Sunday, August 10, 2014

Women in Aviation to Honour Captain Koki at Akwaaba


In partnership with the organizers of Akwaaba African Travel Market, Women in Aviation (Nigeria) International-Glowing Wings Chapter said it would honor Capt. Irene Koki.
Capt. Irene Koki is the first Woman in the World to captain the World’s newest Plane -the Boeing B787 Dream liner and would yet again receives recognition for her pioneering role in Africa’s Aviation Industry.  She was recognized at Akwaaba in 2009 as the first African Lady Captain of a Commercial Airliner.

Women in Aviation, International with headquarters’ in the USA, is a non-profit organisation that is dedicated to the advancement of women in all Aviation career field and interests with over 10,000 Professionals all over the world.

The President of the Glowing Wings Chapter- Mrs Ify Megwa who would be leading her Chapter to the fair said: "We deemed it fit to honour one of our own, Capt. Irene has accomplished a feat no female has ever attained in Africa. In doing this, we are not only recognising her for been exceptional, we hope this will encourage more females to reach extraordinary heights in their Aviation careers and also encourage young women to consider aviation as a career too.

"So, we couldn’t think of a better medium to present this award to her other than Akwaaba, a credible platform that has consistently honored pioneers in Africa over the years."

Rwandan First Female Pilot with Rwandair Esther Mwange will also be honored at the event.

Akwaaba: African Travel Market is  the only annual international travel fair in West Africa, drawing attendance from over 15,000 delegates from over 20 countries worldwide and the largest platform to meet with Travelling Public, Airlines, Hotels, Restaurants, Tour Operators, Travel Agents, State Tourism Boards, Foreign Trade and Tourism sectors and similar industry suppliers across Africa

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Amelia Earhart flies again! Namesake to recreate global flight


CNN) -- In 1937, Amelia Mary Earhart disappeared over the Pacific Ocean attempting to circumnavigate the globe.
Later this month, Amelia Rose Earhart will try to do what her namesake could not.
Despite recently discovering she's not related to the more famous Amelia Earhart (for years she'd believed she was), the 31-year-old pilot will attempt to become the youngest woman to navigate around the world in a single-engine aircraft.
CNN spoke with Earhart about her forthcoming record attempt.
CNN: Did your name spark your interest in aviation?
Earhart will make her record attempt in a Pilatus PC12.
Earhart will make her record attempt in a Pilatus PC12.
Amelia Rose Earhart: Getting asked questions day in and day out about my name has always been a part of my life.
People would say to me, "Are you a pilot? Do you think you can ever fly around the world?"
And for a long time, I said, "No, I'm not a pilot but I always thought about flying around the world."
It was always in the back of my mind just as an ultimate goal.
So I took my very first discovery flight, which is basically the first flight that every pilot goes through.
After that first discovery flight, I was totally hooked.
CNN: What was your reaction when you discovered that you weren't related to Amelia Earhart?
Earhart: It was a blow because, for 30 years, I thought that I was related to Amelia in some distant way.
But it really wasn't why I started flying, I wanted to fly because it's a lot of fun.
So at this point, I'm almost glad that the distant relationship isn't there because it shows that you don't have to be named after somebody famous to do something great.
CNN: Why recreate her flight?
Earhart: As pilots, whenever we fly, we have a flight plan. We open that flight plan, and then when we return safely, we close that flight plan.
Unfortunately, when Amelia disappeared in 1937, she never got a chance to close her flight plan and that's what we all, as pilots, hope to do.
If successful, Earhart (31) will become the youngest woman to circumnavigate the world in a single-engine aircraft.
If successful, Earhart (31) will become the youngest woman to circumnavigate the world in a single-engine aircraft.
I started thinking, "What if I could symbolically close Amelia's flight plan for her?"
CNN: When is the takeoff date and where will you start and end the flight?
Earhart: We start and stop the flight in Oakland, California.
When you look at the departure date, we've got a three-day window from June 23 to 26.
The reason for that is we're doing installations on the plane: additional fuel tanks and also a satellite communications system that will allow us to livestream from the cockpit.
CNN: How long will the entire trip take and how much will it cost?
Earhart: The whole trip will take two and a half weeks.
We've got 17 stops in 14 countries.
Over the past year and a half, I would say close to $2 million is probably the total value of the trip.
CNN: Are you nervous about embarking on such a major endeavor?
Earhart: My biggest fear is that the trip will just fly by and the two and a half weeks will be over before I know it.
I've spent years planning this and it is my passion project. I don't have a lot fear around what if something goes wrong with the aircraft.
That's not a concern of mine at all.
I do have realistic expectations if something happens weather-wise.
Flying around the inter-tropical convergent zone is particularly tough for pilots so I'm paying close attention to the weather patterns there.
CNN: Does the legend of your namesake worry you at all?
Earhart: Not at all. Amelia's disappearance unfortunately came at a time when the technology just wasn't there to track her.
Two years of planning and $2 million of expenses will bear out this month.
Two years of planning and $2 million of expenses will bear out this month.
But when you think about how far that's come in the last 77 years, we're looking at whole different world.
I'm flying the Pilatus PC12 which is a single-engine turboprop and it's one of most technologically advanced planes out there.
We've got dual GPS systems on the aircraft.
We've got navigation that shows us exactly where we are and exactly what point in space.
We want to show people that ... even small planes can be very manageable over long trips like this.
CNN: How do you pack for this kind of trip?
Earhart: That is the ultimate question because you have to be very cognizant of the weight aboard the aircraft.
Packing-wise, I have to keep everything very limited.
So we'll pack a certain amount of nutritional products.
Beauty products, I have to keep to a bare minimum, unfortunately.
CNN: What do you do when you're not flying?
Earhart: I'm really close with my girlfriends here in Denver. We will go running together, do stuff outside together.
Trips or getting out of town, that's pretty much to a minimum.
I did just have a chance to go to Geneva, Switzerland, for an aviation conference.
That was a chance to relax even though we were working the whole time.
Things like that, where you're working and playing, I like to blur those lines as much possible.
When I'm always playing and always working, that's when I'm happiest.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Ever heard of Kacy Catarzaro????

Not a pilot, but the first woman to ever complete the American Ninja Warrior challenge - and make it look easy.

Of course it helps that she's only 5 foot tall and probably only weights 100 pounds - but she went through every single challenge with ease.

Apparently she did it last week - I just saw it on TV today. Everyone was cheering her on all the way.

Totally coo-el.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

All-female Grande Prairie STARS crew flaunts a little gender pride with selfie

From Calgary Sun:

STARS Deb Wnuk Kelly Holt Jen Thiel Karen Coulter
Left to right: Deb Wnuk, paramedic, Kelly Holt, nurse, Jen Thiel, pilot, Karen Coulter, pilot, of STARS Air Ambulance. Supplied photo.
It was to be a girls’ flight out.

And the four-woman team couldn’t resist snapping a multi-selfie of one of the rare occasions an entire STARS air ambulance helicopter crew was female, said pilot Karen Coulter.

“It doesn’t happen all that often, not that we don’t enjoy working with our male counterparts,” said Coulter, 43, who’s been flying for 13 years.

“It’s just nice for us to see that we have so many females in the industry.”

The Grande Prairie crew boasts another woman pilot, one who’s on maternity leave, she added.
On Thursday, the four crew members — paramedic Deb Wnuk, nurse Kelly Holt and pilots Coulter and Jen Thiel — were together again as their work schedule dictates.

But bad weather prevented them from responding to a motor vehicle accident at Valleyview and what sounded like a severe bee sting reaction near McLennan.

That could be a typical day aloft for any STARS crew, regardless of gender, said Coulter who shares her gender with her boss, STARS President Andrea Robertson.

“The conversations are different,” she said.

Dealing with difficult calls, particularly those involving children, impact both male and female crews hard, “though the men are usually more stoic,” said Coulter.

Of STARS’ aviation and medical staff, 30% are female, with four women pilots — three quarters of the latter based in Grande Prairie.

STARS officials say there are fewer than 100 female helicopter pilots in Canada.

While the complexion of STARS personnel is continually evolving, some traditions remain the same.

“One of the male pilots brought us bouquets of flowers on Wednesday,” said Coulter.

Friday, July 25, 2014

First Female Pilot Joins Blue Angels

From Flying Magazine:

Female naval aviators have been flying fighter jets for 20 years but none have ever broken into the rarefied territory of the choicest job available to them — Blue Angels demonstration team pilot.
Capt. Greg McWherter, the former commanding officer of the Blue Angels who went by the eyebrow-raising pilot call sign "Stiffy," was ousted in April amid charges of sexual misconduct. A Navy review later found that the Blue Angels team doesn't discriminate based on gender — but that still begged the question of why no woman had ever been invited to join.
That's all changed with the Navy's announcement this week of the appointment of Marine Capt. Katie Higgins, 27, the first-ever female Blue Angel. She will fly as a C-130 demonstration pilot starting in October. 
Higgins, a 2008 graduate of the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, is currently assigned to Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252 (VMGR-252) at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Meet B-29 pilot Debbie Travis King


(Photo: Photo by Connie Roper via EAA)

Debbie Travis King is the only woman in the world since 1943 authorized to fly the Boeing B-29 Superfortress, which she pilots aboard the Commemorative Air Force's FIFI, the only airworthy B-29 left.

She will be the keynote speaker for the WomenVenture Power Lunch at AirVenture on Wednesday (July 30) at 11:30 a.m., at Theater in the Woods.

The daughter of an American Airlines pilot, she said a career in aviation came naturally. The Dallas native grew up around airplanes and was always working on them with her father.
"I was always in aircraft and never knew a life without it," she said.

Travis King began earning her flight certificates in high school and finished them in college at Texas A&M University. She earned her CFI and CFII directly after and later earned her jet ratings and Air Transport Pilot certificate. She flew corporate jets as an on-demand charter pilot, and now tours with the CAF B-29.

The freedom from everything on the ground drives her love of flying, as well as how it's black and white – and unforgiving. The rules and boundaries of the aviation industry fit with her personality, she said.

She pilots the CAF's B-24 Liberator Diamond Lil as well as its B-29, and flies the Falcon 20, 50, 900, 900B and 900EX jets among many other aircraft. At 45 years-old, Travis King has at least 3,600 flight hours under her wings.

She said the Superfortress is her favorite to fly because of its historical significance.

"It's not very often one single aircraft changes the course of history," Travis King said. "And, the fact that two women were incorporated and necessary for that change."

As a woman in what she described as historically, exclusively "man's territory" – besides the Women Airforce Service Pilots during World War II – she said a lot of pressure and attention comes with being the only female today flying the B-29.

"It takes a strong personality and thick skin to be able to withstand the credulation that you have to go through and the speak you have to listen to," she said. "I'm one of those people that you can't keep me down."

However the field is changing with more and more women finding their passion in aviation. Though it's a slow change, she said, Travis King is a prime example of how the field is becoming more inclusive to women.

She said she's excited to speak to those women at WomenVenture and share for the first time why she does what she does.

"I've never really fully explained why I do what I do and what my inspirations are," she said, adding she also wants to kindly explain how it's not exactly easy for women in the field.

"I can't say it is easy," Travis King said. "These are the things you're going to have to buckle up for… and we can do it."

Having gone to AirVenture since the 1990s, she said every time it's just like coming home.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Phoenix Home to Arizona's Only Female Law Enforcement Pilot

From News Talk KFYV:

PHOENIX (KSAZ) - Tracking down criminals from the air. You've likely seen the Phoenix Police Department's helicopter around the valley. The pilot is a valley born and raised woman, the only one in the State of Arizona.

"When people wanted to be astronauts, people wanted to be this or that, what I wanted to do was this, I wanted to chase bad guys from a helicopter," said Officer Corynn Wittrock.

And that is what she loves to do, years later.

"When I was a small kid I had the opportunity to know some of the county deputies, they took me on a ride along, and from then on out that is all I wanted to do," she said.

You may see her flying above the skies of Phoenix and all over the valley for the Phoenix Police Department. She's worked ten years with the department, 6 1/2 years on the street and 4 1/2 on patrol.

"There's been a lot of rewarding and scary things. We've all had to work on the streets, we've all had our own personal stories about working on the streets, where you were at the time of a foot pursuit or something," said Wittrock.

Snapping a seatbelt is second nature as Wittrock puts it, in addition to chasing the bad guys, she also helps in tactical rescue operations. She has advice for girls wanting to be police pilots.

"Keep persevering, I didn't get her by myself so surround yourself with positive people that influence you in the way you want to go, and help you follow your dreams," she said.

The Airborne Law Enforcement Association Conference started in Phoenix Thursday. It welcomes law enforcement pilots from across the country to the valley.