Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Franklin woman battling cancer takes hot air balloon ride

From BGDaily News:  Franklin woman battling cancer takes hot air balloon ride

Linda Denton stands in the middle of the basket, wide-eyed and grinning. As the balloon lifts off, she shouts and waves.

Denton’s first hot air balloon ride today was far from her bravest adventure. In addition to raising five children, the 64-year-old Franklin woman was a race car driver – the first female driver at Fairgrounds Motor Speedway in Louisville, she said.

But Denton began her most daunting battle when she was diagnosed with lung cancer four months ago and given up to six months to live. That’s when she decided to seek help from Hospice of Southern Kentucky. She never dreamed it would lead to a small basket and a giant, multicolored balloon.

Todd Dixon, spokesman at Hospice of Southern Kentucky, was thinking of unique activities for patients when he thought of hot air balloon rides. Service One Credit Union sponsored the ride with a $200 donation. Hospice initially offered the ride to an 81-year-old patient, who backed out. That’s when they called Denton, who initially declined the offer.

“I said, ‘No, I can’t,’ ” she said. “ ‘I’ve got something to do.’ ”

But her daughter, Teresa Dallas, eventually convinced her mother to give it a try. On a chilly morning, Dallas, of Franklin, choked back tears as she led her mother across the yard at Otte Golf Center, where the enormous balloon was inflating. Since learning of her mother’s condition, Dallas had been praying for one last opportunity like this, she said.

“They gave my mom three to six months,” she said, “and I want to remember everything about it I can.”
A handful of people stood around the basket, watching the flame blast and the balloon slowly inflate. Some were other passengers, and some were there for Denton. David Hall, a hospice nurse, stood nearby to watch Denton’s big moment.

“People think about hospice as dying, but it’s not. It’s about living,” Hall said. “It’s about helping them to have good days.”

Dallas was afraid that her mother might be too weak for the ride, but once she saw the balloon, Denton was determined to make the trip. She grabbed one of the metal bars around the burner, balancing herself as she climbed into the basket.

She held onto pilot Doug Robertson as he pulled her into the basket. As she found her footing, Denton immediately asked Robertson how many balloon trips he has taken. She giggled when he joked that it was only his third trip.

Actually, Robertson, of eHotAir.com Ballooning Adventures in Bowling Green, has flown about 350 times. He’s worked with organizations such as Hospice before, he said.

“A lot of times ballooning is on a person’s bucket list,” he said.

Hot air ballooning was never on Denton’s bucket list, but she decided to give it a chance. Her eyes grew wide as she watched Robertson crank up the burner.

“I’m nervous,” she said. “My knees are shaking.”

But she couldn’t hide her excitement as the balloon slowly floated into the air. She waved and hugged her daughter, who asked her mother if she was feeling OK. Denton nodded and smiled.

“I feel like Oz,” Dallas shouted as the balloon climbed into the clouds.


Monday, July 30, 2012

Non-Profit Girls With Wings Soars North

A Press release from Girls With Wings:  Non-Profit Girls With Wings Soars North With Support from Alaska's Famous Female Flyers - Books Penned by Group's Founder to be Delivered to Remote Alaskan Villages

Tweto is an energetic student pilot featured in the upcoming third season of Discovery Channels' Flying Wild Alaska, set to debut Friday, June 8th at 10:00pm ET/PT. Tweto and Era Alaska bush pilot, Sarah Fraher, are both familiar with the treacherous terrain associated with Alaska's unforgiving landscape. Despite their fearless flying, both women embrace the importance of serving as role models for future female aviators.
”I think it’s important for women to fly,” Tweto added. “If what Sarah and I are doing can provide a little glimmer of hope to the people of these villages, that’s just really inspiring for me personally.”

The Girls With Wings organization was founded by another female pilot, Lynda Meeks, who was an Army helicopter pilot and current commercial pilot and flight instructor. The goal of Girls With Wings is to use women in aviation to inspire girls to achieve their full potential by understanding that anything is possible through hard work, commitment to education, and a tireless pursuit of personal achievement.
Fraher and her fellow Era Alaska pilots will help hand deliver 50 Penelope Pilot and her First Day as Captain books, written by Meeks, to remote villages across Alaska later this fall. The books were donated by Jones Dykstra & Associates, Inc., a digital forensics, cybercrime investigation, e-discovery, and expert witness company based in Columbia, MD.

"It is my dream that this is just the tip of the iceberg in bringing some attention and inspiration to the remote villages ERA Airlines serves," said Keith Jones, Senior Partner, Jones Dykstra & Associates, Inc. "As both a pilot and father of two daughters, I was inspired by the message Girls With Wings sent to my daughters. As a fan of the Flying Wild Alaska show, I felt it was important to get the Penelope Pilot book into the hands of future aviators. Sarah (Fraher) originally brought up the idea to me and our company was able to make the donation a reality." Jones Dykstra & Associates also donated the funds needed to deliver the books to Alaska to prep them for further distribution.

"The Penelope Pilot book is more than just a book for girls about a female pilot," said Meeks, who wrote the book to find another way to reach out to the younger generation with her message. "It's meant to show the teamwork and responsibilities involved in being a pilot. Yes, it features a female pilot, helping to show everyone that this is a job that women can do just as well as men.”

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, only 6% of all commercial pilots are female. Meeks and the Girls With Wings organization are doing everything they can to change that number.
"I know the combined efforts of Sarah, Ariel, Girls With Wings, along with the generosity of companies like Jones Dykstra & Associate and Era Alaska, can only do so much," Meeks said. "But if we can use this book to change the future prospects for even one young girl or boy, wherever they are - in Alaska or Maryland - then we're making a difference."

”Girls With Wings is wonderful at promoting women in aviation,” Sarah Fraher said in a phone interview with Girls With Wings from Los Angeles. “This organization inspires girls across the country to explore a career in a mostly male dominated industry."

About Flying Wild Alaska, Discovery Channel
Meet the unconventional family that rules Alaska's most dangerous skies. Operating their family-run airline, Era Alaska, the Tweto family battles unforgiving Alaska weather and terrain to transport life's necessities to one of the most remote and extreme regions of America. Season Three of Flying Wild Alaska debuts on Discovery Channel Friday, June 8th at 10:00pm ET/PT. http://dsc.discovery.com/tv/flying-wild-alaska/

About Girls With Wings, Inc.
Girls With Wings, Inc. is a nonprofit organization using aviation to entertain and educate girls about their limitless opportunities for personal growth via an interactive website and presentations to girls groups and organizations. The scholarships are funded through private donations and is always looking for new volunteers to increase its mission http://www.girlswithwings.com

Sunday, July 29, 2012

U.S.'s Rhode sets Olympic record on way to skeet gold medal

Not about a woman pilot...but interesting nevertheless. Shows what hard work combined with a bit of skill can do for you!

From CBS Sports: U.S.'s Rhode sets Olympic record on way to skeet gold medal
The U.S. team notches its biggest day in shooting history with Rhode hitting her marks. (Getty Images)  
The U.S. team notches its biggest day in shooting history with Rhode hitting her marks. (Getty Images)  

LONDON -- Kimberly Rhode won the gold medal in women's skeet shooting Sunday, making her the first American to take an individual-sport medal in five consecutive Olympics.
Rhode tied the world record and set an Olympic record with 99 points. Wei Ning of China took silver with 91 points and Danka Bartekova of Slovakia got bronze by beating Marina Belikova of Russia in a shootout after they tied with 90 points.
Rhode won a gold medal in double trap at Atlanta as a teenager in 1996, took bronze in that event four years later at Sydney, reclaimed the gold at Athens in 2004 and won the silver in skeet at Beijing in 2008.
In qualifying, Rhode set another Olympic record, missing only one of her 75 shots. Rhode led by four points entering the final, and the way she was connecting Sunday, there was no way she was getting caught.
USA Shooting touted it as the biggest day in shooting history.
Hard to argue with that.
Rhode was a perfect 25-for-25 in each of the first two qualifying sessions, then ran her streak to 65 straight hits before her lone qualifying misfire. Several people watching on a chilly, rainy day at the Royal Artillery Barracks sighed in disbelief at the miss, which Rhode shrugged off with ease.
When qualifying was complete, she flipped the last of the empty shells from her gun, gave a brief fist-pump, followed by a wave and a smile. Rhode thanked several well-wishers as she walked away, moments before rain started falling significantly harder.
The field started with 17 women from 17 nations, before getting pared to six for the final later Sunday.

Lohmann: A pilot for the ages (and hers is 87)

From Richmond Times Dispatch (a couple of weeks ago):  Lohmann: A pilot for the ages (and hers is 87)

Soon after introductions, Sara Parmenter turned to me and said, "You didn't call me Mrs. Parmenter, did you? Better not have. I'm Sara."
I told her I didn't think I had, but I would be sure to use "Sara" from here on, which she seemed to appreciate.
"I'm not your typical old lady," she said with a laugh.

A few minutes later, Sara, an 87-year-old pilot, climbed into her plane and took off into the skies over the Virginia Piedmont.

Parmenter, who lives on a farm in Cumberland County with her husband, Robert, and will turn 88 in August, is a certified UFO — a United Flying Octogenarian. In fact, she founded the Virginia chapter of the national UFO organization.

On Saturday, she and other Virginia pilots who have crossed the 80th-birthday threshold were honored by the Department of Aviation in a reception celebrating the state's "aviation pioneers" at the Military Aviation Museum in Virginia Beach.

At the same event, Parmenter was given the Federal Aviation Administration's Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award, which recognizes pilots who have demonstrated aviation expertise by maintaining safe operations for 50 years or more.

Others receiving the Wright Brothers award were Ray Tyson and John Greenwood, who fly out of Hanover County Airport, and Hubert Compton, who flies out of Orange County Airport.

"I feel very inadequate compared to many of my fellow pilots, some of whom have done so much, flying for the military or airlines," Parmenter said. "I can't say I have that much experience, just over a long period of time."

A long period of time is right. She took her first flight at age 7, in the early 1930s, after her father scraped together $5 so she could ride in a barnstorming open-cockpit biplane that had come to her Florida town.
"We were real poor, but my father knew I loved planes," she said. "I'd always looked at pictures and would point when one came over. I'll always be grateful to him because he knew how much I loved it."

During World War II, she served in the Civil Air Patrol, riding in small planes looking for German subs along the Florida coast, and worked as a coastal spotter, searching the skies for enemy planes and getting to know the silhouettes of every aircraft imaginable.

With increased demand for stateside nurses because of the war, she joined the Cadet Nurse Corps Program, later becoming an Army nurse, then transferring to the Air Force. In 1950, she married Robert Parmenter, an Army surgeon, and began a life of hopscotch travel around the country and overseas when his orders changed.

A year earlier, having finally saved enough money for flying lessons, she had gotten her first taste of piloting a plane. It produced within her a contentment that remains to this day. She talks about the peacefulness, the feeling of bonding with a plane and the "sense of wonderment" when flying over some particularly fetching patch of earthly handiwork — even though, she admitted, she's deathly afraid of heights.
The Parmenters moved to Virginia in 1968, finding a 40-acre farm in Cumberland where, while Robert worked as a district director for the Virginia Department of Health, Sara raised cattle and hogs, chickens and ducks, even peacocks. For a time, she would arise every morning to milk the goats before going to her nursing job at a local hospital.

"I had a lot of energy in those days," she said.

In 1972, she fell in love with a 1948 Cessna 140, a single-engine, two-seater that reminded her of a plane she'd had to sell before one of the couple's overseas transfers. She bought it, and she's been flying it out of Farmville Regional Airport ever since.

In recent years, she has served as the honorary ambassador — her face is on the posters — for the Virginia Aviation Ambassadors Program, which, among other things, encourages pilots to fly to all 67 of Virginia's airfields, which she has done, all the while happily chatting up anyone she meets.

"They kid me about yakking," she said with a laugh. "But if anybody gets me started on flying, I can't stop."
Randall P. Burdette, the state's director of aviation, marvels at Parmenter, calling her "an inspiration" and "a bundle of energy."

"I hope when I get to be 87, I'll have near the energy she does," Burdette said.

All of that, and she's Eb Dawson's aunt!

Eb Dawson, played by Tom Lester, was the hillbilly handyman who said "Golly" a lot on the 1960s hit television series "Green Acres" (one of America's finest 20th-century achievements in entertainment). Lester, the son of Parmenter's older brother (who also happened to be a pilot), is alive and well, living in his native Mississippi and doing motivational speaking.

Parmenter, who has not run across an older female pilot still flying in Virginia, takes the privilege very seriously. She is extra careful when it comes to safety, refusing to fly, for example, at more than a hint of a breath of wind. She knows that at her age, any slip-up could mark the end of her flying days, and that's not something she's eager to reach.

Even on days when the weather is too sketchy to fly or she doesn't have time, she will visit her plane at its airport hangar and "just stand there and look at it and remember how grateful I am for being able to fly."


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Astronaut Sally Ride inspired young women

From HeraldOnline:  Astronaut Sally Ride inspired young women

America’s first female astronaut was a positive role model for many young people.

Sally Ride, who died Monday at age 61, probably could have been a success at just about any career path she took. But as she herself noted, all she wanted to do was fly, to soar into space, float around weightless, look out at the heavens and back at Earth.

About the only way to accomplish that goal was to become an astronaut. And as it happened, Ride found herself at the perfect juncture in history to make her dream come true.

She was finishing studies at Stanford University – earning degrees in physics and astrophysics, and English, with a specialty in Shakespeare. NASA was recruiting astronauts, with the unstated goal of bringing women on board.

Ride filled out an application she saw in a newspaper and was accepted into the program. Her educational background was a big factor, but so was a demeanor that allowed her to keep cool under pressure and weather the inevitable skepticism about sending women into space.

It is hard to comprehend three decades after her first ride aboard the shuttle Challenger how unusual it was for a woman to be admitted to the macho fraternity of NASA astronauts.

In those days, allowing women to take on jobs that were both dangerous and physically demanding was rare.
At the time, there were no female fighter pilots in the Air Force.

But Ride, as part of her NASA training, not only learned to fly a jet but also trained in parachute jumping, water survival and acclimatization to weightlessness and the massive G-forces of a rocket launch.
Before her first liftoff, reporters asked her questions that would be unthinkable today: Did she plan to wear a bra and makeup in space? Did she cry on the job? Would space flight affect her ability to have children?
The task of a pioneer blazing a new trail can be difficult. But, apparently for Ride, the payoff was worth it.
She not only became an astronaut, but she also was able to use her physics and engineering skills to help develop a robotic arm for the shuttle. And she got to test it on her first shuttle flight.
In the process of pursuing her dream, Ride also served as an inspiration and role model to a new generation of girls. That, in effect, became her life’s work.

After retiring from NASA in 1987, she took science-related jobs at Stanford and the University of California, San Diego. But she was driven to instill a love of science, technology and math in young people, especially young girls.

In 2001, she started a company, Sally Ride Science, to “make science and engineering cool again,” as she put it.

She also wrote six science books for children.

Ride, who succumbed to pancreatic cancer, will forever hold a place in history as the first American woman to show young girls that they could look at the heavens and say to themselves, “I can go there.”

Read more here: http://www.heraldonline.com/2012/07/25/4138776/sally-ride-americas-first-woman.html#storylink=cpy


India: Thud! It’s a plane’s wheel

From Telegraph India:  Thud! It’s a plane’s wheel
- All-lady crew saves the day after mid-air revelation of loss at take-off

June 10: As the Air India plane took off from Silchar airport amid a drizzle, ground staff saw something drop from the sky. It was one of the ATR-42 aircraft’s nose wheels.

The 48 Guwahati-bound passengers learnt about it about half an hour later. Ratu Hazarika clearly remembers the on-board announcement that set off “the scariest moments of my life”.

“The crew asked us to fasten our seat belts and announced the plane might have to make an emergency landing because of a technical snag. It created panic inside the aircraft,” the divisional sales manger with pharmaceutical company Akumentis Healthcare told The Telegraph.

Eventually, Flight ATR 9760 touched down safely after circling over Guwahati airport for nearly an hour to burn up fuel and reduce the risk of a fire, with ambulances and fire engines lining the runway.

None among the passengers or the all-female crew of four — two women pilots and two airhostesses — was injured, but Hazarika said the 65-odd minutes since the announcement were nerve-wracking. Soon, the cabin crew began giving safety demonstrations relating to emergency landings and fires.

“An airhostess told us some emergency situation was anticipated and the plane might even have to land in a river. She showed us how to use life jackets,” the Guwahati resident said.

To Payal Jain Agarwal, a 35-year-old jewellery designer from Surat who was travelling with her two young sons and mother, it seemed like a nightmare. “They showed us the emergency exits and told us we might need to run or jump. For a moment, it seemed like I was watching a disaster movie,” she said.

Two passengers fainted. “There was a lot of turbulence and the plane shook violently while landing,” Hazarika said. “When it touched down safely, I felt as if I had been given a second life.”

A pilot and aviation trainer, Samar Desai, said there wasn’t really much risk provided the “standard procedure” for landing with a damaged nose wheel was followed.

“In such a situation, a pilot is expected to land on the main landing gear (the wheels under the wings) and keep the nose in the air, using air brakes to generate drag and reduce the aircraft’s speed,” said Desai, who handles Indian operations for an aviation college in Australia.

“The goal is to slow down the aircraft as much as possible before the nose wheel touches the ground.”
As the pilots burnt up the excess fuel, it also reduced the plane’s weight: a crucial step for a safe emergency landing. The crew moved the luggage to the rear to shift the centre of gravity further to the aft and away from the nose.

Sources at Guwahati airport said the ATR-42 planes that Air India uses in the Guwahati-Silchar sector are mostly old and poorly maintained. They said this aspect was being investigated.
The passengers did not know what exactly the problem was till after the landing, said Agarwal, who was travelling to Guwahati for a “family function”. She described how her horror increased with every titbit of information and every assurance.

“First, the airhostess stressed the correct sitting posture during landing, leaving us wondering what was amiss. Prodded, she said there was some problem with the landing systems,” Agarwal said. “Then they started moving the luggage, saying this was for our safety. Then came the bolt from the blue: the announcement about an emergency landing.”

She added: “They issued a slew of dos and don’ts: don’t panic, don’t get up, move to the closest exit on landing, don’t carry your belongings....”

But Agarwal praised the cabin crew. “All along, they were very calm and composed, attending to the fainting and panic-stricken passengers, offering them water and helping them relax.”

When the crew assured everyone that ambulances and fire engines were standing by, “all kinds of thoughts were going through my mind, like what was going to happen next, how to tackle a fire, what would happen if we had to jump.... Everyone was praying.”

Eventually, no emergency medical help was needed. After the plane landed, the passengers cheered loudly and shook hands with pilot Urmila Yadav and co-pilot Yashu.

Moloy Dutta, a senior air traffic control (ATC) official in Guwahati, praised the Silchar ATC for promptly informing the pilots and Guwahati as soon as the wheel mishap was noticed. Several other airports in the region — Imphal, Dimapur, Agartala, Tezpur and Aizawl — too prepared for an emergency landing.
“We asked the aircraft to fly lowpass (low) so that the ground engineers at Guwahati airport could see what the problem was,” Dutta said. “Good piloting helped avert a disaster.”

Chief minister Tarun Gogoi called up Yadav to say: “Hats off to you and your co-pilot.”

The errant nose wheel, retrieved from the runway, has been kept at Silchar airport.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Patricia Mawuli: Ghana’s High-Flying Woman

From the World:  Patricia Mawuli: Ghana’s High-Flying Woman

Ghana's first female pilot Patricia Mawuli. (Photo: english.cntv.cn)
Ghana's first female pilot Patricia Mawuli. (Photo: english.cntv.cn)

At age 23, Patricia Mawuli is among the youngest pilots in the west African nation of Ghana. And she’s also the country’s first female pilot. The best place to find Mawuli is at the Kpong Airfield, where she is an instructor at Ghana’s Aviation and Technology Academy.

And if this weren’t unusual enough for a woman in rural Ghana, Mawuli is also an aircraft engineer. She teaches other young women from the Lake Volta region to build and fly ultra-light planes. It is a traditionally all-male occupation, but Mawuli believes women have unique qualities that enable them to be good pilots.
“Many people consider aviation to be very risky,” Mawuli said. “In an environment where women are seen as the wives who should look after the family, I actually believe there is a reason why God made women to be the people who deliver to children, because women have more patience and are able to handle things in a much more fragile manner.”

And Mawuli exercises that “fragile manner” in her volunteer work with Medicine on the Move. It’s an organization that works together with the Aviation Academy to deliver medical services and health education to rural communities across Ghana.

Mawuli transports medical supplies and doctors all around the country, and she occasionally drops educational pamphlets over remote villages.

“For jobs like that I’m quite happy to jump into the plane and to take people and especially sometimes they do medicine advice like giving health programs on malaria, schistosomiasis, and things like that to the community,” she said. “So they print it out and I can fly and drop it to the communities.”

One of Mawuli’s favorite places to fly is over nearby Lake Volta, the largest man-made lake in the world at 3,000 square miles.

“You can see some communities that are farming or fishing, and they are actually a bit isolated,” she said. “And so flying overhead seeing how hardworking they are lets me appreciate much more what my people can do.”


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Doctor, lawyer and pilot urges Druze girls to 'be strong'

From TNetnews:  Doctor, lawyer and pilot urges Druze girls to 'be strong' 

"I used to have a lot more time and energy to fly, but since I work in six places, I'm very stressed and fly less," says Dr. Anan Falah, a self-described Arab-Druze-Israeli woman who also happens to be a dentist and a lawyer as well as a pilot.

Falah, who lives in Akko, says it wasn't easy to convince those around her about her professional path. "I barely persuaded them to let me study (dentistry). Because of the limitations on Druze women at the time, it was hard for them to accept the idea. My father was worried about me, but now he's full of praise," she explains, noting that her mother had always been supportive. 

"I became the first female Druze dentist," Falah notes. Today, she serves as the Health Ministry supervisor for a dentistry clinic in the Arab sector.

'When I fly, everything is more beautiful' (Photo: Avishag Shaar-Yashuv)

Falah's father was born in the village of Samia and her mother in Ramah. When they married, they moved to Akko, where Falah and her six siblings were born. They are the only Druze family in the city, Falah observes.

Falah, who married in the 1990s, has a 16-year-old son.

On the way to her prestigious profession, the prejudice and oppression Falah encountered prompted her to take unconventional steps. "Our society is considered chauvinist, but as a woman I believe in equality.

That's a difficult word to accept, but you need to insist on it," she explains. "It's not easy to move ahead in life and break a new path in a society that believes that a woman's role is to have babies, raise children, and stay in the kitchen. But today, women are much more than that."

When the head of the Druze community published a ban on woman driving, Falah decided that if she couldn't drive on the ground – she'd take to the skies. She earned her pilot's license in 2001. "I've been to Beersheba, Rosh Pina, and Cyprus," she says, adding that when she flies, she feels "freer, like I don't have to fight for everything. Everything looks more beautiful, quiet, and fun."

What's funny, she says, is that Druze law gives men and woman equality in matters of inheritance, rights, and obligations. A woman can appeal to the Druze court – the equivalent of a rabbinical court – and ask to divorce her husband without his consent. "But what the religion says isn't reflected in the culture and traditions," she explains.

But Falah is still looking ahead. A qualified lawyer, she dreams of becoming a judge in the Druze court, which she says is currently run entirely by men. "Druze woman were almost without rights, but slowly they are getting them – we still have to fight the sheikhs," she says.

And things are changing – today, according to Falah, more Druze women go on to higher education than men, and "modern girls learn not only how to drive but also how to cut loose."

When asked the questions everyone asks successful women about work and family life, she answers: "I try to spend two hours a day with my son, and then go to the clinic or to another job. I see my parents once a week and we always go places together."

She says that she's less social than in the past, since "everything comes at the expense of my personal time."

Nevertheless, Falah tries to keep her drive to move ahead: "I don't look at jealousy. I move on with positive energy. I don't care what others think." 

In addition to her other occupations, Falah also serves as a judge in beauty pageants, and sees no contradiction between these events and feminism. "The idea is that a woman can express herself in whatever place she's interested in doing so," she observes. Still, when judging she tries to take into account the contestants' character as well as their looks. 


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Is there equality in the cockpit?

From BBC News, Travel:  Is there equality in the cockpit?

In late May, a passenger on Brazil’s Trip Airlines decided that while he was willing to live in a country run by a woman, he should not have to fly in a plane controlled by one.

Prior to takeoff, he shouted: “someone should have told me the captain was a woman. I’m not flying with a female at the controls.” The pilot agreed -- and she promptly ejected him from the plane.
In the 78 years since Helen Richey became the first female commercial airline pilot in 1934, nearly every industry in the world has seen exponential advancement in career opportunities for women. Yet it seems that females still have trouble achieving equality in the cockpit.

According to estimates from the Federal Aviation Administration, as of 2010 only 6.7% of US pilots are female.  Other organisations such as the International Society of Woman Airline Pilots (ISA) and Women in Aviation (WIA), estimate that only about 3% to 6% of the world’s 130,000 airline pilots — more than 40,000 of which are based in the US — are women. In some parts of the world, the number of female pilots borders on zero: Ghana, a country of 24 million, recently licensed its first female pilot. Comparatively, more than 80% of US flight attendants are women.

According to Jo Halverson, vice chairwoman of the ISA and an Airbus A320 first officer for United Airlines, the low numbers stem, in part, from the industry’s demanding schedule which requires a lot of time away from family. In addition, much of the world is generations behind the US and Europe in introducing maternity policies for female pilots.

Even in the US, Halverson said very little work is being done to make women comfortable in the cockpit. She called the climate at flight schools, where most students are young males, “dismissive and patronizing”, and said this is part of the reason that growth in US female pilots has been stagnant for more than a decade. In the 1960s, the number of female pilots grew from 3.6% of all pilots to 4.3%. Yet from 2002 to 2011, the number of female pilots in the US has only risen from 6.5% to 6.7%.

The 2010 Teaching Women to Fly Research Project, commissioned by the Wolf Aviation Fund, cited instructor-student communication issues and lack of female mentors among the top barriers that discourage women from learning to fly aeroplanes.

In a recent interview, Mireille Goyer, the founder of Women of Aviation Week (WAWW), agreed that little is being done to improve women’s comfort in the industry. To change that, WAWW recently began hosting events that introduce women to flying, and will list flight schools that are “perceived as women friendly” on their website. ISA and WIA offer flight-related scholarships to women and Embry Riddle Aeronautical University has started a female mentoring program.

While much of the world has a long way to go, Halverson said the current work environment in the US and Europe is good, and whatever sexism there is remains mostly under the radar.

“We’ve all experienced it,” Halverson said. “You don’t know sometimes if personality clash or if it’s because you’re a woman. But you do feel sometimes you have to be better than average just to be an average pilot.”


Monday, July 23, 2012



THE Spitfire conjures up images of the Battle of Britain, handlebar moustaches and exploits of derring-do. Quite correctly the fighter pilots who defied the Luftwaffe in our darkest hour are recognised for their bravery and skill.
Yet an unsung band of female fliers played an important behind-the-scenes role in the struggle against the Nazis. Despite being banned from combat the “Spitfire women” were an elite group of aviators who helped keep our overstretched fighter squadrons going by ferrying aircraft around the country. Their motto was Anything To Anywhere.

At the mercy of the weather and often flying unfamiliar aircraft, the 164 female Air Transport Auxiliary pilots suffered terrible losses. Proportionately the casualty rate was higher than for male fighter pilots.

The 1,200 men and women of the ATA delivered 300,000 aircraft between 1940 and the end of the war, clocking up 400,000 flying hours. Last month one of the last surviving Spitfire women, Maureen Dunlop, died at the age of 91.

With her stunning looks and flying ability to match, she became the poster girl for the ATA after she was photographed clambering out of the cockpit of her aircraft. Hair flowing and a parachute slung carelessly over her shoulder she set many a pulse racing.

However Dunlop and her colleagues faced incredible jealously and sexism and it’s only now that their exploits are being properly recognised. Predominantly they flew Spitfires but in all the ATA crew piloted almost 150 different types of aircraft. It was not uncommon for them to be asked to deliver a completely unfamiliar aircraft, often without the aid of radar and radio. In these cases the women were armed only with a set of instructions known as Ferry Pilot Notes.

The first eight women joined the ATA on New Year’s Day 1940, recruited into this man’s world by Pauline Gower, who had made a prewar living giving joyrides.

They all had a minimum of 500 flying hours but despite their experience the women were initially restricted to flying non-operational types of plane such as training aircraft.

Also to their annoyance they were initially paid 20 per cent less than the men.

WITH quiet persistence, Gower eventually won equal flying opportunities for her female pilots. Winnie Crossley was the first woman to be checked out on a Hurricane fighter and from then on the sky was the limit. Of all the aircraft the Spitfire was the Holy Grail and in many ways perfect for a female pilot.

The cockpit was so petite that their smaller frames fitted in perfectly and the women who flew Spitfires used to liken the experience to wearing a well-fitting dress. Dunlop, who began flying at 15, wished she could battle the Germans but this was considered a step too far.

“I thought it was the only fair thing,” she once said. “Why should only men be killed?”

As it happened 15 female pilots lost their lives while serving in the ATA during the war. Pioneering aviator Amy Johnson was the first female pilot to die in service when her Airspeed Oxford crashed into the Thames estuary in 1941 during a delivery flight.

Margaret Fairweather, who lost her pilot husband while she was pregnant, got back into the cockpit soon after her baby was born, only to crash-land in a field. She escaped but died in another crash in 1944.

However Dunlop and the other female pilots faced opposition from jealous male colleagues. They were angry that the myth persisted that the ATA was a women-only organisation.

It’s claimed that one woman’s aircraft was sabotaged by a male rival, while pilots faced constant whispers about lesbianism.

CG Grey, editor of Aeroplane magazine, wrote in the early Forties: “There are millions of women in the country who could do useful jobs in war. But the trouble is that so many of them insist on wanting to do jobs which they are quite incapable of doing.

“The menace is the woman who thinks that she ought to be flying in a high-speed bomber when she really has not the intelligence to scrub the floor of a hospital properly, or who wants to nose around as an Air Raid Warden and yet can’t cook her husband’s dinner.”

In the face of such opposition women flocked from all over the world to join. In 1943 the women’s pay fell in line with the men’s, making the ATA one of Britain’s first equal opportunity employers.

Tony Bamford of the Air Transport Auxiliary Exhibition and Archive in Maidenhead, Berkshire, which opened two years ago, says: “The ATA was the only way for women to achieve their dream of flying Spitfires.

“Most were already accomplished pilots and there’s no doubt there was an element of wanting to prove that they were every bit as good as their male counterparts.

“They certainly did a terrific job, providing a vital link in the war effort. It was often very dangerous work because the aircraft were usually needed urgently so they flew in all sorts of weather conditions. For example Spitfires bound for Malta would first have to be delivered to Scotland.

“Unfortunately there are very few of the pilots still alive but I did meet some of them. They were very confident women, a little bit scary but very brave. The important work they did was not fully recognised at the time but we are trying to rectify that.”

The museum, near the ATA’s wartime headquarters in White Waltham, includes a section dedicated to the women called Grandma Flew Spitfires.

During the war there were two all-women pools of ATA pilots, including one at Hamble in Hampshire near the main Spitfire factory in Southampton. It was here that Dunlop, who mastered 38 different types of aircraft, was based.

When the ATA was disbanded at the end of hostilities the heroism of the Spitfi re women was still largely overlooked. However Lord Beaverbrook, Britain’s Munitions minister, paid tribute to the part they played in the struggle against Hitler.

He said: “They were soldiers fighting in the struggle just as completely as if they had been engaged on the battlefront.”

Without them the pilots in the Battle of Britain would never have got off the ground.

Pioneer pilots of the ATA


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Pioneer pilot opened skies for women

From Sydney Morning Herald:  Pioneer pilot opened skies for women

 Maureen de Pop

Maureen Dunlop de Popp was one of a pioneering group of women pilots who flew the latest fighter and bomber aircraft with the wartime Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA). She achieved national fame as a cover girl when a Picture Post photographer captured her alighting from a Barracuda aircraft.

Maureen Dunlop’s arrival in England from her home in Argentina coincided with a huge increase in aircraft production which led to an urgent need to expand the almost exclusively male ATA – irreverently dubbed ‘‘Ancient and Tired Airmen’’. Already a qualified pilot, she joined in April 1942, one of a small pool of women ATA pilots, and rose to be a first officer.

It was the task of the ATA pilots to deliver aircraft from factories and maintenance units to front line squadrons. Only during early-morning briefing did pilots discover what type of aircraft they would be flying and to which airfield they would go. The organisation had its own airborne taxi service, piloted by fellow ATA pilots, to deliver or collect those detailed to ferry an aircraft.

Initially Maureen Dunlop flew with No 6 Ferry Pool at Ratcliffe near Leicester, but later moved to Hamble near Southampton, which was an all-female pool. It was there that she delivered many Spitfires to squadrons. On one occasion, just after she had taken off, the cockpit canopy blew off – she made a successful landing. On another, the engine of her Argus aircraft failed and she was forced to land in a field where she discovered that a piston had shattered.

With all ATA pilots flying the same aircraft and facing the same risks, Sir Stafford Cripps arranged that the female pilots should receive equal pay with their male colleagues and this small group of women rightly considered themselves as pioneers of sex equality. Many, including Maureen Dunlop, wished that they could have flown in combat, but this was considered a step too far and was forbidden. “I thought it was the only fair thing,” she remarked. “Why should only men be killed?”

She was one of 164 female pilots and, during her three years with the ATA, she flew 38 different types of aircraft, among them the Spitfire, Mustang, Typhoon and the Wellington bomber. However, when asked which her favourite was, she immediately responded: ‘‘The Mosquito’’.

The ATA had been founded in September 1939 by Gerard d’Erlanger, an air-minded merchant banker and director of British Airways. But, with the end of the war, it was disbanded overnight. Its 600 pilots had delivered 308,567 aircraft and many felt that they were ‘‘The Forgotten Pilots’’. Maureen Dunlop was one of the few female pilots to secure a flying job when she left the ATA.

The second daughter of an Australian who managed 250,000 hectares of sheep farms in Patagonia, Argentina, Maureen Adel Chase Dunlop was born on October 26 1920 in Quilmes, near Buenos Aires. She held dual British and Argentine nationalities and, though she was educated at an English school in Buenos Aires for a short time, she received most of her education from a governess.

Growing up surrounded by animals, she became an expert horsewoman and would often gallop alongside trains and wave to their drivers as they crossed the vast spaces of Patagonia.

During a holiday in England in 1936 she took flying lessons and then, when she returned to Argentina, backdated her year of birth in order that she could legally continue her flight training. During the First World War, her father had travelled to England to join the Army, and with the outbreak of the Second, Maureen saw no reason why she should not follow his example. She travelled to England with her sister, who would work for the BBC.

After the war, Maureen Dunlop qualified as a flying instructor at RAF Luton before returning to Argentina, where she worked as a commercial pilot. She instructed and flew for the Argentine Air Force, as well as having a partnership in an air taxi company, continuing to fly actively until 1969.

Her other great love was horses and she was fascinated by Arab ponies. After the war, she bought her first Arab and later built up a large breeding operation known as Milla Lauquen Stud.

In 1955 Maureen met and married Serban Popp, a retired Romanian diplomat, and in 1973 they travelled to England where they bought a farm near Norwich. She soon discovered that her Second World War driving licence had expired. Although her commercial pilot’s licence was still valid, she needed to resit her British driving test.

She surprised her children by taking five attempts to persuade the Norwich examiner that she was fit and able to drive on British roads. They were surprised she passed so soon.

In England the stud grew to more than 50 horses. She worked tirelessly with her animals, carrying out physical work that men much younger than her found exhausting. She built up an outstanding knowledge of Arabian bloodlines.

In 2003 Maureen Dunlop de Popp was one of three female ATA pilots to receive the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigator’s Master Air Pilot Award.

Her husband died in 2000 and she is survived by their son and daughter, a second daughter having predeceased her.
Telegraph, London


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Plane Crazy Salutes Women PIlots

From Aerotech News: Plane Crazy Salutes Women Pilots

This BD-5 was restored as a non-flyable simulator by NASA photographer Tony Landis and is complete with sound effects.

Father’s Day weekend for 2012 included a salute to women in aviation and aerospace for the Mojave Transportation Museum as part of Plane Crazy Saturday June 16.
This month’s event included booths for the Ninety-Nines, Women in Aviation today, Society of Women Engineers, the Air Force Association, the Antelope Valley Sea Cadet Squadron, NASA and XCOR.
Every month PCS features a unique collection of aircraft and a guest presentation.
This month, in honor of female aviators, the presenter was Lyn “Sweet Cheeks” McNeely, Instructor Flight Test Engineer, at the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. After a 20-year career in the Air Force in which she worked a lot of different flight test assignments, McNeely had the fortune to get what she described as a “dream job”, teaching at TPS.
Guest speaker, Lyn “Sweet Cheeks” McNeely, is a flight test engineer instructor, at the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards AFB.
McNeely spoke on the TPS and its various programs as well as her personal experiences in some of the aircraft. She has had flight time in a B-52, F-15, C-17, F-16, HH-60, MC-130 and an MH-53. Her longest mission was 21.3 hours, testing systems in a B-52 on a flight from Edwards to the intersection of the equator and the international dateline.
McNeely added that her “proudest moment” was receiving her glider pilot’s license. “Some of my heroes are the first women in aviation,” said McNeely, “I liked Amelia Earhart, I love Poncho Barnes, I think she’s a really interesting character. My real heroes are the WASPs from World War II, they had it a lot harder than I did going through and they’re excellent role models. They just did a super job contributing to our mission, it’s a real treat for me.”
Along the flight line were several unique aircraft including Pilot and Certified Flight Instructor, JoAnn Painter’s Meyer-built Little Toot which she calls “Sweet Toot” and a BD-5 restored by NASA photographer Tony Landis. What is unique about this BD-5 is that it has been restored as a non-flyable simulator. Landis hopes to “inspire” children by allowing them to sit in the cockpit at events like PCS and air shows. According to Landis, it took just under eight months to fully restore the airplane and was “in pretty rough shape” when he began the project.
The finished BD-5 is equipped with a sound card that recreates the sounds of actual flight for the particular type of airplane. For accuracy’s sake the sound changes with the movement of the throttle and the rear propeller rotates to complete the experience. The faces of the children at PCS lit up during their turn in the simulator.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

First black female fighter pilot speaks to kids at The Children's Museum

This is from the Indy Star, way back on June 27. First black female fighter pilot speaks to kids at The Children's Museum

Kids visiting The Children's Museum of Indianapolis on Wednesday had a chance to hear about reaching their dreams and flying high -- from someone who has been there.
Air Force Major Shawna Rochelle Kimbrell, the first black female fighter pilot and a mother of two, stopped by the museum to talk with dozens of children ranging in age from 6 to 12 in the museum's neighborhood summer enrichment program. Kimbrell, 36, whose family moved from Lafayette to Colorado shortly after she was born, was expected to meet and greet more than 400 visitors during her visit, including families of the Tuskegee Airmen.
The Indianapolis Star sat down with Kimbrell after she met with a class of kids:
Question: What were some of the better (or funny) questions the kids asked?
Answer: They were asking me all kinds of things like how the oxygen mask worked. One of the kids was really into weather, so he asked, "What if you get icing on your wing tips?" And I was like, "That's actually a pretty good question."
Q: Why fighter pilot? How did you choose that career?
A: When I was in kindergarten, I wrote away to NASA to find out what it would take to be an astronaut and they sent me back this huge information packet. About fourth grade, I decided I was still in love with space and stars and flight and the air, but I wanted to do my job more than an astronaut would get to go into space. Because typically they only go a couple times in their lives, and I wanted to practice and to do that type stuff every day. So the next best thing was fighter pilot, where you get to do that all the time.
Q: How did you get there?
A: I took my first flying lesson (at 14) and it was absolutely everything I dreamed it would be and I absolutely loved it and I knew that was what I really wanted to do. So I got my private pilot's license when I was 16, actually before I got my driver's license. In my research throughout the years, I just knew I wanted to go to the Air Force Academy because that was the best opportunity to get a pilot training slot. I got accepted into the Naval Academy and got accepted into the Air Force Academy. I was really wanting to get out of Colorado at the time and go to college someplace new -- and Annapolis is beautiful, so I really felt tempted to go there -- but compared to spending all my time on carriers, flying from the ground sounded better.
Q: When did you get your wings?
A: I started training in Laughlin Air Force Base in Del Rio, Texas, in August of 1998 and graduated in August of 1999. Following that, you go to introduction of fighter fundamentals, and that's when you learn to use the jet more as a weapon; you learn tactics as opposed to just learning how to fly the jet from point A to point B without getting lost. I started flying the F-16 in late 1999 and graduated in 2000.
Q: Where else has this job taken you?
A: I spent about three years in Japan. That was my first operational assignment. Then I went to Korea for a year. Then I came back to Georgia, working with the Army as an air liaison officer, where we teach the Army how to use airplanes to meet the Army's objectives. That's where I had my first son. Then I went to Italy. Then, I came out of Italy and now I'm at Las Vegas, Nev., where we teach the overall course in air-to-ground integration.
Q: What were some of the biggest obstacles to get around?
A: One of my personal hardships has been that I always have been the kind of person to do things for myself. So learning at what point to ask for help was something that was very difficult for me. At pilot training, initially I struggled with the special orientation and instrument flying. The concept was a little bit foreign to me because I hadn't been used to flying with instruments. So I had to swallow my pride and just go ask for help. That was a hurdle for me that was put on by myself.
Q: What has changed in the Air Force since you started?
A: So much has changed. The jets themselves have changed. The training environment has changed. The numbers have changed; we're going through the draw down right now. There are a lot of things that have changed. It's a continually changing effort.
Q: What message do your achievements send to African-American women, or women in general?
A: Hopefully the message is that there's no barrier too high. That there's nothing they can't do. One is to set goals for yourself. It's kind of like the road map through life and there's no way you're going to get somewhere if you don't know where you're going. And two is to believe in yourself, because you're the only one that knows what you can do. And finally, never quit.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Hodson pilots KSU to 2nd in 4-day air race

From the Marion County REcord, July 8: Hodson pilots KSU to 2nd in 4-day air race

Tonya Hodson, formerly of Marion, and co-pilot Nicole Lordemann placed second in the collegiate division of the 4,000 nautical mile cross-country Air Race Classic, an all-female competition honoring women in aviation.
“It was four straight days of drive and focus on doing the best we can,” Hodson said.

Hodson and Lordemann are students in the Kansas State University-Salina professional pilot program. Lordemann, a senior who participated in the race last year was junior Hodson’s mentor.

“I did all the flying, she did all the behind the scenes everything — communications, weather, navigation, everything,” Hodson said. “She was the aircraft commander and I was the pilot.”

The pair met in class this spring, when Hodson learned about the Air Race Classic, but they never flew together until they stepped into the cockpit of their Cessna Skyhawk 172S at the start of the race June 19 in Lake Havasu, Ariz.

“Two days after finals she left for an internship in California,” Hodson said. “We were on the phone probably five hours a week for three weeks. We talked about our strategies. It was kind of a challenge to make it work.”
“It’s important to be able to communicate with your co-pilot,” Lordemann said. “We were fortunate that our personalities blended well. There were times that we could almost read each other’s minds.”

Weather became an obstacle the second day when they tried to leave Columbus, Neb. and were forced to turn back.

“We’d flown one leg and had hoped to get two more. Everyone else had buttoned up their airplanes, and we were still there thinking maybe we had chance,” Hodson said.

Airplane weight was a critical factor, and they calculated everything down to the ounce, including what clothes and personal items they could take with them on the plane. The ground crew at the airport in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. learned firsthand how precise those calculations were.

“We got out to the airport that morning and they had put more fuel onboard than we calculated we needed,” Hodson said. “They were kind enough to siphon seven gallons of fuel.”

When Hodson and Lordemann finished the race June 22 at Batavia, Ohio, their plane was immediately impounded, and it would be another two days before they learned the results.

“That was an emotional roller coaster. We got a call we had a penalty. The very first flyby I was too high,” Hodson said. More encouraging news soon followed.

“Saturday morning we got a call our aircraft was going to be inspected. Anyone who gets that call was likely in the top 10, Hodson said.

Hodson and Lordemann were the first K-State team to place in the top ten in the overall standings, finishing eighth among the 48 entries. Hodson also received an individual honor.

“I’ve been asked to sit on the Air Race Classic panel at the national Ninty-nines conference,” Hodson said. The Ninety-nines is an international organization for women pilots founded by Amelia Earhart. Hodson said she will be sharing her experience as a first-time racer.

Hodson started flying in 1990, and her maroon Stearman biplane was a familiar sight in the skies above Marion for many years. She entered the professional pilot program at K-State-Salina in 2011.

“I went with my passion, I went with my heart,” Hodson said. 

She plans to graduate in 2013, and wants a career flying jets. Hodson said it doesn’t matter whether she flies for a commercial airline or pilots a corporate jet. “Flying is so unique, so freeing, and they’ll be paying me to fly,” she said.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Local Belton woman brings home 36th Annual Air Race Classic trophy

From 8 July Belton Journal :  Local Belton woman brings home 36th Annual Air Race Classic trophy

Air-Race-Classic-trophyVictoria Holt piloted the plane that won the 36th Annual Air Race Classic. Holt and her teammate, Diana Stanger, who are known as the “Racing Aces,” piloted their Cirrus SR-22 aircraft to victory Victoria Holt, of Belton, and her teammate, Diana Stanger, otherwise known as "The Racing Aces," were recently crowned the champions of the 36th Annual Air Race Classic.

The race is a continuation of The Women's Air Derby that started in 1929, and is a 4-day, 2,682 mile race, and is one of a rich tradition in which Amelia Earhart raced, but finished third.

Holt, a mother of four, has been flying for 21 years. Her first flight was in a glider on a blind date; Holt was hooked.

"I came to the ground knowing what I wanted to do with the rest of my life," Holt said. "That was in October of 1990, and by January, I was a full-time college student."

Holt's journey to attaining the highest level pilot certificate, as an Airline Transport Pilot, is an inspiring one. A single mother determined to attain her dream; she worked at an airport near McKinney, where she traded her labor for flight time. Holt also has a degree in Aeronautical Science from the University of Central Texas. She is a corporate pilot, and wanted to try "another arena of flying" when she and Stanger entered the Air Race Classic.

Although Holt's plane was the 20th to land, she and Stanger implemented many strategies in order to beat the handicap speed that was assigned to their plane, a Cirrus SR-22.

For the competition, each plane is given a handicap, and the goal is to beat one's handicap by the most points. Holt and her racing partner beat their handicap by 11 points.

"We knew we did well because we had a tail-wind on every leg, and because of the speed of our airplane, we were able to ride the cold-front, all the way up to the northern part of the route," said Holt.
Upon landing on Friday, the duo was "hopeful," but had to wait until Sunday to learn they were indeed the victors.

"I was just so excited," Holt said. "We were hopeful, but we didn't want to jinx it."

Stanger, Holt's fellow winner, is one of Holt's clients. The two fly together year round and thus have excellent "crew coordination."

Holt believes this was also part of their winning strategy.

"We know each other well," Holt said. "So we can almost tell what the other is thinking."

The Racing Aces, Holt and Stanger, plan on entering the Race again next year.

"We hope to defend our win," said Holt.

Last year, the two finished the race "in the middle of the pack," but "came away with quite a bit of knowledge."

The Racing Aces plan to give the money they won to scholarships.

"The biggest personal reason for this is that I was a displaced housewife and wanted to be a pilot in the worst way, and I didn't have the means to do it," Holt said. "I had some very worthwhile mentors that hold a special place in my heart. I want to give back to aviation, and I want to see more women licensed to fly planes."


The Israeli Defence Forces: first for women

From the Guardian:  The Israeli Defence Forces: first for women

When Yehudit Grisaro says "I am not Wonder Woman," she speaks in a gravelly, deliberate voice. This might be because English is not her first language. Or because she wants to make sure she has your full attention, something she attracts easily from women forging careers in the military as well as many from her native Israel.

As brigadier general and advisor on women's issues to the army chief of staff, Grisaro was the highest-ranking female officer in the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF). Nothing since her retirement in 2010 has dulled her enthusiasm for breaking down the gender barriers which remain in the army.

When asked whether she ever encountered sexual harassment during a 26-year service that started with compulsory national service at 18, she grimaces. "I don't know if there were men brave enough to take the chance. This is not an issue in the IDF."

Though the Israeli military has a very macho image, the IDF is the most progressive in the world – when measured in terms of gender equality, at least. Almost one third of the force and 50% of its officers are female. In the UK, only 13% of the armed forces are women, while there are only slightly more in the US army (13.4%).
So Grisaro, 49, seems genuinely perplexed by the idea that she, or any of her colleagues, might have been abused, belittled or patronised by male colleagues. "The men in the IDF are educated and aware about the issues of sexual harassment, so it is not a phenomenon. I used to say that the most sophisticated weapon against sexual harassment was improving the awareness of men. The majority of soldiers know the rules and recognise the contribution of women. Women are treated in the same way as the men, and they are judged the same as the men. They are paid the same as the men."

The British military is one of several around the world that has sought advice from the IDF on equality, though the UK is unlikely to catch up in the short term, despite recent efforts to do so. Without compulsory national service to showcase careers for women, the British military has struggled to alter the attitude that life in khaki is best suited to men. The MoD has also acknowledged it should be more flexible towards women who want to have a family while they are in service.

The situation is very different in Israel. There are laws that demand women must be recruited to the IDF, and a series of legal challenges have shattered barriers to what they can do thereafter. The process started in 1949 with a law that demanded equality in the IDF – and 92% of roles in service are now open to women.

Sixteen years ago, a civilian pilot, Alice Miller, won a watershed case in the high court of justice which ruled the Israeli air force could not exclude women from fighter pilot training. Women now regularly serve in anti-aircraft brigades, in the artillery, and as fighter pilots. They are not, as yet, allowed in combat units to fight "face to face", but Grisaro says it is only a matter of time.

Her assessment of the number of women in the IDF is unforgiving. "It is quite good. It is a meaningful number which shows they are not there for decoration. This is a marathon, not a sprint."

In the UK, women remain banned from small units in the frontline because of fears that, in the heat of a battle, male colleagues may seek to look after them, rather than concentrate on fighting. Grisaro pulls that face again. "If you are going to adopt this state of mind you will sit and do nothing," she says. "The decision makers have to ask themselves: Do I have the privilege to be able to give up half the human manpower available to me? Skills are important, not gender. On this issue, I think it is about time for a change. If we were sitting here 30 years ago and talking about the options for women in service now, then what has happened would seem unbelievable. So the changes are coming step by step, and I think this is the right way to do it."

Did she get help from the military as her career progressed? After all, she was juggling work, a marriage and bringing up three boys. "The IDF does not have kindergartens on bases! And I am not Wonder Woman. I hired support, I had a nanny and I relied upon my husband, parents and friends. I never felt discriminated against because I had a family or because of my gender – the opposite was the case. I got married, I had children and I watched them grow up when I was in the military. It is not simple, but it is possible."

Her "get on with it" attitude is accompanied by a golden rule for all those women who have made it into senior positions. "I had two goals," she says. "To be a professional and to be a role model for other women. All women have a duty to behave like this … If I had to make an appointment and there was a man and a woman with the same skills, I would always promote the woman. You cannot expect women to become senior officers unless you have women at all levels."

Grisaro left the military to become a vice-president of the Israeli airline El Al. She passed the IDF baton on to another woman, Orna Barbivai, who has become the first woman to achieve the rank of major general. Her promotion, Grisaro says, is a "very, very significant point in the long race for women being integrated into the IDF … Israeli society is very liberal towards women. But I would like the change to happen faster."


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Cleveland, Sept 22-23 - 2nd Annual Wings of Women

2nd Annual Wings of Women Conference to be held September 22 & 23
On September 24, 2011 IWASM held its first Wings of Women Conference. On that day the museum welcomed 96 female students, some of which came from as far away as Detroit and West Virginia, and 17 female mentors working in the fields of aviation, aeronautics, and engineering. The girls interacted with the mentors during activities, meal times, and a Q & A panel discussion where the girls were able to ask any questions they may have about these careers. The conference ended with a guest speaker discussing her experience and perseverance in the field of aviation. The following day 43 of the female students returned for Young Eagle Flights courtesy of the EAA. For many of the students this was their first time in an airplane. IWASM will be hosting this wonderful event again this year on September 22 & 23. The conference is open to girls in grades 6-12 and the registration fee is only $20 per student and includes meals, activities and a t-shirt to remember their time at the conference.
If you know a female student or a potential female mentor who would be interested in participating in this year's conference please follow the link to the mentor and student applications or call 216-623-1111 for more information. If you would like to sponsor this year's conference please call Michelle Epps at 216-623-1111.

Young Eagles Day provides 169 free plane rides to youths this year

From Ludington DAily News:  Young Eagles Day provides 169 free plane rides to youths this year

“It was awesome,” Justice Tingay said as she climbed out of a plane piloted by George Roth.
The 15-year-old Free Soil girl had her first flight Saturday during Young Eagles Day at the Mason County Airport.

Nine pilots volunteered, providing free flights to 169 children.

“I was really scared,” Tingay said of her emotions before the experience.

Once the plane was up in the air, though, she took in the sights and relaxed.

“It was beautiful,” she said. “You could see the rivers and how small everything looks.”

The Young Eagles program offers free flights to children ages 8-17 in the hope of inspiring some to consider aviation in their future.

Not only did Justice get a plane ride, so did her sister Brianna, age 8, and her brothers, Alex, 14, and Andrew, 12.

“It was fun. I got to steer the plane a little,” Andrew said.

Alex said the experience was “pretty cool.” At first he didn’t know what to think but said he enjoyed all he could see from a bird’s-eye view, noting there were more trees than he expected.

Tammy and Mike Stone of Grand Rapids brought their boys, Corbin, age 14, and Jake, 12, to Ludington Saturday specifically for the Young Eagles rides.

“I just thought they should try one,” Tammy said.

Josh Meisenheimer, age 10, of Ludington, took his fourth Young Eagles ride Saturday, brought to the airport by his grandparents Joe and Phyllis Meisenheimer.

Joe has an ultralight he enjoys flying.

“It was bumpy,” Josh said of his ride Saturday, “but I saw a lot of stuff. I recognized Oriole Field.”

Barb Bennett of Ludington brought two grandchildren, Ryan and Rachel of Kingsley, to the airport, meaning a third Young Eagles flight for Ryan, age 14, and a second for Rachel.

“It was fun. I liked how we got to go around Lincoln Lake and all around and along the shoreline,” Ryan said.
Rachel said she came back for a second year “just for the fun of it.”

Her favorite part was the view of Lake Michigan from the air.

Pilots from both Mason and Oceana counties donate the time for the program, with the two pilots’ associations helping each other out with their respective Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Young Eagles programs.

Their experience ranges from military wartime to recreational pilots, with the one retired commercial airline chief pilot, George Roth, age 86.

Among those serving were 10 Young Eagles pilots, but not only does the program take pilot volunteers, it takes ground crew help as well — in all about 30 people giving of their time.

All of those involved are volunteers and they cover all the costs as well, including fuel.

“It takes a lot of work and time and planning by many volunteers to get this done every year,” said Bob Taylor, president and coordinator of the Mason County Pilots Association. “Fortunately for me, the Mason County Pilots Association is not like other clubs or groups where you only have a few that do all the work. Everyone pitches in to help make this event a success every year. We have great people here and in Hart that do a fantastic job, come up with ways to do things better and are more than willing to do more than just pay lip service to the organization.

“I am very proud to be president and coordinator for the Mason County Pilots Association and very proud to have the people in our association that we have. All are hard workers and very smart people. I would be lost without them. They give of their time, minds, and wallets to make my job an easy one.”


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

What to see at Oshkosh this July

And if you can go, you'd better go. Who knows what will happen to General Aviation in t he near future...

From Flightglobal: http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/flightglobals-ten-things-you-have-to-see-list-for-eaa-airventure-2012-373677/

Those lucky enough to be making the trek to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, for the Experimental Aircraft Association's AirVenture 2012 event, commencing 23 July, won't just get to participate in general aviation's largest gathering worldwide. They'll also get to take in visual treats from every era and sector of aviation, from parachute teams to firework-lit aerobatic displays and piston singles to wartime bombers. In our show preview, we list the 10 sights you must see to get the most out of a unique event in the industry calendar.
  • For a flavour of what to expect, revisit our multimedia report on last year's show
    Twenty years after unassembled pieces of Glacier Girl first came to AirVenture for public viewing, another aircraft in need of restoration is expected to arrive at Oshkosh - a Second World War Douglas SBD-3 Dauntless dive bomber the National Naval Aviation Museum plans to raise from Lake Michigan this summer.
    If things go to plan, the Dauntless pieces will be transported to the show before heading for Pensacola, Florida to be restored for static viewing in the museum. According to the EAA, the Dauntless belonged to Fighter Squadron 14, the US Navy's oldest active squadron, aka the Tophatters. "Based on the carrier USS Ranger, the squadron provided air support for Operation Torch, the Allied invasion of North Africa in November 1942," says the EAA.
    SBD dive bombers were credited with heavily damaging the Vichy French battleship Jean Bart in Casablanca harbour, as well as destroying 14 enemy aircraft. Records also show the aircraft participated in the first American naval air strike against German forces in Norway's inner channel.
    The Dauntless ended up in Lake Michigan in October 1943 after a pilot got into difficulty making a carrier landing training run on the USS Wolverine.

    us navy
    US Navy
    The Dauntless sank in Lake Michigan
    If you want to see "crazy things with canopies", be sure to catch the Canadian SkyHawks parachute team, performing for the first time at Oshkosh on 27-29 July.
    The official skydiving team of the Canadian Forces, the eight-member SkyHawk team jumps from a mile high, but manoeuvres typically do not finish until 10 to 15ft (3 to 4.5m) above the ground, when team members unlock legs and bring their canopies in for a smooth landing.
    The so-called "parabatics" are often based on stacks and formations, with biplane structures - two canopies flying together as a biplane - as the theme.
    The team, part of the Canadian Forces' Centre of Excellence for Land Advanced Warfare, has been performing for 41 seasons.
    The team commander is Capt Pierre Pelletier, an infantry officer with the Royal 22nd Regiment. With the Canadian Forces for 25 years, Pelletier has served tours of duty in Bosnia Herzegovina, Croatia and Afghanistan. With the SkyHawks, he has performed some 180 jumps.
    The price of a trip in the Superfortress starts at $600

    canadian forces
    Canadian SkyHawks
    The team jumps from a mile high
    There are few sounds as sweet as the bass line laid down by four Wright 3350 radial engines working together on the same wing. Put those engines on a massive 1944-built silver Boeing B-29 Superfortess named Fifi, and you have visual and auditory bliss.
    Visitors can become part of the aircraft's continuing legacy by taking a ride - prices range from $600 per seat in the side gunner's compartment to $1,500 for the bombardier seat in the nose.
    A special memory awaits whichever philanthropist places the winning bid at a 26 July auction for EAA's youth programmes - a 27 July flight on Fifi in the company of Theodore "Dutch" Van Kirk, the B-29 Enola Gay navigator who flew the first atomic bomb mission over Japan in 1945.
    The B-29 first flew in 1942, with active service starting in 1944. After the Second World War, B-29s were used in the Korean War in the early 1950s and remained a key part of the US Air Force's bomber fleet until the late 1950s.
    Operated by the Commemorative Air Force (CAF), N529B, the world's only flying example of the aircraft, was saved from use as a ground target for weapons tests in the 1960s and was first flown by the CAF in 1971, says the EAA.

    fly for fun
    Fly For Fun
    The price of a trip in the superfortress starts at $600
    Although similar in form to its civilian brother the Lodestar, the Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon was quite the war machine, carrying nine 0.50cal Browning machine guns, 2,722kg (6,000lb) of bombs and two types of rockets.
    A Navy Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon called Attu Warrior is a must-see for any first-time visitor to AirVenture this year. Operated by the Warbird Warrior Foundation, the Pratt & Whitney R-2800 radial-powered twin is painted in the colours of US Navy Squadron UPB-139, which operated out of the Attu Islands - in Alaska's Aleutian Island chain - during the Second World War.
    Attu Warrior, however, never saw service in the Second World War, having been built too late in 1945. After being decommissioned from the Navy in 1957, the aircraft went through several civilian owners, eventually sitting on a ramp for 20 years.
    Ultimately, Dave Hansen, of Dave's Custom Sheet Metal, in Heber City, Utah, acquired the Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon in 2006 as a restoration project.

    christopher ebdon
    Christopher Ebdon
    An Attu Warrior painted in the colours of US Navy Squadron UPB-139
    This Lockheed P-38F - named Glacier Girl - was recovered from the depths of the Greenland ice cap 20 years ago. The aircraft was a member of the "lost squadron" of six P-38Fs and two B-17Es which landed on the ice cap in July 1942 because of bad weather en route to Europe from the USA in 1942.
    The aircraft were part of Operation Bolero, an effort to fly fighters and bombers to Europe rather than take them on ships which were in grave danger of being sunk by German U-boats.
    When the Greenland Expedition Society honed in on her location during the summer of 1992, Glacier Girl was 268ft (82m) below the ice.
    After a 10-year restoration, N17630 took to the air again in 2002, becoming a regular guest at AirVenture, starting in 2003. The Allison V1710-powered twin aircraft is owned by Texas-based aviation enthusiast Rod Lewis, who also plans to bring two other warbirds from the Lewis Air Legends collection to the show - a Bell P-39 Airacobra and Curtiss P-40 Warhawk.

    d miller
    The Lockheed P-38F was discovered 82m below the ice in Greenland
    Although not the first of its type to appear at Oshkosh, the Junkers Ju 52 tri-motor (HB-HOT) has travelled the longest distance to get to this year's show. Flying across the Atlantic via Iceland, Greenland and Canada, the 1939-built Ju 52 started its tour in Germany in mid-June, near to where the BMW-powered 17-passenger low-wing has been used in Switzerland for air tours since 1982.
    Along with parking on the static line, where visitors can study the 660hp (490kW) BMW radials and German-engineered cockpit up close, the Ju 52 will take part in the daily Rockwell Collins-sponsored air displays at the AirVenture, showing off its 97kt (180 km/h) cruise speed. The Ju 52 was designed by Hugo Junkers and was first flown in May 1932, says the EAA, noting that within six years, the model was flying 75% of all German air passenger flights.
    "The tri-motor configuration supplied a high standard of comfort and reliability, even during flights over the Alps," says the EAA. "It remained an important part of European aviation for more than three decades." The tour is being sponsored by German luggage manufacturer Rimowa.

    The Ju 52 arrives from Germany via Iceland, Greenland and Canada
    A must-see performer at AirVenture is five-time US National Aerobatic Champion Kirby Chambliss flying his Zivko Edge 540, a man with so many aerobatic hours he says the Zivko's wings are mere extensions of his arms. Chambliss is also a two-time Red Bull Air Race World Champion. Built by Oklahoma-based Zivko Aeronautics, the Edge is capable of 420 degree per second roll rates and 3,700ft/min (19 m/s) climb rate with its 340hp (254kW) modified Lycoming AEIO-540 piston engine.

    steve smith
    Steve Smith
    Chambliss won the Red Bull Air Race twice
    A yellowing of the skies over Whitman Field on 24 July will be the most visually compelling spectacle of the week - but certainly not the loudest - as an estimated 200 to 300 Piper J-3 Cubs arrive en masse at the airport, weather permitting, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the type.
    Development started in 1935 as a variant of the open-cockpit Taylor E-2, and the J-3 - so often painted in bright yellow - has become synonymous with light aviation to the point where any small aircraft is often wrongly labelled a "Piper Cub".
    During a production run from 1938 to 1947, Piper built nearly 20,000 of the piston-powered high-wing singles.
    The company later upgraded the J-3 into the more powerful PA-11 Cub Special and the PA-18 Super Cub.
    The line ultimately ended at Piper in 1981, but new production lives on through several airframers, including Cub Crafters and American Legend Aircraft.
    A Piper J-3 Cub is to be awarded as the grand prize in the 2012 EAA "Win the Cub" Aircraft Sweepstakes, a long-running annual giveaway run in support of the association's aviation education programmes.

    tom paradis
    Tom Paradis
    Piper Cubs will mass for a celebration
    The Curtiss C-46F Commando Tinker Belle will appear at AirVenture for the first time.
    A rare sight in the air, the Second World War transport is named after its long-time home at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma.
    The heaviest and largest twin-engined aircraft operated by the US Army Air Force during the Second World War, the C-46F - which is owned and operated by Warriors and Warbirds - is still resplendent in its original military colours and interior.
    With considerable more payload than the DC-3 (C-47), Pratt & Whitney R-2800-powered C-46s played a major role in operations over the Himalayan mountain range - known as the "Hump" - flying fuel and other supplies from bases in India to China in the early 1940s.

    kathy kimpel
    Kathy Kimpel
    The C-46F: the USAF’s largest twin-engined aircraft during the Second World War
    Fireworks and flying, two forms of entertainment that would otherwise be mutually exclusive, will be weaved together into an exquisite night-sky ballet by aerobatic performers at Oshkosh again this year.
    Sponsored by Rockwell Collins, the night air show on 28 July - AirVenture's final evening, or "Super Saturday" - is in many respects the apex of the many spectacles taking place at the week-long event.
    Night performers - flying aircraft which will carry specialist lighting equipment or spark generators on the wingtips - include the four T-6 Trojans in the AeroShell Aerobatic Team, Bob Carlton and his jet-powered sailplane, Gene Soucy in his Showcat biplane, Bill Leff in a T-6, and "Wicked Willy" reaching amazing speeds on the runway in his jet dragster.
    All this plus what is billed as a "wall of fire" promise an extravaganza to remember as the Oshkosh curtain comes down.

    soucy airshows
    Soucy Airshows
    Night performers will light up Oshkosh