Daughter of the Air

daughter_mediumIt’s taken me awhile to write about this, but it didn’t take me awhile to read this book. I bought it on our trip to the National Air and Space Museum. Daughter of the Air by Rob Simbeck is about Cornelia Fort who was a WAFS (the original WASPs) and she was also teaching a student in Hawaii on the morning of Pearl Harbor. This woman was amazing! She was also the first female pilot to die in active duty in American history.

I highly recommend this book, like my other favorite book The Powder Puff Derby of 1929, it takes letters and such and writes it in a nice narrative. It’s not dry or overly wordy, it tells her story great.

This woman loved to fly. Once she discovered flying, she flew ALL the time. I wish I could do that. I believe (getting a little forgetful on the exact facts) she started flying about 3 years before joining the WAFS, with her flying hours, I calculated she flew at least one hour a day every day before joining. Obviously it wasn’t that exactly, but that is impressive! I wish I had the resources to do that. I enjoy though reading her journey through flying, always looking for a good opportunity and one that would challenge her and get her to be a better pilot. I think that’s important, that every pilot should always be striving to become a better one in some way.

It was inspiring to see how she accomplished all these things and flying hours, when it was more difficult for women to fly. But reading this you learn not everyone really cared if she was a woman or a man. An example was her first instructor job, they mistook her for a man. She was upset and sent a telegram back that she was Miss Fort, not Mr. Fort. Their response: “Mr. or Miss or Mrs. Fort. We do not care what you are if you can teach flying. Report at once.” What an amazing response!

Cornelia did so much in her life, and she died at 24 years old. Definitely going up there on the female pilot inspirations.

Don’t worry, I still have other books people mentioned on my list “Three Eight Charlie” “West with the Night” (been trying that but the language is a bit too flowery for me), “Fate is the Hunter” and “Flight of Passage” but shockingly some are out of print. Sad, but just trying to order cheap used ones off Amazon when I get the chance.

Dating an Airline Pilot

I’ve noticed my old post “Dating A Pilot” keeps getting hits daily, and is on the first page of Google when you search “dating a pilot,” pretty exciting! That post was truthful, but also in jest of those ridiculous articles about the perks of dating an airline pilot.

There genuinely seems to be plenty of people out there wondering about dating a pilot. I can’t say I wasn’t the same when I first started dating Jake, I may have been one of those people that Googled “dating a pilot” because I just didn’t know what was in store.

Jake and I aren’t married. We’ve been together for a couple years now and living together for most of that (that’s a different story), so I’d like to think I know just a little bit about surviving/thriving in a relationship with an airline pilot. Here’s my more serious take on my last post on the subject.

1. You MUST be independent

This is a mandatory requirement because unless he’s (or she’s!) really senior and can hold just day trips, he’ll be gone for a maximum of 6 days at a time and longer if he is a cargo or corporate pilot. You can’t sit around those days just texting or calling, waiting for the minute he walks in the door. Have your own life, friends, career, etc. It makes time go by much quicker.

2. Take an interest in aviation

I’ve taken this one to an extreme, but that isn’t necessary. I do think it is important to know something about their career, because it is a career of passion, not just a career to make a living. Coming from a career of passion as well, it was really important to me that my significant other took part it in too because it is life consuming. I’ll believe in unicorns if you show me a pilot who doesn’t play with a simulator or goes flying in a single engine plane or watches/reads something aviation on his off days.

3. Don’t blame things on him “being a pilot”

This actually frustrates me the most when I see that excuse, because it’s just not true. Everyone is different and that goes for pilots too. I’ve seen wives blame their husbands for being messy and leaving their suitcase and uniform all over the place after coming home because he’s a pilot. Maybe I found the rare guy who has to obsessively put everything away before I even get a hug, but I don’t think it’s that rare. It’s just an excuse for bad habits or behavior. He’s a normal person too, being a pilot isn’t an excuse. It’s a job.

4. Do be willing to help

While I don’t believe in using being a pilot as an excuse, it can be a rough lifestyle, especially when trying to get normal things done. I try to help out when I can by cleaning or running errands to cut down his time preparing for work at home. I’ve also been asked to look up flights and gates for him, it’s the little things that help. I’ve taken it upon myself to get things fixed for him while he was gone on trips because he just isn’t home at times to do it himself.

5. Be understanding.

Things are going to change, constantly. It doesn’t matter if he’s on reserve (can be called in with 2 hours notice) or a line holder (he has a set schedule for the month). Flights are going to be delayed and cancelled, days will be rolled over (means he’s working on his day off), or they’ll just decide to change his schedule. You just have to roll with it. Your plans will change, or you’ll go to parties alone. Luckily, my friends have met Jake or otherwise they’d think he was imaginary with all the parties I’ve shown up to alone. If your pilot is like mine, he’ll also be picking up trips all the time to earn extra money. So he may just be gone longer than you originally thought. I spent Jake’s time on reserve hardly ever knowing where he was at night. My friends would ask and were surprised by my answer of “no clue.”

8. DO NOT pilot worship

Another thing that frustrates me similar to using being a pilot as an excuse. I’m sure your pilot would enjoy if you worship him, but don’t. I’ve seen it over and over again and it’s beyond annoying. It’s a job. Yes, it’s an unusual lifestyle which then provokes blog posts like this or special websites and Facebook groups for those who are sucked into it, but in the end, it’s his job. A pretty cool one? Yes. He’s your boyfriend or husband first, pilot second. You shouldn’t date someone because they are a pilot, you date them because you like them. Sadly, I’ve seen that get mixed up a lot.

7. BONUS Be ready to network.

This isn’t required, but I think it’s important. Jake and I are both ambitious people, we want to be the best. In the aviation industry, being the best isn’t what is necessarily going to get you to the top, it’s also who you know. He’s a grown man and can network himself, but I want to try to help where I can. I know Jake’s goal major airline and I try to get closer with other girlfriends/wives of pilots at that airline. I talk to other pilots, either by opportunities I’ve found myself or they just approach me (normally because I’m at the airport reading an ATP book), and try to maintain a relationship with them so when Jake needs that important crew member recommendation someone I know can help. Again, this isn’t a requirement, but I want to help him achieve his dream job anyway I can.

 

 

New Look!

I’ve been spending more time on my blog lately – and hopefully will be the rest of the flying season. It’s been over a year since my discovery flight and about a year since I started this blog! I figured it was time for a change, and I was sick of looking at the old theme.

I hope it’s not too much of a shock! Can’t wait to take full advantage of the change and bring you more of my flying/aviation adventures!

First $100 Hamburger

1970378_2453537775241_1099400548_nFINALLY! I got back up in the air yesterday. It was so great and I’ve missed it so much. After a few times of scheduling time with my CFI that didn’t work out due to weather or other circumstances, the weather decided to be nice to me for once. The day before was really windy, the next day forecasted to rain, but a nice calm and sunny day fell exactly when I scheduled the airplane.

I wanted to do a cross country. 1. to finally get my $100 hamburger. 2. To build some cross country time. Everyone in the area talks about going to Sky Acres (K44N) so that was what I planned. It’s an uncontrolled airport in a hilly area. It’s a bit past my first solo cross country, Duchess County (KPOU) so I have flown that area before.

Jake and I did my usual way of getting to the airport but hopped a cab once at the train station, still too cold to walk. I pre-flighted the plane and got it all ready while waiting for my CFI. He came in with a student in the school’s new Bonanza! It looks so cool, and had club seating (the seats face each other). DSC_9618My CFI is a wonderful guy and said since Jake is also a CFI he’d be fine if Jake just took me up. I said no because Jake hasn’t really flown a single engine in awhile and I don’t trust his landings, and he also had eye surgery two days ago – while he’s completely fine and it doesn’t effect his medical in anyway – I want to be safe.  So we went up and did three landings to get me current again. First one: great! I was actually surprised. It didn’t seem I hadn’t flown in over four months. Second one: Well, this was a go around due to jet traffic, but I aced my go around. Actual second landing: Eh, it was okay, safe and all but I had just done a better one. Third one: We did a short approach to get done faster. It messed me up slightly. I was too fast and too high and didn’t hold the plane off long enough. We bounced. Oops. We agreed to lie to Jake and say all my landings were good. Soon Jake and I were off to Sky Acres!

DSC_9638When we reached Northport stacks NY Approach wasn’t answering on 118.0, I had that happen before. This was also my first flight using ForeFlight. I tried all the frequencies on that and it didn’t seem to work. Jake called up Tower to get their suggestion for a frequency. He asked why I’ve never done that before, or even get flight following on the ground. I didn’t know it was an option. Maybe FRG is too busy for that?

DSC_9650My cross country skills were rusty on the way there. Jake was also being tough on me, which I did say was allowed after our first flight together. He made sure my VOR tracking was good and pilotage off ForeFlight charts was good too.

I cancelled flight following and we were both pretty sure we saw the airport, it was just a bit weird looking because it looked like the runway was outlined in white. Turns out that was just snow! I hate that there is still snow in late March.

DSC_9658I brought it in to land. I was a bit tentative at first because there were hills surround the airport and it threw me off. Jake coached me a bit and told me not to worry but focus on the runway. Pretty good landing! It was nice and soft. Jake was surprised (he always seems surprised that my landings are good).

The crazy thing about Sky Acres is that it is also on a hill, so I had to put a lot of power into taxiing uphill. It was pretty steep, but we found Tail Winds restaurant and parked the 152.

I, of course, ordered a hamburger. I forgot my cell phone in the airplane and ran out to get it. When I came back a big table of people asked if I flew that plane. I answered yes. They were all excited and said how cool that was and asked if it was “all by myself”. I said yes and thanks and then went back to my table. It struck me as odd to be all surprised by that….it is an airport restaurant.

DSC_9668We headed back after a pretty good burger. The rust having been knocked off, it was much easier on the way back. I tracked the Carmel VOR there, and switched radials over the VOR (which I could see) and then once I saw the Northport stacks it was a piece of cake. The winds had picked up, I had to account for some crosswind in my tracking, which wasn’t the case on the way there. Jake worked the radios partly on the way back, he told me how to listen to the controller’s response to learn that he isn’t really paying attention to us so we need to be extra careful. He also kept almost saying “Acey” with the tail number because he’s so used to it at work. I told him all the JetBlue pilots were making fun of him.

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I’m not sure about why I look concerned.

It was a straight in landing. The winds were gusting now, but they were mostly down the runway. Jake criticizes that I always land at the start of the runway, especially on really long runways. It was just the way I was taught, which will come in handy for short runways. But he wanted me to land further down the runway this time. I landed further but it didn’t work out so well for a nice landing. He asked if it was his fault it was a bad landing, I said yes to make him feel bad.

Overall, it was a fun trip and realized how much I missed flying and need to get up more often. I’m still a bit rusty when talking to ATC, I just need to do it more often and doing more XCs would be the answer. I told Jake now I have 10.8 hours of PIC XCs and he shot back he has 1000 hours of PIC XCs, whatever man.

Trip to DCA

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Plane watching at DCA

Last week, Jake and I went to Washington, DC. (No sadly we didn’t fly ourselves, the DC special flight rules are a bit intimidating I think) He’s on vacation and I’m transitioning from my winter job to something temporary while I study for ADX stuff, so we took the chance for a mini-vacation.
It was going to be a quick two day trip that Jake planned to the minute, but we ran into trouble. The Lincoln Tunnel was closed due to an accident during morning rush hour. A 40 minute bus ride turned into a 2.5 hour one. This was one of the few times I’m so grateful to be flying standby. I listed us on the next flight to DCA at 1:15pm, which did lose us most of the day, so I also used an app and booked us another night at a different hotel to extend our stay. Others weren’t so lucky. Lots of people going on beach vacations had to wait until the next day to get out, bummer.
photo 1-1The first night we ended up just going to dinner and walking around an expensive area. I pointed out all the mansions I want Jake to buy me – if only!
The next morning we started out early, we had to switch hotels and then find food which turned out difficult. We bought a 24-hour membership to Capitol Bike Share and got some bikes for Jake to give me a riding tour of DC. It was my first time riding a bike on city streets and that was rough. I was nervous and we ended up trying to do a left turn down a busy street, which didn’t make me happy. It was also incredibly windy, we road across the Potomac and  at times I barely moved due to the headwind, on the way back we had a tailwind and I barely pedaled. Jake surprised me and we biked out to DCA to watch planes take off. They weren’t landing on the runway Jake wanted them to be, but it was still pretty awesome.
photo 2We returned our bikes after our 8 mile ride and went into the Museum of Natural History. We saw the Hope Diamond and walked through the entire museum. Next up was eating at the American Indian Museum and then walking all the monuments. Sadly, it was swarmed with middle schoolers on class trips. It made the experience not so enjoyable because they were loud and annoying. At the end of the night, we ended up walking 20 miles.
photo 5Next day is what I was looking forward to the entire trip! The National Air and Space Museum!!  We got there 20 minutes before it opened, but weren’t the first ones inside. Jake started spouting out all his knowledge right away. We got to the first plane that flew around the world when an older gentleman at the information desk called me over. He wanted to make sure Jake was telling me the right information. He did fix some of the information and told us about a tour they give every hour. I told Jake that all the old guys who volunteer there must be the best and I really want to befriend them.

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WASP wings

We went through the “air” section and saw Amelia Earhart’s Vega, the Wright’s first flyer, a Spitfire, a P-51, X-15, and many more! It was amazing to see all this aviation history. I got to see some WASP history too, their wings and uniforms.
In the afternoon, it was “space” time! Lots photo 3of it was covering the differences between the Russian and American space programs. It was interesting to see the different approaches each country took in designing for space. I didn’t enjoy the space side as much as the air side. The last exhibit was “How Things Fly” I told Jake I didn’t want to do it – we were approaching 5 miles of walking for the day and my feet were sore from the day before. I told him I know how things fly – thrust, lift, drag , whatever. We still went in, you know some of those exhibits would have made understanding some aerodynamic principles easier earlier in my training! Maybe all flight schools should have that. It was a great trip, I highly suggest going to the museum if you ever can. I can’t wait until we fly into Dulles and we can see the one out there!

Flying blog post to come soon! Just went up today! Yay!

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The Wright Flyer

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Spitfire

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P-51

Status Update

My crazy job is coming to a close. I’m sad it’s over because I love my co-workers and bosses, but glad to finally be getting some free time soon. And you know I’ll be flying again since spring is right around the corner, which hopefully means nicer weather.

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Standing by the ice before the game.

I’ve been working outside these past few months – or well, partly outside but not as much as the guys – and I am SO OVER snow! If you watch hockey, you could see what I was dealing with on the outdoor game in Chicago. I spent the game cleaning off snow from pathways every commercial break. It ended up being very fun because the only other girl on the team and I started competing against one another.

Now I’m gearing up to begin studying for my dispatcher license. I’ve already dipped into the Gleim book to take the ADX, it’s basically the ATP with a few extra questions related to dispatchers. Oh my! There is a LOT about aerodynamics I had no idea about. I thought it would stay mostly the same, but it gets quite complex. It’s a THICK book, but I’m hoping to hanker down and finish the written exam by end of April.

For my flying, oh there are so many things I want to do, if only I had unlimited money! I am definitely planning to go up with my CFI and review landings after such a long break. Maybe throw some spins in there too? Hopefully. My school just got a Piper Arrow and now a complex endorsement seems to be calling my name. And then of course, instrument rating. I still want it, and found a place in Texas that I could get most of my XC time there plus the rating in about $5000. There is also a seaplane rating too. Too many options! Again, always having to remind myself life is a marathon, not a sprint.

I hope to share more aviation news with you all shortly. I’m also planning on writing a sequel to some of my more popular posts – surprisingly A LOT of people what to know about dating a pilot. Until then, blue skies!

The Powder Puff Derby of 1929

I’ve been working insane hours lately – waking up at 5am, spending an hour on the subway and starting work at 7am, getting off anytime between 5pm-7pm, taking the subway back an hour, and going to bed by 9pm or 10pm. Not much else to do but work, eat, and sleep. But for the past week I’ve had off while people pay $10,000 plus an hour to skate at Yankee Stadium. The first part of the week I went to Las Vegas with one of my best friends to belatedly celebrate my birthday. We both are dating pilots at the same airline so got to enjoy traveling with someone who knows the pains of flying non-rev. We constantly have to remind ourselves: we’re lucky to fly for free, even if all the flights are oversold. I came out to where she lives a day early because the flights from EWR to LAS weren’t looking good for me the next day. Upside to that, I got my birthday presents!

My two best friends are great and the only people who got my straight up flying gifts either for my birthday or Christmas. My best friend from college bought me an ornament for Christmas with my name and the plane I learned to fly in pained on it – the exact colors, but wrong N number – it was so cool. For my birthday, I got TWO great books.

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I, of course, started reading The Powder Puff Derby of 1929 that night, on the airplane, and spare moments I had during vacation. It’s a GREAT book and I highly recommend it. It’s non-fiction, but written more like a cohesive story. It follows the race day by day and all the extreme events that happened. It’s amazing what these women went through and still finished the race.

I have to admit, I’ve been quite bad about learning about other female aviators besides Amelia Earhart. This book had Amelia Earhart, but told me so much more about nineteen other women pilots of the day. It covered Louise Thaden a lot, and I love her now. There are so many other greats though: Pancho Barnes, Marvel Crosson, Blanche Noyes, Ruth Elder, etc. It’s well worth the read to learn about these courageous women.

Not only women aviators are mentioned but Will Rogers plays a big role, you see Howard Hughes before he flew. It’s amazing how all these people knew each other, it must have been an amazing time to live in.

I told Jake, in 2029 I want to fly the race they did. I would hope The Air Race Classic would make the course the same that year. He told me we can’t even plan next week, how can I plan something 15 years away? That is just a stipulation!

photo 2-2The other book my friend gave me will probably be a sit down every few days and read about one female aviator at a time. She wrote an amazing message on the inside cover. I hope I can live up to her expectations of me. In the back of The Powder Puff Derby book, the author did cover a lot of other female pilots. Patty Wagstaff and Martha King were in there! I actually didn’t know a Patty Wagstaff plane was already in the Smithsonian, that’s so cool. And Martha King is the only woman to have every pilot and instructor rating.

Thanks everyone for more suggestions to read on my last post. Keep them coming! I have a lot of commute time to read.