Air and Space, Aviation, General Aviation, Military Aviation, Published Articles, Safety

Air Show Season is Upon Us!

Good Morning Everyone!

(featured photo courtesy of Scott Yoak)

Today, I’m reporting live from Smithsonian Air & Space Magazine with a feature on Air Show pilots and how they become certified to fly in air shows! Although this story has been complete for a while, we decided to wait until air show season was in full swing to feature this story. It’s crazy how these pilots learn how to fly these dare-devil maneuvers but even crazier as to how OTHER air show pilots are the ones to evaluate if these pilots are ready to fly!

I would like to thank everyone that helped make this story possible – Starting with Tony at Air & Space for giving me the opportunity to write for such a prestigious publication, then of course Professor Steve Master at Embry-Riddle for working with me on this story. It takes multiple edits and rewrites to make a story like this satisfactory for the editor, writer and those being interviewed.

This story developed out of another one I wrote for Air & Space back in November. Professor Master worked with me tirelessly to get the first story broken down to two individual stories worthy of publication. Without his help, I would have never gotten this story polished enough to be published. His work on this story and others has been immensely helpful & without him, I wouldn’t have gotten into journalism in the first place.

I would also like to thank all those that took the time to interview with me. This includes the International Council of Air Shows (ICAS) President John Cudahy, air show performer Debby Gary, Air show performer Scott “Scooter” Yoak, and Air Show Performer Patty Wagstaff. Additionally, thank you to Andreia Brown for getting me in touch with Scott Yoak!

And lastly – Thank you to all my readers that have taken the time to read all my stories. I’m truly shocked at how much I’ve gotten accomplished over the last few months with the support and encouragement from all my readers, friends and family. This has been a crazy but completely amazing ride. I hope you’ll continue to follow me as this journey progresses.

To read my latest published story at Air & Space, click HERE.

Thanks for following!  xoxo

Chrissi

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Aviation, Flying, General Aviation, My Journey, Philanthropy, Published Articles, The News Hub

Thousands of Animals get a Second Chance at Life

Pilots volunteer time and resources to save animals doomed for euthanasia

(Originally posted on The News Hub, To see the full article w/ featured photos, please follow the link to The News Hub)

“On any given day – between our two shelters in town – we have 15,000 dogs available for adoption,” said the ground volunteer I was taking dogs from in Anderson, South Carolina. We were transporting just 13 of the 15,000 in Anderson – hoping and praying we could somehow make a difference and save them from the gas-chamber euthanasia so many of their fellow shelter mates would soon face.

I was volunteering alongside my pilot dad and animal-loving mom in conjunction with organizations like Animal Rescue Flights (ARF) and Pilots N’ Paws (PNP). We were tasked with transporting animals from shelters that had an overabundance of animals to “forever homes” and shelters in other areas of the country where the animals have a better chance of being adopted.

According to the ASPCA, 3.9 million dogs and 3.4 million cats are placed into animal shelters every year in the United States. In some areas, upwards of 70 percent of those placed into shelters are euthanized. On average, only 35 percent of those placed into shelters are adopted.

Organizations like PNP and ARF are helping change these statistics by moving animals from overcrowded shelters to high-demand shelters where they have a chance of being adopted or have already been adopted by a “forever family” – they just need a way to get there.

“I was looking for meaningful ways to share flying with others,” said volunteer pilot Roxanne Parker who fell in love with animal transports after her first trip with Blue – a giant but gentle Pit Bull – to his forever home. “He slept during most of the flight, and casually looked out the window as any airline passenger would when we took off and landed,” she said.

“A friend of mine flew for [PNP] and told me about how much he enjoyed it,” said volunteer pilot Ryan McCormick. So McCormick and some of his friends began flying missions throughout the southeast. McCormick has successfully completed 10 rescue flights and has saved more than 25 dogs in the process.

PNP and ARF are just two of many 501c3 charitable organizations that have successfully used air and ground transports to save thousands of animals from euthanasia. The two organizations have relocated more than 75,000 animals since 2008.

Pilots do not receive any compensation for their time, fuel or operating costs. However, if they coordinate their flight through a 501c3 organization, they are eligible for a tax deduction.

“I’m up to 1813 animals transported now,” said Jeff Luizza, volunteer pilot who said he is currently not flying for a specific rescue organization but has in the past. “I got into it as an offshoot of flying sick kids. The liability got to high for flying the kids and moved into the shelter animals about ten years ago,” he said.

“[I’ve] lost count of how many specific rescue missions I’ve done, but it’s quite a lot,” said John Hayes, flight instructor and volunteer pilot. He has joined Luizza on rescue flights since last fall. “We move quite a bit of dogs,” he said.

Dogs aren’t the only animals flown during these missions. Some of the animals transported by PNP and ARF over the years include: dogs, cats, pigs, reptiles, and rabbits – just to name a few. “Two weeks ago we flew a new born Chimpanzee,” said Luizza.

Hayes and Luizza fly Luizza’s Beechcraft KingAir turboprop on most of their rescue trips. “We’ve had upwards of 50 dogs on flights before, sometimes more than [one flight] in a weekend,” said Hayes.

“To see the faces on the people when we hand over the pups,” is the best part according to Luizza, “it’s fun.”

But transport organizations are key to only one portion of stopping injustices to animals. How can you help?

“Please spay or neuter your pets.” – Bob Barker

The largest way you can help is by adopting pets that are currently in shelters. Buying pets from pet stores or breeders is simply encouraging the overbreeding and overpopulation problem. There are animals in shelters waiting for homes that will be euthanized if they don’t find homes soon.

If you cannot adopt but have extra room, volunteer through a rescue organization to foster pets in your home for a period of time.

(Photo courtesy of Ryan McCormick)

If you can’t have pets in your home then donate food, supplies or money to a local shelter or rescue organization. Did you know that one of the largest things shelters need right now is clean towels and bleach?

If you don’t have the means to donate then volunteer your time! Animals in shelters would love your attention for the afternoon. “[Working] with animal transport organizations is a wonderful way to use your time and knowledge to help others,” said Parker.

“The pilots get all the credit in PNP, but all we do is fly, which as pilots is already something we love,” said McCormick. “It’s the people on the ground that schedule these trips, foster the dogs, and contact the pilots that deserve the credit. [It’s] been incredible to work with them.”

If you can’t volunteer then please educate others. Share this post with your friends. Support local rescue groups and promote what they’re doing in the community. Let your colleagues know what they can do to help. Speak up for those that don’t have a voice.

 

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Aviation, Commercial Aviation, Corporate Aviation, Embry-Riddle, General Aviation, Safety, Technology

“NextGen Program Gains ADS-B Implmentation”

Another one bites the dust!

avion

I was published this week in my school’s newspaper (on the front page!!!), The Avion, for a story I wrote about the Next Generation Air Traffic Control System phasing in ADS-B. Want to know more? Read the whole article HERE!

The funny part about this story was I pitched to to a fellow blogger (who has a LOT of aviation journalism experience) and she didn’t want to pick it up… so I changed a few things around and made it better suited for my school’s paper and they picked it up the week I submitted it.  It’s funny how that worked out, I thought I had spent all this time researching and writing this article only for it to be turned down… yet I actually got it in print media rather than online. (And kudos from the editor!)

Thanks for following my journey.

Till next time!

Xoxo Chrissi

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Aviation, Equality, Flying, General Aviation

Ramblings of insecurity

What a great narrative on the struggles of initial flight training – from a female perspective. Love it!!

The Bold Bluebonnet

Learning to fly is unlike anything I’ve learned before. For starters, there are no simple answers. Even the most basic questions elicit an outpouring of different answers.

Example: Where does one complete ground school?

Answers: Sporty’s, Embry-Riddle, King, the local community college, ASA pilot training manual, AOPA courses, the FAA website, an aviation ground school, an accelerated weekend course, a four year aviation program, a fast-track aviation program. And each comes with a conflicting opinion about if it will really prepare you with the knowledge you will need to know. Good luck!

Even filling out the simplest paperwork is confusing. I just figured out this week that my student pilot license number and medical certificate number is the same (I think). And don’t get me started on the training videos that throw arbitrary variables at you for velocity and lift, solve the equation in one breath and declare “see, it’s…

View original post 400 more words

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Aviation, Flying, General Aviation

Public perception of general aviation different than reality

Sierra Charlie Alpha

To many in the general public there is an adversion to general aviation and small aircraft.

Have you ever had a conversation with someone about a general aviation aircraft? Many people will say they fly the airlines to get to their vacation or business destination, but never want to go near a Cessna, Piper or Beechcraft.

Thursday, March 5, there were two well-publicized accidents in U.S. aviation. First, Delta flight at LGA skidded off the runway into a fence in snowy conditions. Second, actor Harrison Ford crashed his 1942 Ryan Aeronautical ST3KR (or a PT-22 Recruit) onto a fairway of Penmar Golf Course after an engine failure after take off from Santa Monica Municipal Airport. (A side note: Ryan was the company that developed Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis.)

Harrison Ford’s 1942 Ryan crashed in California on March 5, 2015

Both accidents were obviously dangerous situations…

View original post 446 more words

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Aviation, Flying, General Aviation

The Neighborhood Built Around a Runway

Friday night.. as most college students are “pre-gaming” for the frat party they’re planning to go to, my friend Taylor is doing something completely different.  She’s watching (& snapchatting) her weekly airshow in her backyard.

The Spruce Creek Fly-In is a residential community built around a 4000’ runway just a short hop from the Daytona International Speedway. Celebrities such as John Travolta, Teresa Earnhardt, and Tony Stewart have owned properties in the Creek. Roads and taxiways are one in the same & there’s always something to do!  The Creek is mainly retired pilots and folks that love aviation. Taylor is lucky enough to live there while she’s attending Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

I have some great friends in the Creek & even some that let me use their planes for photo shoots! Overall, this community is a fun place to visit & (I bet) an even “funner” place to live!

Photo Jan 16, 1 43 58 PM Photo Jan 16, 1 46 31 PM (1)

Till next time… Blue Skies!!

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Aviation, General Aviation

Pilot Culture

Awesome post on what it’s like to be a female pilot & what it’s like to learn to fly! You go girl!!!

The Bold Bluebonnet

There’s something special about a group of people that make time to put themselves in metal tubes and shoot themselves thousands of feet above the earth for a living or a hobby.

You might expect this group to bpic outside a piper cherokeee a bunch of youthful daredevils; Well-inked punks with strange haircuts and no shortage of body piercings. Or maybe, since it takes a great deal of money to be a pilot, you’d expect to find a clan of industry tycoons in members-only jackets. But what I’ve found so far is that the pilot community is mostly a group of middle-aged white guys with a few senior citizens sprinkled on top. Most of them are financially comfortable seasoned or retired pilots, but they quickly identify with the younger pilots out there that have just begun flying lessons and are swift to take them under their wing (pun intended). They’re a fun bunch…

View original post 807 more words

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