The Case of the Mysterious Biplane

My husband has a new hobby– uncovering the family history. A few weeks ago a distant cousin came up with a photo of two relatives standing in front of a biplane. We knew their names and that they were from the Atlanta area. The young gentleman held a stylish straw hat with the ribbon band popular in the late twenties and early thirties.

The Mysterious Biplane Family Photo

The Mysterious Biplane Family Photo

Being a family full of pilots, we had to discover something about the plane behind them. So I posted it on Facebook, friends started passing it around (thanks to you all), and the guesses started coming in. Each time someone proposed a possible plane (Sopwith Camel (supposedly offered in jest), Travel Air, Waco, Stearman), I spent time on-line looking it up. However, biplanes are a true weakness in our household repertoire and I failed to get any kind of match.

This weekend I attended a 99s meeting (women pilot’s organization). While there I mentioned to Bobbi Lasher about the biplane mystery. Without a second thought, she said send it her way. So I did, expecting another wait and round of guessing. Never underestimate a 99. She sent the photo out to over 170 aviation friends and information started coming in almost immediately. Would these new guesses to the plane’s identity match up with the facts concerning the young couple?

Dick Peiffer, from the Melbourne Area Pilots Association, in particular mentioned taking a close-up look at the aircraft and seeing lettering on it beside the couple. He was pretty sure it said “MAIL.” I took the photo and did my best to enhance that area. Below is the photo showing my efforts where the writing and symbol on the side can now be seen more clearly. But still, I wasn’t sure of the plane’s identity.

Photo enhanced picture after Dick Peiffer suggested he could read something on the aircraft.

Photo enhanced picture after Dick Peiffer suggested he could read MAIL on the aircraft.

AldermanSymblCrop2

Close-up of symbol and writing on side of aircraft.

Wayne Eleazer, an Air Force Lt. Col who retired after 25 years of active duty, came in with the first identification. Here’s what he had to say:

“My first thought was that it was a Pitcairn, since they have characteristic sleek and small rear fuselages and hefty fronts. And looking in the Juptner book (Reference: U.S. Civil Aircraft Series, by Joseph Juptner, Vol 1, P.228) at Pitcairns, I found that there is an “airfoil” symbol visible below the cockpit of one of the pictures of a Mailwing. The Juptner book has a couple of pieces on the Mailwing, one for each of ATC number assigned each version. That seemed to confirm it.”

This upclose look at the Pitcairn Mailwing symbol from Wikipedeia and attributed to Photographer FlugKerl2, 25 July 2011, is from a PA-7s Mailwing. This one appears to be sport configuration with Mail paint scheme.

This up close look at the Pitcairn Mailwing symbol from Wikipedeia and attributed to Photographer FlugKerl2, 25 July 2011, is from a PA-7 Mailwing. This one appears to be sport configuration with Mail paint scheme.

“The aircraft appears to be a Pitcairn Super Sport Mailwing, PA-6, which was the Mailwing mail carrying aircraft modified for passenger use. Normally that big hole in front of the cockpit would be for carrying mail or in the case of the Super Sport, a covered compartment for up to two passengers. The type certificate ATC #92 for the PA-6 was issued in December of 1928 and the revised type certificate for the Super Sport was issued in April of 1929.”

Wayne also mentioned he thought the aircraft may have been modified for airshow use. I’m guessing his reasoning came from the tall pole-like object seen sticking up behind the cockpit. [Update: Wayne later checked with his radio expert friends, who believe the tall object/pole is an antenna.] To help see the Pitcairn symbol being discussed, I added the detailing in yellow to highlight the areas from two photos above.

Overlay indicating the writing and Pitcairn symbol on aircraft.

Overlay indicating the writing and Pitcairn symbol on aircraft.

Aviation friend and pilot Bill Weiler also sent a long list of resources to check out which I’ll post at the end of the blog and he had this to say about the family photo:

“Absolutely a Pitcairn, but not totally sure of the exact model. A few confirming details are the logo markings, though faded on the subject aircraft, the elevator control wire location coming up from below, the shape of the pilot’s cockpit cut out, the windscreen, the longeron locations coming from the tail to the turtle deck behind the pilot, the bell crank location on the full span aileron, and the length and shape of the forward cockpit appears it’s a modified mail plane rather than a sport version. My guess is it’s an early PA-6 or very late PA-5 because of the lack of an engine cowling and the apparent extended fuselage.”

“Here’s a good PA-5 picture.”

“They claimed the PA-7 was the first 3 passenger, but it looks like when they created the cut out from the mail plane version there was enough room for 2 – and I’m sure no one worried about seat belts and gross weight. It does not appear to have a front windscreen like this PA-7 does.”

***So with all this good information about it being a Pitcairn, does it fit the family scenario?***

Remember back at the beginning I mentioned we believe the photo was taken in the Atlanta area? Would there have been any Pitcairn Mailwing aircraft in the region? My answer comes from Wikipedia so take it as you will. It all starts with FLORIDA AIRWAYS that Eddie Rickenbacker helped start in Florida in 1923. The airline flew to Tampa, Jacksonville and Miami. Florida Airways was the first to carry Commercial Air Mail (CAM) and eventually expanded the mail route to Atalanta in 1926. There could even be the initials C.A.M. under the word MAIL in the family photo, but it is impossible to see it.

Yea! Now we have an Atlanta connection. However, the planes they were flying were Stout 2AT’s like those pictured below.

This photo is of Ford's Stout 2AT's now in the Florida Photographic Collection

This photo is of Ford’s Stout 2AT’s (from the Florida Photographic Collection). Taken June 1926.

To expand the routes and stay in business, the airline needed to fly to Cuba. Pan American Airways beat them to exclusive rights. This was the demise of Florida Airways which was bought out by Harold Pitcairn (later to become Eastern Airlines). Pitcairn had the mail contract between New York City and Atlanta, Georgia flying the Pitcairn Mailwing biplane. Again this fits with the family being in Atlanta. Pitcairn was bought out in 1929 by the company that eventually became Eastern Airlines. That would place our photo likely before 1929 (before the logo would have picked up Eastern Air Transport and be painted on the Mailwing). This photo of a Pitcairn PA-5 in the Air and Space Museum shows that newer logo.

Pitcairn PA-5 Mailwing in Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, Washington D.C. Photo by Parks 2015

Pitcairn PA-5 Mailwing in Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, Washington D.C. Photo by Parks 2015

Close-up of PA-5 in Air and Space Museum.

Close-up of PA-5 in Air and Space Museum.

I certainly learned something about Florida’s involvement in the early air mail service along with tying in part of my hubby’s extended family history. Thanks to everyone who pitched in with information and links. If you’re interested in seeing more photos of Mailwings or further extending your knowledge, here’s a list of additional links.

Thanks for stopping by.

Some more good links from Bill Weiler:

Wikipedia Pitcairn_Aircraft

Aerofiles

Pitcairn-PA-6-Super-Mailwing-pictures

Elizabeth Pitcairn USplane PA-7

Airminded Photos and Specs

Wikipedia Pitcairn Mailwing

Interesting that Steve McQueen owned a PA-8.

Fun Flying at Valkaria Air Fest 2013

The wind blustered along the parking and ramp areas at Valkaria Air Fest on Saturday, April 20. Although overcast, the ceiling kept the temperatures cool and stayed high enough for afternoon to early evening flying. The weather scared some fans away, but others came to watch the performances, and get rides in aircraft like the Huey and Cobra helicopters, a Pitt Special, and a biplane. Up front, I will say the gray skies were not optimum for photography, nor the drizzle once it started, so the photos are not the crisp ones you might expect. Sorry about that. Next time someone needs to let mother nature know.

People are almost as much fun to watch, as an air show. One particular fan, Courtney Leighann, stood at the flightline perimeter and collected autographs of the air show pilots. This is the kind of young fan we need to attract to aviation. Notice she is standing in front of Patty Wagstaff’s EA 300/S and has her autographed photo in hand. Patty even posted Courtney’s photo on her Facebook site. A real inspiration to young people interested in aviation. Thanks, Patty. To other young people like Courtney Leighann, check out the Civil Air Patrol in your area. A great way to become involved in aviation and do public service at the same time.

Air Fest fan Courtney Leighann holding autographed photo of Patty Wagstaff (Patty's EA 300/S in background)

Air Fest fan Courtney Leighann holding autographed photo of Patty Wagstaff (Patty’s EA 300/S in background)

While the powerful modern aircraft capture the wow factor, I have to admit I find the old aircraft capture my imagination. A 1941 Waco UPF-7 biplane with a gray and blue U.S. Navy paint scheme sat near the fuel pumps. The UPF-7 designation had been adopted for the Civilian Pilot Training Program and were built until 1942. The one pictured below is owned by Florida Biplanes (Eric Howe pilot and located in Merritt Island Airport and Titusville/Space Coast Airport), and they provide open cockpit rides (be sure to strap in). The pilot sits in the back seat and the front has a tandem cockpit configured to handle two passengers. If you want to catch a ride sometime, you can get more information at their website.

WACO UPF-7 Built 1941 belonging to Florida Biplanes.

WACO UPF-7 Built 1941 belonging to Florida Biplanes.

One of the top-notch performers was three-time U.S. National Aerobatic Champion Patty Wagstaff flying a German Extra 300S (more aircraft details can be found on her website) powered by a Lycoming 330hp engine. It was my first time to see her show and kept me glued in place even as the weather turned to drizzle. Wow.

Patty Wagstaff in her Extra 300/S aerobatic plane.

Patty Wagstaff in her Extra 300/S aerobatic plane.

DSC_0351

Patty’s amazing record of aerobatic championships and flying on the vertical stabilizer of her Extra 300/S.

Before the rain set in and during a break in the flying, I had a chance to walk around and ran into Women In Aviation (WAI) members representing the FL Tech chapter (yes, the organization welcomes men). Other organizations also had people available to answer questions, assist with the airshow, and tout membership in flying organizations.

Women In Aviation Florida Tech Chapter

Women In Aviation Florida Tech Chapter
From left to right in the photo are Mike Dorow, Gabrielle Landry (President of the chapter), Rosie Piscitelli, and Kenny Peden.

Florida Tech students assisting at the Air Fest.

Florida Tech students assisting at the Air Fest.

Aero Club Valkaria

Aero Club Valkaria

Aerobatic Plane Rides attended with their Pitts Special S-2B and Schleicher ASK-21 glider used for soaring and aerobatics. The weather allowed flights in the Pitt, but nixed any chance of glider rides. If you missed out, the Eagle Sport Aviation (ESA) club is based out of Deland, Florida and can be contacted about rides in the Pitts, ASK-21, and a 1946 Piper J3 Cub. One of the club instructors also made his air show debut with a great demonstration of aerobatic maneuvers.

EagleSport1

One of the things I noted on the ESA Pitts Special, was a unique double spoke and wheel set up on one side of the aircraft (see photo below). I spoke with current president, Alain Aguayo, of ESA to ask about its use. The gist (from my POV as a non aerobatic pilot) is that it provides a visual to help the pilot observe his position with the horizon during aerobatic maneuvers. Similar (triangular versions) are also visible on other aerobatic planes flown at the air fest. One additional training feature for aerobatic students, is the orange string on the end of the apparatus. When doing a hammer-head stall, the string hangs straight until the stall is complete, then starts to bunch up, and that is the moment to kick the plane over (any corrections on my explanation are welcome).

Tool mounted to help pilots properly align to horizon during various maneuvers.Set up for pilots in either front or back cockpit.

Tool mounted to help pilots properly align to horizon during various aerobatic maneuvers. Set up for pilots in either front or back of cockpit.

Close up.

Close up. Note orange yarn tied onto the end.

EagleSportPres

For anyone under the impression that flying is an “old man’s” sport, meet Alain Aguayo, current president of EAS. Thanks for taking the time to talk with me about your aircraft and organization.

Not everything performing at the air fest had wings per say. Roy Davis in a gyrocopter did a low-level performance, flying backwards and demonstrating autorotation (engine power off) where air flowing over large upper blade provides lift as the craft descends. That begs the question, what’s the difference between a helicopter and a gyrocopter? The engine of a helicopter turns the large blade (rotor) that sits on top the helicopter. Air gets forced down. That produces lift. On a gyrocopter, the large blade on top is not connected to the engine. It turns freely, powered by the gyrocopter moving forward through the air, thus producing lift. The small propeller to the back (can be front) of the gyrocopter creates the forward trust (rear propeller moving too fast to be seen in the photos below).

Roy Davis Gyrocopter at Valkaria 2013 (Rotax engine).

Roy Davis Gyrocopter at Valkaria 2013.

Roy Davis performing aerobatics with his gyrocopter.

Roy Davis performing aerobatics with his gyrocopter.

In between acts, Sheriff Rosco kept the crowds in line and gave the kids someone to “be on the look out” for in his hunt for Hotwire Harry. If you watched carefully (or not too carefully since the “Sheriff” made liberal use of his car siren), you would have caught Jeff Moss dressed up as Sheriff Rosco finally tackle Hotwire Harry (in an orange prison jumpsuit) and carry him away in his security vehicle. While I didn’t get to see the flying portion of their performance, I did snap the sheriff’s photo and caught a glimpse of Harry checking out Gene Soucy’s biplane. You can check out details of their show at the Tiger Air Shows website.

Sheriff Rosco and his modern transportation. Where's the horse?

Sheriff Rosco and his modern transportation. Gotta love a guy and his mustache. But where’s the horse?

A brief break in the air show came as four pilots took to the air for a missing man formation pass to honor former air show performer Fred Cabanas the “General of the Conch Republic Air Force.” He is known for many more exploits, including dedicating his performances to the Men and Women of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Salute to Freddy Cabana with a missing man formation.

Salute to Fred Cabanas with a missing man formation. That is Patty Wagstaff pulling out and leaving the gap in the formation.

The remaining photos are of other aircraft performers or interesting shots of their aircraft. Descriptions are in the captions. Here’s hoping for clear skies at Valkaria Air Fest 2014.

Jason Newburg's Air Hogs. A full size version of Air Hogs remote control plane.

Jason Newburg’s Air Hogs. A full size version of Air Hogs remote control plane.

Paul Schulten Aviat Eagle II.

Paul Schulten Aviat Eagle II.

With family members from Georgia Tech famous for its Yellow Jackets mascot, I had to take a close look at the killer bee tail art on Keith Lickteig's 2005 Extra 300/L.

With family members from Georgia Tech famous for its Yellow Jackets mascot, I had to take a close look at the killer bee tail art on Keith Lickteig’s 2005 Extra 300/L.

One of the Twin Tiger Aerobatic Team aircraft flown by Buck Roetman and Mark Sorenson. They are a precision formation aerial demonstration team.

One of the Twin Tiger Aerobatic Team aircraft flown by Buck Roetman and Mark Sorenson. They are a precision formation aerial demonstration team.

One of the AeroShell T-6 Texans from team of Brian Reagan and Gene McNeely..

One of the AeroShell T-6 Texans from team of Brian Reagan and Gene McNeely..

Gene Soucy and his 1972 Grumman G-164A "Show cat."

Gene Soucy and his 1972 Grumman G-164A “Show cat.”

Something enticing about this aircraft (probably why I took a lot of photos). I had fun explaining to one of the teens there why pilots often make S turns as they taxi. Here's a good look at why. Seeing up over that engine is not easy, so they clear by making the turns.

Something enticing about this aircraft (probably why I took a lot of photos). I had fun explaining to one of the teens nearby why pilots often make S turns as they taxi. Here’s a good look at why. Seeing up over that engine is not easy, so they clear by making the turns.

One thing nice about planes that move slower. They can be easier to photograph. Notice how gray the skies are getting.

One thing nice about planes that move slower…they can be easier to photograph. Notice how gray the skies are getting.

I love seeing this plane in flight, flying slow at almost every attitude, even inverted (one reason to be strapped-in in an open cockpit).

I love seeing this plane in flight, flying slow at almost every attitude, even inverted.

If you enjoyed looking through these photos or learned anything new, I’d love to hear from you, so please leave a comment (click near title above). Thanks and blue skies.

CAP Assists at TICO Warbird Airshow March 22-24

CAPtail

Tail CAP plane

Civil Air Patrol members from the Florida wing converged at Space Coast Regional Airport in Titusville, Florida to assist with the TICO Warbird 2013 Airshow. The three day airshow was dedicated to all veterans of the military services with a special recognition of the 70th anniversary of the Boeing B-17F Flying Fortress “Memphis Belle.”

Valiant Air Command, a non-profit organization dedicated to research and warbird restoration, sponsored the show to share the story of these aircraft and their crews who gave their lives to protect this country. To serve that purpose year round, they have a museum opened seven days a week which has been recently certified by the USAF National Museum. The Command’s signature aircraft is the Tico Belle (seen below), a workhorse in several wars starting with World War II. The aircraft is fully restored and available for rides.

Valiant Air Command's C-47 "Tico Belle."

Valiant Air Command’s C-47 “Tico Belle.”

Civil Air Patrol members came from Orlando, TICO, Seminole, UCF FL-242, Central Florida, Patrick, Osceola, and Palm Bay Squadrons, and Deland and Merritt Island Flights. They directed traffic, helped with parking, manned cordoned areas for safety and security, assisted with helicopter rides, worked the main gates, sold tickets, and manned a CAP booth and aircraft display.

CAP assisting the "Sky Soldiers, Army Aviation Heritage Foundation as they gave rides on the UH-1H Iroquiois "Huey", an Army aviation troop transport.

CAP assisting the “Sky Soldiers” Army Aviation Heritage Foundation as they gave rides on the UH-1H Iroquois “Huey”, an Army aviation troop transport.

The photos on this blog were taken by Sandy Parks of the Friday crew. Some of those photographed were busy executing their jobs and unavailable to give out their names. If you recognize anyone not identified, please leave a comment and the information will be updated. Not pictured, but much appreciated is CAP organizer Capt. Sue Martin.

Cadet Feliciano UCF FL-242 and Cadet Martin selling tickets at Gate 2.

Cadet Feliciano, UCF FL-242 Squadron, and Cadet Martin selling tickets at Gate 2.

Hannah Clarke, Merritt Island Flight, directing traffic to parking area.

Alex Cabera UCF FL 242 Squadron directed traffic in Gate 2.

Alex Cabera, UCF FL-242 Squadron, directed traffic into Gate 2.

Clarkeface
Hannah Clarke, Merritt Island Flight.

Two CAP members selling tickets at Gate 2.

Two CAP members selling tickets at Gate 2.

Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress at TICO Warbird 2013 Airshow.

Boeing B-17G “Chuckie” Flying Fortress at TICO Warbird 2013 Airshow. Aircraft is from Military Aviation Museum, Virginia Beach, Virginia.

John McMillen, TICO squadron, on traffic duty.

John McMillen, TICO Squadron, on traffic duty.

Chris Bernhardt, Seminole Squadron, parking vehicles.

Chris Bernhardt, Seminole Squadron, parking vehicles.

Chris Bernhardt, Seminole squadron, learning the art of tight parking.

Chris Bernhardt, Seminole Squadron, learning the art of tight parking.

Kenny Palacio, UCF FL-242, directing traffic.

Kenny Palacio, UCF FL-242, directing traffic.

North American B-25 "Mitchell" bomber. A medium bomber named in honor of Genral Billy Mitchell and used in the 1942 Doolittle Raid.
North American B-25 “Mitchell” bomber. A medium bomber named in honor of General Billy Mitchell and used in the 1942 Doolittle Raid.
Joshua Martin, Deland flight, securing pilot's gate.

Joshua Martin, Deland Flight, securing pilot’s gate near pilot tent.

Fransbergen

Luvke Fransbergen, Seminole Squadron, working the parking area.

Cole Frank, Orlando Squadron, working the VIP parking area.

Cole Frank, Orlando Squadron, working the VIP parking area near private aircraft parking.

Silvio Bohuszewicz, TICO squadron, securing the VIP and flight line area.

Silvio Bohuszewicz, TICO squadron, securing the VIP and flight line area.

CAP plane parked at information tent

CAP plane parked at information tent

Thomas Wolf, TICO Squadron, showing the cockpit to an airshow visitor.

Manning the CAP information tent Lt. Theresa Stalnaker, Seminole Squadron and Maj Tony Wood, Patrick AFB Squadron.

Manning the CAP information tent Lt. Theresa Stalnaker, Seminole Squadron and Maj Tony Wood, Patrick Squadron.

Ian Spirduso, Central Florida Squadron, and Andrew Briggs, Palm Bay squadron, worked at Gate 1.

Ian Spirduso, Central Florida Squadron, and Andrew Briggs, Palm Bay squadron, worked at Gate 1.

Nicholas Bersoux, Palm Bay squadron, worked Gate 1.

Nicholas Bersoux, Palm Bay squadron, worked Gate 1.

USAF Thunderbirds F-16s performed after duties were complete for most CAP.

USAF Thunderbirds F-16s performed after duties were complete for most CAP.

Joshua Martin and Capt. Tac Kong of Deland Flight.

Joshua Martin and Capt. Tac Kong of Deland Flight.

With duty done, time to watch the Thunderbirds perform.

With duty done, time to watch the Thunderbirds perform.

Lt. Col. Richardson
Lt. Col. Richardson

Maj M.M. Wieser manned the CAP information tent.

Maj M.M. Wieser, Osceola Squadron, manned the CAP information tent.

HueyPose

CAP assisting the Huey crew. If spaces were available the CAP workers caught a ride. Briggs, Capt Scott Brown TICO Squadron, Stalnaker, Bohuszewicz.

Christian Jones, TICO Squadron, preparing to head to his post.

Christian Jones, TICO Squadron, preparing to head to his post.

End of day wrap-up of work day.

End of day wrap-up.

Civil Air Patrol worked together with the Valiant Air Command to help make the Airshow days run smoothly. The Tico Belle tail seen through the CAP aircraft strut.

Civil Air Patrol worked together with the Valiant Air Command to help make the Airshow days run smoothly. The VAC “Tico Belle” tail seen through the CAP aircraft strut.

Fly It Forward 2013

Fun, inspiring, and educational best describes the 2013 Fly It Forward day on Saturday, March 9. Women aviators and supporters of space and aviation gathered at Arthur Dunn Air Park in celebration of 50 years of Women in Space. Private pilots brought their aircraft and provided free first flights to women and girls. Of course, I hauled my camera along and had a chance to snap photos of faces full of expectation, zeal, and triumph.

Mom and daughter team, Amy and Cheyene Dokos, take their first flight in N1822H

Mom and daughter team, Amy and Cheyene Dokos, take their first flight in N1822H piloted by Elisabeth Wuethrich from N. Palm Beach county.

Barbara Ganson, an associate professor at Florida Atlantic University and former NASA employee, planned the day with support from the Gulfstream, GoldCoast, and Spaceport Ninety-Nines, Inc (women’s aviation chapters) and various other organizations.

Florida Spaceport 99 Mary Anne Demmer

Florida Spaceport 99 Mary Anne Demmer

Florida GoldCoast 99s prepare certificates for all the flight participants.

Florida GoldCoast 99s prepare certificates for all the flight participants.

A large contingent of Florida Atlantic University women in engineering, belonging to Alpha Omega Epsilon Sorority, joined the fun. Some missed out on the photo as they were in flight for the shot. Three gals in the photo mentioned their majors, which show the diversity and depth of interests in this group of women; Caitlin Miller- Mechanical Engineering, Isabella Pinos- Ocean Engineering, and Heidi Levine- Computer Science.

Florida Atlantic University Alpha Omega Epsilon Sorority

Florida Atlantic University Alpha Omega Epsilon Sorority

The Civil Air Patrol marshaled aircraft and manned key positions to assist with the day.

CAP Captain Sue Martin (Civil Air Potrol) is manning the gate to the flightline. Sue became involved with the CAP when her son became interested in flying. The CAP also will be volunteering at the TICO Warbird Airshow coming up March 22-24, 2013. Behind Sue is Heidi and her daughters, Angelica and Samantha Jaksetic awaiting their first flight.

CAP Captain Sue Martin (Civil Air Patrol) is manning the gate to the flightline. Sue became involved with the CAP when her son became interested in flying. The CAP also will be volunteering at the TICO Warbird Airshow coming up March 22-24, 2013. Behind Sue is Heidi and her daughters, Angelica and Samantha Jaksetic awaiting their first flight.

Group getting ready to go up with Pilot Wuethrich. Note CAP in background helping marshal aircraft.

Group getting ready to go up with Pilot Wuethrich. Note CAP in background helping marshal aircraft.

NASA sent a contingent to interact with the girls at the event, and several commercial and private aviation pilots chatted with attendees, as did representatives for the EAA (Oshkosh)/Young Eagles program. There were other organizations that I missed, and would love to mention, so please let me know and I’ll add you to this blog.

First Officer Terry Ryan flies for Southwest Airlines

First Officer Terry Ryan flies for Southwest Airlines

American Airline Captain Kimberly Lowe

American Airline Captain Kimberly Lowe

Louisa King flies Boeing 737 charter for Miami Air International

Louisa King flies Boeing 737 charter for Miami Air International

Ruth Jacobs set the record for the fastest time flying around the world in a single-engine airplane, landing on all 7 continents.

Ruth Jacobs set the record for the fastest time flying around the world in a single-engine airplane, landing on all 7 continents.

Fun photo of Ruth and Louisa together

Fun photo of Ruth and Louisa together

Elisabeth Wuethrichan, engineer from Switzerland, came to pilot for the event with her hubby who is also a pilot.

Elisabeth Wuethrich, an engineer from Switzerland, came to pilot for the event with her hubby who is also a pilot.

99Pilots

Left to right: Florida Gold Coast 99s
Ursala Davidson
Kimberly Lowe
Tamra Sheffman (N37TJ is her aircraft)
Elisabeth Wuethrich

The efforts of these volunteers came to fruition with the participant’s smiles and often joy at surviving their flights. Congrats to all gals who braved their first flights and even bigger thanks to those who took the effort to give their daughters and family members this wonderful experience. The following three photos show daughters Angelica and Samantha climbing out of the aircraft, soon followed by mom Heidi who gave them both an excited hug. Heidi, a graduate of Embry Riddle and former safety engineer at Kennedy Space Center, wanted to introduce her daughters to the world of aviation. Great job mom!

Big smiles as Angelica Jaksetic climbs out of an aircraft. This delightful photo was picked up by the international organization Women Of Aviation Week and put in a front page story on their website http://www.womenofaviationweek.org. Five thousand women and girls received discovery flights at over seventy airports this year.

Samantha Jaksetic climbing out of aircraft after flight.
Followed by sister Samantha Jaksetic. Pilot Tom Powers, owner of the Bonanza aircraft.
Mom Heidi gives her daughters a congratulatory hug after the ride of their lives.

Mom Heidi gives her daughters a congratulatory hug.

I snapped a few photos of the planes flying for the event. One I missed, but wanted to mention to show the variety, was a powered glider. A King Air belonging to the local jump school also dropped jumpers for the crowd to watch.

A Piper Cherokee carrying a mom and daughter. Let me know if anyone can identify them. I'd appreciate it.

A Piper Cherokee carrying a mom and daughter. Let me know if anyone can identify them. I’d appreciate it.

King Air jump Plane located at Arthur Dunn Air Park

King Air 200 (retired from the Army) jump plane located at Arthur Dunn Air Park

Cub used for Fly It Forward flights.

Cub used for Fly It Forward flights.

Awaiting the next passengers on Women of Aviation Day 2014

Awaiting the next passengers on Women of Aviation Day 2014

I can’t wait to see what happens next year on Women of Aviation Day.

If anyone has information to add, please drop me a line. You can contact me through my website (see the page at the beginning of this blog).

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Sandy has a monthly drawing taken from those who comment on her blogs. The one for March 2013 is on. Comment and your name will go into a drawing for a free ebook of Repossessed by Sandy Parks or one of author Julie Moffett’s Lexi series. Once in a while I may even have something special to win. Your choice. You’ll have a month after names are pulled to check back and see if you are a winner. Good luck and  hope to hear from you.

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Another A380

Found another A380 to add to my photo collection of those that I’ve seen while travelling. This one is an Air France loading and leaving Charles de Gaulle International Airport. October 2, 2012.

Close-up of Air France logo on A380 parked at Charles de Gaulle


Air France A380

Nose of Air France A380

Southwest Airlines is rapping

For fun way to jazz up the dull emergency briefing on flights, check out this Southwest Airlines Flight Attendant.

 

Wheels up to Korea and China

A trip to the far reaches of this planet (in any reasonable time period) inevitably requires air travel. Armed with my iPad, one medium suitcase, one small suitcase, two small carry-on bags, a camera bag, and a canvas beach bag for stuffing souvenirs, my husband and I set out for Korea and China. First stop…the baggage check counter.  After a brief sigh of relief that we were underweight by a few extra pounds in the medium suitcase, we hopped Southwest Airlines to San Francisco.

 After a few days visiting the seaside city, we headed to San Francisco International terminal and our next hurdle, having every single piece we carried on the aircraft weighed by Singapore Airlines. Now, honestly, for almost a 3 week trip, we packed relatively light, especially when you consider the medium suitcase was partially filled with 3 battery rechargers for the different cameras, two sets of plug adapters (including a surge suppressor made for  electronics – worth every cent), rain gear, and a full medicine kit for any contingencies. To my surprise, our meager carry-ons came in a few kilograms overweight. The counter agent politely asked if we carried a computer. Thinking of my iPad, which hardly constitutes a computer even with a word processing app installed, I answered sure. It is a distant cousin, isn’t it? The agent nodded and said we were fine without even looking. Guess you get a few extra kilograms allowed for a “heavy” personal computer. Not a bad thing to keep in mind for future travel. Hmmm, maybe I ought to consider a MacBook Air. Wait, I spent any funds for that on this trip.

 With no attachments to Singapore Airlines except choosing to travel on them, I will give the airline and Boeing 777 kudos for the most comfortable seats on any overseas flight I’ve taken to date (economy class). Business class looked pretty spiffy, too, but I had no time to stop and test them out on the way to economy. The trip to Seoul’s Incheon Airport  took around 12 hours and with the time change we lost a day (hey, we got it back on the way home). The food came in with a high rating, too, with choices of European or Indian fare. Took until I got home and researched Singapore Air to understand the Indian food connection to the original Malaysian airline. That’s the same reason the flight attendants still wear the tailored batik sarong outfit. I won’t admit I watched the Green Lantern, Transformers, and X-Men on the flight, but just saying they had those among the many choices.

A quick note about airports. Both Incheon and Beijing Capital International Airports had stores that left me feeling a meager member of a poorer class. My husband had no idea you could spend as much money on a leather purse as you could on a small airplane and at a store in the airport, no less. I hadn’t seen that many high end brand names in one place since walking 5th Avenue in NYC or in Rome. Odd thing, too, is once through security the terminals had no place to buy little snacks like nuts, gum, or candy (unless you wanted to buy as gifts or in bulk).  LOL.

Once done with our visit in Korea, the next leg took us on Air China to Beijing. Eventually we’d also fly Air China from Xi’an to Guilin and then back to Beijing and then again from Beijing to Seoul. Since Air China usually didn’t pull up to a gate (we had to be bused out and climb stairs), I only snagged one photo. An A330 or 737’s took us on the various legs. As far as comfort…let’s just say, I’m 5’4” and had the impression the seats were made and set for even smaller people. Not so comfortable. Guess the Chinese saved the comfort factor for the high-speed train seats.

We also had the opportunity in the Beijing Airport to watch an A380 being loaded. So much activity for one very big plane. I snapped a quick photo showing catering vehicles reaching all the way to the top level. The fuselage swallowed multiple containers of cargo and bags.


We laughed when the quiet waiting area where we sat near the Lufthansa gate burst to life with chatter and roller bags. We counted at least a crew of 20 arriving. Perhaps because of the major international airports we hit on this trip, I saw A380’s with varied airline markings, parked, taxing, and loading passengers. I hadn’t realized how widespread their use was becoming. Anybody out there with a chance to ride on or pilot an A380?