Sunday, December 30, 2012

Aviation Expert Laments Dearth Of Qualified Pilots In Nigeria

From the Guardian:  Aviation Expert Laments Dearth Of Qualified Pilots In Nigeria 

THE first Nigerian female pilot and Rector of the Nigeria College of Aviation Technology, Zaria, Captain Chinyere Kalu, has expressed disappointment at the dearth of qualified pilots in Nigeria, saying it threatens the future and growth of the aviation industry.
Speaking on Friday at the Women in Science and Technology (WISE) mentorship programme at the African University of Science and Technology (AUST), Abuja, Kalu said the significant gap created when embargo was placed on employment in the aviation sector did not augur well with the sector, as younger pilots who would have fitted into the transition after the retirement of aged pilots were not there.
“Nigeria does not have enough pilots. Most of the pilots in Nigeria are aged and the embargo on employment in rhe aviation sector for seven years created a lot of gap; there are no sufficient younger pilots to replace them,” she said.
Kalu said that ensuring safety in the aviation sector is a process and not a destination, noting that with the reforms by the Minister of Aviation to ensure that no “flying casket” is operating in Nigeria, sanity would be restored in the sector.

 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Aviation watches for women

This is from General Aviation News:  The time of her life

Type “women’s pilot watch” into an Internet search engine. Chances are high that the first — and possibly only — company name that pops up will be The Abingdon Co. And that’s just fine with 28-year-old Chelsea Abingdon Welch, the company’s founder.
    Welch3“I knew from about the age of 14 that I wanted a career in aviation,” Welch recalled, but admits that she didn’t plan to go into manufacturing timepieces for pilots.
According to Welch, the idea for the company got its start in 2006 when she was pursuing her private pilot ticket and discovered that no one made aviator watches sized or styled for women.
“You could buy a man’s watch, but it was bulky and black or brown, and you know a MAN’S watch,” she said.
Welch reasoned she wasn’t the only woman pilot who wanted the functionality an aviator watch that didn’t feel like a boat anchor on her wrist.
“A bunch of women got together and we did the first two designs, which were the Jackie model and the Amelia model,” she recalled, noting that they felt it only fitting to name the first two models after Jackie Cochrane and Amelia Earhart, two of the most famous female aviators. “The watches have Zulu time on them, a stop watch, and an E-6B slide rule — everything you need to make calculations in the cockpit.”
TheAbingdonCoJackieSunsetPinkAbingdon watches are finished with mother-of-pearl faces, crystals and diamonds and pastel colors. The watchbands are available in silver metal or black or white leather.
“As you can see, they are all sorts of brightness in addition to functionality,” Welch said, proudly displaying the two watches she wears, one on each wrist. “The faces are pink, or blue and green and all sorts of brightness.”
Welch’s flying career began at the same time her manufacturing career did, just after college and a stint in the Peace Corps.
“In 2006 I walked onto Santa Monica Airport to interview each of the schools. I had no job and little money. The questions I asked each of the five flight schools were, ‘Can you teach me how to fly quickly? Do you have any jobs available? And will you pay for my flight training?’ To my surprise, one school said yes to all three questions and I began a paid internship there that involved trading work for flight lessons. One year later, I left with a commercial rating and 230 hours of flight time.”
While most who desire careers in aviation become flight instructors to build experience, Welch built her hours by working as a demo pilot for Cirrus Aircraft.
“The Cirrus dealership was right next door to the flight school,” she said. “Cirrus hired me right after I passed my commercial checkride.”
For the next year or so Welch traveled around the country, showing Cirrus SR20s and SR22s to perspective clients and representing the company at various airshows and fly-ins.
The Abingdon Co. was a sideline, something Welch worked on in her spare time.
“I always kept the two separate,” she recalled. “In fact, most of the people at Cirrus never knew about The Abingdon Co. If I went to a trade show for Cirrus, then I was dedicated to Cirrus. It didn’t seem fair to try to market my company when I was on the dime of another. Only in my spare time did I work to grow The Abingdon Co.”
TheAbingdonCoAmeliaCloudWhiteSoon the watch company began to take more of her time, although she still made time to ferry airplanes around the country to aviation events, while working on getting her flight instructor certificate. The CFI ticket — and a chance encounter at last year’s AirVenture with the cast of the cable television show “Flying Wild Alaska” — opened another door for Welch. The reality television show focuses on the lives of the Tweto family and their family-run airline, Era Alaska, which services the remote Alaskan wilderness.
“I honestly didn’t have a TV so I had never seen the show,” Welch said. “I asked one of the characters, Ariel Tweto, what they flew. She said ‘oh a bunch of Cessnas. Caravans and 207s.’ I said ‘Carvans! that’s my favorite airplane!’ I told her that my idea of a good time was to get a Caravan and put it on floats and pack it full of beer and friends and disappear into a lake in Canada for a couple of weeks. She said ‘great, I need your number.’ We ended up becoming good friends.”
At the time Tweto was going to college in Southern California where Welch was living. Tweto was also working on her private pilot ticket, so she hired Welch for instruction.
“She hadn’t flown in a few months so we went up for a few lessons and I helped her get her landings back,” Welch said.
Tweto still hadn’t finished her ticket when the time came for her to return to Alaska.
“Without my knowledge she pitched it to the producers to bring me up as a flight instructor,” said Welch.
The producers said yes and Welch headed for Alaska to teach Arial to fly on television no less.
There were no Hollywood dramatics when it came to the checkride, said Welch, except for the fact that it had to be administered by an FAA representative who came out from Anchorage.
“The ride took seven hours,” said Welch, noting that is about three times the length of the average private pilot checkride, “because the FAA examiner went down through the practical test standards line by line because it had been so long since he had done a private pilot checkride. After the checkride he said that it was one of the best checkrides that he’d ever administered.”
The television show provided more exposure for The Abingdon Co. and during this year’s AirVenture the company’s booth had a steady flow of customers.
Welch2“The reception we got was amazing,” Welch said. The “we” she speaks of is a crew of six people, the men and women who make up the company. Many of the ideas for watch designs come from customers, she noted.
“We read every single email that comes to us and the messages that come to us via Facebook and Twitter to see what features people want in a watch,” she said.
As the clock ran out on 2012 Welch, who splits her time between Las Vegas and Southern California, was working on the expansion of the Abingdon product line, adding to her flight hours from the right seat, and working on giving back to aviation.
“In January we award the ‘It’s about time’ scholarship, which is designed to get more people involved in aviation,” she said. “We are also a sponsor for the Think Global Flight (an around the world flight to promote the study of science, technology, engineering and math).”
She also has plans for the company’s product line to extend outside the world of aviation, into sports like NASCAR and the like where women fans are in the minority.
When asked where she sees herself in five years, Welch replies, “I’m doing it! I’m living the dream — running my own company and ferrying airplanes around!”
For more information: TheAbingdonCo.com

 

Girls Inc Group Celebrates Women in Aviation With a First for Some Local Middle Schoolers

This story is from November: 

From WDEF News 12: Girls Inc Group Celebrates Women in Aviation With a First for Some Local Middle Schoolers

A first for some local girls.
They got a chance to meet a role model who helped them reach new heights.
Girls Inc took the group from the Orchard Knob Middle after school program to the Wilson Air Center today.
It's part of their celebration of Women in Aviation month.
The girls met one of the female pilots currently flying in and out of Chattanooga.
Rebecca Gibson works for Crystal Air.
She told the group about her career, answered questions and gave them a tour of a plane.
It's the first time the girls had ever been on one.
 Rebecca Gibson, Pilot, Crystal Air, "We're just trying to put aviation on their horizon. Maybe it's something they never really thought about."
Madeleine Dougherty, Girls Inc, Chattanooga, "I also wanted them to realize as far as women have come it's still really rare to meet a woman who is a pilot and the girls were really so excited to meet a woman who's working in a male dominated field."
Girls Inc has been inspiring girls to be strong, smart and bold since 1961. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

9 Mar 2013: Familyi Day at the IWASM!

On Saturday March 9th, 2013 IWASM will be hosting our 8th Annual Family Day! This year we will be celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Valentina Tereshkova becoming the first woman in space and the 30th Anniversary of Sally Ride becoming the first American woman in space. Join us in celebrating the life and legacy of these remarkable women with crafts, games, live performances, and more! More details to follow keep posted to www.iwasm.org for more information.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Three female Rebel pilots were discharged from ‘Return of the Jedi’

From YahooNews:  Three female Rebel pilots were discharged from ‘Return of the Jedi’


Photo: Star Wars Aficionado Magazine
The Rebel Alliance now seems a little bit less like a galactic Boys Club.
The final battle against the Death Star in "Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi" (1983) used to have a bit more of a woman's touch as it's been revealed that there were actually three female Rebel pilots taking on TIE Fighters and Star Destroyers as they waited for Han Solo and the gang to blow up the shield generator bunker on Endor (ah, old war stories!).
There were three unnamed lady pilots in "Jedi," two of which can be seen in the extras for the Blu-ray release of the original "Star Wars" trilogy. Both of them were A-Wing pilots, with one even getting a line ("Got it," which was actually dubbed by a male actor in post-production) before getting shot down by a TIE Fighter seconds later. The second pilot is, surprisingly, considerably older ... and could now indeed be the inspiration for a new wave of fan fiction (she's a retired Rebel vet who's allowed to come back for one last hurrah against the Empire after being deemed too old for duty during the Battle of Yavin in "A New Hope," perhaps?).
There was a third female pilot in the Battle of Endor as well. French actress Vivienne Chandler didn't make it into the Blu-ray extras, even though she spent three days on the "Jedi" set and had an entire line of dialogue between herself and another pilot. She also got to fly the much more iconic X-Wing, the ship of choice for her Rebel colleague, Luke Skywalker. Even though actual footage of her in full Rebel mode doesn't seem to exist, she's managed to stay a part of the "Star Wars" universe as she's now a staple on the convention circuit.
There's been no official explanation as to why these characters were cut, though fan speculation suggests that the filmmakers may have deemed the sight of ladies getting blown to smithereens to be too intense for moviegoers ... especially when one could pass for your grandmother.
We have a feeling a lot of the Rebellion's apparent gender discrimination will have dissolved in time for "Episode VII." "Star Wars" needs women, and "Star Wars" will get them if Disney has anything to say about it.

 

22 Feb 2013: Dinner with a slice of history

 Dinner with a Slice of History:  Bill Meixner- History of Cleveland Airport At The International Women's Air & Space Museum Burke Lakefront Airport .

Takes place: February 22, 2013 

Join us at the museum for the first of our 2013 Dinner Series. Cleveland Municipal Airport has an impressive history beginning with the fact that it was the first municipally owned airport in the country and was the home of the National Air Races. It became a model for the development of airports here and abroad. 

The number of "firsts" might surprise you. As an 8-year-old youngster, Bill Meixner was introduced to aviation at the National Air Races by an older brother at Cleveland Airport and developed a passion for flying that continues to this day. After returning from serving in the Korean War he started flying lessons at Cleveland Airport and became interested in it's history. Bill has developed programs on the History of the Airport, The Bomber Plant, The National Air Races, The 1909 Air Race in Reams France, and The MacRobertson Air Race in 1934. 

Bill, a charter member of the International Society of Air Racing Historians, serves on the executive committee and as webmaster for the Society's web site airrace.com. Dinner will be served at 6:30 with the program starting at 7pm. Tickets are $15, $12 for IWASM Members- Member discount will be given after registration. 

Please RSVP by Feb 17.
http://womensairandspacemuseum.com/eshop/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=29&products_id=549

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The sky is the limit for Girls Inc. of Chattanooga

From the TimesFreePress:  The sky is the limit for Girls Inc. of Chattanooga

Kathleen Watkins, right, asks pilot Rebecca Gibson a question about airplanes from inside the pilot's seat Monday during a Girls Inc. of Chattanooga trip to Wilson Air Center.
Kathleen Watkins, right, asks pilot Rebecca Gibson a question about airplanes from inside the pilot's seat Monday during a Girls Inc. of Chattanooga trip to Wilson Air Center. 

Six girls who had never been on an airplane spent Monday afternoon at Wilson Air Center with a female pilot.
"I just want to get up there," said 13-year-old Angel Townsend, while standing near pilot Rebecca Gibson at the airport.
Angel linked arm and arm with other girls to walk from the lobby to the Caravan 10-seater airplane.
The girls didn't go for a ride. Gibson just gave them an inside tour of the plane.
Angel's first career choice is to be a psychologist, but if that doesn't work out, she's going to be a pilot, she said.
Girls Inc. organized the afternoon of aviation inspiration in recognition of November being National Aviation Month.
Madeleine Dougherty, Girl Inc.'s program educator, said the trip was a way to introduce the girls to another male-dominated field.
"Flying is breath taking," said Dougherty who has friends who are pilots and travels in airplanes at least three times a year.
Before visiting Gibson at Wilson Air Center, some girls in the group didn't even know what a pilot was.
"They just kept saying the plane person," Dougherty said. "This is exposing the girls to a new career that they would not have thought of."
If one girl is inspired to think about a career that she never thought of before, then my job is done, she said.
Dougherty also talked to the girls about careers in medicine and robotics.
Gibson came to the airport wearing a tan leather jacket and blue jeans. With her hair pulled back in a ponytail and wearing sunglasses she seemed like any other airport visitor until she introduced herself as an airplane pilot.
She's been flying since she was 7 years old. She's been a pilot since age 17. She's 33 now.
According to the website, womenofaviationweek.org, less than 6 percent of certified commercial pilots were women in 2010.
Gibson's love affair with planes started when she and her dad took a plane ride together. While waiting for the plane to take off he asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up. She rattled off a chef, a mommy and a ballerina. Then the plane started and her eyes fixated on the blue sky and white clouds she saw outside.
"I was glued to window," she said. "About that time, my dad elbowed me and said 'you know you could be a pilot'."

 

Monday, December 3, 2012

PR: Wicks Aircraft: New AVIATOR LIGHT PEN Sheds Light Where You Need It

When you need to write, and there is no light available, or when you don't want to lose all your night vision, or when you don't want to disturb those around you, the old solutions used to involve writing blind (and trying to decipher it later) or holding a flashlight in your "spare hand," or even in your mouth. Technology presents a better solution, and Wicks Aircraft Supply has it: a pen with a lighted tip.

This good-looking ballpoint pen, with the Wicks phone number always handy on its barrel, writes with standard black ink, right where its own light is shining, allowing you to see and write in otherwise pitch-darkness. It is also possible to use this pen without turning on the light, to save the long-life batteries for when you need them. It is also useful as a micro-flashlight.

Scott Wick, President of Wicks Aircraft, says, "This new pen has a LED light which shines from the tip directly to the surface you are writing on. It is perfect for the pilot who flies at night and needs to write down a clearance or needs to see or make a mark on their map. Now you don't have to hold a flashlight in one hand and write with the other.  Nor do you need to move your map under a cockpit light to be able to see it. I wish I had one of these years ago."

The wait is over. The Wicks part number is WF14101B, and the Aviator Light Pen is available immediately, priced at $9.99.

http://aircraftproducts.wicksaircraft.com/viewitems/pilot-supplies/categories-pilot-supplies-lighted-tip-bel-arte-pen?


Australia: Scholarship to encourage more female pilots

From Australia Aviation:  Scholarship to encourage more female pilots

The federal government has announced two RAAF-sponsored scholarships to encourage the development of female pilots within the aviation community.
Available through the Australian Women Pilots Association (AWPA), the scholarships are open to female pilots between 17 and 24 years of age who have attained their private pilot licence (A) or equivalent. Two categories are being awarded: the AWPA Formation or Aerobatic Endorsement (Aeroplanes) Scholarship and the AWPA PPL(A) Navigation Component Scholarship.
This is the second year the scholarships have been launched.  An AWPA spokesperson said: “As a result of the RAAF’s support in 2012, we have two women pilots who were thrilled to achieve their aerobatics rating. With the RAAF’s ongoing support, AWPA looks forward to being able to provide further opportunities for women pilots to follow their aviation dreams.”

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Not all military women jump at chance for combat roles

Not specifically about female pilots, but of interest.

From Gazette.com: Not all military women jump at chance for combat roles

Fewer than 1 in 5 of the women offered the chance to move into a combat-related position at Fort Carson took advantage of the opportunity, according to preliminary data from a pilot program at Fort Carson.
The rate of women who took the newly-opened jobs with Fort Carson’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team offered the first glimpse of the appetite female soldiers have for joining units that are inherently closer to combat. But opponents to the Defense Department’s 1994 ban on women holding combat positions said the figure doesn’t truly represent the number of women who want to serve closer to the front lines.
“I think maybe initially, there’s just a general hesitation to jump in with both feet into uncharted territory, which is sort of basic human nature,” said Greg Jacob, the policy director at Service Women’s Action Network, a New York-based organization aimed at equal rights for women in the military.
The six-month pilot program was winding up as four women — three reservists and a Marine set to move from active duty to reserve this week — filed a lawsuit Tuesday challenging the ban, the second such suit this year.
Plaintiffs said the ban, which barred women from 238,000 positions across the Armed Forces, blocked them from promotions and other advancements open to men in combat.
Defense Department officials and litigants alike acknowledged that combat lines began to blur in Iraq and Afghanistan, where men and women fought side-by-side and often faced the same suicide bombers. More than 144 female troops have been killed and 860 have been wounded in the two wars, according to Pentagon statistics.
But while litigants seek immediate change, Defense Department officials say they want to make sure lifting gender-based barriers would not disrupt the cohesion of the smaller combat ground units and military operations.
Fort Carson’s program began May 14. Women could request a transfer into four jobs previously off-limits to women, including tank, artillery and Bradley Armored Fighting Vehicle maintenance. A fourth job allowed women to be radar operators responsible for tracking where enemy fire originated while coordinating counter attacks.
In addition, some brigade-level jobs — such as chaplain and field surgeon — were made available at the battalion level, which often serves closer to the front lines.
Of the 343 soldiers who were eligible to move into the new positions at Fort Carson, 59 asked to do so, said Maj. Earl Brown, a Fort Carson spokesman. Forty were ultimately assigned to those posts.
While Fort Carson did not provide a breakdown of those new positions, Brown said many of the 59 soldiers generally did a similar job in the past. For example, mechanics might have moved into a new speciality, such as tank maintenance, he said.
Five other Army installations took part in the pilot program, which was part of a Defense Department-wide push to open up about 14,300 jobs to women.
The Army — which accounted for nearly 97 percent of those positions — is reviewing how the transition went.
Brown declined to comment on the post’s figures until the review is complete. The new jobs are “the beginning, not the end, of a process,” said Eileen Lainez, a Defense Secretary spokeswoman, in an email.
The new positions mean little to many women who want to serve in infantry units, a career field that accounts for many jobs still off-limits to women, said Ariela Migdal, an American Civil Liberties Union attorney representing the women suing the Defense Department.
“What they’re doing in a lot of cases is opening up positions for women in jobs that women are already allowed to do,” Migdal said
“Our argument… is not that necessarily that every woman in the military wants to do every single one of those jobs,” she added. “Combat’s not for everybody. There’s a lot of men who can’t and don’t want to do those combat arms jobs or who would flunk out of training for it.
“What our plaintiffs are seeking is the opportunity to compete.”

The fewer, prouder: women pilots fly alongside men

From DVID:  The fewer, prouder: women pilots fly alongside men
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif. – When an economics major in her freshman year stepped into class and saw a video of a plane hitting the World Trade Centers the feeling of helplessness overwhelmed her. She knew then she had to do something to make a difference.

She decided when hearing about the possibilities of being a pilot in the Marine Corps, that she would use that to aid her country in a time of need. This person, now a Marine pilot with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 462, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, is Capt. Charlene Wyman.

After seven years in the Marine Corps, spending her entire career as a CH-53E Super Stallion pilot, she doesn’t look at her job as work, she sees it as fun.

“As a woman, I wanted to be in direct support of the troops on the ground,” said Wyman, a Denver, Colo., native. “I wanted to be as close to the action as possible.”

On her first deployment where she spent three months in Iraq and three months in Afghanistan, she was one of four female pilots, which was an anomaly, she explained.

Upon returning, there was only one other female pilot in her squadron.

“In older generations it may have been a bigger deal,” said Wyman. “But, nowadays women are seen in many different jobs that they wouldn’t have been in before and it doesn’t faze anyone.”

The friendships made in the Marine Corps are tighter than those possibly made in a civilian job. As a pilot, the opportunities to work closely with officers and enlisted closely help to pass knowledge and make the team as a whole stronger, explained Wyman.

She is very personable and it is easy to ask her questions because she is knowledgeable and can explain things in a manner that is easy to understand, added Capt. John Dextor, a pilot and operations officer with HMM-462, 3rd MAW and a Norfolk, Va., native.

As a pilot with qualifications to instruct others in training and weapons and tactics, she thoroughly passes her knowledge to anyone who can benefit from it, explained Dextor.

“She is very attention-to-detail oriented,” said Dextor. “Working as operations officers together, she coordinates about 40 pilots and matches what they need with classes, students and instructors to get the schedule finished.”

Wyman is proud to be in a squadron that grows and works as a team. She benefits from others as well as passes her knowledge to colleagues. Without them, she would not have gotten the opportunity to fly with Headquarters Marine Corps Squadron 1 in the future.

“She is going to be a pilot with HMX-1.” said Dextor. “That is a testament to her skill level and potential for the future,” said Dextor. “It is very competitive and a very selective process.”

As a pilot with many opportunities, Wyman would not change it.

“I didn’t plan on staying in for this long.” said Wyman. “However, I didn’t know it was going to be this much fun. I know I’ll be in HMX-1 for four years, so if I still love it, I will keep doing this. I don’t honestly know what I’d be doing if I wasn’t here.”

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Iris Critchell


Ever day, I check Ebay to see if anyone is offering anything about the Powder Puff Derby.  Today someone was offering a Pilot magazine from 1958, which talked about the Derby (then in its 11th year) and Iris Critchell. Whi is Iris Critchell?


Iris Critchell
From Harvey Mudd College : Iris Critchell Celebrates 90th Birthday

Feb 24, 2011 - Claremont, Calif. - 
Community members gathered Feb. 19 to celebrate their favorite aviatrix—Iris Critchell, instructor of aeronautics emerita, on the occasion of her 90th birthday.
In attendance were over 100 people, including family, many alumni, faculty and friends, who shared personal stories about Iris and her husband, Howard ("Critch"). HMC students receiving aeronautical scholarships were also in attendance.
  • Claire Robinson '11- The Hale Chapin Field Memorial Aeronautical Endowed Scholarship
  • Joseph Min '12- The Lois & Joseph Marriott Aeronautical Endowed Scholarship
  • Johnson Qu '12- The Adele & David Foley Aeronautical Endowed Scholarship
  • Keiko Hiranaka '12- Isabel Bates Aeronautical Endowed Scholarship
  • Christopher Cotner '13- The Adele & David Foley Aeronautical Annual Scholarship
  • Benjamin Liu '12- The Iris & Howard Critchell Aeronautical Annual Scholarship
Included among the guests were Bates Aeronautics Program alumni whom Iris and Howard had taught to fly. In 1962, Iris prepared the curriculum for the Bates Foundation for Aeronautical Education, which later became HMC's Bates Aeronautics Program and was run by Iris and Howard, until 1990. The two-year curriculum of classes and flight was designed specifically for the needs of the science and engineering students at HMC. Critchell, who was named the local FAA Instructor Pilot of the Year in the early 1970's, served as the chief flight instructor of the flight portion and on the faculty as Aeronautics Program Director.
Critchell, who served as a designated pilot examiner for the FAA FSDO for more than 20 years, began flying in 1939 at Mines Field, now known as the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). From then on, her diverse flight experience helped define the role women were able to assume in the field of aeronautics.
In 1941, Critchell's became the first woman to complete the Civil Pilot Training Program at the University of Southern California (USC), where she also earned a degree in physical sciences and mathematics.
As a member of the Women Air Force Service Pilots (WASP), Critchell went on to ferry military planes across the county during World War II for the U.S. Army.
Following the WASP disbandment, she continued her flight training and designed the curriculum for USC's aeronautical courses for veterans at its College of Aeronautics in Santa Maria in 1946. While there, Critchell served as chief ground instructor and chief instrument rating flight instructor for three years.
After retiring from HMC as instructor emerita of aeronautics in 1990—the year the college's Bates Program officially ended—Critchell continued to serve as a faculty advisor on numerous projects. Over the years, she also assisted the HMC Engineering Clinic's aeronautics projects and performed equipment flight tests.
Critchell's lifetime achievements also include swimming in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, winning the 1957 Powder Puff Derby (a transcontinental race performed by women pilots) and being inducted into the National Flight Instructors Hall of Fame in 2000 and receiving a Congressional Gold Medal in 2010 along with fellow members of the Women Airforce Service Pilots. Today, she lectures and consults on various phases of aviation education and history.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Operation Celestial Flight

http://38wasp.blogspot.com/p/operation-celestial-flight.html

If you're interested in the WASP who gave their lives for their country.

This is the intro to the blog:
This site is dedicated to those WASP and their families. Please contact me if you want me to post their stories, photos and videos. Artifacts are appreciated too, as I will travel and make presentations on their/our behalf and/or help you locate museums to donate to. If you would like more information, contact 38WASP@gmail.com. I am Cheryl Marie Michell, niece of WASP Marie Michell Robinson, Class 44-2, one of the 38 WASP who gave her life for her country in WWII.


Monday, November 26, 2012

Arvada WASP pilot recaptures legacy of Fifinella with biplane flight

From Denver Post:  Arvada WASP pilot recaptures legacy of Fifinella with biplane flight  Read more: Arvada WASP pilot recaptures legacy of Fifinella with biplane flight
Arvada WASP pilot recaptures legacy of Fifinella with biplane flight

Read more: Arvada WASP pilot recaptures legacy of Fifinella with biplane flight - The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_21968958/arvada-wasp-pilot-recaptures-legacy-fifinella-biplane-flight#ixzz2DLu2OMJ2
Read The Denver Post's Terms of Use of its content: http://www.denverpost.com/termsofuse 
In this Google age, it’s not hard to find them.
Just type in Air Transport Auxiliary and the black-and-white faces begin to appear. They were the ambitious women pilots who flew in the face of gender expectations by taking on dangerous aviation missions during the Second World War.
They are fascinating characters and have long captured the imagination of author Garry Ryan, a former school teacher best known for his series of mystery novels featuring gay protagonist Detective Lane.
Long before Lane began patrolling the mean streets of Calgary, Ryan had toyed with the idea of a book featuring a defiant female pilot putting in time for the Air Transit Auxiliary in England.
“It was based on the idea that these young women came all over the world to fly for the ATA,” says Ryan, in an interview from his Calgary home. “So I thought about what sort of young woman would go there and how she would be received and the troubles she would face, especially if she was a better pilot than most of the men.”
So Sharon Lacey was born. In Blackbirds, which is the first of at least three novels that Ryan has planned for the character, she is introduced as a young pilot who travels from her home in Canada to England in 1940 in search of her estranged father. She finds herself involved with the Auxiliary, a British wartime organization made up of civilians that helped ferry military aircraft to various delivery points.
Lacey eventually finds herself enlisted to by the British to help fend of an air attack by the Germans.
The character is not based on a real person, per se. But Ryan knew what broad-stroke traits he wanted, even if the models he found came from a different era.
“My daughter is like that and I watched her grow up and some of her friends are like that,” he says. “ It came from those places ... They just do what needs to be done. They see what the job is and they get the job done. In wartime, that kind of ability or personality is often needed. It’s not always appreciated, but needed.”
Historically, these women flew heavy bombers and fighters and, when the war ended, were cast aside, Ryan said.
“After the war they were shut down and apparently some of them killed themselves because they couldn’t fly,” Ryan said. “The Russians actually had at least two women who were aces and flew for the Russian air force. But for a lot of these stories, I really had to dig for them.”
Ryan, 58, retired in 2009 after a long career teaching creative writing and other subjects to junior high and high-school students. Sharon Lacey’s outsider status follows a literary pattern of sorts for Ryan. It was during his time in Calgary schools that the idea dawned on him to create a gay protagonist to head a series of Calgary-based mysteries. After seeing two female students in his class bullied because they were gay, he decided to create a heroic gay character. Since then, the driven one-named Detective Lane has gone on to be the hero of five novels, including last year’s Malabarista.
But the idea for Sharon Lacey actually predates the Detective Lane series. Ryan had shelved the book for awhile, but when he found the need for some distraction between Calgary mysteries he returned to the story.
It was a natural fit. Ryan has been a Second World War and aviation buff since he was a kid growing up in Glendale. So immersing himself in the copious amounts of research historical fiction tends to require was a treat, he says. Again, Google came in handy.
“You can actually Google some of the aircraft that she flew and it will almost sit you in the cockpit,” he said. “I got to the air shows, to see what the old aircraft were like and what they sounded like. For me, that’s just really fascinating stuff.”
The research certainly hasn’t seemed to slow down Ryan’s pace. He has already finished three more Lane mysteries and is working on a fourth, which was inspired by a recent trip to Cuba. He’s also busy penning two sequels to Blackbirds.
“I just keep going,” he said. “It’s kind of a compulsion I think.


Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/Heroic+female+pilots+fires+imagination+Calgary+novelist+Garry+Ryan/7527509/story.html#ixzz2DLtqGcPL


Lucile Wise, 92, awaits pilot Chad Graves as the two prepare to fly in a 1942 Boeing-Stearman biplane at Centennial Airport. Wise, with the Women Airforce Service Pilots of World War II, was among the first women to fly military aircraft. This year, they will be honored at the 10th annual gala of Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum on Dec. 21. (Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post)


Read more: Arvada WASP pilot recaptures legacy of Fifinella with biplane flight - The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_21968958/arvada-wasp-pilot-recaptures-legacy-fifinella-biplane-flight#ixzz2DLulAAMs
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The first female military pilots in U.S. history — women including Lucile Wise of Arvada — signed up during World War II and trained to fly bombers and fighters such as the legendary P-51 Mustang.
The U.S. Army Air Forces didn't have enough pilots, so women were recruited for military flying jobs stateside to free up men to fly combat missions overseas.

Seventy years after her pilot training, Wise strapped herself into the open cockpit of a 1942 Boeing-Stearman biplane, used as a military trainer during the war.

The 92-year-old wore goggles, a headset and a borrowed leather bomber jacket. Excited, she grinned as the pilot fired up the engine.


When the canary biplane roarded down the runway, a former Air Force pilot watched in awe.

"Fifinella flies again," said Greg Anderson, president and chief executive of Wings Over the Rockies, as the plane rose into the warm afternoon sky earlier this week. "The legacy lives on."

Fifinella — a female gremlin designed by Walt Disney that appeared in many World War II cartoons — was the official mascot of the Women Airforce Service Pilots. Her image appeared on the noses of bombers and on the flight jackets of 1,074 women, including Wise.

"These ladies were way ahead of their time," he said. "Individually, and as a group, they have a piece of history we will never be able to experience. They paved the way and proved it could be done."

These women will be honored at the 10th annual gala of Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum on Dec. 21, which will feature many WASP pilots, including seven who live in Colorado. The traveling exhibit, "Fly Girls of WWII," runs through March at the museum.

In an era when the dominant role for women was to stay at home serving as wives and mothers, the opportunity to train as military pilots opened a door to women like Wise, who had dropped out of Colorado Women's College and was working in Wichita.

"We all wanted to do something to help the war effort. All my women friends were joining the military," Wise said. "I did it for a lark, to add a little excitement to my life."

She took her first flying lesson Dec. 6, 1941 — the day before the attack on Pearl Harbor — because someone had taken her up in a Piper Cub.

Once behind the controls, Wise was hooked.

By 1943, Jackie Cochran — a beautician who became America's top female pilot — had established the WASPs at the request of President Franklin Roosevelt.

More than 25,000 women applied to the program, and fewer than 1,900 were accepted into the training program at Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Texas.

Wise's classmates included Gertrude "Tommy" Tompkins, whose fighter went down along the California coast soon after takeoff Oct. 26, 1944, and has never been found.

"We never dwelled on it," said Wise. "We were too busy."

The pilots flew a total of 60 million miles in two years. Thirty-eight women died during their service, an accident rate comparable to male pilots doing the same job.

WASPs flew military planes from factories to bases, trained male pilots, towed targets for gunnery practices and tested planes.

Two WASPs were also used to convince male pilots it was safe to fly the B-29. Men resisted flying the new heavy bomber because it hadn't received rigorous testing, and its engines tended to catch fire.

Col. Paul Tibbets recruited two WASPs to serve as demo pilots, and after three days of training, the women powered up the four-engine bomber and ferried around the men.

"They flew it, no problem," said Brig. Gen. Wilma Vaught, one of the most decorated women in military history, now president of the board of the Women in Military Service for America Memorial Foundation. "They thought it was great. That ended the (men's) fear of flying that plane."

The WASPs were disbanded in late 1944, receiving a letter of thanks from Henry Arnold, commanding general of the Army Air Forces.

The war had reached a point "when your services are no longer needed," he said. "The situation is that if you continue in service, you will be replacing instead of releasing our young men."

Most WASPs returned to traditional roles.

"I didn't know what I was going to do. I felt lost," Wise said.

Although the women had been promised that they would be adopted into the military, that never happened. Bills in Congress to militarize the WASPs hit fierce opposition, so they were disbanded with no military benefits and "largely ignored by the U.S. government for more than 30 years," according to the teacher guide of the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.

Wise, who married and raised two children with her husband in Washington, D.C., got fired up in the late 1970s when the Air Force announced that women would be allowed to become military pilots for the first time.

"We got very annoyed," said Wise of the WASPs, who realized they had been totally forgotten by history. "We got organized."

Wise fought for their rights by volunteering in a tiny office at the Army Navy Club in Washington, D.C.

Their demand to be recognized as military veterans faced a united front of tough opponents, including the Veterans Administration, President Jimmy Carter, the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

"Those groups had so much power, and they feared this would open the floodgates," said Wise.

If the WASPs were granted military status, opponents feared, then the other civilian organizations that worked in the war effort would also demand military recognition.

But the WASPs refused to quit, calling their congresspersons and talking to supportive reporters. They gained some key advocates.

"The Pentagon testified in our favor," said Wise. "It was pretty unusual for them to take a position opposite the White House."

Col. Bruce Arnold, the son of commanding Gen. Henry Arnold, also fought for them, as did Sen. Barry Goldwater, himself a World War II pilot.

In 1977, the House and Senate passed a bill that gave WASPs military status and veterans benefits.

And in 2010, the WASPs received the Congressional Gold Medal from President Barack Obama.

"I've been fortunate enough to know a number of WASPs," said Vaught. "They're a breed among themselves. They have a spirit of adventure that just won't quit."

Colleen O'Connor: 303-954-1083, coconnor@denverpost.com or twitter.com/coconnordp

Celebrating wasps

To encourage girls to learn more about the history of WASPs, admission to "Fly Girls of WWII" at Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum is free to girls younger than 17 through Dec. 31.

The exhibition, which debuted at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial Foundation in Washington, includes a 26-foot WASP timeline, uniformed mannequins, a video, hundreds of photos, WASP memorabilia, and a photo mosaic featuring the face of every WASP.

The gala honoring the WASPs will be at Wings Over the Rockies, 7711 East Academy Boulevard in Denver, Dec. 21 at 6 p.m. Tickets are $200 for members, $250 for nonmembers. For more information, call 303-360-5360 x 110.

In this Google age, it’s not hard to find them.
Just type in Air Transport Auxiliary and the black-and-white faces begin to appear. They were the ambitious women pilots who flew in the face of gender expectations by taking on dangerous aviation missions during the Second World War.
They are fascinating characters and have long captured the imagination of author Garry Ryan, a former school teacher best known for his series of mystery novels featuring gay protagonist Detective Lane.
Long before Lane began patrolling the mean streets of Calgary, Ryan had toyed with the idea of a book featuring a defiant female pilot putting in time for the Air Transit Auxiliary in England.
“It was based on the idea that these young women came all over the world to fly for the ATA,” says Ryan, in an interview from his Calgary home. “So I thought about what sort of young woman would go there and how she would be received and the troubles she would face, especially if she was a better pilot than most of the men.”
So Sharon Lacey was born. In Blackbirds, which is the first of at least three novels that Ryan has planned for the character, she is introduced as a young pilot who travels from her home in Canada to England in 1940 in search of her estranged father. She finds herself involved with the Auxiliary, a British wartime organization made up of civilians that helped ferry military aircraft to various delivery points.
Lacey eventually finds herself enlisted to by the British to help fend of an air attack by the Germans.
The character is not based on a real person, per se. But Ryan knew what broad-stroke traits he wanted, even if the models he found came from a different era.
“My daughter is like that and I watched her grow up and some of her friends are like that,” he says. “ It came from those places ... They just do what needs to be done. They see what the job is and they get the job done. In wartime, that kind of ability or personality is often needed. It’s not always appreciated, but needed.”
Historically, these women flew heavy bombers and fighters and, when the war ended, were cast aside, Ryan said.
“After the war they were shut down and apparently some of them killed themselves because they couldn’t fly,” Ryan said. “The Russians actually had at least two women who were aces and flew for the Russian air force. But for a lot of these stories, I really had to dig for them.”
Ryan, 58, retired in 2009 after a long career teaching creative writing and other subjects to junior high and high-school students. Sharon Lacey’s outsider status follows a literary pattern of sorts for Ryan. It was during his time in Calgary schools that the idea dawned on him to create a gay protagonist to head a series of Calgary-based mysteries. After seeing two female students in his class bullied because they were gay, he decided to create a heroic gay character. Since then, the driven one-named Detective Lane has gone on to be the hero of five novels, including last year’s Malabarista.
But the idea for Sharon Lacey actually predates the Detective Lane series. Ryan had shelved the book for awhile, but when he found the need for some distraction between Calgary mysteries he returned to the story.
It was a natural fit. Ryan has been a Second World War and aviation buff since he was a kid growing up in Glendale. So immersing himself in the copious amounts of research historical fiction tends to require was a treat, he says. Again, Google came in handy.
“You can actually Google some of the aircraft that she flew and it will almost sit you in the cockpit,” he said. “I got to the air shows, to see what the old aircraft were like and what they sounded like. For me, that’s just really fascinating stuff.”
The research certainly hasn’t seemed to slow down Ryan’s pace. He has already finished three more Lane mysteries and is working on a fourth, which was inspired by a recent trip to Cuba. He’s also busy penning two sequels to Blackbirds.
“I just keep going,” he said. “It’s kind of a compulsion I think.


Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/Heroic+female+pilots+fires+imagination+Calgary+novelist+Garry+Ryan/7527509/story.html#ixzz2DLtqGcPL
In this Google age, it’s not hard to find them.
Just type in Air Transport Auxiliary and the black-and-white faces begin to appear. They were the ambitious women pilots who flew in the face of gender expectations by taking on dangerous aviation missions during the Second World War.
They are fascinating characters and have long captured the imagination of author Garry Ryan, a former school teacher best known for his series of mystery novels featuring gay protagonist Detective Lane.
Long before Lane began patrolling the mean streets of Calgary, Ryan had toyed with the idea of a book featuring a defiant female pilot putting in time for the Air Transit Auxiliary in England.
“It was based on the idea that these young women came all over the world to fly for the ATA,” says Ryan, in an interview from his Calgary home. “So I thought about what sort of young woman would go there and how she would be received and the troubles she would face, especially if she was a better pilot than most of the men.”
So Sharon Lacey was born. In Blackbirds, which is the first of at least three novels that Ryan has planned for the character, she is introduced as a young pilot who travels from her home in Canada to England in 1940 in search of her estranged father. She finds herself involved with the Auxiliary, a British wartime organization made up of civilians that helped ferry military aircraft to various delivery points.
Lacey eventually finds herself enlisted to by the British to help fend of an air attack by the Germans.
The character is not based on a real person, per se. But Ryan knew what broad-stroke traits he wanted, even if the models he found came from a different era.
“My daughter is like that and I watched her grow up and some of her friends are like that,” he says. “ It came from those places ... They just do what needs to be done. They see what the job is and they get the job done. In wartime, that kind of ability or personality is often needed. It’s not always appreciated, but needed.”
Historically, these women flew heavy bombers and fighters and, when the war ended, were cast aside, Ryan said.
“After the war they were shut down and apparently some of them killed themselves because they couldn’t fly,” Ryan said. “The Russians actually had at least two women who were aces and flew for the Russian air force. But for a lot of these stories, I really had to dig for them.”
Ryan, 58, retired in 2009 after a long career teaching creative writing and other subjects to junior high and high-school students. Sharon Lacey’s outsider status follows a literary pattern of sorts for Ryan. It was during his time in Calgary schools that the idea dawned on him to create a gay protagonist to head a series of Calgary-based mysteries. After seeing two female students in his class bullied because they were gay, he decided to create a heroic gay character. Since then, the driven one-named Detective Lane has gone on to be the hero of five novels, including last year’s Malabarista.
But the idea for Sharon Lacey actually predates the Detective Lane series. Ryan had shelved the book for awhile, but when he found the need for some distraction between Calgary mysteries he returned to the story.
It was a natural fit. Ryan has been a Second World War and aviation buff since he was a kid growing up in Glendale. So immersing himself in the copious amounts of research historical fiction tends to require was a treat, he says. Again, Google came in handy.
“You can actually Google some of the aircraft that she flew and it will almost sit you in the cockpit,” he said. “I got to the air shows, to see what the old aircraft were like and what they sounded like. For me, that’s just really fascinating stuff.”
The research certainly hasn’t seemed to slow down Ryan’s pace. He has already finished three more Lane mysteries and is working on a fourth, which was inspired by a recent trip to Cuba. He’s also busy penning two sequels to Blackbirds.
“I just keep going,” he said. “It’s kind of a compulsion I think.


Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/Heroic+female+pilots+fires+imagination+Calgary+novelist+Garry+Ryan/7527509/story.html#ixzz2DLtqGcPL
In this Google age, it’s not hard to find them.
Just type in Air Transport Auxiliary and the black-and-white faces begin to appear. They were the ambitious women pilots who flew in the face of gender expectations by taking on dangerous aviation missions during the Second World War.
They are fascinating characters and have long captured the imagination of author Garry Ryan, a former school teacher best known for his series of mystery novels featuring gay protagonist Detective Lane.
Long before Lane began patrolling the mean streets of Calgary, Ryan had toyed with the idea of a book featuring a defiant female pilot putting in time for the Air Transit Auxiliary in England.
“It was based on the idea that these young women came all over the world to fly for the ATA,” says Ryan, in an interview from his Calgary home. “So I thought about what sort of young woman would go there and how she would be received and the troubles she would face, especially if she was a better pilot than most of the men.”
So Sharon Lacey was born. In Blackbirds, which is the first of at least three novels that Ryan has planned for the character, she is introduced as a young pilot who travels from her home in Canada to England in 1940 in search of her estranged father. She finds herself involved with the Auxiliary, a British wartime organization made up of civilians that helped ferry military aircraft to various delivery points.
Lacey eventually finds herself enlisted to by the British to help fend of an air attack by the Germans.
The character is not based on a real person, per se. But Ryan knew what broad-stroke traits he wanted, even if the models he found came from a different era.
“My daughter is like that and I watched her grow up and some of her friends are like that,” he says. “ It came from those places ... They just do what needs to be done. They see what the job is and they get the job done. In wartime, that kind of ability or personality is often needed. It’s not always appreciated, but needed.”
Historically, these women flew heavy bombers and fighters and, when the war ended, were cast aside, Ryan said.
“After the war they were shut down and apparently some of them killed themselves because they couldn’t fly,” Ryan said. “The Russians actually had at least two women who were aces and flew for the Russian air force. But for a lot of these stories, I really had to dig for them.”
Ryan, 58, retired in 2009 after a long career teaching creative writing and other subjects to junior high and high-school students. Sharon Lacey’s outsider status follows a literary pattern of sorts for Ryan. It was during his time in Calgary schools that the idea dawned on him to create a gay protagonist to head a series of Calgary-based mysteries. After seeing two female students in his class bullied because they were gay, he decided to create a heroic gay character. Since then, the driven one-named Detective Lane has gone on to be the hero of five novels, including last year’s Malabarista.
But the idea for Sharon Lacey actually predates the Detective Lane series. Ryan had shelved the book for awhile, but when he found the need for some distraction between Calgary mysteries he returned to the story.
It was a natural fit. Ryan has been a Second World War and aviation buff since he was a kid growing up in Glendale. So immersing himself in the copious amounts of research historical fiction tends to require was a treat, he says. Again, Google came in handy.
“You can actually Google some of the aircraft that she flew and it will almost sit you in the cockpit,” he said. “I got to the air shows, to see what the old aircraft were like and what they sounded like. For me, that’s just really fascinating stuff.”
The research certainly hasn’t seemed to slow down Ryan’s pace. He has already finished three more Lane mysteries and is working on a fourth, which was inspired by a recent trip to Cuba. He’s also busy penning two sequels to Blackbirds.
“I just keep going,” he said. “It’s kind of a compulsion I think.


Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/Heroic+female+pilots+fires+imagination+Calgary+novelist+Garry+Ryan/7527509/story.html#ixzz2DLtqGcPL
In this Google age, it’s not hard to find them.
Just type in Air Transport Auxiliary and the black-and-white faces begin to appear. They were the ambitious women pilots who flew in the face of gender expectations by taking on dangerous aviation missions during the Second World War.
They are fascinating characters and have long captured the imagination of author Garry Ryan, a former school teacher best known for his series of mystery novels featuring gay protagonist Detective Lane.
Long before Lane began patrolling the mean streets of Calgary, Ryan had toyed with the idea of a book featuring a defiant female pilot putting in time for the Air Transit Auxiliary in England.
“It was based on the idea that these young women came all over the world to fly for the ATA,” says Ryan, in an interview from his Calgary home. “So I thought about what sort of young woman would go there and how she would be received and the troubles she would face, especially if she was a better pilot than most of the men.”
So Sharon Lacey was born. In Blackbirds, which is the first of at least three novels that Ryan has planned for the character, she is introduced as a young pilot who travels from her home in Canada to England in 1940 in search of her estranged father. She finds herself involved with the Auxiliary, a British wartime organization made up of civilians that helped ferry military aircraft to various delivery points.
Lacey eventually finds herself enlisted to by the British to help fend of an air attack by the Germans.
The character is not based on a real person, per se. But Ryan knew what broad-stroke traits he wanted, even if the models he found came from a different era.
“My daughter is like that and I watched her grow up and some of her friends are like that,” he says. “ It came from those places ... They just do what needs to be done. They see what the job is and they get the job done. In wartime, that kind of ability or personality is often needed. It’s not always appreciated, but needed.”
Historically, these women flew heavy bombers and fighters and, when the war ended, were cast aside, Ryan said.
“After the war they were shut down and apparently some of them killed themselves because they couldn’t fly,” Ryan said. “The Russians actually had at least two women who were aces and flew for the Russian air force. But for a lot of these stories, I really had to dig for them.”
Ryan, 58, retired in 2009 after a long career teaching creative writing and other subjects to junior high and high-school students. Sharon Lacey’s outsider status follows a literary pattern of sorts for Ryan. It was during his time in Calgary schools that the idea dawned on him to create a gay protagonist to head a series of Calgary-based mysteries. After seeing two female students in his class bullied because they were gay, he decided to create a heroic gay character. Since then, the driven one-named Detective Lane has gone on to be the hero of five novels, including last year’s Malabarista.
But the idea for Sharon Lacey actually predates the Detective Lane series. Ryan had shelved the book for awhile, but when he found the need for some distraction between Calgary mysteries he returned to the story.
It was a natural fit. Ryan has been a Second World War and aviation buff since he was a kid growing up in Glendale. So immersing himself in the copious amounts of research historical fiction tends to require was a treat, he says. Again, Google came in handy.
“You can actually Google some of the aircraft that she flew and it will almost sit you in the cockpit,” he said. “I got to the air shows, to see what the old aircraft were like and what they sounded like. For me, that’s just really fascinating stuff.”
The research certainly hasn’t seemed to slow down Ryan’s pace. He has already finished three more Lane mysteries and is working on a fourth, which was inspired by a recent trip to Cuba. He’s also busy penning two sequels to Blackbirds.
“I just keep going,” he said. “It’s kind of a compulsion I think.


Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/Heroic+female+pilots+fires+imagination+Calgary+novelist+Garry+Ryan/7527509/story.html#ixzz2DLtqGcPL
In this Google age, it’s not hard to find them.
Just type in Air Transport Auxiliary and the black-and-white faces begin to appear. They were the ambitious women pilots who flew in the face of gender expectations by taking on dangerous aviation missions during the Second World War.
They are fascinating characters and have long captured the imagination of author Garry Ryan, a former school teacher best known for his series of mystery novels featuring gay protagonist Detective Lane.
Long before Lane began patrolling the mean streets of Calgary, Ryan had toyed with the idea of a book featuring a defiant female pilot putting in time for the Air Transit Auxiliary in England.
“It was based on the idea that these young women came all over the world to fly for the ATA,” says Ryan, in an interview from his Calgary home. “So I thought about what sort of young woman would go there and how she would be received and the troubles she would face, especially if she was a better pilot than most of the men.”
So Sharon Lacey was born. In Blackbirds, which is the first of at least three novels that Ryan has planned for the character, she is introduced as a young pilot who travels from her home in Canada to England in 1940 in search of her estranged father. She finds herself involved with the Auxiliary, a British wartime organization made up of civilians that helped ferry military aircraft to various delivery points.
Lacey eventually finds herself enlisted to by the British to help fend of an air attack by the Germans.
The character is not based on a real person, per se. But Ryan knew what broad-stroke traits he wanted, even if the models he found came from a different era.
“My daughter is like that and I watched her grow up and some of her friends are like that,” he says. “ It came from those places ... They just do what needs to be done. They see what the job is and they get the job done. In wartime, that kind of ability or personality is often needed. It’s not always appreciated, but needed.”
Historically, these women flew heavy bombers and fighters and, when the war ended, were cast aside, Ryan said.
“After the war they were shut down and apparently some of them killed themselves because they couldn’t fly,” Ryan said. “The Russians actually had at least two women who were aces and flew for the Russian air force. But for a lot of these stories, I really had to dig for them.”
Ryan, 58, retired in 2009 after a long career teaching creative writing and other subjects to junior high and high-school students. Sharon Lacey’s outsider status follows a literary pattern of sorts for Ryan. It was during his time in Calgary schools that the idea dawned on him to create a gay protagonist to head a series of Calgary-based mysteries. After seeing two female students in his class bullied because they were gay, he decided to create a heroic gay character. Since then, the driven one-named Detective Lane has gone on to be the hero of five novels, including last year’s Malabarista.
But the idea for Sharon Lacey actually predates the Detective Lane series. Ryan had shelved the book for awhile, but when he found the need for some distraction between Calgary mysteries he returned to the story.
It was a natural fit. Ryan has been a Second World War and aviation buff since he was a kid growing up in Glendale. So immersing himself in the copious amounts of research historical fiction tends to require was a treat, he says. Again, Google came in handy.
“You can actually Google some of the aircraft that she flew and it will almost sit you in the cockpit,” he said. “I got to the air shows, to see what the old aircraft were like and what they sounded like. For me, that’s just really fascinating stuff.”
The research certainly hasn’t seemed to slow down Ryan’s pace. He has already finished three more Lane mysteries and is working on a fourth, which was inspired by a recent trip to Cuba. He’s also busy penning two sequels to Blackbirds.
“I just keep going,” he said. “It’s kind of a compulsion I think.


Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/Heroic+female+pilots+fires+imagination+Calgary+novelist+Garry+Ryan/7527509/story.html#ixzz2DLtqGcPL
In this Google age, it’s not hard to find them.
Just type in Air Transport Auxiliary and the black-and-white faces begin to appear. They were the ambitious women pilots who flew in the face of gender expectations by taking on dangerous aviation missions during the Second World War.
They are fascinating characters and have long captured the imagination of author Garry Ryan, a former school teacher best known for his series of mystery novels featuring gay protagonist Detective Lane.
Long before Lane began patrolling the mean streets of Calgary, Ryan had toyed with the idea of a book featuring a defiant female pilot putting in time for the Air Transit Auxiliary in England.
“It was based on the idea that these young women came all over the world to fly for the ATA,” says Ryan, in an interview from his Calgary home. “So I thought about what sort of young woman would go there and how she would be received and the troubles she would face, especially if she was a better pilot than most of the men.”
So Sharon Lacey was born. In Blackbirds, which is the first of at least three novels that Ryan has planned for the character, she is introduced as a young pilot who travels from her home in Canada to England in 1940 in search of her estranged father. She finds herself involved with the Auxiliary, a British wartime organization made up of civilians that helped ferry military aircraft to various delivery points.
Lacey eventually finds herself enlisted to by the British to help fend of an air attack by the Germans.
The character is not based on a real person, per se. But Ryan knew what broad-stroke traits he wanted, even if the models he found came from a different era.
“My daughter is like that and I watched her grow up and some of her friends are like that,” he says. “ It came from those places ... They just do what needs to be done. They see what the job is and they get the job done. In wartime, that kind of ability or personality is often needed. It’s not always appreciated, but needed.”
Historically, these women flew heavy bombers and fighters and, when the war ended, were cast aside, Ryan said.
“After the war they were shut down and apparently some of them killed themselves because they couldn’t fly,” Ryan said. “The Russians actually had at least two women who were aces and flew for the Russian air force. But for a lot of these stories, I really had to dig for them.”
Ryan, 58, retired in 2009 after a long career teaching creative writing and other subjects to junior high and high-school students. Sharon Lacey’s outsider status follows a literary pattern of sorts for Ryan. It was during his time in Calgary schools that the idea dawned on him to create a gay protagonist to head a series of Calgary-based mysteries. After seeing two female students in his class bullied because they were gay, he decided to create a heroic gay character. Since then, the driven one-named Detective Lane has gone on to be the hero of five novels, including last year’s Malabarista.
But the idea for Sharon Lacey actually predates the Detective Lane series. Ryan had shelved the book for awhile, but when he found the need for some distraction between Calgary mysteries he returned to the story.
It was a natural fit. Ryan has been a Second World War and aviation buff since he was a kid growing up in Glendale. So immersing himself in the copious amounts of research historical fiction tends to require was a treat, he says. Again, Google came in handy.
“You can actually Google some of the aircraft that she flew and it will almost sit you in the cockpit,” he said. “I got to the air shows, to see what the old aircraft were like and what they sounded like. For me, that’s just really fascinating stuff.”
The research certainly hasn’t seemed to slow down Ryan’s pace. He has already finished three more Lane mysteries and is working on a fourth, which was inspired by a recent trip to Cuba. He’s also busy penning two sequels to Blackbirds.
“I just keep going,” he said. “It’s kind of a compulsion I think.


Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/Heroic+female+pilots+fires+imagination+Calgary+novelist+Garry+Ryan/7527509/story.html#ixzz2DLtqGcPL
In this Google age, it’s not hard to find them.
Just type in Air Transport Auxiliary and the black-and-white faces begin to appear. They were the ambitious women pilots who flew in the face of gender expectations by taking on dangerous aviation missions during the Second World War.
They are fascinating characters and have long captured the imagination of author Garry Ryan, a former school teacher best known for his series of mystery novels featuring gay protagonist Detective Lane.
Long before Lane began patrolling the mean streets of Calgary, Ryan had toyed with the idea of a book featuring a defiant female pilot putting in time for the Air Transit Auxiliary in England.
“It was based on the idea that these young women came all over the world to fly for the ATA,” says Ryan, in an interview from his Calgary home. “So I thought about what sort of young woman would go there and how she would be received and the troubles she would face, especially if she was a better pilot than most of the men.”
So Sharon Lacey was born. In Blackbirds, which is the first of at least three novels that Ryan has planned for the character, she is introduced as a young pilot who travels from her home in Canada to England in 1940 in search of her estranged father. She finds herself involved with the Auxiliary, a British wartime organization made up of civilians that helped ferry military aircraft to various delivery points.
Lacey eventually finds herself enlisted to by the British to help fend of an air attack by the Germans.
The character is not based on a real person, per se. But Ryan knew what broad-stroke traits he wanted, even if the models he found came from a different era.
“My daughter is like that and I watched her grow up and some of her friends are like that,” he says. “ It came from those places ... They just do what needs to be done. They see what the job is and they get the job done. In wartime, that kind of ability or personality is often needed. It’s not always appreciated, but needed.”
Historically, these women flew heavy bombers and fighters and, when the war ended, were cast aside, Ryan said.
“After the war they were shut down and apparently some of them killed themselves because they couldn’t fly,” Ryan said. “The Russians actually had at least two women who were aces and flew for the Russian air force. But for a lot of these stories, I really had to dig for them.”
Ryan, 58, retired in 2009 after a long career teaching creative writing and other subjects to junior high and high-school students. Sharon Lacey’s outsider status follows a literary pattern of sorts for Ryan. It was during his time in Calgary schools that the idea dawned on him to create a gay protagonist to head a series of Calgary-based mysteries. After seeing two female students in his class bullied because they were gay, he decided to create a heroic gay character. Since then, the driven one-named Detective Lane has gone on to be the hero of five novels, including last year’s Malabarista.
But the idea for Sharon Lacey actually predates the Detective Lane series. Ryan had shelved the book for awhile, but when he found the need for some distraction between Calgary mysteries he returned to the story.
It was a natural fit. Ryan has been a Second World War and aviation buff since he was a kid growing up in Glendale. So immersing himself in the copious amounts of research historical fiction tends to require was a treat, he says. Again, Google came in handy.
“You can actually Google some of the aircraft that she flew and it will almost sit you in the cockpit,” he said. “I got to the air shows, to see what the old aircraft were like and what they sounded like. For me, that’s just really fascinating stuff.”
The research certainly hasn’t seemed to slow down Ryan’s pace. He has already finished three more Lane mysteries and is working on a fourth, which was inspired by a recent trip to Cuba. He’s also busy penning two sequels to Blackbirds.
“I just keep going,” he said. “It’s kind of a compulsion I think.


Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/Heroic+female+pilots+fires+imagination+Calgary+novelist+Garry+Ryan/7527509/story.html#ixzz2DLtqGcPL
In this Google age, it’s not hard to find them.
Just type in Air Transport Auxiliary and the black-and-white faces begin to appear. They were the ambitious women pilots who flew in the face of gender expectations by taking on dangerous aviation missions during the Second World War.
They are fascinating characters and have long captured the imagination of author Garry Ryan, a former school teacher best known for his series of mystery novels featuring gay protagonist Detective Lane.
Long before Lane began patrolling the mean streets of Calgary, Ryan had toyed with the idea of a book featuring a defiant female pilot putting in time for the Air Transit Auxiliary in England.
“It was based on the idea that these young women came all over the world to fly for the ATA,” says Ryan, in an interview from his Calgary home. “So I thought about what sort of young woman would go there and how she would be received and the troubles she would face, especially if she was a better pilot than most of the men.”
So Sharon Lacey was born. In Blackbirds, which is the first of at least three novels that Ryan has planned for the character, she is introduced as a young pilot who travels from her home in Canada to England in 1940 in search of her estranged father. She finds herself involved with the Auxiliary, a British wartime organization made up of civilians that helped ferry military aircraft to various delivery points.
Lacey eventually finds herself enlisted to by the British to help fend of an air attack by the Germans.
The character is not based on a real person, per se. But Ryan knew what broad-stroke traits he wanted, even if the models he found came from a different era.
“My daughter is like that and I watched her grow up and some of her friends are like that,” he says. “ It came from those places ... They just do what needs to be done. They see what the job is and they get the job done. In wartime, that kind of ability or personality is often needed. It’s not always appreciated, but needed.”
Historically, these women flew heavy bombers and fighters and, when the war ended, were cast aside, Ryan said.
“After the war they were shut down and apparently some of them killed themselves because they couldn’t fly,” Ryan said. “The Russians actually had at least two women who were aces and flew for the Russian air force. But for a lot of these stories, I really had to dig for them.”
Ryan, 58, retired in 2009 after a long career teaching creative writing and other subjects to junior high and high-school students. Sharon Lacey’s outsider status follows a literary pattern of sorts for Ryan. It was during his time in Calgary schools that the idea dawned on him to create a gay protagonist to head a series of Calgary-based mysteries. After seeing two female students in his class bullied because they were gay, he decided to create a heroic gay character. Since then, the driven one-named Detective Lane has gone on to be the hero of five novels, including last year’s Malabarista.
But the idea for Sharon Lacey actually predates the Detective Lane series. Ryan had shelved the book for awhile, but when he found the need for some distraction between Calgary mysteries he returned to the story.
It was a natural fit. Ryan has been a Second World War and aviation buff since he was a kid growing up in Glendale. So immersing himself in the copious amounts of research historical fiction tends to require was a treat, he says. Again, Google came in handy.
“You can actually Google some of the aircraft that she flew and it will almost sit you in the cockpit,” he said. “I got to the air shows, to see what the old aircraft were like and what they sounded like. For me, that’s just really fascinating stuff.”
The research certainly hasn’t seemed to slow down Ryan’s pace. He has already finished three more Lane mysteries and is working on a fourth, which was inspired by a recent trip to Cuba. He’s also busy penning two sequels to Blackbirds.
“I just keep going,” he said. “It’s kind of a compulsion I think.


Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/Heroic+female+pilots+fires+imagination+Calgary+novelist+Garry+Ryan/7527509/story.html#ixzz2DLtqGcPL

Lucile Wise, 92, awaits pilot Chad Graves as the two prepare to fly in a 1942 Boeing-Stearman biplane at Centennial Airport. Wise, with the Women Airforce Service Pilots of World War II, was among the first women to fly military aircraft. This year, they will be honored at the 10th annual gala of Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum on Dec. 21. (Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post)


Read more: Arvada WASP pilot recaptures legacy of Fifinella with biplane flight - The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_21968958/arvada-wasp-pilot-recaptures-legacy-fifinella-biplane-flight#ixzz2DLulAAMs
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Heroic female war pilots fires imagination of Calgary novelist Garry Ryan

Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/Heroic+female+pilots+fires+imagination+Calgary+novelist+Garry+Ryan/7527509/story.html#ixzz2DLtWf2sW

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Mark your Calendar: March 4-10, 2013

From FlightTraining.org:  Women of Aviation Worldwide Week 2013 to focus on aerospace 

(Websites mentioned below are all: http://www.womenofaviationweek.org/contests/invention/)


March 4 through 10, 2013, are the dates of the upcoming Women of Aviation Worldwide Week, and organizers say the 2013 event will focus on opportunities for women in the aerospace industry. The theme ties in with the fiftieth anniversary of the first space flight by a woman, conducted by Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova on June 16, 1963.
Free flights for women and girls, static displays at airports, and special guests are planned at numerous locations in the United States, Canada, and Europe.
“No country harbors as many female astronauts as the United States does,” the nonprofit Institute for Women of Aviation Worldwide said on its website. “The goal is to welcome a female astronaut at each major U.S. event because … most astronauts are first, pilots. What could be a more exciting inspiration for a young woman to earn a pilot license?”
Victoria Neuville, team leader for U.S. events, said her goal is to have at least one event—called Fly It Forward—in each of the 50 states.
Neuville organized Fly It Forward events at Frederick Municipal Airport in Frederick, Md.—AOPA’s home airport—in 2011 and 2012. Frederick Municipal earned the title of Most Female-Friendly Airport in 2011, when 185 girls and women took rides in general aviation aircraft.
She’ll also helm the 2013 Fly It Forward at Frederick Municipal, and said it will be a weeklong event rather than one day.
Fourteen states thus far have scheduled Fly It Forward events for 2013. Once again, there will be worldwide competitions for airports that introduce the greatest number of women and girls to aviation. The flight school that introduces the greatest number of women during that week will be named “most female-pilot-friendly training center worldwide,” and a prize also be awarded to the “most supportive male pilot worldwide”—the one who takes the greatest number of girls and women flying during that week.
Neuville urged interested pilots or aviation groups that would like to sponsor an event to register at the website.
If each event introduces just 100 girls and women to aviation, and just 2 percent of those women are motivated to become private pilots, Neuville explained, that could equate to a 10-percent increase in the annual number of new women private pilots.
New to the Women of Aviation Worldwide Week is the You Are An Inventor contest, open to girls aged 13 to 19. The contest invites participants to design a new padding system or new type of adjustable space suit that improves freedom of movement for tomorrow’s space explorers. The top prize will be a one-hour conversation with a group of astronauts from several countries via Web conferencing. Entries may be submitted beginning Jan. 7, 2013; the deadline is Feb. 8, 2013. See additional information and eligibility requirements on the website.