Posts Tagged ‘aviation’

Catching up with…Victoria Neuville Zajko

Friday, September 5th, 2014

Victoria Zajko (left), holds Turbo; Kelly Kennedy is shown with Olive. Zajko and Kennedy have written a children's book, "Turbo the Flying Dog."

Victoria Zajko (left), holds Turbo; Kelly Kennedy is shown with Olive. Zajko and Kennedy have written a children’s book, “Turbo the Flying Dog.”


After successfully managing several events aimed at introducing girls and women to aviation—some local, some worldwide—Victoria Neuville Zajko was looking for a new project. She didn’t have to look far, because the source of inspiration was gnawing on a toy in her home.

Zajko and friend Kelly Kennedy have written a children’s book, Turbo the Flying Dog, loosely based on her own dog’s adventures. She and husband Bob adopted the pup in 2012 and brought him home in their Glasair. Since then, Turbo has become a familiar sight at Frederick Municipal Airport, and if the Zajkos are flying somewhere, he almost always can be found in the backseat of the Glasair, sporting Mutt-Muffs.

Co-author Kennedy owns Olive, the little Schnauzer-Poodle who is Turbo’s friend, both in the book and in real life.

“We were just talking about how we’d rescued Turbo, and how he’d logged 10 hours of time” in his first year, when the idea of creating a children’s book quickly came together, Zajko said. Turbo, who has his own logbook as well as a Facebook page and Instagram account, has many followers on social media who have responded enthusiastically to the project. His younger fans have sent him crayon drawings.

Turbo the Flying Dog focuses on Turbo’s adoption and how he has to overcome his fear of flying so that he can go to his new home, Zajko said. Future titles include Turbo Learns to Fly and Turbo Flies into History. The series is targeted to ages 4 to 8 and will include themes of general aviation, animal rescue, and diversity.

Zajko and Kennedy have created a Kickstarter campaign to get the books off the ground. If you’d like to support the project, go here. The first book is slated to arrive in December.  The campaign ends Nov. 2.

Designs from a new generation

Monday, June 10th, 2013

A week from today, two teams of high school students will be rolling up their sleeves to start putting together two Glasair Sportsman 2+2s. The teams, from high schools in Saline, Mich., and Canby, Minn., were the winners of a nationwide aviation design challenge competition sponsored by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association and Build A Plane, a nonprofit organization that promotes aviation and aerospace education (and does so through a wide range of activities—which I will discuss in a future blog).

The kids won the challenge by creating an airplane design and test flying a virtual airplane. Lest you think these kids simply plugged some numbers into a program, they went through a monthlong curriculum to get to the design portion. And the software recorded parameters such as time, distance,  fuel efficiency, and more. And their designs were judged and analyzed by a team of aviation engineers.

I thought you’d like to see what these students came up with. Here’s Saline’s design. Can you guess which Experimental airplane served as the inspiration? Extra points if you can name the exact model of that Experimental:

SWWC plane

and a view from the cockpit:

Redies cockpit


And here is Canby’s design:

Lutgen rear view

It’ll be fun to see how these kids bridge the gap from the virtual world to the physical process of assembling an airplane. I’ll be there for the first part of the two-week build to bring you the action, and I might even get a chance to do some riveting myself.  Look for more blogs on Reporting Points, plus an article in a future issue of AOPA Pilot.

Teddy bear pilot is one cool dude

Sunday, May 15th, 2011

Bring the kids to the computer. Both the model airplane and the bear-pilot are remotely controlled, as are the cameras.  For those that haven’t seen it, click here . Or, if you want to fly your own autonomous drone, check out DIY Drones here.