Believe it or not, I have never sat nor flown in the right seat of a Cessna. That's any model. I thought that was pretty funny. Well there's a first time for everything and was because of my new friend, Joe. Joe needed to get some approaches in and is going to be my instructor for my IPC and BFR so it was a great time for us to get to know each other and take my company Cessna up. It was extremely gusty, but surprisingly smooth at altitude. We did three approaches (a great refresher for me) and a quick buzz over my house to wave at Bob before it was time to come in and land. At the end I told Joe he passed as my new CFI. Funny, this will be the second Joe I have had as an instructor. I guess with how many I've had, it's about time for some duplicates!
Saturday, May 25, 2013
Friday, May 24, 2013
Occasionally, Bob and I crew for the hot air balloons of Tailwinds Over Frederick. We missed a lot of fun last weekend while we were away in Atlanta. There is now a new mini balloon that we have not crewed for yet! Nope, you can't ride in it, it's all for remote control fun! Check out their video debut in the Baltimore Sun here!
Thursday, May 23, 2013
In my two part blog post about Leaning In in Aviation I had mentioned that a reader, Colin, suggested I submit my story to LeanIn.org. If you haven't read these posts yet, please do. I am usually not very self promoting when it comes to what I write, however I found those posts very important. I talk about a lot of work promoting aviation to women on here and I think the posts explain why it's needed in the aviation industry and other male dominated fields.
I hope my story resonates with some as others on the website have for me. I hope it inspires other women to Lean In and reach their full potential in the working world.
The tagline on my story is: "A pilot finds that helping other women take off is better than flying herself." Do you think that is possible? Read on and let my story convince you!
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
If you read my blog regularly, you know I can never resist a good $100 Hamburger, I keep a running list and am always looking for an airport with food nearby. You would never know I have a sensitive stomach! Like many others, I utilize websites such as FunPlacestoFly.com and AdventurePilot.com to help me out with my planning. But, have you ever thought about having a TV show help you pick out that next lunch stop? Air Fare America is exactly that and more.
I have had the pleasure of learning more about Air Fare America while joining them on some video shoots and talking about what aviation means to me. I am really looking forward to the show because I believe it will capture the attention of a wide audience, not just the pilots. Three hosts will take you through a new airport in each episode, the foodie, the passionate pilot and the one who can't resist a good antique find. They will fly in to sample the local tastes at the airport restaurant, then explore the unique finds in hangars old in new. It's Anthony Bourdain meets American Pickers!
I wish great success for Air Fare America as it will boost the image of general aviation we are in need of in media today. It will also help generate business at airports we have grown to love and open our eyes up to new ones to add to that ever growing flying to do list! Need help with that list? Air Fare will have an interactive map on their website so you know what is along your route!
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Ah what a little gem! It's $100 Hamburgers like these that make me feel sorry for non-pilots who may not get to know these little places and amazing people. After leaving from our weekend birthday trip to Atlanta, we did an instrument approach into this friendly airport for food and gas.
A reliever airport for Asheville, NC, Rutherford County Airport's (KFQD) runway sits just beyond a mountain range. After our
The FBO was clean and quiet. When you first walk in the entrance there is white writing of the names of everyone who has visited on the walls. If you are new to the airport and sign the wall, you get 10% off your fuel purchase! There is no self serve fuel, it's by truck only and it's 20 cents cheaper if you pay by cash. The lineman who helped us out was really friendly and fun to talk to. On a table of the FBO was a children's book called What's a Piper Cub which I wish we had more time to flip through. It seemed really cute and was written by a local pilot.
The 57 Alpha Cafe stands just back from the FBO and is very quaint. The owner was a joy to talk to and the only person running the cafe. Menu choices included burgers, sandwiches and Mexican dishes. He said his specialty was Mexican, so we both opted for dishes from that menu. Everything tasted delicious and fresh. I had read on AirNav reviews and a Yelp review about the banana pudding. I could not pass such a dessert up. I think Bob and I argued over the last spoonful, actually, I may have growled at him and taken it all for myself. It was that good.
Be sure to check out all the neat pictures on the walls and try to make it there on a Saturday when the owners band plays. He really does it all! I would love to see this airport on a beautiful VFR weekend day.
Monday, May 20, 2013
|Cherokee County Airport|
|100' Tunnel in GA Aquarium|
|Outside CNN HQ|
If you are ever in the Atlanta area, I highly recommend visiting the aquarium. The Coca-Cola museum is nearby, as well as Centennial Park which had a concert going on at the time. We sat by the fountains and enjoyed the concert from a distance for free. We also went into the CNN building for a quick drink and look around.
It was storming when we headed to the airport to go home. A Cessna 414 was also there waiting for the worst of the storm to pass and departed just before us when there was a gap in the cells. We took off and once to 7,000 feet were above the clouds and it felt like we had entered a whole new sunny world. We took advantage of that time to take fun pictures with Lollipop, the GA Aquarium mascot we had purchased.
|Heart Cloud at 9,000'|
|Our New Penguin Friend|
We received instructions to go direct EMI then the instrument approach to Frederick. Unfortunately this involves going past Frederick, go 20 miles out and then back in again. Luckily, we were able to find a hole in the clouds and cancel IFR and spiral down to land. A pilot friend watched us to this from the ground and said he got a bit dizzy watching us! We had just an hour to get Turbo before the kennel closed and got the airplane unpacked and tucked in in record time. We were exhausted and all smiles. So was Turbo when he saw us!
Sunday, May 19, 2013
It was my birthday Friday (the big 2-8!), one that I shared with my aunt who had left the world too early recently. It felt somber, but luckily Bob and I decided it was a weekend that we should celebrate with flight and music. We had concert tickets and other fun plans in Atlanta and along the flight path were some opportunities to add another $100 Hamburger to the list.
Shelby-Cleveland County Airport (KEHO) in Shelby, NC was just 20nm off our route and 320nm SW of Frederick. We made it there in about two hours time, ready to eat! We quickly topped of the fuel tank (reasonable at $5.45 a gallon) and went inside to ask about the restaurant. The facilities were great and the gentleman at the FBO couldn't have been nicer. It would be a quick 1/2 mile walk to the restaurant, but he offered the crew car for us. It was a nice and clean Impala and we were sitting down for lunch at The Flying Pig in no time.
Bob is very particular when it comes to his BBQ so when he suggested it get 4 stars on Yelp, you know he thinks it's good. I did, too! It was a fun friendly little place and I loved the flying pig logo and the little pigs they had where you pay when you are all finished.
With full bellies, we headed back to the airport to continue our journey to Atlanta with a new $100 hamburger and probably a few extra pounds under our belts!
Friday, May 17, 2013
My previous post Leaning In in Aviation Part 1, introduced readers to a book I recently devoured, Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. Through my work with Women Of Aviation Worldwide and the thoughts compiled throughout Lean In, I felt compelled to share my thoughts here.
Becoming More Female Friendly
I don't have any answers. Lean In doesn't claim to either, just suggestions and observances. It will take the work and cooperation of both males and females to make a drastic change. It's funny how often I now notice in certain professions how few women there are. My husband sent me a photo of a conference he was doing a live feed for. Everyone was looking goofy wearing 3D glasses, but that wasn't the first thing that caught my attention-I didn't see any women. It was a room full of surgeons. My husband explained that there were maybe three women out of almost 200 in attendance. I wonder if those women felt welcome? I wonder if the low presence of females made those few women feel anxious or afraid?
The Solution to More Women...is More Women!
We need more women in leadership roles to provide an example, encouragement and mentorship to women entering the workforce. Unfortunately, many of those roles today are filled by men. We cannot do it alone, we need help and support from our male counterparts. Over 20 men volunteer at my Women Fly it Forward event each year and my male boss has become one of my biggest allies in the cause. The Board of Directors for Women Of Aviation is 50% male and the India Women Of Aviation Week team leader is a man as well. We should applaud these men for providing an example to others in the work force. They are not weak for doing this, they are strong. They are showing that it is OK to reach out to women and in turn it shows the women that yes, we do belong. Hopefully more men in leadership roles will start following in their example.
What would you do if you weren't afraid?
Sheryl Sandberg posed this question at a graduation commencement. There are many things people would do if they were not fearful, such as skydiving or swimming with sharks or spending the night in a graveyard. This isn't the type of fear she was alluding to. She's talking about the fear that holds us back from achieving great potential. This fear can be extremely crippling and cause women to hold themselves back in the industry.
As women, we generally look to be liked and keep the peace. Out in the working world, that may not always happen. Attempting to blend in with coworkers and not taking risks or promotions is a common occurrence all to keep that "like" in balance.
Another common fear is the word "no". Something that has always helped me get through the "no's" in life was to understand that "no" is not to you as a person, it is just to the opportunity at that specific time. In her book, The World at My Feet, Meryl Getline was headed for the airlines and wanted to take advantage of a great flying opportunity that required a specific visa. She, along with many male pilots were denied this visa. But she decided to call the issuing office one more time and asked again. They gave her the visa. She later asked why they changed their mind just for her. The answer? She was the only person who had called back again. She wasn't afraid to hear another no.
In fact, there is no need to be afraid if we just change the way we think and act as a society: erasing the stereotypes of the female role. It starts with understanding. Understanding that we no longer live in an era where women stay home and care for the house and the kids. We have a choice now as to if that's the life we want to lead.
I got a phone call once at work, a very easy policy to handle for a pilot that I out-ranked. He did not want to talk to me because I was a woman. He asked to speak to man. I have also been told that women "don't want to waste their hottest years at FBOs". Understand that these comments come from men that believe in stereotypes and understand that they are not the mentors and support you are looking for. Shake your head and move on.
It takes active decision to help erase these stereotypes. I've actually kicked myself on several occasions at work. When a pilot wants to add another to their aircraft policy, we need that other pilot's flight times and ratings. I've often caught myself asking what "his" total time is. This is not because I think all pilots are male, it's because most are and I have given in to that. Now, I always try to ask what "their" total time is. A simple way of adjusting the way you speak is a small step towards that change. Eventually, that spoken word will change your thoughts and in turn, the words and thoughts of those around you.
All we can do is continue on our journey, as change will not happen over night. Inspire to be the best woman or man you can be, tearing down barriers and opening doors for all people to be treated as equals.
To learn more about the Lean In community or to purchase the book Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, please visit www.LeanIn.org. For more on my work with Women Of Aviation Worldwide, please visit www.WomenOfAviationWeek.org and www.iWOAW.org.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
When I was very young, I used to tell my friends that I did not like the color pink. That was a lie. I love pink and I look really good in it, if you don't mind my saying so. I told this lie because girls were "supposed" to like pink and I didn't want to be just any ordinary girl. I guess that's why I ended up working in an industry where only 6% are women. Girls liking pink is just one of the many stereotypes we grow up with. Others stereotypes, I've learned throughout the past few years are that women are not interested in working or participating in aviation. I am the US Team Leader, and event organizer, and director for Women Of Aviation Worldwide. Through this volunteer work, I have witnessed these stereotypes first hand and know that they can be combated.
When Women Of Aviation Week, an week long celebration introducing girls and women to aviation, was approaching my inbox was flooded with emails and conversations about that topic. That's when my loyal blog reader, Colin, contacted me. His email came through when hundreds of others were, all about the topic of women getting involved in aviation. His, however, was recommending that I submit my aviation story to a website called LeanIn.org.
"No more writing!" I shouted in my head.
A quick thank you to Colin, requesting him to send me a reminder after Women Of Aviation Week is how I actually replied. True to his promise, Colin wrote a week after. I happened to be on vacation and unfortunately his email sat there, awaiting me to discover a great site for a week longer.
Finally, one day while on break at work I decided to explore it and completely understood why Colin had reached out to me. Regretting not looking into this earlier, I loved what I saw, I wanted to contribute and I was soon awaiting the Lean In book to arrive in the mailbox.
Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, did a TEDTalk in 2010 about how women are held back in the workforce and how we tend to hold ourselves back as well. The reaction from this talk moved her to write the book Lean In: "Women, Work and the Will to Lead".
My Leaning Experience
When I first hosted Women Fly it Forward an event introducing girls and women to aviation in Frederick, MD people saw me as a feminist, and I did not like that. In Lean In, Sheryl explains that she hated that word, too. But now, we both are happy to be identified as feminists. I did not set out to be feminist and I wasn't aware of how behind women were in the world compared to our male counterparts until I started this journey. When I decided to participate in Women Of Aviation Week by hosting Women Fly it Forward it was just for fun because I enjoy organizing events. But now, it is a lot closer to my heart. Many women didn't know that an aviation career was a possibility for them, many did not know they were welcome. Through reading Lean In, it further substantiated the need for the efforts of organizations such as Women Of Aviation Worldwide and how it will take every one of us to make a real change.
The title of Lean In comes from the encouragement for more women to lean in, volunteer, and speak up in the workplace when sometimes we may feel (due to society standards) that we should lean back and let the opportunity pass us by. Several moments when I have leaned in and leaned back in my aviation career come to mind:
1. Giving in to old fashioned gender roles: Men more inclined to mechanical things. An airplane is a mechanical thing. I cannot tell you how many times I've sat around male pilots and did not speak up during a technical discussion. I was not only afraid I may say something stupid, but that I may be wrong and mocked. But I went through the same training that they have, maybe more. So if I do speak up and I am wrong, it is an opportunity to learn.
2. In Lean In, Sheryl discusses a study that shows how men credit their success to themselves and boast of their greatness. Whereas women often contribute to outside forces, for example help from friends. Or they believe that they just worked hard and got lucky. I have found that over the years when people exclaim at how amazing it is that I am a pilot, I tend to brush it off. My husband, I know, loves to share this fact, both about him and myself. I don't have to be so modest about this accomplishment, especially when trying to sell myself for a employment position. I did not become a pilot because of luck. I came because I have ambition (which is not a bad thing) and I worked towards my goal, ignoring the obstacles.
1. When I moved to Maryland, I decided not to say no to any aviation opportunitiy. Well, now that has gotten me into trouble with so many yeses. But - it got me involved and opened opportunities to show others in my industry that I am capable. I did not know if selling aviation insurance would be right for me. My insurance background included just eight months on the adjusting side of things. But with persistence and honesty with my coworkers, I am on the road to a great career path. I also have had several job offers since.
2. Sheryl encourages readers of Lean In to "sit at the table" versus sitting alone, away from executives thinking you do not have anything to contribute or that they don't care. Working for an aviation insurance broker, we have many underwriters come to visit. Early on, I did not think I would have any way to participate. However, my employer always invited and encouraged me to join in on these meetings. In doing so, I expanded my knowledge and grew in my new career. I showed my employer and these underwriters the working relationships I was able to build. A majority of women are employed by men, I hope that these men invite their women employees to the table and that they in turn say yes. I have seen the benefits.
When are some moments you regret leaning back? What would you have liked to do differently?
When was a time that you were glad you leaned in?
I invite you to think over and discuss these questions with others today. Tomorrow, I invite you to read part 2 of Leaning In in Aviation.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Today’s show marks the triumphant return of our beloved and sassy Victoria Zajko as she fills us in on all the exciting news from her absence including the amazing statistics from 2013′s Women of Aviation Week Worldwide events. Rick’s recent flight with a CFI conducting simulated engine out procedures invokes an interesting conversation about pitching down when it may seem completely counterintuitive. And Carl wraps it up with a story and explanation about his first autolanding in the Airbus A320 on an ILS during 1,400 RVR. All that and more coming up right now!