From Aerotech News: Plane Crazy Salutes Women Pilots
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.
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
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.