Wednesday, June 24, 2020

We're back in busness!

After quite a hiatus, You Fly Girl is back posting!

Sorry for the long delay. Please subscribe and check out our blog every day.

Here's a video from YouTube about the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum's postal cachet series from over 40 years ago.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Sad news out of China a couple of weeks ago

Crash kills Yu Xu, 1st woman to fly China's J-10 fighter

One of China's first female fighter pilots and a member of the country's air force aerobatics team was killed in a training accident over the weekend, according to Chinese state-run media.
Capt. Yu Xu, 30, died Saturday during a routine training flight with the aerobatics team, according to the reports.
    The Chinese military did not provide details of the accident in Hebei province, but state-run media, citing military sources and witnesses, said Yu ejected from her aircraft after it collided with another during the training.
    After the ejection, the wing of another plane hit Yu, killing her, according to a report from China Daily.
    Yu's male co-pilot ejected safely and survived, the report said. The other jet also landed safety.
    The flight data recorder, or black box, from Yu's jet was recovered as authorities investigate the accident, China Daily reported.

    Wednesday, June 10, 2015

    Watch newly found footage of Amelia Earhart

    Time Magazine is reporting that new footage of Amelia Earhart has been found.

    It's weird, a photographer took film of her in 1937 - before either her first or second attempt at her round the world flight (there's controversy on which one it was) and kept the reel of film in his closet until he died. It was only when his son was going through his father's things that he decided to take the reel of film home and watch it.

    is the URL to the article where you'll be able to see the footage.

    The film, now named Amelia Earhart’s Last Photo Shoot, will be released in July by the Paragon Agency alongside an 80-page book, written by Nicole Swinford.
    Swindford believes the footage was shot in May 1937, days before Earhart and Noonan set off on their fateful journey.
    But Richard Gillespie, executive director of the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, said the film was likely shot in March, before Earhart’s unsuccessful first attempt.

    This just goes to show that there are treasures in every attic!  

    Saturday, December 6, 2014

    I'm selling up - to save my Spitfire

    I'm selling up - to save my Spitfire: Britain's only practising female Second World War-plane pilot puts £1.25million home on the market to secure her fighter jet: from the Daily Mail:

    As the only practising female Spitfire pilot in the world, Carolyn Grace is much in demand. During the summer months, she spends every weekend taking part in aerobatic displays across the country.
    But looking after her classic fighter plane is an expensive business, so Carolyn has put her six-bedroom home, The Cangle in Halstead, Essex, on the market for £1.25 million to ensure its future is safe.
    ‘The Spitfire costs about £5,000 an hour to fly and we fly it 70 hours a year,’ she explains. ‘The engine overhaul alone costs £120,000 and has to be carried out every four or so years. You have to keep on top of the maintenance. We need to free up funds. It’s about preserving it for the next generation.’
    Saving the plane: Carolyn Grace has put her six-bedroom home, The Cangle in Halstead, Essex, on the market for £1.25 million to ensure the future for her Spitfire fighter aircraft is safe
    Saving the plane: Carolyn Grace has put her six-bedroom home, The Cangle in Halstead, Essex, on the market for £1.25 million to ensure the future for her Spitfire fighter aircraft is safe
    Although more than 20,000 Spitfires were produced shortly before, during and after the Second World War, the ‘Grace Spitfire’ is one of only a handful to survive today. 
    And it is all the more special as it was the first Allied plane to shoot down an enemy aircraft above the Normandy beaches on D-Day.
    Carolyn’s passion for the plane stems from her late husband Nick, who bought the aircraft, which required a full rebuild, from a Scottish museum in 1979. 
    A design engineer and pilot, Nick set about painstakingly restoring it at St Merryn airfield in Cornwall, a process that took more than five years.
    Once the rebuild was finished, the couple moved to West Sussex because the Spitfire needed to be in a more central location to keep down flight times to and from various shows. 
    Highflyer: Carolyn Grace, the world's only female spitfire pilot, standing next to her engine in her workshop
    Highflyer: Carolyn Grace, the world's only female spitfire pilot, standing next to her engine in her workshop
    They found a 100-acre field near Horsham that was perfect, built a workshop/hangar on the site, and also applied for planning permission to build a house.
    But tragedy struck before their dreams could be realised when Nick was killed in a car accident in 1988, just three years after getting the Spitfire airborne again.
    Carolyn moved with the couple’s young children – Olivia, then five, and Richard, then four – to the family’s current home, and also transported the Spitfire to Duxford airfield near Cambridge.
    Although she was already a qualified pilot, she took the intrepid decision to train as a Spitfire pilot, to the shock of many. She is the first woman to have done so since the women of the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) service in the Second World War.
    Although The Cangle has nine acres, that is not a large enough area to keep the Spitfire. However, the property does have an enormous double-height workshop in the grounds, where the aircraft’s engine is currently awaiting an overhaul.
    Although she is from Australia, Carolyn knew this patch of Essex well before she moved there as her aunt and uncle lived locally, while she and Nick were married in 1975 in the nearby village of Great Bardfield.
    Expensive hobby: It cost Mrs Grace about £5,000 an hour to fly her Spitfire, and as she flies it it 70 hours a year, she needs to 'free up funds' (stock image)
     ‘It’s an idyllic spot – we’re less than two miles from Halstead but very secluded because our grounds form a horseshoe around the house, and there’s woodland beyond that.
    ‘I knew as I drove up the lane that I wanted to buy this house. I grew up on a farm so I was brought up on the land – I like the idea of not having neighbours,’ she says.
    The Cangle’s sense of history also appealed. Built in the 1550s, it is packed with original features. An earlier structure on the site was mentioned in the Domesday Book.
    The house itself was in a poor condition when Carolyn and the children moved in, so she set about installing a new kitchen and knocking down old farm buildings.
    Carolyn, 62, spends every weekend from May to September flying at events, including displays at outdoor concerts. ‘You have to fly the Spitfire wholeheartedly,’ she says. ‘The minute you feel you’re not on top of it, you should stop.’
    Selling the house will be a wrench, she admits. ‘We have a lot of memories here. I’ll miss the seclusion and the wildlife – stoats in the garden and ducks that come back to our pond every year. But we have always moved with the Spitfire. It has been the priority from the time Nick first brought it home. It is good to know we are continuing to base our lives around ensuring its future.’


    Tuesday, October 28, 2014

    A 13-year-old Top Gun


    WINCHESTER — Last August, Mariah Stebbins spent a week flying an F/A-18 Hornet military fighter jet. She withstood powerful G-forces in a centrifuge, and was crowned Top Gun — last man standing — in a fierce aerial dog-fight contest.
    It’s all part of her training as a future U.S. Air Force pilot. But for now, her military career is on hold. At 13, she isn’t even in high school yet.
    “But, after that, I really want to join,” she said.
    Stebbins, who lives in Winchester, did it all at a week-long Aviation Challenge camp at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala. An affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, it’s the official NASA Visitor Information Center for the renowned Marshall Space Flight Center.
    The hands-on, educational program is designed specifically for young people interested in military aviation, and is structured military-style. Mariah was one of only three girls among the nearly 50 participants in her group. She wore a military battle dress uniform, slept in a same-sex barracks resembling a military bay on a space station, and dined in a mess hall while there.
    Every day, she worked with a 15-member team. Besides flying a state-of-the-art simulated combat fighter jet, she trained intensively in simulated emergency helicopter crashes and zip-lined into a lake for simulated parachute water landings. She practiced land and water survival skills, and undertook a Navy SEALS special operations search-and-rescue mission.
    “I really liked the survival training, and to be able to be in all the different simulators,” she said. “Right before graduation, we did a mission at night. We had to do an army crawl through the woods without being caught.”
    Now in 8th grade, she’s a straight-A student at the Winchester School, where she plays on the soccer team. Her father and stepmother, Mike and Angela Stebbins, own a used car sales and service dealership adjacent to the family home, which Mike built. They’re also a military family.
    For more than a dozen years, Angela Stebbins has served with the N.H. Air National Guard, and is assigned to Pease Air National Guard Base in Portsmouth. Until recently, she worked in public relations, writing for the base newspaper and quarterly magazine. After completing an accelerated training program in Texas, she’s now a dental assistant at the base. Like her peers, she’s on duty one weekend per month, and two weeks per year. She plans to continue until she meets the 20-year service requirement for retirement.
    Mariah wants to follow in her footsteps, except as a full-time Air Force combat pilot.
    “She’s seen everything the military has done for our family, and the opportunity it presents for her down the road,” said Angela Stebbins. “She has what it takes.”
    A military career requires attention to detail and determination,” she said. “When Mariah puts her mind to something she doesn’t give up, she doesn’t quit. She’s very reliable and trustworthy, and shows excellence in all that she does. And, she has a passion for flying.”
    Mariah may have her stepmother’s proclivity for the military, but it was her father who inspired her love of flying, by chance. Several years ago, she rode along with him wide-eyed when he took an introductory flying lesson at Dillant-Hopkins Airport. He’s since taken one or two more. Not long after, her older brother Dylan, who now lives in Massachusetts, applied to the aviation camp program, but soon backed out.
    She wanted to go in his place, but was only in 4th grade. Too young, she had to wait. A year later, she attended a basic level session, and returned in August 2014 for the more intensive mid-level program, where she won “Top Gun” above all participants.
    To cover expenses, she applied for a scholarship from the Military Child Education Coalition, a global nonprofit group that provides educational opportunities to children in military families. Not only did the group award her a grant to the aviation program, including expenses, it gave her a second scholarship to the center’s robotics camp the following week.
    “It was really different going from aviation to robotics,” she said. “We built and programmed robots and competed in tasks. Robotics was fun, but I liked aviation much more. It was just different.”
    No one’s prouder than her dad.
    “I’m a little jealous,” he joked. “I think it’s great. She really does a lot of things. I can’t imagine when I was her age flying on an airplane by myself to Alabama for a couple of weeks. She loved it.”
    Several months ago, she joined the Monadnock Civil Air Patrol, now faithfully attends weekly meetings, and recently earned her first promotion from cadet to airman. She’s also working towards her private pilot’s license at Dillant-Hopkins Airport. Already, she’s taken a glider flight and has flown a small plane.
    Things just fell into line, says Angela Stebbins.
    “First she discovered her interest in flying,” she said. “Then she got the scholarship to the aviation program. Then the Civil Air Patrol, which had been inactive for a long time, suddenly started up again. It all just came together.
    “We try to balance things as much as we can,” she said. “We want her to enjoy childhood, but we also want to set her up on a good path for the future.”
    But, flying’s not Mariah’s only passion. She’s also a competitive race car driver.
    Every Saturday from April through September, she drives the No. 10 car in the Young Gun division, ages 12 to 15, at Monadnock Speedway. She’s part of the RAD team (Race Against Drugs), a group of young volunteers who promote a healthy drug-free lifestyle for youth through racing, and raise awareness of drug abuse and prevention in the Monadnock Region. RAD is an offshoot of the National Center for Prevention and Research Solutions program in Florida.
    She hasn’t finished in the top three spots yet, but really enjoys the sport, and advocacy work.
    “There are quite a few girls involved,” she said. “I’ll probably do it through high school as much as I can.”
    Mariah starts high school next year. Today, she and her family are touring the Milton Hershey School, a private residential high school in Pennsylvania, founded by the chocolate magnate. Her stepmother thinks she’d love what it offers. Mariah isn’t so sure. She thinks she’d rather stay close to home and family, and go to Keene High School, she says.
    No matter what her choice, Elizabeth Lounder, her homeroom teacher at Winchester School, believes that she’ll excel.
    “Mariah is very mature for her age,” she said. “She’s very quiet and unassuming. If it weren’t for us bragging about what she did last summer, no one would ever know.
    “She never tries to impress anyone. She’s just quietly pursuing what she wants to do,” she said. “She brings a lot of grace and maturity to whatever she does. If this is what she’s doing at this age, I can’t wait to see her future.”
    One thing Mariah’s certain about is returning to the aviation camp in Alabama. She hopes to get another scholarship within a couple of years for the advanced and final program. She wants to be an Air Force pilot.
    About that, she’s absolutely clear.
    “It’s something I already know a lot about,” she said. “It’s what I really want to do.”

    Saturday, October 18, 2014

    Woman with New Hampshire ties to head Air Force in Pacific

    Non - pilot to lead the Air Force


    HONOLULU —President Barack Obama has selected the first female non-pilot to head the U.S. Air Force in the Pacific.

    At a packed ceremony in Hawaii, Lt. Gen. Lori Robinson received the highest rank in the U.S. Air Force -- four-star general.
    Robinson, a graduate of the University of New Hampshire, will replace a veteran pilot who is moving to another post.

    “I realize that there is no other command more important to our nation’s security and defense,” Robinson said.

    Robinson is the second woman in the Air Force to earn the four-star general rank and is the first woman to command combat forces in the Air Force.

    The general she is replacing, Gen. Hawk Carlisle, said Robinson is more than able to fill the new role.
    “She is absolutely capable at everything she does,” Carlisle said. “And as importantly, she is always there for every one of her brothers and sisters in the Air Force.”

    Robinson’s father lives in Jackson, New Hampshire. She entered the Air Force in 1982 through the ROTC program at UNH.

    Robinson said she hopes her early training in the Granite State will help her protect the world.
    “Our international friendships have never been more important than today as we endeavor to safeguard and continue an environment that has fostered prosperity in the region and the world over the past decade,” she said.

    Monday, October 6, 2014

    In her father's flight path: Boom operator discovered air refueling at 15

    From Air Force Times:

    In January 2005, the Repp family boarded a Hawaii-bound KC-135 Stratotanker to escape a bitter-cold winter at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington.
    Aboard that space-available flight, Danielle, the second of three Repp children, climbed up front, put on a headset and watched an air refueling mission for the first time. She was 15.
    Her father, now-retired Chief Master Sgt. Daniel Repp, had spent his entire 30-year career as a boom operator.
    “It kind of clicked — that’s the job for me,” Danielle said of the experience.
    She decided to head to college after high school and major in business. But the memory of the refueling mission lingered. In 2009, Danielle saw her older sister, Taryn, join the Air Force, become a medical technician and get stationed overseas.
    “I was watching all that. I watched her tech school graduation,” Danielle said. “I saw all these opportunities in the Air Force.”
    In 2012, three years after Taryn headed to basic, Danielle decided she, too, would enlist. Her No. 1 career choice: boom operator.
    That she’d joined the Air Force at all surprised her dad. He’d tried not to push his children toward any particular career path. The military, Daniel had told them, was one of many options.
    Now his two eldest children were beginning their Air Force careers just as his ended. Daniel had spent his first two years out of high school working. He joined the service in 1981 because, he said, “I was really looking to be part of something bigger, a greater cause.”
    He went in without a job assignment and no clear idea of what he wanted to do. “While at basic training, they pull you aside and tell you these are the must-fill jobs and hard-to-fill jobs and see who might like to volunteer. I knew nothing about air refueling,” the retired chief said, but he signed up anyway.
    “It was an exciting adventure” that took him to bases in Michigan, Oklahoma, California, New Jersey and Washington, he said. Daniel served as an instructor, squadron and group superintendent and a numbered Air Force evaluator before retiring from Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, in 2011 as Air Mobility Command’s functional manager.
    When Danielle announced she was joining the Air Force, “we talked about all sorts of different jobs” in the service, he said. “I really wanted it to be her decision. I stayed away from trying to bias her. It was her choice. I gave her all the information I could, introduced her to people in various jobs.”
    But Danielle was sure she wanted to refuel planes like her father.
    “He was beyond ecstatic,” she said of her dad’s reaction.
    Today, Danielle, a senior airman, serves as a boom operator with the 351st Air Refueling Squadron at RAF Mildenhall, England. Mindful of how watching the refueling mission at 15 impacted her life, she calls up tanker passengers to get a glimpse of the task as often as she can.
    Father and daughter talk at least twice a week, their conversations often centered around work.
    Being a boom operator “is very different for her in many ways. The mission is very different. What tankers do today is very dynamic. Schedules change rapidly. They’re all over the world doing work,” Daniel said.
    He entered the Air Force during the Cold War when the focus was on nuclear deterrence. “Deterring the bad guys meant tanker and bomber crews sat alert for a week, in a facility adjacent to our loaded aircraft, separated from our families, waiting to launch at a moment’s notice. Every third week was a week on alert,” he wrote in an email.
    “One thing that hasn’t changed is tankers are often in the background. They’re not on the front page,” Daniel said.
    The Repp family’s Air Force story isn’t over yet.
    Jacob Repp, the youngest, heads to basic training in January. He’s been selected to become an airborne linguist.
    “I’m very proud of my girls and my son. I think they are not only doing what they enjoy, but the work has meaning and purpose,” Daniel said. “Sometimes, things work out better than one can hope.”