Confidence

Confidence is a huge thing when flying. You need to have confidence, but not too much confidence that can turn into a hazardous attitude (macho or invulnerability). Every good PIC though needs confidence in his or her flying and decision making abilities.

Lately, at work, I’ve been speaking with new captains who are lacking this confidence. I can understand that. They’re new to being the captain, and there’s a lot more responsibility on their shoulders now. But I can guarantee, like any check ride, they check airman or examiner wouldn’t pass you unless they felt you were ready. While currently, their confidence is lacking, it’ll come with more hands on experience and just being a captain for awhile. I can’t fault them though for calling us looking for guidance and agreement on their decisions. They’re using all their resources like good pilots and I encourage that for anyone.

Most pilots, and I want to say most good pilots, will run into a confidence issue at some point in their training or career. I did before my solo. I began to seriously doubt I’d ever be able to land an airplane. There was a whole bunch of doubt and it began to cloud my progress. It almost became a self-fulfilling prophecy. Only with taking control and an amazing support system was I able to overcome self-doubt and lack of confidence.

If you’re in your training and this feeling is creeping up on you, don’t feel discouraged. There are wonderful groups out there that’ll support you and share their own issues which most likely be similar to yours. Look to your CFI as well. I guarantee they weren’t perfect in their training either.

Currently earning my tailwheel endorsement, I’m beginning to think I’ll never learn to land this plane. It was the same feeling before my solo. I know now though one day it’ll just click. I just have to be patient and work hard for that day.

 

Science Day

Again, life has gotten in the way of my writing, but trust me a LOT has been going on recently! But earlier this month I had an opportunity through my Women in Aviation chapter to volunteer to teach 5th and 6th graders about aviation for their school’s Science Day. I was thrilled to be able to share aviation with the younger generation! I also enjoy teaching adults, so we’ll see how that goes with kids…

There were some setbacks right before the day I was teaching, it came up I had to take a test that day so I could work that night. So I ended up missing out on teaching 3 classes out of 6. Not the best scenario, but I still made it later in the day.

It was during lunch I showed up and quickly set up my room. I taped out a runway on the floor and got colored construction paper ready for the kids to make paper airplanes. I drew an airplane on the board. I found out I’m terrible at drawing airplanes! I went down a grabbed a quick lunch and talked to some other teachers and presenters. They said after the first class it was much easier, so that didn’t help my nerves for this first class!

I ran back upstairs and just beat the kids into the classroom. While waiting for the bell to ring they were seeing who could jump over the runway. I knew this would be a rambunctious group. Overall the first class went well! I taught about the 4 forces that act on an airplane in flight (lift, weight, thrust, drag) and also about the pattern to land an airplane. They made paper airplane – which surprisingly not every kid knew how! I thought that was Kid 101! I had them all land their airplanes saying the leg of the pattern they were on. After that I saved time to talk about flight training and any questions they might have. The first class was bursting full of questions! Even the teacher had a bunch of questions. I was glad for this because the first part of the presentation went by quicker than I thought so I needed to kill more time, but we had questions up until the bell.

The second class went pretty well too! One little kid was telling me all different ways you could make a paper airplane into a cargo airplane and different areas to store cargo. I think he’ll make a great little engineer!

Third class came the struggle, the kids had NO questions. I had to fumble for more information to share with the kids. I covered airspace, probably not the best subject for them to grasp quickly, but I could draw on the board! Of course, in the last 5 minutes is when the questions finally came.

I’m so glad I was offered this opportunity to volunteer and hopefully get some kids into aviation. I hope more come along since I really enjoyed it. It also just solidified as with every dispatch class I teach I can’t wait to be a CFI and teach more!

Does your Women in Aviation chapter or 99’s chapter offer volunteer opportunities like this? What are some of yours?

 

Longest Cross Country (so far!)

I have amazing friends! One of my newest friends is an awesome pilot and so thoughtful and considerate. He recently was ferrying an aircraft from Lexington to the DC area and then another one back to Dayton. I got to tag along and fly a leg for some flight time and instruction from him! Another pilot building time as well tagged along and flew the first leg, while I enjoyed the views from the back for the first time!

photo 2-12It was a rough day and a lot of things went wrong: a late start, forgotten headset, traffic. By the time we were ready to take off from LEX, we were at least an hour behind. It was a nice day for flying, smooth air, good visibility (maybe just a bit of haze) and warming up from the cold we’ve been having lately. It was more cramped in the back seat for almost 3 hours, but I switched back and forth from looking out the window and listening to points about using the constant-pitch propeller.

We enjoyed seeing the world’s largest movable radio telescope in West Virgina! After dropping off the Piper Dakota in Virgina, we picked up a Piper Archer to fly back to Ohio. The avionics were by far the nicest I’ve ever used! A complete glass cockpit. It had two Garmin 450s and  Avidyne were my MFD and FD. It was nice!

photo 1-10I remember learning all about left turning tendency. I thought I felt it, but the 152 and Cub have no where near the horsepower the Archer had and I felt it on take off! It was surprising to say the least. Those 50 hp extra makes a big difference.

Soon I was up to cruising level at 7000f and we turned on the autopilot. Yes, an autopilot finally! I don’t know why I had doubts how well it would work, but it was amazing keeping my altitude and course. After getting our altitude all set up correctly after the mountains, my friend covered the avionics much more thoroughly which took a good hour at least with everything they could do. We took some breaks so I could enjoy the lovely sunset going on, and after we were done I went back to hand flying to get more practice in. We agreed it was better for me rather than be lazy on the autopilot.

photo 3-4I used the instruments more than outside navigation since it was pitch black by that point and I wanted some instrument time as well. The plane had a Flight Director so it was super easy even hand flying.

I’m glad I learned on the 6 pack and without an autopilot for sure and all my time so far has been without those instruments, it has made me a better and more confident pilot, but now I’m enjoying this new challenge. I probably won’t fly with those instruments too often even now, but it was fun to try!

My friends are awesome and I’m glad he offered me this experience and hopefully get to do it again!

Flight Time: 3.3 hours

Night Time: 2.0 hours

Cross country: 300+nm

Women in Aviation

Last week, I was lucky to attend the Women in Aviation Conference in Dallas, TX. It was a great experience and I’m thankful I could attend, even if it was for only a day!

The night before my 6am flight I worked until 10:30pm, plus the area was in the middle of a bad snow storm. My work offers us hotel rooms when it’s bad next to the airport, so I was happy to have that option rather than drive back home with my little manual convertible. Dallas also just received a snow and ice storm that night before I arrived so going from bad to worse, but it all worked out.

When I was there I had three goals set for myself: talk to specific airlines about their dispatch opportunities, talk to companies about ways to improve flight planning or FBO service with my current company, and talk to women about engaging my WAI chapter more. Since I had such clear goals, it was much easier to accomplish them rather than wandering the exhibit floor.

The best part about talking to major airlines there is hearing what their qualifications and hiring looks like for the future. There are a LOT of rumors on the internet, and you know what? Surprisingly (or probably more unsurprisingly) they are not even close to what I heard from the people who do the hiring or work for the company. So don’t trust everything you read on internet forums!

Next, I learned a lot more about Foreflight and the options it has to apply to companies. If I didn’t already love Foreflight, I do now!

Lastly, I spoke with some amazing woman and got TONS of idea to do with my chapter, so I’m hoping to take some suggestions and have a lot more fun things to report doing with my chapter.

I also got to meet some Facebook aviation friends there and a fellow Girls With Wings scholarship winner which was so amazing!

Next year, I’m hoping to attend for more than a day and get to take advantage of the speakers and education sessions! Did anyone else attend the conference or do WOAW?

Citation X

photo-13One of the perks of working for a private jet company is that you get to sometimes fly in the private jets when they are repositioning or going up to fly after been sitting on the ground for a month in maintenance. The other day I got to fly in our Citation X, the fastest civil jet, according to Cessna! The flight was schedule for an hour before my shift at work, and it was totally worth waking up early.

After I had just started I flew in a Lear 60, I’ve been on the Citation Excel a lot because that’s what Jake flies but haven’t actually flown on it, just sitting with it on the ground in the hangar. Citation X is the biggest out of those, but not our biggest jet.

The thing I like most about it over our other Citations is it has a swept wing, the CJs and Excels have straight wings. You can also see the upgrade with each Citation in their deice/anti-ice equipment. 11041770_2838853567895_313106445032105700_nThe CJ has boots (rubber on the wings and tail that expands to crack the ice off) on both the wings and the tail. The Excel has boots on the tail, but anti-ice on the wings (metal that gets hot). The X has anti-ice on both the wings and the tail.

Maybe I could be that type of Cessna Chick one day, I wouldn’t mind that!

The biggest lesson I’ve learned over the past few months, there is much more to aviation than the airline (part 121) world and it’s worth checking it all out. Many pilots and dispatchers focus heavily on Part 121 experience, but Part 135 is an option. People do go to major airlines from the 135 world. It’s not always necessary to sell yourself short to a rough, low paying job at a regional airline. I must admit it’s hard to really believe that because the internet is filled with people saying “you must have airline experience” or you must have one thing or another. Aviation is a pretty fluid industry and the requirements of when someone was hired may not be the same as the next hiring round. Go with what makes your life happy and interesting, instead of what you believe you have to as told by the internet, even if it takes longer to get to your dream job, the journey will be worth it.

Ski Plane!

The other day, I was assuming the 20 degrees high would call off my Cub lesson. I almost forgot about it until Jake reminded me an hour beforehand that I had it scheduled. I called the school and they said they were flying and they moved me to the “bigger” Cub and it was on skis. How could I turn down flying on skis?! I rushed to get ready and headed out to the airport.

photo-12I was so excited to fly on skis! We went over to the Cub and it was pre-heating, though it wasn’t really warm. The engine was cool instead of cold. I learned how in the hangar the Cub sat on snow and sheet metal. We removed the sheet metal and set it on the snow. Within minutes, the skis were stuck to the snow and we had to shake it loose before pushing it out onto the snow. My CFI started out of the taxi, it required almost full power to start moving. When we hit the more icy area the power could be pulled back.

He picked a deeper part of the snow on the runway to take off, told me how you had to feel the tailwheel lift out of the snow before you could even pull up and get it to fly. He also did the first landing. It was more of a soft field landing than we do on just the grass with wheels since during the last 10 feet. It’s a bit tricky to judge the distance with snow. It was my turn next and I first picked the more used part of the runway to get used to the skis. The next one I went into the deeper snow. In the deeper snow, once we touched down it was pull the stick all the way back and dig the tailwheel in to stop since there are no brakes.

My CFI asked if I wanted to head over to the gliderport to do a couple of landings since the snow was deeper over there. Heck yes! It was fun to land where we fly gliders. I imagined it’s practice for when I can fly the tow plane!

My landings were overall a lot better from the last time. Only one landing bounced and my pattern work is getting back in the groove as well, I only had to slip on one landing as well. Maybe skis are a bit easier to handle, we’ll have to see on my next lesson.

While flying in the Alaska bush sounds like a lot of fun, I’m not sure I liked being able to see my breath the entire time!

Work, Fly, Win!

Life has been quite a whirlwind lately. I’ve been working a lot both at my corporate job and also teaching dispatch. I wish I could have taught more this time around, but I tried out my PowerPoint on flight planning and I think it went over pretty well. I’ve made a few adjustments to it and next time should be even smoother.

Got to go up in the Cub again and work on crosswind landings this time. It’s amazing how much left aileron was in, maybe I just felt it more using a stick instead of a yoke. I’m getting the hang of the 3 point landings, hoping to work on some wheel landings soon. Next lesson, we’re going to pavement! Who knew that would excite me? I’m still loving being on a grass field though. Make me feel kind of like a bush pilot. I had to cancel my lesson last week due to the cold, and it’s looking that might happen again on Friday. The Cub doesn’t have great heat (it turns cold air into cool air) and even the last time I was pretty cold, I’m sure I’d end up a popsicle by the end of the lesson.

Other exciting news, I received a Women in Aviation scholarship! I’m very honored and excited to have won it! It ended up being more than expected and it’ll definitely help working my way towards my commercial rating! What I love most about winning a scholarship is connecting with other winners and creating a bond that each person helps the other achieve their goals and pushes them to be better. I found that through my last scholarship with Girls with Wings and can’t wait to meet more Women in Aviation scholarship winners, we had two others in my chapter this year. I hope to bring you news from the WAI conference in Dallas next week!