Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Air Race Classic lands at Sporty’s

From :  Air Race Classic lands at Sporty’s

More than 100 air race pilots competing in the 36th annual Air Race Classic descended on the Clermont County/Sporty’s Airport in Ohio last week, after flying a 2,330 nm cross-country course in four days. Starting on June 19, the aircraft left Lake Havasu, Arizona, on a course that would take them east, north, and finally southeast to Sporty’s.

Dianna Stanger, Sporty’s Hal Shevers, and Victoria Holt
The first racers began to arrive early on Friday, June 22, and continued streaming in throughout the day. While waiting for their fellow racers, the women enjoyed the hospitality of Sporty’s and each other’s company. The winning team, based on fastest handicapped speed, was Dianna Stanger of Fort Lavaca, Texas, and Victoria Holt of Belton, Texas, who flew a Cirrus SR-22.
The race continues the tradition of the transcontinental women’s air race, first held in 1929. After World War II, the race came to be known as the Powder Puff Derby before being reincorporated as the Air Race Classic. Famous participants through the years include Amelia Earhart and Louise Thaden.
“These air racers are a competitive bunch,” says Sporty’s Founder and Chairman Hal Shevers. “Sporty’s was honored to host the terminus in 2001, and we’re glad to roll out the welcome mat for such a spirited group once again.”
As a major event sponsor, Sporty’s was proud to host a hangar party and dinner on Saturday night, officials noted. Air Race Classic participants were treated to musical entertainment by students from the University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music and a special operatic performance arranged by one of Sporty’s flight instructors who also is a professor of voice at CCM. The evening concluded with a fireworks show.


New Retro LSA: Classic Looks, Modern Flight

PR: New Retro LSA: Classic Looks, Modern Flight

In the late 1930s, aluminum was expensive and labor was cheap. Now, and especially for someone producing a new aircraft, labor is a major factor; and if the builder is doing the work at home, it’s an even greater factor.

Since the 1930s, evolution of aircraft has improved, from airfoils and controls, to propulsion, materials, avionics, tires, and nearly everything else. The results of these improvements have been better reliability, easier repair, economical operation, and above all greater comfort, safety, and flying capability.

But no one has improved on the looks of those Golden Age airplanes.

The classic look is obvious when you see the Sam LS; what isn’t obvious, but is more important: modern improvements have yielded a much better airplane. And Thierry Zibi, who conceptualized the Sam and runs HAIM Aviation west of MontrĂ©al, Canada, looked to increase not only the manufacturability of the Sam, but also its adaptability and utility. With three wing configurations (standard LS, STOL, and cross-country), the Sam will be produced as both an S-LSA (the LS and STOL versions) and an Experimental (CC version).

Haim aviation will launch the Sam LS commercially at Oshkosh. Zibi says, “All Oshkosh sales will take advantage of our introductory price of $135,000 and will receive a leather interior, optional 600x6 tires, and a 7’’ Dynon display for the passenger at no additional cost.”  [Firm orders placed at the show, accompanied by a $2000 deposit, will also receive a new vintage-look leather flying helmet with protective glass lenses. Details, including performance clauses, are in the sales contract.]

See the Sam LS at Oshkosh, North Aircraft Display, #626

Key features:
  • All aluminum plus a protective 4130 steel cage structure for occupants
  • Pilot sits in front for solo and two-up flight
  • Stall speed clean is 49 mph or 42.5 knots
  • Ailerons are mass balanced to avoid flutter
  • Elevator and rudder are mass balanced and dynamically balanced

LSA (LS model) considerations:
  • Designs are fully compliant with ASTM standards
  • Gust factor of 29 knots has been taking in consideration at VC which gives a limit load of 5.3G and an ultimate load of 7.9 G (LS model)
  • Negative limit load factor is -3.3 G and -4.95 ultimate

Wing particulars:
  • Wings are removable for long term storage; landing gear connects to wing center
  • STOL and CC variants are realized by simply changing the outboard wing sections (The entire aircraft was designed to accept three different wings without any additional airframe modifications.)
  • Wing is rectangular for ease of construction and to have gentle stall characteristics
  • Outside wings include 3 degrees dihedral
The three different wings:
LS : 28.5 ft wingspan (The first prototype will have the LS wing)
STOL: 31.8 ft
CC : 25.2 ft

Amelia Earhart exhibit honors history, legacy

From  Amelia Earhart exhibit honors history, legacy

WASHINGTON - Amelia Earhart may not have been the first female pilot, or even the best, but her mysterious disappearance over the Pacific Ocean in 1937 affirmed her status as the most iconic figure in American aviation.

Timed to coincide with the 75th anniversary of her vanishing -- during her attempt to fly around the world -- the National Portrait Gallery is opening an exhibit dedicated to the woman they dubbed "Lady Lindy."
"One Life: Amelia Earhart" opens June 29 and runs through May 27, 2013. The one-room exhibit features photographs, paintings and drawings on loan to the gallery from the Smithsonian and Purdue University Library. The exhibit also includes object such as her leather flying helmet, pilot's license and smelling salts.
Visitors can also watch rare video footage and audio excerpts featuring Earhart at a special kiosk.
"The exhibit explores the life and remarkable aviation career of Amelia Earhart," says Frank Goodyear, associate curator of photographs at the National Portrait Gallery.

While Earhart is one of the most well-known female aviators in American history, the exhibit also shares the story of Earhart as a strong, independent women who fought for women's rights at a time when women typically did not venture out of the home, let alone into a pilot's seat.

After becoming the first women to cross the Atlantic in 1928, Earhart became an international celebrity.
"She understood that this represented an opportunity to promote women in aviation and also women to lead independent lives, professional lives outside the home," Goodyear says.

In November 1929, Earhart helped to organize The Ninety Nines, a group of 117 American female pilots. She was elected the organization's first president. The group was named for the 99 charter members.
Today, the Ninety Nines are an international organization of licensed women pilots from 35 countries. It has grown to thousands of members.

Earhart was born in 1897 Atchison, Kan. A year after she graduated from Hyde Park High School in Chicago, Ill. she went to Toronto, Canada to volunteer as a nurse at Spadina Military Convalescent Hospital for the "walking wounded" of WWI.

That experience led her to enroll in the pre-med program of Columbia University. She left after one semester.
Earhart discovered her love of aviation after taking her first flight with pilot Frank Hawks in Los Angeles in 1920.

She would go on to set an altitude record in 1929, after she reached 18,415 feet.

As she was becoming America's aviation sweetheart, Earhart was ambivalent of her newfound celebrity, but she used it to further her love of flying and her role as a standard-bearer for women in aviation.

"Amelia Earhart's impact on American culture expands beyond her record-setting aviation feats," says Martin Sullivan, director of the National Portrait Gallery. "She was also an advocate for aviation and women and championed the first commercial airlines. Now we take for granted the convenience of air travel and equal rights for all, but in the 1920s and '30s these positions reflected the ideals of a bold visionary."
The fascination with Earhart continues to this day, 75 years after her attempt to make a circumnavigational flight of the globe in 1937. She and her co-pilot disappeared over the central Pacific Ocean near Howland Island.

In March, an enhanced analysis of a photograph taken months after her plan vanished shows what experts think may be the landing gear of the aircraft protruding from the waters off the remote island of Nikumaroro, in what is now the Pacific nation of Kiribati


Tulsan, decorated WASP pilot Betty Riddle dies at 88

From Tulsa World: Tulsan, decorated WASP pilot Betty Riddle dies at 88

Betty Riddle of Tulsa holds her Congressional Gold Medal, which she and her fellow WASP pilots received in 2010. Riddle, who served with the Women Airforce Service Pilots during World War II, died June 8. She was 88. MICHAEL WYKE/Tulsa World file
Betty Riddle of Tulsa holds her Congressional Gold Medal, which she and her fellow WASP pilots received in 2010. Riddle, who served with the Women Airforce Service Pilots during World War II, died June 8. She was 88. MICHAEL WYKE/Tulsa World file
From her pilot's seat, Betty Riddle looked to the west and saw them: the snow-capped mountains of Colorado.

It was a stirring moment for the 20-year-old.

Before joining the Women Airforce Service Pilots program, she had never been outside of Oklahoma. Now, as a WASP trainee, not only was she living out her dream of flying, she was getting to serve her country at the same time.

Initiated during World War II to free male pilots for combat, the program trained civilian female pilots to fly military aircraft in noncombat situations.

Riddle, who had gotten her pilot's license a year earlier, knew that she wanted to do it as soon as she heard about it.

"I wanted to do what I could," the Tulsa resident told the Tulsa World in 2010 upon returning from Washington, D.C., where she and other surviving WASPs had been honored.

"It was the one thing I knew how to do. My two brothers were younger. They couldn't join. So I was the oldest. I wanted to do what I could to help win the war."

Betty Ferrol Riddle, who along with her fellow WASPs was awarded a Congressional Gold Medal in 2010 for the group's part in the war effort, died June 8 in Claremore. She was 88.

A private family service will be held under direction of Musgrove-Meriott-Smith Funeral Service of Claremore.

Riddle grew up around planes, often helping out her father, a mechanic who worked on airplanes at the airport in Wetumka.

Her first airplane ride was when she was 8 - she went up in a barnstormer's Ford Trimotor at the state fair. From then on, she knew she wanted to fly.

Riddle made her first solo flight before she could drive a car.

Earning her pilot's license by age 19, she began training for the WASPs the next year in Sweetwater, Texas, making flights to New Mexico and Colorado.

Twenty-five thousand women applied during the war for the WASPs, a program directed by the Army Air Forces.

Only about 1,800 were accepted, and of those, only a little more than a thousand passed training, becoming the first women ever to fly American military aircraft.

Riddle became one of their elite number in 1944. She was assigned to Altus Air Force Base, where she flight tested twin-engine Cessna aircraft.

The experience was short-lived for her, however. Just six weeks after she graduated - with the war winding down and the need for pilots decreasing - the WASP program was deactivated.

Through the war's end, Riddle worked for Douglas Aircraft as an inspector. After that, she took a job ferrying military aircraft to sites for their conversion into cropdusters.

Meeting her husband, Howard, during that time, she later devoted herself to being a mother, raising their three children.

Later in life, Riddle became active in several aviation organizations, including serving as district director for a group of former WASPs. She was a life member of the Ninety-Nines, an international organization of women pilots.

Getting to go to Washington for the medal presentation in 2010 was exciting for Riddle.

Her good friend and fellow former WASP, Betty Smith of Tulsa, was with her at the event. Smith died in June 2011.

Riddle and the other women confessed that they had been a little disappointed when the WASP program was deactivated.

"There's an empty spot there that only flying will fill," Riddle said.

Riddle's survivors include a daughter, Susan Hilton; two sons, Steven Riddle and Dan Riddle; one brother, Jack Martin; six grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

WWII plane wreck not Stuka, but larger JU88

From Yahoo News: WWII plane wreck not Stuka, but larger JU88

BERLIN – It looked like a Stuka, partly buried in the muck at the bottom of the Baltic Sea, but researchers now say the wreck German military divers have been recovering for the past week is a totally different — though nearly as rare — World War II aircraft.

German Military Historical Museum spokesman Capt. Sebastian Bangert said Friday that enough of the plane has now been recovered to make clear it is not a single-engined JU87 Stuka divebomber, but a twin-engine JU88 aircraft.

The two Junkers planes shared several parts — including the engines on many models — and from the way it sat in the seabed Bangert says it appeared to have been a JU87.

But now that a wing section is up, it's clearly the larger JU88, he said, talking from the deck of the German Navy ship being used in the recovery.

Instead of looking at the partially-buried whole wing and the engine on the front of a JU87, it was clear they had been looking at the tip of a JU88 wing and the engine that once hung underneath it, he said.

"It looked just like the Stuka in the underwater pictures — everything that we had brought up had been pieces that were used in the JU87 — so there was no reason to doubt it," he said. "But this find is perhaps historically even more important."

Perhaps more importantly, the divers have also found human remains, including a partial skull, which they hope to be able to identify.

"Right now there is someone who just knows that their grandfather or great grandfather went missing in the war, to give that person closure is our goal," Bangert said. "And for us as a history museum, the aircraft is the only way to convey the information ... the history behind it, the personnel, how did they live, what did they experience, that is what we want to tell."

The Junkers JU87 — known by most as the Stuka, which is short for the German word for dive bomber or "Sturzkampfflugzeug" — is better known than the JU88, though far more of the latter were produced.

The JU87 was a single-engine monoplane that carried sirens that produced a distinctive and terrifying screaming sound as it dove vertically to release its bombs or strafe targets with its machine guns.

The twin-engined JU88 also served as a dive bomber, but took on multiple roles, including as a tactical bomber and a night fighter.

There are only a few intact or virtually intact JU88s still in existence — including one at the RAF Museum in London, which coincidentally has one of two complete JU87 Stukas on display.

There are also several recovered wrecks of both planes. The recovery operation is wrapping up on Friday, but with more than half the plane still buried at the bottom of the Baltic, Bangert said the hope is that they will be able to return to the site at a later date to complete the job. It will eventually be displayed at the German Historical Museum's Air Force Museum at the former Gatow airport in Berlin.

CPHS grad Keck to fly in women's cross-country air race

From Crowne Point Community (yesterday):  CPHS grad Keck to fly in women's cross-country air race

Amanda Keck, of Crown Point, will be the co-pilot Tuesday when a women's cross-country air race begins at Lake Havasu, Ariz.

Keck, 20, a Purdue University junior, will navigate, handle radio calls and, at times, fly the single-engine Piper Warrior with teammate Chantel Steele as the pilot.

The 2012 Air Race Classic covering 2,700 miles from Arizona to the Canadian border and then southeast to Batavia, Ohio, pits 56 racers in a competition, which traces its history to pioneering female aviators.
The challenge is nothing new to Keck, a self-described daredevil who as a child jumped off the top of a backyard tree house into a snow bank on the ground.

"I love flying," she said. "I love going up there. I like the challenge."

The mother of the children Keck baby-sat as a youngster was a pilot, and her exotic destinations piqued Keck's interest. "I knew that was what I wanted to do," she said.

After graduating from Crown Point High School in 2010, Keck entered the Purdue flight technology program and went up in a plane two days later.

"The first flight was pretty easy and I definitely liked it," she said. The courses got more difficult, including a rigorous exam to earn a flight instructor license.

"That was the hardest rating to get," Keck said. "It was a brutal six-hour oral discussion and a 1½-hour flight."

Keck's plane is set to take off at 8 a.m. Tuesday from Lake Havasu, high above mountainous terrain far different from the Indiana flatlands.

"Here you're so high up and you've got a ton of mountains around you and updrafts and downdrafts. But I like the challenge. I'm very competitive," she said.

Keck plans to become a commercial pilot or an air traffic controller.

People tell Keck it takes a certain kind of person to be a pilot, and she believes it.

"They're people you really look up to and respect like firefighters, policemen and doctors," she said. "You have to be respectful and confident."


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

99s Members: Doris Abbate

Doris Abbate decided to learn to fly in 1959, following in the footsteps of her husband, Ronald, who had earned his pilot's license.She had four children (three toddlers and an infant) before learning to fly.

She took lessons in a J3 Piper Cub at Zahns Airport in Amityville, Long Island. She earned her private pilot's license in 1960, flying her ownTripacer. (She would go on to earn her commercial, instrument and instrument ground instructor ratings.).

She joined the Long Island chapter of the 99s in 1961. Over the years she served as Treasurer of the Chapter, and chaired several committees.

She was a contestant on the All Woman Transcontinental Air Races (AWTAR, aka Powder Puff Derby) between 1961 and 1967. One of her most exciting experiences was when she earned the Tail End Tony Award in the 1964 race. She had to make two emergency landings in the race, and still finished the race within deadline. She was honored with a medal for a safe forced landing.

She also participated in the Air Race Classic and the Garden State 300, took first place in the USPFT New England REgional, and advanced to the USPFT National Finals in 1985.P> Also in 1985, she served as the judge for the World Precision Flight Championship and the US Precision Flight Team. Bibliography
History of the Ninety-Nines, Inc.: 1929-1979, published 1979
The Ninety-Nines: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow, published 1996

PR: Wicks Aircraft Offers Variety of New Products

Order now; pick up at Oshkosh Wicks Aircraft Supply, located in the heart of the Lower 48, has a great selection of new products that you’ll be able to see at Oshkosh in July – and take home. If you order ahead, you will be assured that you will have these goodies to take home with you. · 406mHz ELT from ACK: This new, GPS-capable unit also operates on 121.5 mHz, and is light weight (1.6 pounds, with 5-year battery). Featuring a full “plug & play” installation kit, dual-stainless strap mounting, and antenna, this ELT includes antenna and has one of the lowest battery replacement costs in the industry and comes with a two-year warranty. $600, tax incl. · Aeroleds Pulsar newly-TSO’d NSP & NS strobes: These 4-inch long, anodized aluminum-based 4-ounce strobes provide brilliant LED light in red or green. The NS consumes 18 watts for its 22 LEDs; the NSP is a 20-watt unit, and contains 24 LEDs. NS $1,075 pr. Tax incl., NSP $1,1 00 pr. Tax incl. · Aeroleds Suntail: This TSO’d tail strobe/position light pulls 16 watts to light its 18 LEDs, using its built-in power supply. With an anodized aluminum base, this 3-ounce light has a rated life of 50,000 hours. $320 experimental, $475 TSO’d · Aeroleds Sunspot: This high intensity Landing and Taxi lights use 20 watts; the HX can be PMA’d for certified aircraft. $430 HX landing or taxi. All the above Aeroleds units operate on 9-36VDC. · Aerovoltz 4, 8, 12, and 16-cell 13.6V batteries: Powerful, yet amazingly lightweight, these multi-cell lithium batteries can crank most any Experimental, with engines from tiny two-strokes to even 580-inch sixes. With a service life of more than double that of a typical lead-acid battery, Aerovoltz can be used in any orientation, require no ventilation, and never leak. Even better: amp for amp, Aerovoltz can save up to 80% of the space and 90% of the weight, compared against traditional batteries.

Elsie MacGill Northern Lights Award Honors 2012 Winners

From  Elsie MacGill Northern Lights Award Honors 2012 Winners

The Elsie MacGill Northern Lights (EMNL) Award program is honouring its 2012 winners. The prestigious award is named after aviation pioneer Elsie MacGill who had a pivotal role in the design and production of the Hawker Hurricane in Canada during the Second World War, earning her the title, "Queen of the Hurricanes." MacGill was the first Canadian woman to graduate with a degree in electrical engineering and the first woman in North America to earn an advanced degree in aeronautics.

The national award program, recently incorporated as the Northern Lights Award Foundation, was established in 2009 to recognize the outstanding achievements of women in aviation and aerospace in Canada. Since its inception, the award has grown from one to four award categories that now include: Flight Operations/Maintenance; Business; Government; and Rising Star. Hailing from all across Canada, the 2012 winners have roots in New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia.

Flight Operations/Maintenance Award
Regina (Gina) Jordan is the recipient of the Flight Operations/Maintenance Award. Born in 1929 in New Brunswick near the present day Saint John Airport, Jordan has retired from professional flying. She accumulated over 17,000 hours of flight in her long and accomplished aviation career which included owning her own flight school in Calgary, flying oil rig workers throughout northern Alberta and Saskatchewan as a corporate pilot, and flying for the Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) as a missionary pilot in Africa, the second woman ever to do so. She was also a director of MAF from 1996 until 2001.

During her years as a flight instructor, Jordan mentored thousands of student pilots, many who continued on to become career pilots. She was also the first woman in Canada to earn an Airline Transport Rating. After retirement from professional flying, Jordan returned to her roots in New Brunswick where she was actively involved with CASARA (Civil Air Search and Rescue Association) for many years. She currently lives in New Brunswick.

Government Award
Mary Ellen Pauli is the recipient of the EMNL Government Award. Pauli was born and raised in northern Quebec. Her father was a career pilot who flew Lancasters in World War II. Earning her helicopter licence at Fredericton Helicopters Ltd. in New Brunswick in 1979, Pauli persevered in a male dominated industry to secure employment with Trans Quebec Helicopters (TQH) in 1980, flying in and out of mining bush camps from its Matagami base. Subsequently, she became base manager at Trans Canada Helicopters for two years before flying as a rotation pilot on the James Bay Hydro Project.

In 1986, Pauli became one of the first helicopter pilots employed by the Ontario government, flying for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR) in its newly acquired helicopter fleet. Until recently, she was the only female permanent staff pilot in the 85 year history of the OMNR.

Pauli’s hard work and determination has earned her many accolades in her career including an Outstanding Service Award in 1988 for her help in the great Canadian ice storm, the P.R.I.D.E. Award from MNR in 2004 for her projects on James Bay, and the Governor General of Canada's Commendation Award for the rescue of persons in August of 2004 on the Hudson's Bay Coast. She was also inducted into the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre in Sault Ste Marie as part of its Women in Aviation Display. Pauli offers strong encouragement to all women who care to follow in her footsteps saying, “where there’s a will, there’s a way.” An accomplished musician, Pauli lives in Timmins.

Business Award
Nicole Saulnier is the winner of the EMNL Business Award. Saulnier is co-owner, chief pilot and operations manager of Georgian Bay Airways (GBA) in Parry Sound, Ontario, currently in its tenth season of operations.
After receiving a diploma in advertising from Georgian College and working her way up the corporate ladder, Saulnier realized that flying float planes was her true calling. She has logged thousands of hours flying the de Havilland Beaver in northern Ontario, B.C.’s west coast and over the 30,000 islands of Georgian Bay.
Leaving the nomadic life of a bush pilot behind, Saulnier ended up flying as chief pilot with a floatplane operation in Parry Sound, Ont. When the opportunity arose, Nicole and her husband bought the base and started a new floatplane operation where Saulnier has worked tirelessly to grow and transform Georgian Bay Airways into a thriving business that today employs 20.

Nicole acts as a mentor to women in new businesses. For the past five years she has been the 1st vice-president with the Parry Sound Area Chamber of Commerce and she has been asked to be the president in 2013. She also sits on numerous community and regional tourism and marketing boards. Her career tips for women in aviation are: don’t take no for an answer; never give up; set a goal and do what it takes to get there; don’t doubt your abilities; you can have a career and family, it just requires less sleep and more determination to follow your head, not your heart.

Rising Star Award
Erika Kangas is the recipient of the Rising Star Award. Kangas grew up in northern British Columbia and Sudbury, Ontario. Moving to Toronto to attend the Aerospace Engineering program at Ryerson University, Kangas was selected to be a participant in the Ryerson Institute for Aerospace Design and Innovation (RIADI) program. In 2006 she worked as a summer intern in the Engineering department at Pratt & Whitney Canada and the following two years her summer internships were spent at Bombardier Aerospace. In her final year at Ryerson, she was elected as student chairperson for RIADI, and after completing her degree in Aerospace Engineering, Kangas was hired by Bombardier.

As a member of the Graduate Development Program at Bombardier, Kangas has worked with a variety of engineering groups including, Liaison, Airworthiness, Flight Test and Mechanical Systems. Working as a flight test engineer for the Bombardier Q400 program, she participated in many test programs; earlier this year, she was the flight test engineer on board the first biofuel flight in Canada. Kangas is involved in many voluntary programs at Bombardier including the Children’s Activity which encourages youth to learn and pursue aviation and engineering related interests. Kangas is currently working towards her Canadian Private Pilot Licence.

Past winners of the Elsie MacGill Northern Lights Award include Heather Sifton, former president and CEO of the Buttonville Municipal Airport; Kathy Fox, retired VP operations for Nav Canada and currently an appointed member of the Transportation Safety Board; and Roberta Taylor, an aviation trailblazer and social activist who now teaches at the University of Victoria.

The 2012 Award recipients will be honoured at a gala ceremony and dinner on September 28 at The School restaurant in Unionville, Ontario.

To read the full bios of these four extraordinary women, and to learn more about the Northern Lights Award Foundation, visit

JU women fliers compete in the wake of Amelia Earhart

From  JU women fliers compete in the wake of Amelia Earhart

When Team Snoopy and Team Red Baroness take to the air at 8 a.m. today (Monday, June 18) in the 2012 Air Race Classic, they will be flying in an 83-year-old tradition that started with pilots like Louise Thaden and Amelia Earhart.
They also hope to repeat what Sarah Morris and Leah Hetzel did a year ago, when they became the first Jacksonville University team to beat 54 others in the historic all-women transcontinental national air race.
JU's teams will fly 2,641 miles over four days, from Lake Havasu City Airport in Arizona to Clermont County Airport in Batavia, Ohio.

Team Red Baroness is 18-year-old pilot Katja Jourdan and 20-year-old copilot Renee Brilhante, both undergraduates in the aviation program at JU's Davis College of Business. Flying a Cirrus SR-2, Jourdan said they decided to compete to "see the country from another prospective" after flight training in Florida. And like the pilots of old, they will have to fly by the seat of their pants during parts of the race.

"We will not be filing an instrument flight plan, so we will not rely on air traffic control to go from one place to another," Jourdan said. "And we have fly-bys at all of our airports that range from 200 to 400 feet off the ground, and that will be a lot of fun. It is so the judges can start and stop our times."

Team Snoopy is pilot Juliana Vazquez, 24, and co-pilot Heather Meyer, 32, both aviation program graduates, also flying a Cirrus SR-2. Flying in the wake of last year's winners as well as a 2010 JU team in the collegiate class, Meyer said she is competing for the love of flying.

"Racing is something I have always wanted to do and I love to fly anything," Meyer said. "And I have aspirations and want to do anything from aerobatics to helicopters, and anything I can do to bring awareness to female pilots is good. They can do just as well."

The Air Race Classic is dedicated to encouraging and educating women pilots. Its history dates to 1929, when Thaden won against 19 other pilots including Earhart in the First Women's Air Derby from Santa Monica to Cleveland. This week's race will see 57 teams compete in single- and twin-engine airplanes, with stops in New Mexico, Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Michigan.

"We will have more up-to-date aircraft than back then, but it is all based off that, and we are at least living in their honor," Jourdan said.


Monday, June 18, 2012

China sends its first female astronaut into space

From DNAIndia : China sends its first female astronaut into space

Liu Yang, a pilot in the People's Liberation Army, has made history by becoming the first Chinese woman to go into space.

The 33 year-old is among the three member crew of the Shenzhou 9 mission, the latest step in China's increasingly ambitious space programme.

As a child Liu Yang's earliest ambition was to be a bus conductor, so she could get to travel on the bus every day. But yesterday (Saturday) she was travelling at several times the speed of sound aboard a Long March rocket.

The Shenzhou 9 mission, which blasted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in the remote northwest of China yesterday evening, is a crucial test for China's rapidly-evolving space programme. The ten-day mission will see the Shenzhou 9 spacecraft perform the first manned docking with the Tiangong-1 space lab, a vital step towards China's ambition to have a working space station by 2020.

But it was the presence of Major Liu among the three-member crew that dominated the build-up to Saturday's launch, the fourth manned mission China has sent into space since its first in 2003. Formally introduced to the Chinese people at a televised press conference on Friday, Major Liu has become China's newest national heroine. She is the top subject of discussion on Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter, with a staggering 33 million posts greeting the announcement that she was to be the first Chinese woman in space.

A communist party member known for giving rousing patriotic speeches, Major Liu has not disappointed her millions of new fans, saying at Friday's press conference how she "yearned to gaze upon the motherland" from space. "I am grateful to the motherland and the people. I feel honoured to fly into space on behalf of hundreds of millions of female Chinese citizens," said Major Liu.

Married, a requirement for all of China's female astronauts, with a passion for cooking and now resident in Beijing, Major Liu has enjoyed a dizzying rise, having only been selected to join the astronaut programme two years ago. Born and raised in Zhengzhou, the capital of central Henan Province, she has been described as a diligent and quiet schoolgirl who enjoyed playing volleyball.

Enrolling in the air force in 1997, Major Liu trained to be a transport plane pilot in Changchun, in the northeastern province of Jilin. Named as a 'model pilot' by the PLA in 2010, she first demonstrated her coolness under pressure in 2003 by safely landing a plane after its right engine had been disabled when it was struck by birds soon after take-off.

Major Liu is the 56th woman to go into space. Her role will be to run the scientific experiments set be to be carried out during the mission.

Shenzhou 9 is expected to dock with the experimental Tiangong-1 space lab in around two days. Major Liu and her two male companions will then spend a week aboard the cramped module. At some point, they will disengage Shenzhou 9 from the space lab and then re-dock it manually. China must master such techniques if it is to achieve its goal of building its own space station by 2020.


Friday, June 15, 2012

PR: Flying Musicians receive Grant from Wolf Aviation Fund

June 15, 2012: Fort Worth, TX: The Flying Musicians Association is proud to accept a partial grant from the Wolf Aviation Fund for Focus on the Future, a joint venture with

The Flying Musicians Association has received a partial grant from the Wolf Aviation Fund to grow Focus on the Future, a student program held at the Global Pilot Career Conference & Job Fairs and the Regional Airline Pilot Job Fairs around the country.  John Zapp, co-founder of FMA, said, “We are grateful for the Wolf Fund grant and will continue to search for additional funding of this worthwhile program.  FMA is positive others will step up to support Focus on the Future once they see the benefit to youth and the future of aviation.”

Focus on the Future sessions are for aspiring aviators.  If you're a future pilot and actively looking for an aviation university or flight school, attend the conference for free and meet with representatives from the best schools in the U.S. Learn from the pros about the projected need for new pilots, financing your education or flight training and developing a rational career plan.  Parents, guardians, and school counselors are welcome to attend with the student and should also register.  Register for the June 30th Chicago event at Two round trip tickets on Delta Airlines are being raffled to students who register.

About Wolf Aviation Fund:
The Wolf Aviation Fund was established in the wills of Alfred L. and Constance C. Wolf. Its activities are supervised by a board of trustees, aided by a council of advisors and a team of consultants.  "The Foundation shall promote and support the advancement of personal air transportation by seeking and funding the most promising individuals and worthy projects which advance the field of general aviation; by increasing the public's knowledge of aviation through publications, seminars, and other information media; by informing the aviation and scientific community of the existence and purpose of the Fund; and by soliciting and receiving feedback concerning Foundation-supported projects."

About the Flying Musicians Association:
The Flying Musicians Association, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation that took off in 2009 by blending two passions: flying and music.  FMA members have been very busy providing music at major aviation events, creating college chapters, while inspiring youth (& adults) to consider the aviation industry as a vocation or avocation.  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.”

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

'Hero’ pilot as China’s space woman?

From the Times of India: Hero’ pilot as China’s space woman? BEIJING: Successful childbirth was one of the criteria that went into selecting female pilots, one of whom will make the journey in China's first manned flight into space in mid-June. One of the two selected astronauts is already a public heroine for having successfully handled a mid-air emergency.

They were selected out of a group of 15 women, who were initially shortlisted on the basis of several qualities including natural child birth, according to Space International magazine under the China Academy of Space Technology. Other criteria include absence of scars and body odour.

One of the two will be chosen for the space journey. Both are transport pilots with the People's Liberation Army Air Force. Natural childbirth is a sign that shows mature physical and mental condition, according to Xu Xianrong, a professor with the General Hospital of the PLA Air Force. The chosen pilots must also be married and living with their spouses because they need interpersonal skills to live in space with male colleagues.

The two female astronauts, both 33, have been picked out of nine pilots who had been selected for their flying skills and psychological strength. They include Captain Wang Yaping from Shandong province and Major Liu Yang from Henan province.

The identities of two male crew members have not been revealed. The PLA said on Saturday it will announce the names of the crew closer to the take off of Shenzhou-9 manned spacecraft, which will dock with Tiangong-1 spacecraft. Liu Yang was once caught in a dangerous situation when her plane hit 18 pigeons. The plane's windshield splattered with blood and the cockpit was filled with burning smell. She managed to stabilize the aircraft and made a successful emergency landing 11 minutes after the incident.

Pang said candidates without scars were shortlisted because a scar might open and start bleeding in space and the cramped conditions would intensify body odour.

Gift boosts WASP archive

From Denton RC: Gift boosts WASP archive

Texas Woman’s University received a $500,000 gift for its Women Airforce Service Pilots archives.

The gift comes from the estate of Dorothy “Dot” Ebersbach, who died at the age of 96 in November at her home in Florida.

Ebersbach served in Texas and Arizona during her time as a WASP — the first women to pilot aircraft in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II.

“We appreciate these gifts so much because they do make it possible to share these stories, preserve these stories for the next generation,” said Kimberly Johnson, coordinator of special collections at the TWU library.

The TWU Blagg-Huey Library was designated the repository of the WASP national archives in 1992.

The collection contains various items from women who were part of the organization between 1942 and 1944.

It has more than 1 million pieces of paper, about 25,000 photographs and about 700 oral histories, as well as more than 700 personal collections within the overall collection.

Johnson said the gift allows the TWU library to promote the collection, continue to offer programs and further outreach efforts.

This gift comes a few months after the university received a $100,000 gift from an anonymous donor for digitization and preservation of the collection.

Monday, June 11, 2012

WWII pilots hoping for honor

From Tampa Baay Online: WWII pilots hoping for honor

WASHINGTON -- During World War II, volunteer pilots in the Civil Air Patrol, flying their own aircraft, patrolled the U.S. coast in search of German U-boats.

Seventy years later, Civil Air Patrol members are hoping to win overdue congressional recognition of their service.

The Senate has voted to award the group a Congressional Gold Medal. But those who support bestowing the nation's highest civilian honor to the patrol members are about 100 sponsors shy of the 290 needed to pass the measure in the House.

"This is our last chance to honor the few that are still alive," said John Swain, the patrol's Washington representative.

Congress has awarded gold medals to the Tuskegee Airmen; Navajo Code Talkers; Women Airforce Service Pilots, or WASPs; the first black Marines, known as the Montford Point Marines; and Japanese-American members of the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and the Military Intelligence Service.

Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, who sponsored the Senate bill to award the gold medal to the Civil Air Patrol, said it would offer "long overdue recognition to a small group of people who answered the call to duty at our nation's time of maximum danger." The House bill was introduced by Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif.

The Civil Air Patrol was established in 1941, a week before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, but gained a more critical mission after oil tankers and other supply ships were sunk off the U.S. coast by German submarines.

The planes were credited with 173 sub sightings and dropping bombs or depth charges on 57.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Female pilots rock the runway at Airfest

From WREX 13: Female pilots rock the runway at Airfest

Move over boys, because this one's for the girls. This weekend at the Rockford Airfest, female pilots rocked the runway.

High-octane action, incredible demonstrations, and performing stunts that people only dream about.

That's Major Caroline Jensen's reality, flying right wing for the United States Air Force Thunderbirds.

"When I was 13-years-old, my dad took me to an air show in Eau Claire [Wisconsin], and I got to see the Thunderbirds fly." -says Caroline.

Ever since that day, Jensen knew she would one day be a part of "America's Ambassadors in Blue."

For Captain Gloria Hatcher, operating some seriously heavy equipment is her niche. She pilots U-P-S cargo planes here in Rockford, and K-C 135 refueling tankers.

Hatcher says that despite being outnumbered in the industry as a female, it's hard work and dedication that outweighs gender issues.

"Any female can do this job, and it just takes a little perseverance, and that's whether you're a male or a female." -Hatcher says.

According to Major Jensen, women make up about seven percent of USAF fighter pilots, but it's a number that will continue to grow as long as girls keep the attitude of 'skies the limit.'

"Just realize that there are no limits, for anybody, in whatever they wanna do; being in the military, flying airplanes, or, any other career that they decide." -says Jensen.

Girls interested in taking their careers to "new heights" are encouraged to join programs that advocate women in this industry.

"Now I'm involved with programs like 'Women in Aviation,' so I go out and talk to women who are interested in aviation or think they might be interested, and, encourage them to pursue their career and their love for aviation." says Hatcher.

Whether it's twisting and soaring with the Thunderbirds or operating a Boeing 707, there are plenty of careers in military aviation for women to explore.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Previously dismissed radio signals were credible transmissions from Earhart

From Fox News: Previously dismissed radio signals were credible transmissions from Earhart

Dozens of previously dismissed radio signals were actually credible transmissions from Amelia Earhart, according to a new study of the alleged post-loss signals from Earhart's plane.

The transmissions started riding the air waves just hours after Earhart sent her last inflight message.

The study, presented on Friday at a three day conference by researchers of The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), sheds new light on what may have happened to the legendary aviator 75 years ago. The researchers plan to start a high-tech underwater search for pieces of her aircraft next July.

"Amelia Earhart did not simply vanish on July 2, 1937. Radio distress calls believed to have been sent from the missing plane dominated the headlines and drove much of the U.S. Coast Guard and Navy search," Ric Gillespie, executive director of TIGHAR, told Discovery News.

"When the search failed, all of the reported post-loss radio signals were categorically dismissed as bogus and have been largely ignored ever since," he added.

Using digitized information management systems, antenna modeling software, and radio wave propagation analysis programs, TIGHAR re-examined all the 120 known reports of radio signals suspected or alleged to have been sent from the Earhart aircraft after local noon on July 2, 1937 through July 18, 1937, when the official search ended.

They concluded that 57 out of the 120 reported signals are credible.

"The results of the study suggest that the aircraft was on land and on its wheels for several days following the disappearance," Gillespie said.

Earhart used radio transmissions on her last flight on July 2, 1937, during her record attempt to fly around the world at the equator.

At 07:42 local time, as she flew toward the target destination, Howland Island in the Pacific, with her navigator Fred Noonan, Earhart called the Coast Guard cutter Itasca, stationed at Howland Island to support her flight.

“We must be on you, but cannot see you -- but gas is running low. Have been unable to reach you by radio. We are flying at 1,000 feet,” she said.

Earhart's final inflight radio message occurred a hour later, at 08:43.

“We are on the line 157 337. We will repeat this message. We will repeat this on 6210 kilocycles. Wait,” she said.

According to TIGHAR, the numbers 157 and 337 refer to compass headings -- 157 degrees and 337 degrees -- and describe a navigation line that passed not only Howland Island, the target destination, but also Gardner Island, now called Nikumaroro.

This uninhabited atoll in the southwestern Pacific republic of Kiribati is where TIGHAR believes Earhart and Noonan landed safely and ultimately died as castaways.

According to TIGHAR's hypothesis, Earhart would have used the aircraft's radio to make distress calls for several days until the plane was washed over the reef and disappeared before Navy searchers flew over the area.

TIGHAR built a detailed catalog and analysis of all the reported post-loss radio signals, and selected the credible ones based on their frequencies.

Transmissions from Earhart's Electra (NR16020) were possible on three primary frequencies: 3105 kHz, 6210 kHz and 500 kHz. For the latter, however, there were no reported post loss signals.

On her world flight, Earhart transmitted on 3105 kHz at night, and 6210 kHz during daylight, using her 50-watt WE-13C transmitter.

The Itasca transmitted on 3105 kHz, but did not have voice capability on 6210 kHz.

Under favorable propagation conditions, it was possible for aircraft operating on the U.S. west coast at night to be heard on 3105 kHz in the central Pacific. Indeed, the Itasca reported hearing such signals on one occasion.

There were three 50-watt Morse code radio stations in Nicaragua which could be heard on a receiver tuned to 3105 kHz, but the stations sent only code, not voice.

Moreover, all transport aircraft in the area used assigned route frequencies, instead of 3105 kHz.

"Therefore, other than Itasca, Earhart’s Electra was the only plausible central Pacific source of voice signals on 3105 kHz," said Gillespie.

Although several of the analyzed post-loss signal reports were determined to be hoaxes, Gillespie ruled out the hypothesis of an illegal transmitter "given the numerous constraints militating against successfully perpetrating a signal transmission hoax."

"We do not really have hoax transmissions but rather reports from people who, for whatever reason, claimed to have heard something they did not hear," Gillespie said.

To make multiple transmissions, the Electra plane needed to run the right-hand, generator-equipped engine to recharge the batteries.

"The safest procedure is to transmit only when the engine is running, and battery power is required to start the engine," said Gillespie. "To run the engine, the propeller must be clear of obstructions, and water level must never reach the transmitter."

To verify the hypothesis that the plane landed on Nikumaroro's reef, TIGHAR researchers analyzed tidal condition on the island from 2 to 9 July 1937, the week following Earhart disappearance.

It emerged that transmission of credible signals occurred in periods during which the water level on the reef was low enough to permit engine operation.

According to Gillespie, at least four radio signals are of particular interest, as they were simultaneously heard by more than one station.

The first signal, made when the pilot had been officially missing for just 5 hours, was received by the Itasca, and two other ships, the HMS Achilles, and the SS New Zealand Star.

The Itasca logged “We hear her on 3105 now - very weak and unreadable/ fone” and asked Earhart to send Morse code dashes.

The Achilles did not hear “very weak and unreadable” voice, but heard Itasca’s request and heard dashes in response. The SS New Zealand only heard the response dashes.

In other cases, credible sources in widely separated locations in the U.S., Canada, and the central Pacific, reported hearing a woman requesting help. She spoke English, and in some cases said she was Amelia Earhart.

In one case, on July 5, the U.S. Navy Radio at Wailupe, Honolulu heard a garbled Moorse code: “281 north Howland - call KHAQQ - beyond north -- won’t hold with us much longer -- above water -- shut off.”

At the same time, an amateur radio operator in Melbourne, Australia, reported having heard a "strange” code which included KHAQQ, Amelia's call sign.

According to Gillespie, the re-analysis of the credible post loss signals supports the hypothesis that they were sent by Earhart’s Electra from a point on the reef at Nikumaroro, about ¼ mile north of the shipwreck of the British freighter SS Norwich City.

"The results of the study show a body of evidence which might be the forgotten key to the mystery. It is the elephant in the room that has gone unacknowledged for nearly seventy-five years," said Gillespie.

The Air Force’s First Female Fighter Pilot Becomes Wing Commander (It’s Kind Of A Big Deal)

From the Mary Sue: The Air Force’s First Female Fighter Pilot Becomes Wing Commander (It’s Kind Of A Big Deal)

Col. Jeannie Leavitt will go down in history as the U.S. Air Force’s first female fighter pilot. She made that achievement back in 1993 but can mark another big one down as of last week. She’s officially the first woman to take command of an Air Force combat fighter wing.

According to CBS, “The 45-year-old from St. Louis, Mo., takes over the 4th Fighter Wing at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, one of only three units of F-15Es, the service’s premier fighter jets. Leavitt will be in charge of the wing’s 5,000 active duty men and women, with 12,000 civilians in the base population.”

Leavitt joined the Air Force after attending the University of Texas and gaining a degree in aerospace engineering. Since then she’s acquired four master’s degrees. “When Defense Secretary Les Aspin ordered the services to drop restrictions on women flying combat missions in 1993, she became the Air Force’s first female fighter pilot. She went on to be the first female to graduate from its elite Air Force Weapons School, where she also became an instructor.”

“It helped that once we started flying, people began to see that we were there because of our abilities and not our gender,” Leavitt told The Associated Press. “I don’t see it as a ‘first’ sort of thing. I see it as an incredible opportunity, an incredible honor, to lead a unit with its history and heritage.”

“She’s a great wingman,” said her boss, Maj. Gen. Lawrence Wells, who flew with her in combat over Iraq. “She has everything she needs to be a great commander.” He also said her new command was “long overdue.”

“It’s a steep climb. For her to be where she is today, well, I think it sends a strong message,” said Wells. “Because of what she has done, a lot of people will be able to follow behind her.” He mentioned that only 6 percent of Air Force officers make the rank of colonel, let alone hold a command position.

“It is true I’m the first female to command a fighter wing,” said Leavitt at the official ceremony. “More important is the wing itself. It’s got incredible history. I am proud to serve in an Air Force where men and women have the same opportunity based on how you perform and your capabilities.”

Ok, Hollywood, feel free to make a movie about Leavitt any day now…

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Leisure Life: WASP Homecoming in Sweetwater honored servicewomen Saturday

This article is from *this* year, for *last* Saturday. But something similar will doubtless be done next year, so mark it on your calendar.

From Abilene Recorder: Leisure Life: WASP Homecoming in Sweetwater honors servicewomen Saturday
On Saturday, the National Women Airforce Service Pilots Museum in Sweetwater will pay tribute to both its historic past and expanding future with its annual Homecoming event.

Beginning at 9 a.m., the festivities will feature 21 surviving members of the WASP program, a national initiative that instructed civilian women in piloting military aircraft during World War II. There was a critical shortage of able-bodied pilots during that era, making the women's contributions crucial to the war effort.

The WASP Homecoming is an annual event, but this year has special significance.

At 10:30 a.m., the visiting WASP women (ages 85 to 98) will participate in a groundbreaking for the museum's upcoming $3 million expansion. The project, which museum directors hope to complete by the end of 2013, will add an entirely new building to the existing WASP Museum hangar. That climate-controlled building will include a theater, museum store and additional displays.

Other highlights of the Homecoming Day include an honor parade from the Texas Theatre to the museum, airplane rides for children ages 8 to 17, autograph and photo sessions from the visiting WASP members and uniformed World War II re-enactors.

The day concludes at 8:35 p.m. with a sunset memorial ceremony for the 38 WASP members who died in the service of their country.

The museum is located at 210 Avenger Field Road, Sweetwater.

For information on the event, visit

Friday, June 1, 2012

WASP Movie! A Thin Slice of Heaven!

From World War II-Era Film to Tell Untold Story of Women Hero Pilots

New Feature Film "A Thin Slice of Heaven" Honors the 1,000+ Women Who Courageously Flew in the Service of Their Country During World War II.

Burbank, CA, May 31, 2012 --( Rogue Pilot Productions today announced development of a new feature film that details the heroism and groundbreaking work of the Women Air Service Pilots (WASPs), an elite group of women pilots who in World War II flew military aircraft 60 million miles under the direction of the United States Army Air Forces.

“A Thin Slice of Heaven” follows the story of World War II-era pilot, Margret "Mags" Donahue, and the cadre of pilot trainees who join the WASPs to make a difference at a time of great conflict. With men deployed overseas or training for upcoming missions, the military turned to civilian women to fly warplanes from their manufacturing facilities to air bases before deployed to the war. "Mags" and her peers also flew as the “enemy” pilots during dogfighting training missions; a few of these women even saw action on foreign soil because these “dummy” missions gave them more experience than the young men they trained.

Despite the wartime efforts of these pilots, the women WASPs continued to be treated as second-class citizens by the military. It wasn’t until 30 years later, when an act of Congress unsealed the records of their program, that they were afforded the same GI benefits as their male counterparts.

“A Thin Slice of Heaven” tells the story of trailblazers who let nothing stand in the way of dedication and service to their country. It is a true tale of dedication, bravery, and cunning – of overcoming hardships both on the ground and in the skies where instinct and guts led these heroes to their place in history.

The trailer for “A Thin Slice of Heaven” was released today on YouTube at:

The film stars Paige Barnett, Erin Fitzgerald, and Erin Kaufman. It is written and directed by Ralph Sanchez, and produced by Cindi Rice. A Rogue Pilot production in association with Epic level Entertainment.

For more information visit