Your connection with the sky

New Experiences: A Power Pilot Chases a Glider Rating

, May 14th, 2012

"Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off buy viagra online cheap us - pfizer mexico viagra then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can."  - Herman Melville; Moby Dick

I'm not especially "grim about the mouth" (although I love that expression).  And I'm not yet to the point of knocking off people's hats.  But any time I begin to figure that I know a lot about aviation, I account it high time to get into a strange and different aircraft as soon as I can.  So what started as an evil plot by glider instructor John Harte to lure me into training for a new rating has turned into a regular source of joy in my life. Read More >>

Weather (and other inconvenient setbacks)

, April 20th, 2012

Don’t get me wrong—I LOVE weather. But that’s not to say I’ve always loved weather. When I was little, I would take our two little poodles down into the basement with me as the first dark clouds rolled in, and there I would sit until the threat of danger receded. Mind you, there was hardly ever a threat of real danger, but after watching the movie Twister, every storm seemed like it would spawn a tornado at any moment. Today I thrive on the urgency of severe weather. My eyes are glued to the radar and I count down the minutes until I know we’ll get our first rain drops or hear thunder. After that, I can usually be found outside under an overhang or staring out the window enjoying Mother Nature’s wrath. Unfortunately, in the world of aviation, bad weather means one thing—you’re not going anywhere. Thanks to some extremely high winds, dense fog, and unusually early springtime showers, I didn’t go anywhere for almost two weeks.


Can I really do this?

, April 16th, 2012

From the time you were little you knew you wanted to fly. You were enthralled by all sorts of aircraft—airplanes, helicopters, balloons and airships, and anything else that slipped the surly bonds of Earth. Only your imagination limited your possibilities.

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Childhood dreams are a vital inspiration. But now you're grown up and asking yourself some tough questions. What does it take to become a pilot? Can I really do this?

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Learning to fly is a serious undertaking. There are many questions to ask before that first lesson. Let's start with the most basic issues—the ones that often deter would-be pilots from even considering flight training. Read More >>

After the Forced Landing

, April 9th, 2012

I haven’t blogged in quite a while – and got several notes from readers who said “Don’t leave us hanging! What’s the end of the story?” My strong apologies and an explanation. My sister has lung cancer and it metastasized to her brain. I flew overseas to be with her and was gone for almost two months. I didn’t have any energy for blogging. She’s been discharged to hospice care and so we’re in a limbo, waiting. Thankfully, she’s in no pain. It was very hard leaving, knowing that I’ll probably never see her alive again.

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What type of segue sentence can move from that last paragraph to picking up the story of my flight home from Oshkosh? Nothing that I can think of, so I’ll just dive in.

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At the end of my last blog entry, I wrote how I’d had a forced landing in a field in Custer, WY. I was more annoyed than frightened when the engine quit. I’ve done dead sticks before, and in this case I was over wonderful landing spots: lots of wheat fields. I set up for a glide to a particularly large field, and brought her down nice and slow and straight, aligned with the pattern of the plowing. (You can tell that by looking at the edges of the fields.) I felt pretty good as my wheels started to touch the tops of the wheat – and was absolutely astounded when I suddenly found myself upside down, hanging from my harness, my face tickled by wheat! Read More >>

Mrs. Alaska U.S. All World Beauties 2012 and 'GirlsFlyToo' platform travels to Dallas for WAI Conference

, March 27th, 2012


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This year I was able to attend the Women in Aviation International conference in Dallas, Texas.  It was an amazing experience for me as Mrs. Alaska U.S. All World Beauties – and great exposure for my platform ‘GirlsFlyToo!’  It was very inspirational for me to meet so many other men and women that see the importance of promoting this platform.  ‘GirlsFlyToo’ is so important to the state of Alaska – as we are a mecca of aviation, but this platform draws a much larger national audience. Read More >>

Let's Keep Making GA Memories

, March 22nd, 2012

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Those who lived through it know where they were when they first heard the Beatles, when man first stepped on the moon or, sadly, when planes crashed into the World Trade Center.  On a more personal level there are life events that are elevated to the same status such as a wedding day or the birth of a child.  For pilots, there are several occasions that meet these standards.  Every pilot remembers their first solo, earning their private pilot’s license and probably even the tail number of the airplanes those feats were accomplished in (for me it was a Cessna 152 N5493L). 

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Heading Home From Oshkosh

, January 31st, 2012

After a week at Oshkosh, we were ready to head home. The first day out, we had a steady headwind of about 6-10 mph and averaged 60-65 mph over the ground. (At least that's what Wayne and I did - Bob as usual zipped along much more quickly.) My Talon was so perfectly trimmed out that when I was trying to remove one sectional from the rubber bands around my right thigh (the way I keep my sectional in sight in my open cockpit aircraft) to get to the underlying sectional and both sectionals suddenly sprung free - I grabbed for them, totally taking both hands off throttle and stick. Caught them - and suddenly realized that the plane was just flying along straight and level with absolutely no rudder or stick inputs. Yeah! Read More >>

A Wonderful Week at Oshkosh

, January 20th, 2012

What can I say about Oshkosh- the largest airshow in the world? (Although the sponsoring organization, the Experimental Aircraft Association, calls it AirVenture, everyone calls it Oshkosh.)

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First, there were planes, planes and more planes. People come to see the planes, and there were thousands of planes. I heard that over 10,000 planes fly in and during the week it is the busiest airport in the world! Hundreds of RVs (the planes, not the camping vehicles,) hundreds of Cessnas, hundreds of everything, it seemed. Read More >>

Pat O'Malley's Jet Room

, December 5th, 2011

Now that the Thanksgiving break has come to a close, it’s time to get back to business.  With a mere three weeks left in the semester, there is a lot of flying to be had with little time to have it.  Although the break was meant for relaxation, I managed to get some flying in (not to say that it wasn’t relaxing!).  It occurred to me earlier this year that in the two years I’ve had my pilot’s certificate, my family had never flown with me.  I felt sort of guilty since they had provided me so much support during my initial training.  I asked my sister, Jessica, if she would like to get lunch with me on Black Friday.  We set a departure time of 10:00 am so we could both participate in the crazy Black Friday crowds. Read More >>

Debriefing at ICAS 2011

, December 5th, 2011

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I'm at the 2011 annual convention of the International Council of Air Shows at Paris Las Vegas.  It's an annual gathering of almost everyone who matters in the airshow industry.  The image above is from the welcome reception last night.  ICAS is always festive.  It's a reuinion of really good friends who might not see much of each other over the course of the year.  Or, if they do see each other at airshows, everybody's working and there isn't time to catch up. Read More >>