Monday, March 26, 2012

Woman Pilots: Doris Abbate

Doris Abbate had an infant and three toddlers at home when she soloed in 1959. This was on Long Island at Zahns Airport, Amityville. She flew in a J3 Piper Cub.

She earned her license in her own Tripacer, 8801C, followed by her commercial, instrument and instrument ground instructor ratings.

Doris competed in the Air Race Classic and the Garden State 300. She took first place in the USPFT New England Regional, advancing to the USPFT National Finalist in 1985.

In 1985 she served as a judge for thhe World Precision Flight Championship and the US Precision Flight Team.

Doris joined the 99s - the Greater New York Chapter in 1961 - and became a charter member of her Long Island Chapter in 1965.

She served on the Internation Board of directors as secretary 1988-90, International Director 1992-1994, and NY/NJ section governor 1986-1988.

She was recognized as an International Forest of Friendship honoree in 1982 and by New York State for Aerospace Community Service in 1987.

The Ninrty-Nines: Yesterday-Today-Tomorrow. Turner Publishing Co. 1996

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Military Fly Moms, by Linda Maloney

The book can be purchased from: It is also available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and at your local bookstores.

71 pilots who are also mothers share their stories in this book, Military Fly Moms. The editor, Linda Maloney, is also a pilot and a mother. (Indeed, Maloney served in a combat flying squadron and was awarded the Air Medal for combat, awarded for flights flown over southern Iraq in support of the no-fly zone during her deployment to the Arabian Gulf.)

In this over-sized book, each pilot's story fills 3 pages, and is illustrated with a full-color photo (with the occasional black-and-white.)

Each story also has a "Mom to Mom" box, in which the pilot answers the question, "What is the most rewarding thing about being a mom":
Carey Lorenz: "The most rewarding thing about being a mom is seeing the world from my kids' perspective - a world filled with unlimited possibilities, opportunities, and laughter. Knowing that, with love and guidance, my children will grow into compassionate people, gives me grat satisfaction.

Shari Scott: The most rewarding thing about being a mom is experiencing the day-to-day joy that children bring as they encounter new challenges, endure failures, and thrill to successes. There is nothing that touches a heart andsoul like the smiles, hugs and the love of a child!

Each of these women was a career pilot - most of them serving their full 20 years in the service.

Each pilot's story follows the same outline. Where she grew up, what inspired her to enter the service and become a pilot, some of her adventures throughout her career, the decision to have children, and some of the adventures raising them.

Any mom who works outside the home (they all work inside the home!) knows how difficult it can be to raise children and hold down a career. These women's careers were in the military, and as pilots, with all the high-pressure that implies, and they succeeded as both pilots and mothers.

Why is this book necessary? Well, despite the fact that women have been flying since only a few years after the Wright brothers made the first controlled flight in 1903, many people still don't realize that women are pilots - at least, not pilots of military craft. This despite the fact that the WASP of World War II received plenty of publicity during the war, and though they faded from view from 1945-1977, since that time their stories have been told.

But the stories always need retelling, it seems.

The pilots:
Victoria (Uptegraft) Cain
Connie Reeves
Tami (Beutel) Reynolds
Karen (Williams) White

Susan (Decker) Allen
Karen (Stottlemyer) Baetzel
Barbara Bell
Pamela (Lyons) Carel
Sally deGozzaldi
Catherine (McCann) Gillies
Kristin (Burke) Greentree
Michelle (Guidry) Hickie
Jamie (Edwards) Johnson
Margaret (DeLuca) Klein
Karin (Klose) Kulinski
Lorie (Bolebruch) Lindholm
Cynthia (Persinger) Lisa
Carey (Dunai) Lohrenz
Linda (Heid) Maloney
Jean (Condie) O'Brien
Jane (Skiles) O'Dea
Patsy (Van Bloem) Schumacher
Shari (Pavlik) Scott
Paula (Coleman) Senn
Tammie Jo (Bonnell) Shults
Kerry (Kuykendall) Smith
Jenny (Merrill) Tinjum
Linda (Evans) Wackerman

Air Force/Air National Guard
Tammy (Ward) Barlette
Lisa (Wilman) Barente
Shannon Cary
Elisa (Romano) D'Antonio
Celeste (Sanders) Dryjanski
Laurie (McLean) Farris
Susan (Rank) Foy
Barbara (Brumme) Garwood
Kelly (Neal) Goggin
Ann (Bunton) Halle
Kelly (Waltmire) Hamilton
Casey (Legler) Hinds
Christine (Allick) Hopper
Valerie (Perkins) Kester
Michele (Meyer) Kilgore
Christi (Favalito) Legawiec
Kate (Wildasin) Lowe
Juli (Dahnke) Mansfield
Kelly (Sloan) Marcell
Christine (Callahan) Mau
Melissa (Hyland) May
Lida Dais Dahnke Munz
Bonnie (Cox) Paquin
Sharon (Cleary) Preszler
Lori (Edinger) Rasmussen
Louise (Sabelstrom) Reeves
Heather Sharp-Schlichting
Monica (Holzhauer) Sylla
Sheila (Connolly) Thompson
Marjorie (Clark) Varuska
Shannon Yenchesky
Katherine (Combs) Yingst

Marine Corps
Sarah (Deal) Barrow
Keri (Berman) May
Alexis (Rominger) McCabe
Jen (Hall) Nothelfer
UNN-Kristin Solberg
Celeste (Roberts) Stevens

Coast guard
Polly (Pieterek) Bartz
Elizabeth (Francis) Booker
Lauren (Felix) Cox
Kristy (Horvath) Kiernan
Susan (Ator) Maitre

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Filmmaker brings to light the story of women's national air derby

This documentary is on DVD and can be purchased from the website:, for $30 plus postage.

From Herald Filmmaker brings to light the story of women's national air derby
Amelia Earhart is a household name when it comes to the pioneers of female aviation.

However, pilots like Phoebe Omlie, Ruth Elder and Louise Thaden — although not as famous — were just as revolutionary.

Along with 16 others in 1929, the four female pilots took part in the first-ever women’s national air derby, racing across the United States in nine days, to prove that women could fly just like men.

The story was so moving, filmmaker Heather Taylor made it the feature of her 2010 documentary “Breaking Through the Clouds: The First Women’s National Air Derby,” which was shown Thursday night at Hagerstown Community College’s Kepler Theater.

“It’s often said that women’s history is written in invisible ink,” said Taylor of Columbia, Md. “And it’s not that women didn’t do anything; they’ve done a lot. We just don’t hear about it. And we need to hear their stories.”

The event was sponsored by HCC’s National Organization for Women Club as a way to recognize national Women’s History Month.

Linda Smith, the faculty adviser for HCC’s NOW Club, said she first saw the 90-minute documentary at the Maryland International Film Festival in October 2011. She immediately found Taylor to ask if she could screen the film at HCC for their event.

“This is the story of 20 women in 1929 who flew in open cockpit airplanes from California to Ohio,” Smith said. “It just amazes me what they did. I didn’t know their story.”

Along their flight from Santa Monica to Cleveland, the women had to endure cultural stereotypes, navigation challenges, threats of sabotage and mechanical difficulties.

The documentary includes actual footage from the time, which is remarkable in its own right, Smith said.

“There were still silent films going on at that point,” she said.

Taylor began researching the story of the derby in 1997. A decade later, she quit her job to focus solely on producing the documentary. She researched, wrote, directed and produced the now award-winning film, which premiered in the summer of 2010.

“The premiere was fabulous,” she said. “I got a standing ovation that lasted several minutes. I always laugh because I was in the back of the theater saying I had prepared for everything to go wrong, but when everything went right, I was frozen. I wasn’t sure what to do.”

Taylor said she hopes the film inspires men and women alike to follow their dreams.

“It’s important to know your history, but also to know that people before you broke barriers to find their passion,” Taylor said. “You can ... break through the clouds in whatever you want to do. It’s about finding your passion. If these women can do it, you can do it, too.”

Friday, March 23, 2012

Short Hills woman featured in book Military Fly Moms

I have a copy of this book myself and will be reviewing it shortly.

In addition, author Linda Maloney is offering a $10 discount to anyone who buys the book from her website, who mentions that they read about it either on this blog or on my website, Winged Victory!

From Short Hills woman featured in book Military Fly Moms
For the past seven years, Linda Maloney, a retired naval aviator, and seventy other women collaborated on a special project—telling their individual stories as female military aviators and mothers.

The culmination of this extensive process, a coffee-table book called Military Fly Moms. One of these women, former Navy pilot Cynthia (Persinger) Lisa, says she fell in love with the Naval Academy and Annapolis the minute she walked onto the academy yard during her junior year of high school, believing that the academy’s emphasis on leadership, academics, and athletics was the perfect fit for her.

The possibility of flying in the military always interested her, but really was just the icing on the cake. While at the academy, Lisa met her future husband, Mike, also a midshipman, and they married after graduation. Both were both selected for flight training and to fly the EA-6B Prowler, the Navy’s four-seat electronic countermeasures jet. Stationed at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington, but assigned to different squadrons, Lisa and her husband were frequently apart during their three-year operational tours, but she loved her time as a Prowler pilot. She gained combat experience supporting ground troops in Iraq during her squadron’s six month deployment in 2005 on the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz.

On March 3, 2006, her life changed forever as she led a flight of two Prowlers on a low altitude military-training route, flying at an altitude of 500 feet and speed of 420 knots. Halfway through the route, she heard a strange whining sound inside her jet. Within seconds, both the front and rear cockpits filled with smoke. The jet was on fire and uncontrollable. Approximately twenty seconds after the initial noise, Lisa ejected her crew out of the aircraft, watching as the jet crashed into the side of a hill. She and her crew survived with minor injuries. Soon after the ejection, Lisa and her husband transferred to Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, for their next tours.

While her husband attended the Navy’s Test Pilot School, she took a non-flying job so they could start their family. They welcomed their first child in 2008 and now have three children—two girls and, most recently, a baby boy. Lisa left the Navy in 2010 and, while she misses flying and longs to be airborne, she is enjoying the simple pleasures of being a mom! Lisa and her family recently moved to Japan, where her husband is stationed.

Although the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) served during World War II, the first female aviators to support the U.S. military, their organization was disbanded when the men started coming home. As with most young people serving during the war years, these amazing young pilots, although many would have preferred to keep on flying, went home, got married, raised families, and generally put their war years behind them. In 1977, after a long legislative campaign, they were recognized by Congress as American military veterans. These 1,074 WASP had flown every single aircraft in the U.S. military inventory, ferried aircraft from coast to coast, and trailed banners behind their planes for artillery trainees to shoot at. Thirty-eight of them died in training flights or while on missions. In 2010, Congress awarded each of the WASP its highest honor, the Congressional Gold Medal.

For nearly thirty years after WWII, even though women had been slowly gaining permanent status in the military since the Army Nurse Corps had been established in 1901, no women flew again in any kind of military capacity. In 1972, the services could no longer defend the notion that they had no use for female pilots, especially considering the numerous noncombat roles and missions that existed. The first Navy women to pin on the gold wings of an aviator did so in 1973, and the first female Army aviator graduated with her wings in 1974. The Air Force followed suit with ten female pilots earning aviator wings in 1977. From that first group of female Navy pilots,
Jane Skiles O’Dea became the first female naval aviator to have a baby while on active duty. One of the women in Military Fly Moms, O’Dea also wrote the foreword, where she says, “My daughters grew up with a mom who wore a flight suit to work every day and they thought that was perfectly normal.”

Although this second generation of women military aviators received pay and allowances, benefits and promotions, and could remain a service member after having children, unlike the WASP, the opportunity or obligation, depending upon one’s point of view, to fly Navy or Air Force combat aircraft on combat missions over combat territory was restricted by the National Security Act of 1947. Despite the ban on combat, women were performing an inherently dangerous mission. Barbara Rainey, the Navy’s first female pilot, and the student she was instructing were killed in 1982 while practicing takeoffs and landings. Military Fly Moms is dedicated to this young aviator mom who left behind two young daughters. During Operation Desert Storm, Major Marie
T. Rossi-Cayton, the first woman pilot in U.S. history to fly in combat, died when her helicopter crashed in Saudi Arabia in 1991.

Various organizations, such as the WASP and Women Military Aviators, finally wrenched from Congress in 1993 the repeal of the combat exclusion law and this led to the third generation of women military aviators. From this point forward, they could and would fly the same aircraft as their male counterparts, except those involved in special operations. Both the Navy and the Air Force graduated their first female fighter pilots in 1994, and the Marine Corps awarded wings to its first female aviator in 1995. Tragically, just a few months after becoming the first female Navy fighter pilot, Lieutenant Kara Spears Hultgreen was killed while attempting a carrier landing on the USS Abraham Lincoln off the California coast. Maloney, the squadron duty officer for the day and a good friend of Hultgreen, watched in horror as Hultgreen’s F-14 Tomcat lost altitude, rolled to the left, and disappeared. “We kept hoping Kara would be found, until it was obvious she had not survived. Several weeks later, divers discovered her body on the ocean floor, still strapped in her ejection seat,” Maloney writes in Military Fly Moms. At the memorial service on the Lincoln a few days later, Maloney gave the eulogy.

Maloney had herself experienced a traumatic incident while flying, but was fortunate enough to survive. In 1991, the E6-A Prowler she was navigating, at 15,000 feet and one hundred miles off the Florida coast, became sluggish, lost hydraulics, and began to roll. The pilot yelled, “Eject!” In her own story in Military Fly Moms, Maloney explains what happened. “I pulled the lower ejection handle, and I remember a flurry of yellow papers (from my kneeboard card) flying around, and then my ejection seat exploding through the canopy glass. The pilot ejected seconds later. I lost consciousness briefly. When I came to, I was hanging in my parachute, descending toward the ocean.”

Luckily, Maloney received injuries no more serious than bruises. Only two women are known to have ejected prior to Maloney—Valentina Tereshkova, a Soviet cosmonaut, ejected from her space capsule 4.3 miles above the earth in 1963, the normal egress; and Lieutenant Kathy Cullen, navigator, ejected from an EA-4F Skyhawk in 1985 when the engine failed upon approach in instrument conditions. The pilot was killed. In addition to being the third known female ejectee.

Maloney was honored for being the first woman, among 6,000 ejections, using the Martin-Baker ejection seat. A few years later, Maloney became one of the first American women to fly combat missions, earning the distinguished Air Medal for combat for her flights enforcing the no-fly zone over Southern Iraq during Operation Southern Watch, designed to protect Shiite Muslims.

Towards the end of her Navy career, Maloney married and became a mom. She says, “As I packed away my flight gear in the basement just a few months after having my first son, I thought about the legacy, as a mom who’d enjoyed a very unique career, that I would pass down to him.”

Thinking about women military aviators who had also been mothers she had known, Maloney wondered how these women managed to combine such an intensely challenging career as military aviation with the even more challenging one of motherhood. And so her vision of passing on a legacy from this elite group of women was born, to which she devoted countless hours over the years while having her second son, working full-time, moving to another state, volunteering, mentoring, and fulfilling other modern-life duties and obligations.

Each woman in Military Fly Moms provided Maloney with her own personally written story, describing her family background, her education, how and when she became struck by aviation, her military experience, how she became a military aviator, her military aviation experiences, her entry into motherhood, and the balance she tried to maintain in both worlds. It is clear through the stories related in Military Fly Moms that not a single woman found the entire experience to be easy enough to sail through without obstacles or learning experiences. For most, an encouraging parent sent her on her path; a partnering husband supported her to keep following her dreams; and her children sustained her faith in herself. Many times, an aviator mom exited the military to focus on her family, only to find that she needed to return to the cockpit, and often did, whether in the Reserve or Guard, or with a civilian airline. Regardless of the enormous obstacles most faced in achieving their goals, they all persevered, and the most important lesson resonating throughout the stories is, “Don’t ever give up!”

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Earhart Search 75

Visit this website to learn about the search for Amelia Earhart (and her navigator):

June 1-3, 2012
On the 75th anniversary of Amelia Earhart’s departure from the U.S. for her ill-fated world flight, TIGHAR will host “Earhart Search 75,” a three-day conference to explore what has been learned in three-quarters of a century of efforts to discover Earhart’s fate. Researchers, scientists, historians, archaeologists, and forensic experts will present their findings on a wide range of topics in support of a variety of theories.

Amelia Earhart mystery attracts Hillary Clinton

From CBS News: Amelia Earhart mystery attracts Hillary Clinton
AP) WASHINGTON - Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is wading into one of the 20th century's most enduring mysteries: the fate of American aviator Amelia Earhart, who went missing without a trace over the South Pacific 75 years ago.

Clinton will meet Tuesday with historians and scientists from The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, which is launching a new search in June for the wreckage of Earhart's Lockheed Electra plane off the remote island of Nikumaroro, in what is now the Pacific nation of Kiribati. Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan disappeared July 2, 1937, while flying from New Guinea to Howland Island. Searches at the time uncovered nothing.

The group believes Earhart and Noonan may have managed to land on the island, then known as Gardner Island, and survived for a short time. Other historians believe they crashed into the ocean. But conspiracy theories, including claims that they were U.S. government agents captured by the Japanese before the Second World War, abound despite having been largely debunked.

One senior U.S. official said a new analysis of a contemporary photo of a portion of the island shows what some people believe could be a strut and wheel of the plane protruding from the water. The administration takes no position on the purported evidence and acknowledges there is fierce debate on the subject.

The expedition will coincide with the 75th anniversary of Earhart's departure on the ill-fated attempt to become the first woman to fly around the world. Previous visits to the island by the group have recovered artifacts that could have belonged to Earhart and Noonan and suggest they might have lived for days or weeks after landing on a reef.

State Department officials say Clinton will use Tuesday's event to lend her high profile to the search while also lauding Earhart's legacy as a pioneer for women and a model of American courage. She will also note the Obama administration's keen interest in the Pacific.

The "event will underscore America's spirit of adventure and courage, as embodied by Amelia Earhart, and our commitment to seizing new opportunities for cooperation with Pacific neighbors founded on the United States' long history of engagement in the Asia-Pacific region," the department said in a statement.

The State Department and other U.S. government agencies supported Earhart and her goal. The State Department obtained flight clearances from the countries in which she stopped and coordinated the search effort with foreign governments.

Gov. Beshear Honors Three Kentucky Women Added to Exhibit

From SurkkeyNews Group: Gov. Beshear Honors Three Kentucky Women Added to Exhibit
WEBSTER COUNTY, KY (3/14/12) – Governor Steve Beshear joined the Kentucky Commission on Women today to honor three distinguished Kentucky women for their illustrious careers and significant contributions to the Commonwealth.

Willa Beatrice Brown, Crit Luallen and Joan Riehm were inducted into the “Kentucky Women Remembered” exhibit. As part of the honor, their portraits will be displayed alongside past inductees in the state Capitol.

“These honorees have made a meaningful difference throughout their years of service and have paved the way for the success of Kentucky women, both now and in the future,” Gov. Beshear said. “Jane and I are proud to recognize these individuals for this distinction and hope their influence and achievements will continue to be appreciated and acknowledged for years to come.”

The honor comes posthumously to Brown and Riehm. Brown was the first African-American woman to be licensed to fly in the United States. Riehm served for 15 years as the first female deputy mayor of Louisville. Luallen worked for six Kentucky governors and recently completed her second term as Kentucky state auditor.

“Kentucky Women Remembered,” overseen by the Kentucky Commission on Women, began in 1978 and consists of portraits depicting outstanding women in Kentucky’s history. The exhibit found a permanent home in the Capitol in 1996 after many years of traveling around the state.

Thousands of visitors to the Capitol view the portraits each year and learn about the heritage and contributions of women in Kentucky.

The Kentucky Women Remembered Committee selects up to three Kentucky women annually to become part of the exhibit. Nominees must have been born in or spent a significant part of their lives in Kentucky and may be living or deceased.

“For years, many contributions women have made in the fabric of Kentucky history have gone unnoticed and unrecorded,” said Eleanor Jordan, executive director of the Kentucky Commission on Women. “This annual ceremony and recognition of women’s history month is our way of writing some of those women back into history and highlighting how significant their roles have been to the Commonwealth.”

With the three current inductees, the exhibit boasts 65 portraits of outstanding women in Kentucky.

Willa Beatrice Brown
beatrice(Barren County, 1906-1992) In an era harsh for both women and African- Americans, Willa Beatrice Brown sought great challenge. Influenced by aviatrix Bessie Coleman, Brown began flight lessons in 1934 at Chicago’s Aeronautical University. In 1937, she received both a master’s degree from Northwestern University and her pilot’s license – making her the first African-American woman to be licensed to fly in the United States.

In 1939, she received her commercial pilot’s license, making her the first African-American woman to make a career of aviation and the person most responsible for preparing blacks for World War II. Brown became the first African-American officer in the Civil Air Patrol in 1941, and the U.S. government named her federal coordinator of the Chicago Unit. She was the first woman in the U.S. to have both a mechanic’s license and a commercial pilot’s license. In 1942, she became a training coordinator for the Civil Aeronautics Administration and a teacher in the Civilian Pilot Training Program.

Brown trained more than 2,000 black pilots, nearly 200 of whom became the squadron at Tuskegee Institute, better known as the legendary “Tuskegee Airmen.” In 2002, she was named one of the Women in Aviation’s 100 Most Influential Women in Aviation and Aerospace. In 2003, Brown was inducted into the Hall of Fame in Kentucky’s Aviation Museum.

Crit Luallen
crit(Franklin County, 1952- ) Descended from two Kentucky governors, Crit Luallen places public service in the highest regard. She has served Kentucky with distinction, honor and integrity as a public servant for more than two decades. Her career encompasses the positions of state budget director, secretary of the Finance and Administration Cabinet, secretary of the Tourism Cabinet, commissioner of the Kentucky Department of the Arts, and special assistant to Kentucky Gov. Martha Layne Collins.

She was also president of the Greater Louisville Economic Development Partnership and served as secretary of Kentucky Gov. Paul Patton’s Executive Cabinet for seven years before being elected twice as Kentucky auditor of public accounts. As auditor, she uncovered millions of dollars in government fraud and questionable expenditures, leading to the criminal prosecutions of 32 individuals and referral of more than 200 cases to law enforcement agencies for criminal investigation. She has made it her mission to reach out to women and minorities to encourage their involvement in public service.

As one of few Kentucky women ever elected to statewide office, she sets the standard with her personal values, ethics, sense of accountability and principled decision-making for other aspiring women to emulate if they are interested in making a difference in the Commonwealth and the nation.

Joan Riehm
joan(Jefferson County, 1945-2008) Joan Riehm’s distinguished career in communications, public service and civic affairs spanned more than three decades – beginning as a journalist at The Courier-Journal in Louisville and culminating in her 15 years of service as deputy mayor of the city of Louisville. She was the first woman to serve in that position. Riehm was particularly passionate about women’s issues, education, the environment and the beautification of Louisville. She recognized that advancing the quality of life for women was crucial to Louisville’s future.

Riehm was one of the driving forces behind Benchmark 2000, a community-wide effort to document the status of women and girls in Jefferson County at the millennium. Her efforts led to the creation of the nationally acclaimed Women 4 Women organization in Louisville. Riehm co-founded the Leadership Kentucky program, and her legacy of mentorship led to the creation of the Joan Riehm Women’s Leadership Fund. She was recognized nationally as an expert on local government reorganization.

The watercolor portraits of the three inductees were painted by Carla Canonero Phillips, of Frankfort, who is the fifth artist commissioned for the Kentucky Women Remembered exhibit. For more information on the Kentucky Commission on Women and to view the portraits,

During the induction ceremony, Gov. Beshear proclaimed March as Women’s History Month.

“Kentucky women have played and continue to play a critical economic, cultural and social role in every sphere of life of the Commonwealth, by constituting a significant portion of the labor force working inside and outside of the home,” Gov. Beshear said. “Each year since 1987, March has been designated as Women’s History Month in our nation, and it is a time for all Kentuckians to learn more about the invaluable role women have had in the creation of our history.”

Fly mom' featured in new book

From the State Journal: Fly mom' featured in new book
The thunder of National Guard helicopters is an everyday part of Frankfort life – so much that it caught Victoria Cain’s fancy at her childhood home on Holly Hill Drive in the 1980s.

That led Cain to an aviation career with the U.S. Army, where she wound up piloting the very thing that captivated her youth.

Now a mother of 6-year-old Kayleigh, Cain’s aviation adventures will be highlighted in “Military Fly Moms” – a book outlining the careers of 71 female pilots who split their duties between the military and motherhood.

Though Cain left the military in 2010, the book, written by retired naval aviator Linda Maloney, will be a reminder of her former life in the sky.

Cain, formerly Victoria Uptegraft, attended Western Hills High School before she moved to Cynthiana at age 16 to live with her father, a Korean War veteran, while her mother trained with the National Guard.

She never thought about the military until 1997 when she graduated from Eastern Kentucky University as a biology major. She enlisted in the student loan repayment program – a four-year commitment.

Though as a child she fell in love with the choppers constantly landing at the Boone Center, she wasn’t sucked into aviation until she was stationed in Bosnia as an Army medic.

“It looked so much more exciting compared to what I was doing,” she said. “They were able to go off base, and it looked like fun.”

After flight school in 2000 she was stationed with the 101st Airborne at Fort Campbell where she says the motto was “We own the night.”

They trained “without illumination” – or in complete darkness – with night vision goggles in a UH-60 Black Hawk.

“It was really exhilarating and a bit scary to know that you are in complete blackness,” Cain says. “It was really incredible if you think about it.”

She was deployed to Iraq in 2003 where she flew more than 450 combat hours.

Cain says her mother, Marilyn Gains, was a lifeline for the young family after their daughter was born.

“It was difficult being dual military parents,” Cain said. “She was really key in all that we were able to do because military hours can be extreme at times.”

After Cain stopped flying, she became an Army recruiter before ending her military career in 2005. Her father had heart surgery and her husband, Brandon, was deployed, making it a difficult time for the young family.

“I got to a point where I couldn’t give 100 percent,” she says.

The family now lives in New Brockton, Ala., where she works as a strategic doctrine engineer for Navigator Development Group Inc. writing aviation field manuals. She is also the senior aviation safety analyst at Fort Rucker. She is under contract to improve the safety-reporting process.

She’s made a career of aviation, but she says – surprisingly – that she never flew with another female while at Fort Campbell.

“There were so few female aviators, it was exciting when she approached me about doing to the book,” she said. “It was fun to hear other females’ stories.”

Maloney, the author, finished the 300-page book after seven years with contributions from the female pilots.

“It’ll be great for the kids,” she says. “It’s something I think they’ll be proud of and will be able to keep.”

Monday, March 19, 2012

Celebrate women this month

From Zanesville Times-Recorder: Celebrate women this month
Perhaps it is ironic that March is Women's History Month. So many of us have marched through the streets to make our presence known.

It was only during my mother's generation that women were given the right to vote. The 19th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified in 1920, the year my mom was born.

This is a special month for 51 percent of the population. Oh yes, women are the majority, but that has been the case for many years. Nevertheless, most of us have been on the short end of the stick when it comes to recognition.

That is the main reason International Women's Month continues to be observed every year since 1980. It is a time to promote the rights of working women.

Since most every woman is a working woman today, it is as timely as ever. We have managed to hold jobs, raise families and participate in our communities for a century, yet we still are looked on as the little woman in many cultures.

All right ... all the male readers out there can go to the sports section now because the rest of my column is devoted to women. See? I am guilty of stereotyping, too.

The spring edition of American Spirit magazine arrived in the mail last week. There was a great story on Martha Washington. "Indispensable Woman" described her role in the American Revolution.

More than 214,000 women are serving in the United States military. That is almost 15 percent of all of our service members. Yet when we think of war, we tend to think of men fighting for our freedom.

I can remember my mother talking about the Women Airforce Service Pilots and wishing she had applied to be one of the first females to fly military aircraft. Perhaps I wouldn't be here if she had followed her dreams.

While Rosie the Riveter was considered to be doing her duty for our country during World War II, the WASPs were considered a little on the wild side. After all, the women who flew noncombat missions were the first to deliver planes to military bases, including the B-29s that were thought to be difficult to fly.

But throughout the ages, women have proven the status quo wrong. Most everyone has heard of Clara Barton. When it was unthinkable for women to be on a battlefield, she tended the needs of injured Union soldiers during the Civil War.

A woman serving in traditionally male positions is relatively new in this generation. Until 1981, only men served as U.S. Supreme Court Justices. Sandra Day O'Connor was the first woman to be appointed to that august body.

During our generation, we have seen the first American woman go into space. Sally Ride became a household name in 1983 when she went aboard the space shuttle.

There is little doubt that, even with all the great strides women have made in the past 50 years, it is still a man's world. But we continue to push for equality and are slowly seeing positive results.

Because March is Women's History Month, take the time to pay homage to our sisters who have helped bring about a tremendous change. Pray especially for our women in the military who protect us.

Remember, we have only been allowed to vote for 92 years, and now we serve at every level of government except one -- next stop, The White House.

Sky-high sisterhood

From the Babgkok Post: Sky-high sisterhood
PG 924 from Suvarnabhumi airport to Phuket could have been just another flight if not for the pleasant but firm female voice emanating from the cockpit of the A319 jetliner.

"Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. On behalf of Bangkok Airways and my crew, I would like to welcome you on board," it announced as the aircraft with 100 or so passengers, mostly foreign holidaymakers, prepared for take-off.

Meet Kanchala Campos-Tortosa, 49, one of a handful of female pilots working in Thailand's male-dominated airline industry.

If Thai female pilots flying commercial airliners are rare _ numbering between 30 and 40 _ it is rarer still for them to achieve the rank of full-fledged captain like Captain Kanchala (merely four).

Those numbers are tiny for a country celebrating its 101st anniversary in aviation this year and a nation with a thriving airline business and strategic position as the region's air hub.

Industry experts estimate that there are 4,000 Thai nationals working as cockpit staff for Thai and foreign airlines.

Clearly the cockpit is not the place most Thai women prefer in the aircraft cabin, judging from the tens of thousands already working for Thai and international carriers.

It has also been the case that airlines are always overwhelmed with applications whenever vacancies open for cabin attendants. It is common to see an airline flooded with thousands of applications when 40-60 positions are available.

For most young Thai women, being an air hostess, as they prefer to be called here, is a dream job with social status, relatively good pay and a chance to see the world.

Only two scheduled airlines in Thailand, Bangkok Airways and Thai AirAsia (TAA), have female pilots working, while Thai Airways International, the flag carrier and the country's largest airline, has been strictly a male club throughout its 51 years of existence.

The last count for women working at the no-frills TAA found 17 in the cockpit, all co-pilots _ a small minority of the 261 flying A320 jets there.

One of TAA's female co-pilots is Chananporn "Nod" Rosjan, who was crowned Miss Thailand Universe in 2005.

There are 14 at Bangkok Airways, with three of them bestowed the rank of captain, recognisable by the four golden stripes on their shoulders and their sitting in the left seat of the cockpit. Combined cockpit staff at the airline numbers 176.

It has been only in the past six or seven years that Thai airlines began to see more female entrants in the piloting ranks but still at a negligible rate _ not more than five a year, said Capt Kanchala, who was licensed as Thailand's first female co-pilot 22 years ago.

"There is a slow but insignificant trend of women moving into the cockpits," said Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth, the president of Bangkok Airways, the privately held airline that was the first to open the door to Thai female pilots more than two decades ago.

He said piloting aircraft is simply not a popular career among Thai women, who prefer the less stressful duties in the back of the aircraft.

"I don't see any handicaps that may restrict women from flying commercial airliners as long as they are trained and qualified," said Capt Puttipong.

Capt Kanchala, who became Thailand's second female pilot to earn the rank of captain after clocking 3,000 flight hours, said many Thai women tend to think the opportunity to become a pilot is not open to them.

"Thai women are capable of doing things, and we're seeing more and more of them becoming leaders and chief executives of organisations," she told the Bangkok Post.

"I believe many Thai women would love to fly like me and turn their dreams into reality," said Capt Kanchala, who is also a pilot instructor at Bangkok Airways.

Both Capt Kanchala and Capt Puttipong agree some other established Thai airlines unofficially prefer to hire only male pilots, as their organisational cultures were built that way.

Those airlines would argue that the supply of male pilots in the country remains plentiful, and men are easier to manage without subjecting them to feminine sensitivities.

Capt Kanchala disagrees, pointing to the gender discrimination that still exists in some airlines' management, particularly concerning maternity leave.

"A female pilot is entitled to 12 months of maternity leave, and that is seen as a drawback," said the mother of an 8-year-old girl and a 12-year-old boy.

Bangkok Airways does not prohibit female cockpit staff getting married or pregnant. The airline's president recognises that certain senior male pilots, who control the pilot rosters at Thai airlines, are still uncomfortable having their men work under a female captain _ part of a Thai cultural complex that promotes masculine superiority.

Capt Kanchala says she gets different looks when wearing her uniform.

"Some look at me admirably, some enviably, but some with a doubtful look questioning the competency of a woman to be a full-fledged captain," she said.

She remembers vividly when she walked past some male captains of a major Thai airline who gave her ugly looks.

"I was not angry, but I was aware that it was the stereotype reaction from a society that put men in front of women," she said, although that is changing now.

Capt Kanchala has been obsessed with flying since graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In addition to the A319 jet, she can command the propeller-driven Dash 8 and ATR 72.

Aircraft were not designed exclusively for men, nor for females with "tomboy" traits, but for anyone trained and certified capable of handling them, she insisted, referring to a misconception that seems to persist worldwide.

Capt Puttipong said in addition to bestowing social status, working as a pilot for a Thai commercial airline can be financially rewarding, with a monthly salary of 160,000 to 200,000 baht.

Representing women - and nearly 700,000 airmen

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Tacota LeMuel, Thunderbird 3 dedicated crew chief, prepares to have her jet towed into the hangar after a training sortie at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., March 6, 2012.

From DVIDS: Representing women - and nearly 700,000 airmen
ELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. - Aviation has come a long way since the days of the Wright Brothers and Amelia Earhart. In today’s Air Force, women are a common presence in the cockpits of the service’s premier aircraft, serving alongside their male counterparts in combat and at home station.

And there's another key role where women are making their mark by flying and maintaining jets: performing demonstrations for the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds.

As one of the new pilots on the team - officially known as the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron -- Maj. Caroline Jensen is fully aware that, everywhere she goes, she is not only representing women past and present, but also the pride, precision and professionalism of nearly 700,000 Airmen around the world.

“The Thunderbirds motivated me to set the goal of becoming an Air Force officer and pilot when I saw them as a young girl in Wisconsin,” Jensen recalls. “Later, when I graduated from the Air Force Academy, they flew over as I threw my hat in the air.

"The Thunderbirds were always an inspiration to me and I am honored to be part of a team which inspires the next generation of Air Force airmen,” she said.

Jensen, an active reservist, is currently serving as the team's right wing pilot - more commonly known as "Thunderbird 3." For the next two years, her job will be to fly inches off the right wing of the flight leader in the famed Diamond and Delta formations.

It sounds supremely challenging, and it's designed to appear that way for the hundreds of thousands of spectators who attend Thunderbirds air shows each year. But Jensen, like all the pilots on the team, is extremely experienced. She has flown in the T-37, T-38 and F-16, accumulating more than 2,500 flying hours during her 14-year career.

That level of experience isn't unusual for a pilot of Jensen's rank and tenure, but she is just the third female demonstration pilot. The team has had a total of four female pilots since its inception in 1953.

The last time a female aviator flew in the right wing position - during the 2006-2007 show seasons - was when then-Maj. Nichole Malachowski became the team’s first female demonstration pilot. Jensen is the first female reservist demonstration pilot in team history.

“Most people will never realize that I am a reservist,” Jensen says. “Reserve airmen are seamlessly executing the mission alongside their active-duty Air Force counterparts every day.

And as Jensen is working alongside her active-duty counterparts, there's one airman in particular she gets to see every time she steps out to fly: Staff Sgt. Tacota LeMuel, the dedicated crew chief of the Thunderbirds No. 3 jet.

LeMuel is one of only two female crew chiefs assigned to the Thunderbirds and the only one selected to perform on this year’s "show line," the maintainers who are trained to perform choreographed launch and recovery routines in front of air show crowds.

"I have known a few other female crew chiefs, but Sgt. LeMuel is the first one to be my dedicated crew chief,” Jensen says. "I look up to her as an experienced show-line crew chief, and she has taught me a lot about Thunderbirds procedures in my first few months on the team."

A six-year Air Force veteran with deployment experience, LeMuel is in the middle of a career she imagined as a young girl.

“Aircraft have always been intriguing to me,” she says. “I looked at venturing into aircraft maintenance as an opportunity to satisfy my curiosity and give myself a challenge.”

She knew, however, that the maintenance community - much like the fighter pilot world - has been male-centric for years. But now, women are becoming an everyday sight on the flight line, enforcing technical orders and turning wrenches alongside their male counterparts.

“Often times, the maintenance environment is perceived to be unfit for women," LeMuel says. "And one of the most common misconceptions is that we have to work twice as hard as men do (to be successful). I have not personally witnessed or experienced that, but I’ve found the maintenance environment to be very tight-knit and fun.”

That teamwork and camaraderie also extends to the professional bond forged between a pilot and crew chief. A demonstration of airmanship at its finest, both Jensen and LeMuel rely on one another to accomplish the Thunderbirds mission.

“The relationship between a fighter pilot and a crew chief is a strong one, regardless of gender,” LeMuel says. “Being in a male-dominant career field, it is very exciting and empowering to have a female pilot and I’m extremely proud to work with her.”

Jensen feels the same way about the pilot-crew chief connection, noting that it's even stronger in unique job circumstances.

"The bond between crew chiefs and pilots within the Thunderbirds organization is similar to what I experienced during my combat deployment," Jensen says. "We spend a lot of time together and get to work with the same crew chief for launch and recovery. There is a strong bond and a lot of trust when you work this close.”

For at least the next year as Thunderbirds, Jensen and LeMuel will have the opportunity to use that bond to inspire people of all ages, genders and professional interests. Both women agree that being female doesn't define them - it's just a part of their life story. But when the chance arises, they will use that life story to remind young people to ignore false obstacles.

“I am very proud of my heritage as a female pilot, but women have been involved in aviation for a long time," says Jensen. "I hope that I can show both young men and women that there are no limits to what you can do if you dream big and work hard to achieve your dreams.”

LeMuel also likes to emphasize that success has a lot more to do with determination than other people's perceptions.

"Anyone who has a desire and an opportunity to purse what they love wholeheartedly, do it and set high standards for yourself," she says. "Don’t be afraid to dream!”

Army's first female division deputy commander to lead 'America's First Team'

From Army's first female division deputy commander to lead 'America's First Team'
FORT HOOD, Texas (March 15, 2012) -- One week after pinning on her first star, the Army Chief of Staff announced that Brig. Gen. Laura Richardson will become the Army's first female to serve as a division deputy commander.

Richardson, who is currently the commanding general for the U.S. Army Operational Test Command at Fort Hood, will take over as a deputy commanding general for the 1st Cavalry Division in her next assignment.

The general is no stranger to the cavalry. The aviation officer served as a company commander in the 6th Cavalry Brigade in the mid-1990s.

"The cavalry throughout the history of the United States Army is rich with tradition, esprit de corps and accomplishment," Richardson said. "It's a great honor and privilege to once again be part of the cavalry, and I look forward to serving with the Soldiers of the 1st Cavalry Division."

Although the Army Chief of Staff's March 9 announcement was historical for women and coincidentally made during Women's History Month, Richardson said she is humbled by the opportunity.

"Each of my assignments -- from platoon leader to company commander to the commanding general of the Operational Test Command -- has challenged me to learn and excel as a Soldier and a leader," she said. "I am as excited about being one of the 1st Cavalry Division's deputy division commanders as I was about being a company commander in the 6th Cavalry Brigade."

Under Maj. Gen. Daniel Allyn, the 1st Cav. Div. has three deputy commanding generals. Brigadier Gen. Gary Volesky serves as the one for maneuver, Brig. Gen. James Richardson is the one for support and Canadian Brig. Gen. Karl McQuillan is the one for coalition. It has not been announced which slot Richardson will fill.

Her background includes logistics, personnel and operations. She has held two company commands, staff officer assignments and a battalion command with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), and has been the director of the Army's Transformation Office and a garrison commander at Fort Myer, Va., and Fort McNair, Va. She also served as the military aide to the vice president and one of the Army's liaison officers to the United States Senate.

Richardson deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom while commanding the 5th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment, an assault helicopter battalion, and has been awarded the Defense Superior Service Medal, three Legions of Merit and many more awards.

Richardson's historical assignment comes on the heels of the Department of Defense's announcement Feb. 9 that six military occupational specialties and some battalion-level positions in combat units will soon be opened to women.

The general said, however, that she never dreamed of holding specific positions in the Army; instead, she focused on the task at hand to accomplish the mission and take care of her troops.

"My goals were always to do the best that I could in the job that I was in, not to dwell on what was next, and I believed the rest would take care of itself," she said, crediting her parents for teaching her values of determination and hard work.

Being the first female deputy commanding general in an Army that is nearly 85 percent male could be intimidating, but Richardson said the pressure to prove herself normally comes from within.

"There is always pressure on any individual as they transition into a new job and to become an effective member of the team as quickly as possible," she said. "I believe the key to transition is to keep focused on the purpose and listen."

She plans to lead the division, as she leads the OTC, with the five tenants of excellence, leadership, teamwork, caring and safety.

"These tenets have served well in OTC and other positions, and I look forward to instilling a passion for excellence, leading by example, building the team vertically and horizontally, treating everyone with dignity and respect and ensuring the safety of the team," she said.

Her future goals are not to become another monumental first for Army females. She is, and always has been, focused on the task at hand. Her goal for the near future as a leader in the Army is to assist in meeting and dealing with the current strategic and fiscal challenges.

For those inspired by her accomplishments, Richardson advises both male and female Soldiers how to succeed: "Be a competent and confident professional, accept new challenges and always take care of your people."

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Know a Girl Who Wants to Learn how to Fly?

Girls with Wings is offering a scholarship (indeed, they offer a scholarship every year.)

From their website:
Girls With Wings is pleased to announce that we have developed an additional
scholarship for 2012. Girls With Wings has traditionally offered a Private Pilot
Scholarship to help defray the cost of flight training lessons in pursuit of a
private pilot certificate. This scholarship is targeting those individuals who have
soloed but have not completed the Private Pilot Course. The Private Pilot
Scholarship is an award in the amount of $1000.00.

In addition, the new, second scholarship offered by Girls With Wings is the
Dreams Take Flight Scholarship. This scholarship is designed to introduce
the world of aviation to someone who has dreams of a career in aviation and
who would benefit from experiencing the joy of flight. The award of this
scholarship is intended to fund introductory flight training to encourage
achievement of a stated goal, whether as a pilot or in another field of study in
aviation. There is no prerequisite flight training required for this scholarship,
just enthusiasm and the desire to learn. The Dreams Take Flight Scholarship is
an award in the amount of $500.00.

We will be offering one of each scholarship this spring. Further details of
the individual scholarships and their requirements follow.

Disclaimer: Applicants agree to not hold Girls With Wings, Inc., accountable for
the outcome of using this monetary award. The selection of a flight school for
training rests solely with the awardee and the conduct and safety of the flight
training is in no way the responsibility of Girls With Wings, Inc. By submitting
an application, the applicant agrees not to hold Girls With Wings, Inc., liable for
any harm or injury, personal or otherwise, that may result from the award, if
she is so selected.

Please download the appropriate application to complete and submit by the
deadline: Midnight EST March, 31, 2012.

To apply, go here:

Female Marines aim to blend in, but be visible enough to set an example

From Stars and Stripes: Female Marines aim to blend in, but be visible enough to set an example
QUANTICO, Va. — Female Marines don’t like people to focus on their gender. They’re just Marines, they say.

But some who have been “the first” — to fly with an all-woman Marine One crew, to serve with a female engagement team in Afghanistan — said they’ve realized the importance of setting a positive example and showing other young women the opportunities available to them in the military.

“We don’t like to be singled out. We’re Marines,” Maj. Jennifer Marino said during a panel discussion Thursday about the role of female Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Marino was the co-pilot for the first and only all-female Marine One flight crew, but she said it was the men who had pushed them to put that crew together. After news reports about the crew were published, Marino said they started getting letters from parents saying their daughters had been inspired to join the Marine Corps or become helicopter pilots.

Those letters showed the women the importance of serving as role models and talking about their experiences, she said.

Capt. Victoria Sherwood, a communications officer who served with the first Marine female engagement team in Afghanistan, said she had a similar experience.

“When I joined the Marine Corps, I wasn’t going to be a ‘female Marine,’” she said.

Now, she said, too few young women realize the career opportunities available to them in the military, and talking about her experiences and the experiences of other female Marines is the best way to recruit other strong women.

The opportunities for women are changing. Though women are still barred from infantry units, a recent Pentagon decision will open to women more than 14,000 active-duty and reserve jobs that were previously available only to men.

As early as this summer, a few hundred jobs for company grade officers and staff noncommissioned officers in the Marines will be open to women. Those positions would be in ground combat units like artillery, tanks and combat engineer battalions in military specialties already open to female Marines.

The senior women on the panel said they have seen major changes during their time in the service. For Lt. Col. Julie Nethercot, what stands out is the questions she isn’t asked.

Her second assignment was to lead an all-male unit, and she remembers quite a few questions about “how it feels” to be a woman leading a male team.

“I never saw them as anything other than Marines,” Nethercot said.

Later, Nethercot served as commander of 9th Communication Battalion and helped create the first full-time Marine female engagement team in Afghanistan. She said she doesn’t hear those types of gender questions anymore.

And while the women talked about gains the female engagement teams had with Afghan women, Master Sgt. Julia Watson stressed that women can also engage with Afghan men.

“We were often able to get different and better information [than men got],” Watson said, because they could engage both genders. Afghans tended to think of them as kind of a third gender — not the same as Afghan women, but not men, either.

“It’s not about males and females, it’s about gender roles,” said Watson, who also developed and implemented the Iraqi Women’s Engagement Program.

Sherwood said the Marines on her female engagement team excelled at reading people and getting to know the community. And while it was the male battalion commanders who said they needed the team in the first place, some were surprised “at how much they gained so quickly.”

“There’s an irony that, basically, because Afghan women are so restricted and won’t be let out of their houses, American women have to be let off the [base],” Sherwood said.

First and only female pilot in Afghanistan

From Women, Economics and Politics blog: First and only female pilot in Afghanistan
It has been a long and turbulent journey for this first and only Aghani female helicopter pilot, Col. Latifa Nabizada. She is not only the first and only military pilot but the first woman in the history of Afghani aviation.

Latifa and her sister, Lailuma, were the first female graduates from the Afghan Air force Academy, in 1980. It was a challenging endeavor but they graduated. Unfortunately, Lailuma later died at child-birth.

When the Taliban seized control in 1996, Latifa was forced to flee to neighboring Pakistan. She returned after the ouster of the Taliban and rejoined the air force. The Afghan air force has no child-care facilities so Latifa has been flying with her daughter since 1988. Malalai, who is 5 years old, rides in the co-pilot seat next to her mother.

Together, mother and daughter have flown more than 300 mission trips in the past few years. Latifa recognizes the risks of having her daughter on board, but she does not have a choice until possibly when she is 6 and starts school.

"Trust me, when I have my daughter with me on the flight, I am really worried from the moment we take off to the moment we land," says Nabizada. "For me, it's my profession to go to dangerous areas. So if anything happens to me, it is expected. But why should something happen to my daughter? I am really worried."

The U.S. military have asked her not to bring the child on missions or at least move her out of the cockpit, but Malalai will not stand it and she throws a tantrum. In any case, Latifa is confident of her skills as a pilot and is extra cautious with her daughter next to her.

Latifa and her devoted partner fly to some of the most remote and dangerous areas of Afghanistan. The missions often involve supplying troops in remote areas or flying to disaster zones to help provide assistance.

Being a woman in the Afghan military is challenging but it has toughened Latifa. She is no longer harassed and cites an Afghan saying that roughly translates as " steel gets harder with the hammering."

It is encouraging to read these sort of stories from a war zone country, instead of just war and death reports.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Women Airline Pilots!

I have to take a bit of an exception to the sentence "female pilots are still rare."

Percentage wise, only 6% of pilots are women (and this percentage hasn't changed since the inception of flight!) but that still leaves several thousand women pilots around the world (albeit 99% of them in the civilized, Western world). Which doesn't mean there shouldn't be more.

From Women's Dish: Women Airline Pilots!
Female pilots are still rare

Just over five per cent of BA pilots are women (the national average is around three per cent). I haven’t suffered from any sexism at work, but it’s a common assumption that because I’m a woman, I must be cabin crew.

You get an amazing view from a plane
In 1997 I was flying from America to the UK when I saw a curtain of shimmering green and purple light below – the Northern Lights. Streaming into them was the two-mile long, golden glow tail of the Hale-Bopp comet.

Well said (above) by Captain Lynn Barton.

The sky has been her only limit

Stephanie (another Women Pilot) Wallach made Alaska Airlines history Wednesday when she hung up her captain’s hat following her final flight. The Medina resident became the first female Alaska pilot to reach the Federal Aviation Administration-mandated retirement age. She turns 60 today.

It was one of many firsts that have highlighted Wallach’s flying career. She was one of the first 10 female commercial pilots, the first woman to pilot a Boeing 727 passenger jet and a founding member of the International Society of Women Airline Pilots.

And another women Pilot Braniff hired had enough credentials to be an airline pilot, the engineer rating was required in the 1970s. It cost $5,000. “That was a lot of money in 1974,” she said. With that rating in her log book, Wallach applied at the airlines. She was the second female pilot Braniff hired and the only woman in training class. Within two years she was first officer on 727s, flying out of New York to South America and throughout the United States.

Women’s History Month: You Go, Girls!

From Time: Women’s History Month: You Go, Girls!
I have been thinking about Women’s History Month since March began. Then, I saw that March 8 was International Women’s Day, an event that has taken place worldwide since the early 1900s. According to its website, it began amid the turbulence of the industrial age when women started realizing their oppressed and subordinate status.

They began to actively campaign for change such as the rights to work, vote, hold office, and end discrimination. From its birth as a women’s rights movement, the day has expanded as a global day for the recognition and celebration of women globally. Women’s History week was designated in 1981 incorporating International Women’s Day. In 1987, Congress expanded the focus to a whole month. This year, in honor of International Women’s Day, I happened to notice an event sponsored by the Navy, which I am very proud to publicize (albeit after the fact).

The event was an interview with Fox news, in which the Vice Chief of Naval Operations, ADM Mark Ferguson, along with Captain Lisa Franchetti, Lt Sarah Flaherty, and ENC (DV) Lynn Rodriguez, discussed the current and future opportunities for women in the Navy.

The panel went on to ring the closing bell at the NYSE after participating in a UN panel on the Representation of Women in Non-traditional sectors on that same day.

Admiral Ferguson has been an advocate for diversity in the Navy at least since his tenure as Chief of Naval Personnel, where told the 2008 Naval Postgraduate School graduating class that minorities will soon become the collective majority in the United States. He said that tapping into that talent is a strategic imperative, utilizing people who can do the job best regardless of race or gender.

Captain Franchetti is a surface warfare officer who joined in 1985, and as a result of opportunities that opened with the rescinding of combat exclusion laws for the Navy, was able to command both a destroyer (USS Ross DDG 71) and Destroyer Squadron 21, which is embarked on USS Stennis (CVN-74) and oversees 4 other DDGs.

Lt Flaherty is a helicopter pilot, who noted that she had it “easy” because of trailblazing of women like Captain Franchetti.

Seabee diver Lynn Rodriguez finished up the panel. Chief Rodriguez, one of only five female Underwater Construction Battalion (CB = Seabee. Get it?) divers has become the face of Navy diving as a result of her navy recruiting video above.

The video targets women, but her leadership is gender neutral. Although not the most senior woman Seabee Diver, that honor goes to Chief Warrant Officer Roseanne Oliveros, a 2010 inductee into the Woman Divers Hall of Fame, Lynn was recently honored with the Master Chief Anna Der-Vartanian Award for leadership by a servicemember whose ideals and dedication further the integration of women into the Navy. “She exemplifies everything the Navy is looking for in leaders,” says Capt. John W. Korka, her CO. “I’m proud to have the privilege to call myself her commanding officer.”

It’s important to note these women leaders. Research has shown that girls, especially, need role models. I recently returned from a speaking engagement at South Texas College for part of their Women’s History Month celebration. As a non-Hispanic military woman, I certainly did not “look” like many of the students, faculty, and members of the community to which I spoke, but I think that my message rings true regardless.

My presentation, “Breaking Through the Brass Ceiling: Women in the U.S. Armed Forces,” focused on women trailblazers such as the first woman flag and general officers in the military, the first women commanders of a ship and an aircraft squadron, and a look at the future for women in the military. I noted that there were not many women of color in this group, and I challenged the audience to “reach for the stars” through hard work and commitment to excellence.

The other thing I told them was to accept any opportunities that come their way and run with them. Most girls do not aspire to greatness, because they are taught to be nurturers, not fighters. But with role models and mentors, women can, and do, make a difference.

I myself have had my 15 minutes of fame as the first woman to command a Navy ship. Even though it was more than 20 years ago, it surprises me how many still find it an amazing feat, and are proud to hear me reflect on the experience. I still don’t feel special, but I just happened to be at the right place at the right time to make a difference. It just takes persistence and perseverance. That’s what Women’s History Month is telling today’s young: “If she can do it, so can I.” You go, girls!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Women & aircraft: centennial of the first female flight over the Channel

Note that AvioNews is based in Italy and the writing of the article reflects someone to whom English is not the first language.

From AvioNews: Women & aircraft: centennial of the first female flight over the Channel
London, United Kingdom - An exhibition in honour of Harriet Quimby

(WAPA) - Hundred year ago Harriet Quimby, first woman to gain a pilot license in the United States, flew between English coast to the French one in spite of wind, rain and inaccurate maps.

This historical event has been celebrated yesterday in Kent by more than 100 women came from all Europe, Canada and United States where the entire flight will be realized again.

Actually Quimby took-off on April 16 1912 facing many difficulties during the one hour flight (precisely 56 minutes), forced to land 25 miles away from her true destination in Calais, France.

This record, exceptional at time, received little attention due the Titanic sunk just one day before (April 15, 1912).

Still very young, Harriet Quimby died 37, during the flight which should have been her triumph, the third Boston Aviation Meeting. Harriet was pushed out when the aircraft unexpectedly pitched forward for reasons still unknown. William Willard, the organizer of the event, flying together with the pilot also died on impact. (Avionews)

Betty Skelton, The First Lady Of Aviation

from Investors Business Daily: Betty Skelton, The First Lady Of Aviation
When aerobatic pilot Betty Skelton first tried the daring inverted ribbon cut, she flew underneath the strip and felt the engine quit.

She was just few feet off the ground and upside down to boot.

"I never made that mistake again," Skelton said, laughing during a 1999 interview for a National Aeronautics and Space Administration oral history project. "But I've made quite a few. All pilots do."

Skelton (1926-2011) became the first woman to perform that stunt in the late 1940s when only a handful of men could make the cut. A ribbon is strung between two fishing poles held by men on the ground. The pilot slices the band with the plane's propeller while flying less than 10 feet off the ground.

When the engine died, she righted the plane and landed. "Then she went right back out and started flying again," Dorothy Cochrane, the National Air & Space Museum curator and friend of Skelton, told IBD. "She had a lot of guts."

It's that kind of steely nerve that earned the Pensacola, Fla., native the moniker First Lady of Firsts.

She has more combined aircraft and automotive records than anyone in history, Cochran says.

Skelton's Keys
* The First Lady of Firsts, she amassed more combined plane and car records than anyone in history. She even trained with the Mercury 7 astronauts in 1959, earning the nickname No. 7-1/2.
* "You consider danger only from the standpoint that it's up to you to know what you're doing, to do your best, to be very careful about it and very thorough about it, and learn everything you can about it."

Skelton even trained with the Mercury 7 astronauts in 1959, earning the nickname No. 7-1/2.

Skelton is in the National Aviation Hall of Fame, International Aerobatic Hall of Fame, International Council of Air Shows Hall of Fame, Corvette Hall of Fame and Motorsports Hall of Fame.

She was inducted into the Paul E. Garber First Flight Shrine at the Wright Brothers National Memorial in North Carolina in 2010.

Her namesake award — the Betty Skelton First Lady of Aerobatics — goes to the top female pilot each year at the U.S. National Aerobatic Championships.

Aviation fans walk underneath Skelton's Pitts S-1C as they enter the hanger of the National Air & Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center outside Washington. The red-and-white single-prop plane called Little Stinker by Skelton hangs upside down, of course.

It was planes all the way for her, Cochrane says. As a child, Skelton played with model airplanes, not dolls. She soloed at age 12, before it was legal. But she had few opportunities to fly for a living in the 1940s.

The military didn't allow women pilots — its Women Air Force Service Pilots program closed down months shy of Skelton becoming eligible during World War II — and commercial airlines didn't hire women pilots back then.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Reflecting on My Time as a WASP ‘Guinea Pig’

From DoDLive: Reflecting on My Time as a WASP ‘Guinea Pig’
Betty “Tack” Blake was a Women’s Air Force Service pilot during World War II and a graduate of the first graduating class in 1943 near Ellington Field in Houston. Blake, now 91, lives in Scottsdale, Ariz.

We were the guinea pig class. We were the experiment because they didn’t think we’d be able to do it. They watched us like hawks to see if we were going to make it.

They took over one of the buildings in the commercial airport, and it was right next to Ellington Field. All of our instructors were pilots from Ellington Field, and they were not happy at all with instructing girls. Fortunately, I’d grown up with a lot of boys, so I knew how to joke, spit through my teeth, crack my jaws and do a lot of boy things. So they were very comfortable with me.

Some of the other girls were in tears most of the time because they’d never been around boys, but I got along fine. I had a lot of fun down there. It was a lot of work, but it was exciting, learning to fly military planes.

We started out in civilian planes. I flew the AT-6 [Texan], and twin-engine and four-engine planes toward the end. The biggest plane I checked out in was the B-17 Flying Fortress.

I was lucky, being in the first class, we had a choice [of assignment]. The other classes had no choice. When we graduated, they said there were seven or eight bases, and you can pick whichever one you want. I picked Long Beach, Calif., because I figured it was closer to Honolulu, and I might get to go home. We also had a choice whether we wanted to teach flying to cadets, ferry airplanes and a third choice. I picked the ferry command.

I wanted so badly to fly a B-17 or B-24 [Liberator] home to Honolulu because I was one of the first three gals who learned to fly in Honolulu. I thought, “Boy, would I be important if I could fly a big four-engine back to my hometown.” But they wouldn’t let us fly across the ocean.

They were going to use us as co-pilots on the overseas flights, but about that time, the men pilots were brought back because the war was over in Europe. So I didn’t get checked out in a lot more planes that I would have liked to have flown because they didn’t need us anymore. It was just, “Goodbye, girls. Thanks.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Miss Snake Charmer Pageant honors Women Air Force Service Pilots

From ReporterNews, Sweetwater, TX: Miss Snake Charmer Pageant honors Women Air Force Service Pilots
SWEETWATER — The Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup paid tribute to the Women Air Force Service Pilots, the first women to fly American military aircraft, Thursday night with Wings Across Sweetwater as the theme of this year's Miss Snake Charmer Pageant.

Pageant co-chairwomen Carola Martin and Laura Gilbert used their connections at the National WASP World War II Museum in Sweetwater to arrange for former WASP Mary Alice Putnam Vandeventer to attend the pageant, greeting audience members as they entered the Municipal Auditorium.

Several girls stopped to get Vandeventer's autograph and have their photo taken with the former pilot.

"I love to encourage young girls to have an interest in aviation whenever I can," she said.

Vandeventer is one of the final members of the first group of women to serve as pilots for military aircraft during World War II. The WASPs were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for their service in 2010, when fewer than 300 of them were still living.

The 89-year-old Lueders native said that medal was the beginning of a string of recognitions she has received, and that attending an event like the pageant is an honor.

The Rattlesnake Roundup, organized by the Sweetwater Jaycees and now in its 53rd year, is billed as the largest gathering of rattlesnakes in the world.

The parade, originally scheduled for Thursday afternoon, was canceled because of bad weather, which could continue to affect the rattler celebration Friday.

Jaycee Clint Parks said the snakes brought in Friday morning, while caught several weeks ago, will not be as aggressive in colder temperatures.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Women prove they have the 'right stuff' to fly

From Women prove they have the 'right stuff' to fly
March is Women’s History Month, a time to remember the contributions of women to the defense of our country. In Colonial times, women helped their husbands defend their farms from Indian attacks. During the American Revolution, women such as Mary Hays McCauly, better known as Molly Pitcher, took care of their husbands and sons in many battles. Women served as nurses, merchants, spies and even combat soldiers — disguised as men — during the Civil War.

More than 30,000 women served in the armed forces during World War I, mostly as nurses. Of these, 300 served as French-English telephone operators with the U.S. Army Signal Corps — the only military women who were not nurses. President Woodrow Wilson recognized their sacrifices through his support for the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote in 1920.

With pending U.S. involvement in the global war in the summer of 1941, the Army Air Force faced a shortage of male pilots. Gen. Henry “Hap” Arnold, the AAF commander, asked famous female aviator Jackie Cochran, recipient of four international and 17 national aviation awards, for suggestions. She offered to recruit female pilots as civilian pilots for the AAF who would release males for combat.

When the AAF turned her plan down, Cochran recruited and trained American women pilots to ferry aircraft for the British. As a result, 25 American women went to Britain in the spring of 1942 as uniformed civilian pilots of the British Air Transport Auxiliary.

Meanwhile, in September 1942, another famous female pilot, Nancy Harkness Love, formed the Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron with 38 pilots to fly aircraft to Britain for the Air Transport Command. The success of the WAFS program caused the AAF to revitalize Cochran’s women’s pilot training program. The first class graduated on April 28, 1943, after 23 weeks of military, ground school and flying training at the Houston airport.

On Aug. 5, 1943, Cochran’s group merged with the WAFS to form the Women Airforce Service Pilots, or WASP. Assigned to 120 bases across the U.S., WASP ferried aircraft, towed targets, flew experimental aircraft, conducted bombardier and navigational training, and transported personnel. They flew virtually every type of military aircraft, such as the C-47, P-38 Lightning, B-17 Fortress, B-26 Marauder and even the B-29 Super Fortress.

In the book “Test Flying at Old Wright Field,” former WASP Ann Baumgartner described her experiences at Camp Davis, N.C., where she went after her training course graduation: “To train artillery men, we flew small cubs, old B-34 bombers, ancient SBD dive bombers, C-45s, tired old fabric-covered C-78s and heavy SB2C dive bombers. Oh, to fly the sleek fighters and bombers at Wright Field.”

By mid-1944, the return of male pilots to the U.S. signaled the end of the WASP program, which the AAF inactivated on Dec. 20, 1944. By that time, 1,074 WASP had graduated from the program and 38 had died in the line of duty.

Many WASP returned to private life, while others continued to fly. Some joined the Air Force Reserve with their WASP service counting as commissioned service. Few ex-WASP made military service a career. Unfortunately, as a sign of the times, neither the Army Air Force nor the U.S. Congress provided these women pilots any recognition for their tremendous contributions to the Allied victory during the war.

After the Air Force announced plans to train its “first women military pilots” in the mid-1970s, former WASP campaigned for recognition as veterans. In 1977, Congress awarded them veteran status from the U.S. Air Force. In 1984, each WASP received the World War II Victory medal, and those who had served for more than a year also received the American Theater medal. After a lapse of 33 years these women finally received their richly deserved recognition for their contributions.

About 20 percent of today’s Air Force is women, found in 99 percent of all Air Force career fields. Women pilots fly not only noncombatant aircraft, such as transports and tankers, but also the F-15, the F-16 and, most recently, the A-10. Col. Sue Helms flew on the Space Shuttle and made the longest space walk to date. The women pilots of today’s Air Force carry on the legacy and the motto of the WASP: “We live in the wind and sand, and our eyes are on the stars.”

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Happy Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week!

From Women in Aviation Week: Happy Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week!
“I was annoyed from the start by the attitude of doubt by the spectators that I would never really make the flight. This attitude made me more determined than ever to succeed,” said Harriet Quimby before taking off for France.

Doubts that women are interested in aviation, doubts that women can fly, doubts that women can work together… these doubts are constantly aimed at girls and women and they are impending their success in communities and at airports.

Over the last two years, the Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week have proven that:

* Women ARE interested in aviation with hundreds of them rushing to the airport during Women Of Aviation Week when they are told that they are welcomed.
* Women DO fly as so many women pilots take girls and women up for a flight and lead by example.
* Women from all walks of life CAN work together towards a common goal, as events led by women are set to take place in many countries during the 2012 Women Of Aviation Week.

On March 10, 2012, individuals and organizers alike are planning a worldwide show of unity. Pilots around the world will introduce girls and women at their local airport to join the many planned events.

We expect flights to take place at 100 airports or more to mark 100 years since the crossing of the first English Channel by airplane and the first flight in a seaplane with women at the controls, Harriet Quimby and Helene Dutrieu, respectively.

Over the English Channel, aircraft with girls and women onboard are expected to stream non-stop for more than one hour to form a virtual bridge between France and England as a salute to Harriet’s flight. In fact, the response was so strong that the airports will be at full capacity and NOTAMS will be issued to reserve the airport to participating aircraft.

At the Frederick Airport, the enthusiasm among the female public was so high that registrations for a flight were closed 3 weeks prior to the event. In Texas, Calhoun Air Center, is taking over two airports, Port Lavaca and Victoria, to defend their titles.
Expecting a high of -15°C (5°F), Yellowknife in Canada’s Northwest Territories, has planned airline and military displays and is aiming to introduce up to 500 girls to the fun of flying. Meanwhile, Petersborough, ON, CANADA, is readying for a 2-day event.
Many more events are planned and each is bound to be a lot of fun for everyone involved.

Even if you can’t attend an event, you can still be a part of it. Some of the events will be streaming live video online at You can receive a notification when any of the programs begin by the selecting the channel of interest and then clicking on “Join the Crowd”.

We plan to stream the flight across the English Channel of Esther, our video contest winner, so that everyone can be part of that historical flight.

Good competitions always include a luck element. The March weather is our wild card.

So be prepared to make all the girls and women present enter the writing or art contests should the weather get in the way. The price is a flight lesson and each participant qualifies for the “First-to-Solo” challenge $500 USD prize. All entries must be submitted on March 14, 2012 at the latest.

Any flight to introduce a girl or a woman during Women Of Aviation Week is great and makes a difference! However, it won’t officially count unless you report it before March 14, 2012, for individual flights, and March 17, 2012 for an event.

Thanks to our many sponsors, we have many amazing prizes up for grab. Who will win? The answer will be published on April 4, 2012, and so will be, the names of the winners of the various titles.

Hours away from the official beginning of Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week, let our aircraft engines roar and create a beautiful one-week symphony.

Red Arrows Kirsty quits after deaths of two pals

---But worried bosses ruled she was not "in the right place" to fly and made the tough decision to reassign her.

Well, I dunno. The worry that you can be sitting in your jet and ejected at any moment due to a faulty mechanism would be enough to get to anybody!

From the Sun: Red Arrows Kirsty quits after deaths of two pals
BRITAIN'S first female Red Arrows pilot has quit — suffering from stress after the deaths of two flying pals in the daredevil team.

Talented Flight Lieutenant Kirsty Stewart, 33, has been [re]moved from the tightly-knit aerobatic outfit and will be posted to a ground role.

She will not fly at all for a period yet to be agreed by RAF bosses — but it could be up to six months.

And the world-famous team will have just SEVEN jets instead of the traditional NINE in displays this year.

Sources say Kirsty has been hit incredibly hard by the deaths last year, which were just three months apart.

Flt Lt Jon Egging, 33 — Red 4 — died in August when he crashed near Bournemouth after a display watched by his wife.

Then in November Flt Lt Sean Cunningham, 35 — Red 5 — was killed when he was ejected from his Hawk T1 while it was on the runway at RAF Scampton, Lincs.

The strain of the double tragedy left gifted Kirsty unable to be absolutely focused on flying her 500mph jet for another demanding display season.

She was due to be a Red Arrows pilot for one more year. But worried bosses ruled she was not "in the right place" to fly and made the tough decision to reassign her.

A defence source said: "Not many people outside of the Red Arrows will understand the pressure and busy schedule that the team endure in a normal season. These have been exacerbated by the tragic events of 2011.

"This has had an adverse effect on Kirsty and has resulted in the Royal Air Force deciding it would be more appropriate if she is reassigned."

The loss of Kirsty, who flew as Red 9, is another blow for an incredible team who wow crowds across the globe with their jaw-dropping daredevil flying tricks.

She was due to take part in high profile displays this year — possibly including the Queen's Jubilee and the Olympics, which will be seen by a TV audience of millions Kirsty made history when The Sun revealed in 2009 she was to be the Red Arrows' first female pilot. She joined the RAF in 1998 and graduated to piloting Tornado war planes based at RAF Marham in Norfolk. She flew in Iraq before passing the notoriously tough selection process for the Arrows.

An MoD spokesman said: "The Red Arrows will conduct aerobatic displays with seven aircraft rather than the usual nine in 2012 due to the unavoidable posting of one of their pilots. The MoD will not comment on personnel issues nor individual postings.

"With safety paramount — but the quality of the displays vitally important — it has been decided that seven aircraft presents the most visually-balanced and dynamic formation.

"The team will still carry out official flypasts with nine aircraft. The Red Arrows will return to a full aerobatic formation of nine aircraft in 2013."

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Woman Air Race Program PDFs

I'm putting together a collection of programs of all-woman, or woman-participant, air races.

Right now I'm focusing on the Powder Puff Derby and the Angel Derby (Powder Puff was transcontinental, Angel was international.)

I've got several programs completed, but just found out that the resultant PDFs are too large for me to upload. Once I break them apart into 2 or 3 separate files, I'll upload them.

For now, follow this link to download free PDFs of:

1) 15th Angel Derby - New York, NY to Nassau, Bahamas, 1965, program
2) Powder Puff Jubilee - 25th race in 1971, Rules and Regulations for the pilots

Friday, March 2, 2012

Stricken P-51 lands with help from a legend: Bob Hoover

From Stricken P-51 lands with help from a legend: Bob Hoover
Circling above Mobile, Ala., on Feb. 26 with the left main landing gear of the vintage P-51 stuck halfway down, pilot Chuck Gardner calmly worked the procedures. When that failed to produce the desired result, a little advice from fellow aviators—including 90-year-old aviation legend Bob Hoover—proved helpful.

Gardner, with a passenger on board, started a conversation with a fellow pilot on the radio, who relayed messages to and from Doug Jeanes, the director of the Cavanaugh Flight Museum, who answered the troubling phone call in Dallas. The museum is touring “The Bratt III,” a World War II combat veteran, and has owned the vintage P-51 for about 20 years, including eight years spent restoring it.

Landing with one of the main wheels more horizontal than vertical was not an appealing option for the pilot, passenger, or owner. After picking the brains of various pilots, it occurred to Jeanes that Hoover, whose storied career included many flights in a P-51, might have something to offer.

“Chuck had really tried just about everything,” Jeanes recalled.

Hoover, a veteran military, airshow, and test pilot, spent decades as the official starter of the Reno Air Races, guiding pilots into line abreast with his P-51, then announcing “gentlemen, you have a race” as he pulled up to circle above the contest. If an airplane got into trouble, as they often did, Hoover would form up on the wing and talk the pilot through it.

“Somebody would have a problem almost every other race, and over the years I must have talked down 30 or 40 airplanes that were in real trouble,” Hoover said in a telephone interview. “As a test pilot, I had more experience, probably, than most people.”

Hoover also had experience with a very similar problem—twice over. First in World War II, and later at the Transpo ’72 airshow at Washington Dulles International Airport, Hoover had to land a Mustang on one wheel. In 1972, Hoover explained, the up lock failed to release, and there was no hope of extending both wheels. He put the old warbird down on one leg, walking away uninjured, but the aircraft required extensive repair following the inevitable prop strike.

On Feb. 26, Hoover said, the main wheel was not locked inside the fuselage, so he encouraged Gardner to keep trying a couple of promising maneuvers: an abrupt pull-up that could dislodge the gear with G forces, and a hard yaw to bring the force of the slipstream to bear on the stuck gear assembly.

“Boot enough rudder there at landing gear down speeds, get a side load on it, it would force it out and into the locked position,” Hoover said. “I’ve been there, I’ve done that a couple of times.”

Jeanes, on the phone from Dallas to Hoover in Los Angeles, encouraged Gardner to keep trying the maneuvers over Mobile Bay. “Just slip it, skid it, yaw it, whatever you have to do to get some air under the door.”

After about an hour of maneuvering, the landing gear dropped at last into the down and locked position, and a smooth landing followed (with fire engines waiting just in case).

Jeanes said the problem was caused by a bad valve which controls the pressure in the shock and strut assembly, preventing the strut from fully extending. Fortunately, the P-51 had departed with plenty of fuel on board.

“Everybody was real calm. Nobody was panicking,” Jeanes said.

The Mustang will continue its tour, with a stop planned at Sun ‘n Fun. Rides can be arranged for $1,995.

Hoover said he was happy to lend his experience to a pilot in a pinch—again.

“I was so pleased we could save the airplane, or that I … had anything to do with it,” Hoover said.