my toddlers years ago in Jerusalem, it was all I could do to resist giving her one to take home."

Her death, according to the Telegraph, was something she never saw as too big of a price to pay to report the truth.

"Our mission is to report these horrors of war with accuracy and without prejudice," she said at a ceremony honoring foreign journalists in 2010. "We always have to ask ourselves whether the level of risk is worth the story. What is bravery, and what is bravado?

"Journalists covering combat shoulder great responsibilities and face difficult choices. Sometimes they pay the ultimate price."

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pilot 'did things people were timid of doing'

From the London Free Press: Pilot 'did things people were timid of doing'
A pioneering pilot for women in Southwestern Ontario, Hilda Mickle was a fun-loving adventurer who mentored many female flyers.

The London woman, a Cherryhill resident, died Feb. 10. She was 90.

Her memory endures through a London aviation club for women and an award for Canadians in aviation, both of which she established.

Born June 19, 1921, Mickle was a late-bloomer, her friend and fellow pilot Pat Crocker said. She was in her mid-40s when she learned to fly in 1964. Seeing her son get his pilot license inspired her to do the same.

“She wasn’t a scaredy-cat. She was very confident,” said Crocker.

Mickle joined the First Canadian Chapter of the Ninety-Nines (99s) in Toronto after learning to fly.

An organization of women pilots worldwide, the Ninety-Nines was founded in 1929 with American aviation trailblazer Amelia Earhart as its first president.

“It’s women learning from women,’’ said Peggy Smith, a fellow 99 member. They fly together, learn from each other, share flying stories, and organize competitions and fundraisers.

After missing too many 99s meetings in Toronto due to bad weather, Mickle decided to form a London chapter.

“We’d had enough of missing the winter meetings,” said Crocker, one of the founding members of the Maple Leaf Chapter of the 99s, London’s first organization of women pilots. They started with eight members in 1969 and have grown throughout the years.

Mickle rose through the ranks of Canada’s 99s, becoming the governor for East Canada in 1971. The governor acts as an international representative and keeps all the chapters informed.

One of her biggest legacies will be the Canadian Award in Aviation, said Grace Howell, the award’s trustee. The money is given to anyone trying to “promote, improve or preserve” aviation in Canada. The prize of $1,000 to $2,000 is often awarded to museums, writers and historians.

“She really pushed for this idea,” said Howell. The international 99s wanted to keep the money within the organization, but Mickle persisted and the award was created for any groups or individuals in Canada.

When reminiscing about Mickle, her friends often speak of the 1970 Angel Derby, an air race to the Bahamas.

Dressed in matching plaid skirts and jackets, Mickle and her co-pilot Joan Corbett flew a Commander 100 plane from Toronto Island to the Bahamas. The four-seat, single-engine plane got them through the derby’s series of flying challenges, landings and navigation.

“The point that she liked to make, and I don’t blame her, is she not only flew it, she finished it,” Crocker said. “Because not everybody finishes a race.”

It wasn’t common in those days for Canadian women to compete in air races, said Sue Ehrlander of New Brunswick, a 99er who knew Mickle well. Mickle’s experience made others realize they could compete, too, and many sought her advice, said Ehrlander.

She filled the role of mentor to many within the 99s organization up until her final years. Even after retiring from flying, she’d was a “hangar-fly,” said Crocker, meaning they’d get together and talk about flying.

“She was always very accessible. She would always be there to lend her camaraderie, her expertise, her advice, and her encouragement,” Crocker said. “Which is exactly what the 99s is for.”

Flying was a hobby for Mickle, who held a commercial pilot’s licence and instructor licence.

“Flying was the love of her heart,” Crocker said. “It’s not what you do for a living. It’s what you are.”

Friends said she was a delightful, friendly person who always warmed up a room.

“She was a lot of fun. She lived every minute,” said friend John Getliffe. He remembers hearing her sing with the big bands at the Wonderland Gardens in London.

“She did things people were timid of doing,” Getliffe said.

She will not be soon forgotten, said Howell. “She was a real pioneer for women in aviation. A real historical figure.”

2 facilities join forces to create Arkansas Air and Military Museum in Fayetteville

From The Republic: 2 facilities join forces to create Arkansas Air and Military Museum in Fayetteville
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The Arkansas Air Museum and the Ozark Military Museum are merging and will become one entity that will feature collections of both military and racing aircraft.

The new museum will be renamed the Arkansas Air and Military Museum and will remain at Drake Field in Fayetteville.

The Arkansas Air Museum opened in 1986 and focuses on the history of northwest Arkansas aviation. The Ozark Military Museum is dedicated to preserving aircraft, weapons and other memorabilia from World War II and other military conflicts.

The new museum plans to host the Air Race Classic in 2013, which will promote women's roles in aviation.

The museum's collections will include flyable airplanes from the 1920s and 1930s, post-World War II era and Vietnam era.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Female combat pilot wants to kick Santorum 'in the jimmy' for remarks on women in battle

From Pocono Record: Female combat pilot wants to kick Santorum 'in the jimmy' for remarks on women in battle
WASHINGTON -- A retired female fighter pilot running for former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' open seat in Congress said Friday that Rick Santorum's recent remarks on women in combat make her want to "go kick him in the jimmy."

Martha McSally, a retired US Air Force colonel and a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, is running in Arizona's congressional special election as a Republican. According to her Facebook page, she was the first American woman to fly in combat since the 1991 lifting of a ban on women in that role.

Appearing Friday morning on FOX News Channel's "FOX & Friends," she called the Republican presidential candidate "completely out of touch" for saying that the "emotions" felt by men seeing a female soldier in harm's way may jeopardize their mission.

"You know I agree with many of the things that Rick Santorum says, you know, but when I heard this I really just wanted to go kick him in the jimmy," McSally said, prompting laughter in the studio.

"He's totally out of touch," she continued. "I mean, completely out of touch. These are the types of arguments we heard 20, 25 years ago as to why women couldn't be fighter pilots. It's an insult to the men and women who are serving overseas, putting their lives on the line and focusing on the mission right now."

When asked if she could support Santorum if he becomes the Republican presidential nominee, McSally indicated that she hoped to change his mind on the subject.

"I look forward to talking to him, he's going to be here next week and so, maybe we can discuss this a little bit further and bring him up to speed," she said.

When asked if she would mention her "jimmy" remark, McSally only smiled.

Plane, Copter Clip Each Other Over CA, Pilots Hurt

From ABC News: Plane, Copter Clip Each Other Over CA, Pilots Hurt
A small plane and a helicopter clipped each other over Northern California Sunday night, forcing both aircraft into emergency landings in fields and leaving the two pilots with minor injuries, officials said.

The six-seat Beechcraft Bonanza made a rough landing in a field just short of an airport, while the two-seat Robinson R22 helicopter set down just off state Highway 160, the officials said.

The accident occurred about 7 p.m. just north of Antioch, about halfway between Oakland and Sacramento along the Sacramento River, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said.

There was no immediate word on what may have caused the accident or any details on damage to the two aircraft.

The male pilot of the single-engine plane and the 29-year-old female helicopter pilot were taken to hospitals with minor injuries, Sacramento County sheriff's Deputy Jason Ramos said. The woman had cuts to her hands, he said.

The helicopter pilot was the only person aboard, and there were two aboard the plane, Gregor said. There were no reports of any injuries to the plane passenger.

The helicopter pilot came down about 50 feet from the highway, turned off her fuel tank and walked to the road to get help from drivers, Sacramento County and California Highway Patrol officials at the scene told Sacramento's KXTV-TV.

The plane had taken off and intended to land at an airport in the town of Byron, some 20 miles to the south, but went down shortly before reaching it. The small, two-runway airport in Byron does not have an air traffic control tower.

It was not clear where the helicopter took off, or where it was headed.

The crash was about eight miles from Rio Vista Municipal Airport, but its coordinator John Andoh said neither aircraft had any connection to the airport.

Both aircraft had private owners, according to FAA records.

The 2005 Robinson helicopter is registered to a Hayward-based business owned by Matthew Spitzer and was leased to Vertical CFI, a pilot training school, Spitzer's wife, Rosemary, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. A Vertical CFI official didn't immediately respond to a phone message.

The 1961 Beechcraft plane is registered to Ronald A. Gawer of Brentwood, Calif. in Contra Costa County, the records show.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Three-generation team to compete in 2012 Air Race Classic

From AOPA Online: Three-generation team to compete in 2012 Air Race Classic
When the Air Race Classic women’s cross-country race launches from Lake Havasu City, Ariz., in June, one team of pilots will boast three generations, ranging in age from 72 to 16.

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The team calls itself the Baldwin Family Flyers: Caroline Baldwin of Silver City, N.M.; Lydia Baldwin of Fort Collins, Colo., and Lydia’s niece, Cara Baldwin of Morgantown, W.Va. They will fly Caroline’s Piper Cherokee. The race begins on June 19 at Lake Havasu City Airport and concludes June 22 at Clermont County Airport in Batavia, Ohio.

The Air Race Classic harks back to the tradition of transcontinental speed competition for women pilots. Race routes are approximately 2,400 statute miles, flown in daylight VFR. Caroline Baldwin competed annually from 2004 to 2009. In 2009 and 2011, she and Lydia raced in a team that included Air Race Classic Secretary Terry Carbonell.

This is the year for the three Baldwins in part because Cara will be old enough to compete. Air Race Classic rules specify that each team must have two pilots, but a team can have a third member who holds at least a student pilot certificate.

The race awards cash prizes for the top 10 finishing teams as well as leg prizes for those who finish outside the top 10. Each airplane is assigned a handicap speed, and the goal is to achieve a groundspeed that exceeds the handicap speed as much as possible. Caroline Baldwin has won leg prizes in previous races, but said that since the three Baldwins will be flying together for the first time, their focus will be on safety.

“It’s about finishing the race and being safe,” she said. “This is a tremendous piece of our family in that one airplane.”

The Baldwins aren’t the first three-generation team to compete in the Air Race Classic. Jean Given, Jeanné Willerth, and Willerth’s daughter, Stephanie, teamed up in 1998. Given came out of retirement at age 75 for the race, her daughter said.

“My mom had stopped flying,” Willerth said. “I was very proud she passed her medical and flight reviews at 75.” Given had flown in numerous air races, including the All Women’s Transcontinental Air Race, which was widely known as the Powder Puff Derby.

Willerth, a CFII who lives in Lee Summit, Mo., recalled that she and her mother hoped to show Stephanie, then 17, that “she could do literally anything.” They raced against former members of the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots and a pilot who was one of the “Mercury 13”--the 13 women who completed the same physical and psychological tests used to select the Mercury 7 astronauts.

Air Race Classic registration concludes April 1. This year’s event is limited to 55 aircraft because of ramp limitations at some of the stops.

ONN Profile - First African American Woman U-2 Pilot

From Our News Now: ONN Profile - First African American Woman U-2 Pilot
Washington, DC. - When Merryl Tengesdal graduated from the Navy’s flight aviation program in 1994, African American pioneers in aviation like Bessie Coleman, Janet Bragg, Willa Brown and Mae Jemison had broken many of the barriers of race and gender.

But after the Bronx native switched to the Air Force a decade later, she helped rewrite the aviation and Air Force history books by becoming the first African-American to fly the U-2 reconnaissance plane.

Inspired as a young girl by the Star Trek movies of the 1970s and ’80s, Tengesdal went on to excel in math and science in high school and took that interest into college where she earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of New Haven, Conn.

After graduating from college, Tengesdal traveled to San Diego where she applied for and was accepted into the Navy’s flight aviation program and would spend the next 10 years as a helicopter pilot flying the SH-60B Sea Hawk on missions in the Middle East, South America and throughout the Caribbean.

In 2004 Tengesdal switched to the Air Force where she made a dramatic change from helicopters to flying at altitudes of as much as 70,000 feet for hours at a time flying the U-2 reconnaissance plane. “I was one of five women in my class and the only female that graduated,” said Tengesdal. “I just stayed focused as I went through the training process.”

Tengesdal said the U-2 is one of the more difficult aircraft to fly, and is designed for high altitude, with a long wingspan and a landing gear with two wheels rather than three. “When you land, you actually have to stall the aircraft at two feet because of the wings.” Tengesdal said that some of her best moments as a U-2 pilot have come during Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, along with Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa where she was able to provide troops on the ground with information obtained from her flights.

Tengesdal is a senior pilot with more than 3,200 flying hours, with more than 330 of those in combat. She is currently a lieutenant colonel assigned to Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Virginia Rabung, 94, pioneering pilot flew to Batista’s Cuba

From Chicago Sun-Times: Virginia Rabung, 94, pioneering pilot flew to Batista’s Cuba
In 1943, Virginia Rabung, a secretary from Chicago, trekked by bus to a small airport in McCook, marched into the office in her high heels and told the men that she wanted to fly.

“They looked at her like she was from another planet,” said Shelley Ventura, governor of the North Central Section of the Ninety-Nines, an organization of female pilots.

But they eventually agreed, and Ms. Rabung earned a private pilot’s license. A female pioneer in aviation, she piloted a single-engine airplane in a cross-country race, flew over the ocean en route to Cuba and took an aerial safari in South Africa. She also performed search-and-rescue missions as a major in the Illinois Civil Air Patrol.

Ms. Rabung was inducted into the Illinois Aviation Hall of Fame in 1998 and earned the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award in 2004 from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Ms. Rabung, 94, died of natural causes Jan. 27 at an assisted-living facility in Aurora. She was a former resident of Mundelein.

Born March 3, 1917, in Chicago to a German-Bohemian family, Ms. Rabung grew up with two brothers and a sister on the city’s North Side. Her father, a bricklayer, built a cottage in the Fox Lake area where the family enjoyed summers on the water.

After graduating from Waller High School, Ms. Rabung landed a clerical job during World War II for the U.S. Navy and trained with an equestrian group that was formed to assist in emergencies.

She later worked as a secretary for more than 30 years at the International Minerals & Chemical Corp.

In 1953, Ms. Rabung participated in the All Women Transcontinental Air Race, a 3,000-mile flight from Massachusetts to California. She had logged only about 200 flight hours; most others in the race had more than 1,000.

“She was pretty much fearless,” said Dave Stadt, a friend and fellow pilot. “That would be like a 16-year-old getting her driver’s license on Friday and then taking off cross-country that Sunday. That’s the kind of person she was.”

While most planes today have automated controls, Ms. Rabung had to have her hands on the wheel, feet on the rudder and eyes on the instruments at all times. She had to monitor aerial traffic and watch the fuel gauge.

That same year she bought a single-engine plane, a pale blue and gray 1946 Cessna 140, which she owned for more than 40 years.

Ms. Rabung flew solo in the 1955 All Women’s International Trans-Ocean Air Race, a three-day course from Washington, D.C., to Cuba. It was the first race of its kind over the ocean, and she had to wear a life jacket. She was received in Havana by former Cuban President Fulgencio Batista, who threw a party for the pilots. The next year, Ms. Rabung participated in a second race to Cuba — this time starting in Canada.

In the 1960s, she flew to the Bahamas, where the runways were made of crushed seashells, and to New York City, where she soared over Broadway and circled the Statue of Liberty.

In 1968, she traveled with a group to Africa, where they flew miles over South Africa, Swaziland and Mozambique, exploring the Namib Desert and the Black Hole diamond mine, and spotted giraffes, ostriches, elephants and baboons below. While attempting to land in South Africa, she encountered a group of wildebeests grazing on the runway. She flew in low and gunned the engine several times to scare them away. The animals bolted, and she landed safely.

“There were very few women that were as adventurous as she,” Ventura said. “She had a real zest for life.”

Flying gave her a sense of freedom, said her niece, Sheila Rodiek: “That was her love.”

About four years ago, Ms. Rabung was attending a Ninety-Nines meeting when she spotted a pilot getting ready to go up in a small biplane with an open cockpit and an extra seat. She ditched the meeting and went flying instead.

Ms. Rabung never married. She is survived by many nieces and nephews. Services have been held.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Ann Gleszer: Pioneer Pilot, And A Military 'Secret'

From the Hartford Courant: Ann Gleszer: Pioneer Pilot, And A Military 'Secret'
Ann Gleszer was literally one of history's silent heroes — records of the essential work she and other women performed during World War II as Air Force test pilots were buried and stamped classified.

She was a WASP, a member of the Women's Airforce Service Pilots, the first group of women to fly military aircraft. It wasn't until 1977, 30 years after the WASPs were unceremoniously disbanded and forgotten, that women were again allowed to train as pilots in the United States military.

Gleszer, 95, of Danbury, died on July 7.

She was born on June 21, 1916, and grew up in Columbia, where her parents, Frank and Catherine Golick, were Polish immigrants who had a farm. She had two sisters and a brother.

She attended the University of Connecticut and, as a student, took flying lessons and obtained her pilot's license. After graduating in 1938, she worked for Pratt & Whitney and became an air traffic controller at Rentschler Field in East Hartford in the experimental flight division. She also married Tom Griffin.

After the U.S. entered World War II in late 1941, the military quickly became aware that there were not enough military pilots to fill the demand for combat, training, testing and transporting aircraft. Jacqueline Cochran, a well-known pilot who held many records, tried to convince Gen. Henry H. "Hap" Arnold, chief of the Army Air Forces, that women could help with some of the flying jobs, which would release male pilots for combat. Even Eleanor Roosevelt weighed in, supporting the WASPs.

The program was controversial, despite its evident usefulness.

"Every WASP took the place of a man. Because she was doing that job, he could go overseas and win the war,'' said Nancy Parrish, executive director of Wings Across America, a project at Baylor University that is preserving WASP history.

As the deaths of male pilots increased and the need to test new planes grew, Arnold reluctantly agreed to give women a chance. He authorized the WASP program, recruiting women who already had pilots' licenses.

More than 25,000 women applied, but only 1,800 were accepted; more than 1,000 completed the training program and were assigned to air bases between November 1942 and December 1944.

Gleszer became a WASP in 1944 and went through training at Avenger Field, in Sweetwater, Texas, where the WASP museum is now located.

She, like the other WASPs, paid her own transportation to the base and back home. Even though some WASPs went through Officers Candidate School, they received none of the officers' privileges. Considered civilians, they were nevertheless subject to the same rules and requirements as the men in the military.

"They flew every kind of mission flown by a male pilot, whether it was simulated strafing missions or towing targets, being shot at by live ammunition," Parrish said.

"It was both unusual and dangerous," said Gleszer's son, Doug Griffin.

Thirty-eight of the 1,000 WASPs died during the war.

In some cases, the women showed the men up. In 1943, male pilots were refusing to fly the B-26 Martin Marauder, which they nicknamed the Widowmaker because of its high fatality rate. Arnold ordered Cochran to choose 25 WASPS to fly the B-26 to prove to the men that the planes were safe to fly. "They quietly, carefully, flew the B-26, better than the men," Parrish said.

Integrating women to the military culture was sometimes awkward. They were given used mechanics coveralls in size 44 as flight suits, although designers from Bergdorf Goodman eventually produced a stylish dress uniform in women's sizes. Women had to pay for their uniforms. If they died in service, families had to pay for the burial and for someone to escort the body home. They were not allowed to drape American flags on their coffins as other military did.

Gleszer performed a variety of tasks. Stationed at Cochran Army Air Field in Macon, Ga., she took planes up for a test flight after mechanical problems had been fixed. "She 'wrung it out' — going high, going fast and making sure it was safe to fly," said Parrish.

Male pilots resented the women, and claimed the newcomers were usurping positions that men were entitled to. Gleszer once landed a plane with some difficulty because of a problem with a fuel tank. It turned out that the fuel had been contaminated — by jealous male pilots, everyone believed.

Popular columnist Drew Pearson attacked the program and male pilots lobbied against the women being accepted into the military, though that had been the plan when the pilots were recruited. The program ended abruptly in December 1944. The records were archived, labeled "secret."

After the war, the women's contributions and experiences were ignored. Gleszer tried repeatedly to get a job as a pilot with a commercial airline, but was repeatedly turned down. "They weren't taking women. The men took the jobs," said Gleszer's son, Glenn Griffin.

While Gleszer was living in Simsbury, she got to know a neighbor, Charles Kaman, who at the time was developing a helicopter with counter-rotating propellers. She became a test pilot for the K-190 and K-125 helicopter, and was featured in a 1948 Life Magazine article that purported to show how easy the planes were to fly. In the piece, Gleszer was identified as a "simple housewife," able to take the helicopter up after only 36 minutes of instruction. It omitted her professional training, background and war experience.

In 1955, she and Tom Griffin moved, with their two young sons, to Switzerland, where Griffin had a sales job. The family lived in Trelex, a small town near Geneva, where Gleszer and the boys learned French and Alpine skiing.

By the time they returned, Gleszer knew fluent French and began teaching at Simsbury High School, where she also taught Spanish and was head of the world languages department.

Gleszer and Griffin built a house on Okemo Mountain in Vermont in the style of a Swiss chalet, and ran it as a bed and breakfast. Many of her students would come for the weekends or on school vacations. She also kept a small plane at Simsbury airport.

The couple later divorced, and in 1968, Ann married Kenneth Gleszer, a pilot and flight instructor, and they used to fly Piper Cherokees on long trips together. They lived in Danbury and she taught at Newtown High School until 1983.

She maintained her license until her mid 60s, and she died of complications of congestive heart failure. In addition to her sons, Douglas and Glenn Griffin, and her husband, she is survived by one grandchild.

In 1977, the U.S. Air Force Academy proudly announced the graduation of 10 women pilots, saying they were the first women to fly American military aircraft. The WASPs were infuriated. Many, including Gleszer, wrote letters and lobbied for the equal treatment they had been promised. Finally, in October of that year, Congress retroactively granted the WASPS veteran status, though no former pilots were invited to the signing ceremony of P.L.95-202. It took seven more years for medals to be delivered — in plain brown envelopes, and there were no G.I. benefits.

In March 2010, nearly 35 years after the end of World War II, the Congressional Gold Medal was sent to the women who had received military training, towed targets for air to air gunnery practice with live ammunition, and were fired on with live bombs, were recognized. At that time, Gleszer was 93, and only 300 WASPS were still alive. The award is the highest award Congress can give civilians.

"They were pioneers," Parrish said. "They were above average. They pushed boundaries. They were curious, determined, patriotic. Their lives were extraordinary."

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Amelia Earhart on First Day Covers

Amelia Earhart was the first pilot - of either sex - on a US stamp.

She was honored on the 8 cent airmail stamp in 1963.

Truth be told - it really is an awful stamp. It's got her whole body, standing in front of the wing of her plane...a drawing of a photograph of her in that pose. And its just awful. Show us a confident woman leaning against her propeller, or full-face laughing at us as she's about to soar into the air... but this stamp? Ugh.

A first day cover is one in which the stamp is placed on an envelope and then canceled on the exact day that it was issued. Nowadays, these first day issues are big things, and the cancelation stamps sometimes have pretty cool designs on them.

But not back in 1963. Jul 24, 1963, that's the day the stamp went live.

I'll be sharing some first day covers of that event here.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

March 10: Women to fly across the English channel

On March 10, women pilots will fly across the English channel. They are doing it on March 10 because that's the day Raymonde de Laroche became the first woman to earn a pilot's license.

It would make more sense to do it on April 12 - the actual day that a woman - Harriet Quimby - flew across the Channel.

Unfortunately, that was the same day that the Titanic sunk, so her achievement was blotted out by all the coverage that the Titanic received. (Obviously, I mean unfortunate in two senses - one that the Titanic went down at all! and then that it happened on the same day as Quimby's achievement).

And I suppose that's why this event is not being held on April 12 - because of the connection to the Titanic as well...

In 1785, Jean-Pierre Blanchard and Dr. John Jeffries flew across the English Channel in a balloon carrying mail. In doing so, they established two worldwide firsts: the first crossing of the English Channel by air and the first airmail delivery. 124 years later, Louis Blériot demonstrated that airplanes could do the same thing even faster. The same year, Marie Marvingt flew her balloon from France to England via the North Sea becoming the first woman to fly between the two countries.

En 1912, Harriet Quimby took off from Dover and flew her Bleriot Airplane across the English Channel to the beaches of Hardelot Plage and proved that women were equally competent at guiding airplanes to fulfill their innate destiny: carrying things quickly and efficiently and reuniting people.

To commemorate this accomplishment and in the spirit of the events associated with Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week, on March 10 2012, all pilots are invited to part in the “Across the Channel: Women Unifying Nations” event. The communities around the airports of Headcorn in England and Le Touquet in France will welcome them with opened arms.

On March 10, 2012, between 11:00 and 16:00 UTC (11:00-16:00 U.K. local time; 12:00-17:00 France local time), volunteer pilots with the next generation of Women Of Aviation onboard their aircraft will land at one or both designated airports, Headcorn in England and Le Touquet in France.

The next generation of Women Of Aviation

At the airports on both side of the Channel, each airplane will be welcomed with a bag filled with products and local goodies offered by our partners. The pilots and the ground crew will receive the official event t-shirt. The girls and women on their first small aircraft flight for the occasion will receive a temporary tattoo stating “I’m a girl and today I flew a plane”.

The crews as well as the public will have a chance to meet Women Of Aviation, some of them renowned, and local representatives, discover the wide array of aviation careers presented by aviation businesses and associations, enjoy performances by local groups, and get a taste of the local gastronomy and culture for free.

Through a video contest, an American woman will win a trip to England and France and will be the guest of honor. The winner’s duty will be to share her observations and experience daily via social media throughout her trip.

The elected officials and other local figures will exchange remarks about their regions and their events via webcam. All participants are encouraged to carry a small flag of their country and wave in front of the cameras.

Join the celebration. Mark the 10th March 2012 on your calendar today and get ready to live a once-in-lifetime experience!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Remembering ‘Queen Bess’

From Macon Telegraph: Remembering ‘Queen Bess’
By Monica Smith
In 1922, an 8-year old Arthur Freeman watched in amazement as a plane maneuvered effortlessly through the skies over Chicago at the hands of his aunt, Bessie Coleman. Thirty-year-old Bessie was the first black female pilot in the United States, and likely the world.

Monica Smith is a retired Air Force pilot who resides in Macon. She is a member of Bessie Coleman Aerospace Legacy, Inc.
Please see link for complete article

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Feb 12-14, Dt. Worth Texas:

Flying Musicians: Performing and Exhibiting at HELI-EXPO

- Visit FMA at Booth #1419 to win a BrightLine Bag and Barnstorming DVD

Fort Worth, Texas – February 2, 2012: The Flying Musicians Association, Inc., a non-profit organization, will be hovering into Dallas for the 2012 HELI-EXPO February 12-14. Stop by to see what FMA is up to in 2012. While there, sign our sheet and drop your business card in the bowl for a chance to win a BrightLine Flight/Gig Bag and a Barnstorming DVD.

FMA performers will entertain at the Hilton Anatole Hotel for the exhibitor reception and prior to HAI's "Salute to Excellence" Awards Dinner. John Zapp, co-founder of FMA, said, “Opportunities for FMA members at such a prestigious event as HAI’s HELI-EXPO brings light to FMA’s mission and will no doubt encourage organizations to help us pursue our mission and goals.”

The Flying Musicians have created an atmosphere where enthusiasts of both aviation and music can converge to share their passions while enjoying a great aviation event in Downtown Dallas! Zapp added, “We are helping to create new engineers, scientists and aviators by sharing our combined passion for music and aviation with students in high schools and colleges and by opening Flying Musicians chapters throughout the country.”

About HAI:
Since 1948, the Helicopter Association International (HAI) has brought together the leaders of the international helicopter community. Our membership includes helicopter operators and owners, users, manufacturers and suppliers, service organizations and individuals interested in following the events of the helicopter industry. Members are classified according to their roles in the industry.

More: www.rotor.com

About FMA:
The Flying Musicians Association, Inc. took off in 2009 by blending two passions: flying and music. The mission of the organization: “Pilot Musicians sharing their passion while encouraging and educating youth (& adults) in the science and art of aeronautics and music.” College chapters have begun to take flight around the country. See if your alma mater is listed; if not, let’s create one!

More: www.FlyingMusicians.org

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Toy Planes For Girls - with Powder Puff Derby Logo

This toy is on ebay for another few hours. I had hoped to buy it, but $30 was my max bid, and its now up to $60.

It is copyright 1966. Has the Powder Puff Derby logo and is obviously for girls - although boys of course could play with it too...although probably didn't.

In 1978, Buddy L came out with a set of 3 planes . The box had the Powder Puff Derby logo (even though the PPD had ended in 1977), and there's an androgynous female character in the right hand corner (if you look at the fingernails you can figure out it's a girl, but other than that it looks like a boy to me!) The planes say Buddy L on them, rather than Powder Puff Derby

First African-American woman to earn commercial pilot's license challenged racism head-on

From the Official Air Force Website: First African-American woman to earn commercial pilot's license challenged racism head-on
2/9/2012 - FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. (AFNS) -- A Chicago registered nurse would go on to become the first African-American female to hold a commercial pilot's license.

Janet Bragg was born in March of 1907 in Griffin, Ga., and after graduation from an Episcopal school, attended college at Spelman Seminary in Atlanta where she earned a registered nursing degree in 1929.

After obtaining a nursing position at Wilson Hospital in Chicago, Bragg decided in 1933 to attend the Aeronautical University ground school, where she learned the basics in meteorology, aeronautics and aircraft maintenance. But, because the school had no airplane, there was no type of flight training available.

Bragg decided to change all of that. Making the decision that it would be cheaper to buy a plane, rather than rent one, she bought her first plane for $600 - one of three that she would eventually purchase. Next came the issue of an airport to use for the training. Because black pilots were not allowed to fly out of airfields used by white pilots, Bragg decided that if black pilots were going to fly, she would need to set up her own airfield. With the help of her instructors at the Aeronautical University, Bragg created the Challenger Aero Club and together they purchased land and built an airfield in the all-black community of Robbins, Ill.

In the spring of 1934, after amassing 35 solo hours, Bragg passed the test for her private pilot's license. She continued her interest in aviation, writing a weekly column in the all African-American newspaper, the Chicago Defender, called "Negro Aviation," and continued to generate an interest in flying for the Chicago area African-American community.

In 1943 Bragg, and several other African-American female pilots, applied for duty with the Women Auxiliary Service Pilots (WASPs) to do their part during World War II. But again they were rejected because of their race. She attended instead the Civilian Pilot Training Program flight school at Tuskegee, Alabama, intending to obtain a commercial pilot's license. She successfully completed the course work and flight tests, but was prevented from receiving her license by a bigoted instructor.

Not to be deterred, she went to Chicago, where she passed the examination and earned the first commercial pilot's license ever issued to a black woman.

Bragg, along with her brother, decided to go into the nursing home business and successfully owned and operated several nursing homes into the 1970s. She passed away in Blue Island, Ill., near Chicago, in 1993 at the age of 86.