Has it really been 5 years?


Discovery Final Fly By

How ironic is it that it was Discovery that did the flyby today over Washington DC, amidst the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, and the Capitol? Atop a Boeing 747, it soared over the Nation’s Capital at 1500 ft waving a final goodbye before gliding to a landing at it’s final resting place: National Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center in Dulles, VA.

After a sweeping low flyby past the Washington Monument, it looped over the National Mall not once but twice, slow, silent yet graceful. Past the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, the Capitol, The White House, Lincoln Memorial and Jefferson Memorial. After two graceful loops over the mall, she finally bid adieu headed up the Potomac River past the SW Waterfront,  Reagan National Airport and finally Dulles International Airport. Crowds thronged the mall and other lookout areas taking a break from school, work and other activities to catch a glimpse of history, anxious to snap a photo and discuss the times they had watched a shuttle launch out in Titusville.

When NASA announced the end of the Space Shuttle Missions in 2010, it was finally now or never. It was STS 133 launch that I was scheduled to watch. After several failed attempts to procure KSC launch tickets, my friends and I managed to buy the Dolphin Tours Causeway launch package for STS-133 which was scheduled to liftoff on Nov 1st, 2010. As fate willed it, after waiting almost a week in Florida with daily postponements to the next day, STS-133 launch got scrubbed and re-scheduled for Feb 24th, 2011 when Discovery  accomplished it’s final mission before being retired from service.

It was to be never for me since I have never watched a Shuttle launch or landing. So it is especially a bitter sweet moment to finally see Discovery not on a launchpad strapped to solid rocket boosters 10 miles away blasting off gracefully to space on a crimson and pristine predawn Florida sky but 1500 ft above Washington DC, piggybacked on a Boeing 747.

Discovery  and so we finally meet 🙂

See Also:

Atlantis: Final Flight 
SpaceShipOne Government Zero
SpaceShipOne and I
I touched SpaceShipOne
Lost in Space

Today in Transportation History – 1912: The First Woman to Fly Across the English Channel — Transportation History


Aviation pioneer Harriet Quimby became the first woman to fly across the English Channel. The Michigan-born pilot departed Dover, England, for Calais, France, in a monoplane that she had never flown before and with a compass she had just recently learned to use. Quimby, despite those challenges as well as thick fog that limited visibility […]

via Today in Transportation History – 1912: The First Woman to Fly Across the English Channel — Transportation History

Unforgettable: A Review


After a rejuvenating Young Women in Engineering Event, meeting and networking with high school girls, I was reminded of what inspired me.

First posted in 2003.

From Fall of 2000. Enjoy!

Unforgettable.

Yes that is how every memory we make is.

Unforgettable by Lane Wallace is a book about flying. It is about Lane’s ten best flights. From the Swiss Alps to Key West, from Alaska to Sudan to Mexico and even to the edge of space.

Unforgettable is also about the passion and the joy of flying: be it in a piper cub, a U-2 space plane,  a blimp or a Grumman Cheetah.

Unforgettable is also about the wonder of flying: the emotions that race through the authors mind as she experiences and explores the world.

Each experience is unique and unforgettable and provides valuable insights into life, living, the joy of flying and the incredible resilience and fortitude of the human race for survival and happiness. Ultimately you must feel it personally to experience any connection with the author’s view. If you are passionate about flying, and enjoy the simple joy of it, Unforgettable is a must read.

One fine October day, several years ago, I had the distinct pleasure to attend an event that left a tremendous impact on me. I had just soled and was flying my first cross country to Santa Barbara (SBA) with my flight instructor. As we landed after the cross country flight, my instructor had said:

“I have an extra ticket to the SLO99s banquet, do you want to go?”

“Sure”, I responded, even though I was excited and tired after our flight. Although I had heard about the 99s, in those days, as a future women pilot, I was not eligible for membership.

As I listened to the calm, quiet voice of Lane and her passionate exposition on the wonder and joy of flying, my own enthusiasm and passions were sharply awakened. Writing was something I had yearned to do since I was in high school. Here and now was a voice I could relate to. The emotions, the excitement and the passions that Lane described appeared so inline with my own views and passions about flying. That unforgettable day, rekindled the fires within me to write.  In actuality my flying adventures are the fodder to my writing. Since that fateful day, I have devoured the Flying Magazine (i.e. until recently :-)). The first article I always read was Flying Lessons by Lane Wallace. More recently my copy of the Sport Aviation Magazine actually started to see some wear. Unfailingly, on the day I receive it, I swiftly open it to get my fill  of Flying Lessons by Lane Wallace.

You can learn more about Lane by visiting her personal websites:

Lane Wallace
No Map, No Guide, No Limits

Find the book on Amazon or Sporty’s.

Monday Morning Inspiration: First African American Woman in Space


“Never be limited by other people’s limited imaginations…If you adopt their attitudes, then the possibility won’t exist because you’ll have already shut it out … You can hear other people’s wisdom, but you’ve got to re-evaluate the world for yourself.”

                                                                                                         — Dr Mae Jemison

Dr. Mae Jemison  is an American Astronaut & Physician. She was born on October 17, 1956 in Decatur, AL. She obtained her BS  degree in Chemical Engineering from Stanford in 1977 and an M.D. from Cornell University in 1981. She served in the Peace Corps for 2 1/2 years and became the first African American selected to the NASA Astronaut Program in 1987.

She also became the first African American Women in Space when she orbited the Earth for  190 hrs, 30 minutes, and 23 seconds, with six other astronauts on STS-47 mission on September 12 1992.

After leaving NASA in 1993, she taught at Dartmouth College,  and  currently runs BioSentient Corp, a medical technology company. She continues to be a strong advocate for science eduction

March is Women History Month and Women of Aviation Month.

See Also:
Biography.com
NASA Astronaut Bio
Air and Space

Monday Morning Inspiration: First American Woman in Space


Sally Ride

Sally Ride's official astronaut portrait

Photo Courtesy: NASA

Sally Ride was born on May 26th, 1951 in Encino, CA. Older of two daughters, her interest in science grew at an early age. She went on to get a bachelor of science in Physics, a bachelor of arts in English, a master of science and a PhD in physics from Stanford University.

When NASA was looking for woman astronaut candidates in 1977, Sally Ride was one of the six women selected. She became the first American woman in space when she flew aboard Space Shuttle Challenger on June 18th, 1983.

She made two shuttle flights, and later became a champion for science education and a role model for generations. She wrote five science related children’s books and co-founded, Sally Ride Science, to encourage children, especially girls, to study science.

She died of cancer in 2012.

March is Women History Month & Women of Aviation Month.

See Also:

NASA Bio
Sally Ride: First American Woman in Space

First female combat pilot and mother of the air ambulance: The remarkable story of Marie Marvingt — Hush-Kit


Amelia Earhart was all very well, but did she cycle the Tour de France? Amy Johnson was pretty good but did she swim the length of the Seine? Jackie Cochran achieved a lot but was she the champion precision shooter of all France? No. And how many people fly in a supersonic Voodoo jet on their 80th birthday? The remarkable…

via First female combat pilot and mother of the air ambulance: The remarkable story of Marie Marvingt — Hush-Kit

Monday Morning Inspiration: Suzanne Asbury-Oliver


Love in the Clouds

Photo Courtesy: Smithsonian

Suzanne Asbury-Oliver is the only professional female skywriter in the world. She started flying gliders when she was only 14,  soloing at 15 and by the time she was 18, she was a Certified Flight Instructor.

She has been skywriting the skies of United States and Canada for Pepsi Cola Company since 1980. In fact, she met her husband Steve Oliver at the Kentucky Derby while she was skywriting for Pepsi and he was banner towing advertisements in his 1941 Stearman. She and her husband own their own plane and skywriting business called Olivers Flying Circus.

March is Women History Month and Women of Aviation Month.

See Also:

Smithsonian Women in Aviation & Space
Olivers Flying Circus

 

Happy International Women’s Day


Avani Chaturvedi

Source: Indianwomenblog.org

There was a news item earlier this week that Indian Women Pilots have surpassed the global average. I had written a brief article last year about how, even though there is no General Aviation activity, the proportion of women pilots in India was higher than other countries.

This past week, Avani Chaturvedi became the first Indian Women to fly a fighter jet solo, a MIG -21 Bison for 30 minutes. What is remarkable is, she is 24 years old and is one of the three women inducted into the Indian Air Force. The other two women are Bavana Kanth and Mohana Singh.

See Also:

Indian Women Pilots
First Indian Women to Fly a Fighter Jet
Indian Women Soar past the Global Average

 

Today in Women’s Transportation History – 1931: An Aviation Legend is Born — Transportation History


Geraldyn “Jerrie” M. Cobb, a well-established female trailblazer of the skies, was born in Norman, Oklahoma. Her father was a pilot and, with his encouragement, she developed a strong interest in aviation at an early age. By the time she was 12, Cobb was learning how to fly in her father’s 1936 Waco Aircraft Company […]

via Today in Women’s Transportation History – 1931: An Aviation Legend is Born — Transportation History

Monday Morning Inspiration: Blanche Stuart Scott


First Women to Fly

Blanche Scott was the first women to drive across the United States and the first women to fly.

Born in 1889, Blanche Scott’s life spanned from the era of airplane invention, to seeing the first man walk on the moon. In an age when women couldn’t vote and their place was considered to be at home, she became the first woman to drive across the US. There were only 218 miles of roads outside the cities.

Photo courtesy Wikepedia: Blanche Stuart Scott seated at the controls of a Curtiss Model D, circa early 1910s.

Some aviation firsts:

  • She became the first women to take a shot solo hop in the air, when an aircraft she was taxing lifted off the ground.
  • She was the first and only women to receive flight instruction from Glenn Curtiss.
  • She made her first public flight  in October 1910.
  • She set the women’s long distance record for flight of 10 miles and later 25 miles in 1911
  • She became the first women test pilot in America,  the first woman stunt pilot or The Tomboy of the Air
  • She played the lead role in The Aviator’s Bride, the first movie about flying
  • She was also the first women passenger to ride in a passenger jet

March is Women History Month, and Women of Aviation Month.

See Also:

National Women’s Hall of Fame
Smithsonian – Women in Aviation and Space History
Early Aviators