Disciples of Flight, Embry-Riddle, Equality, My Journey, Published Articles

My Journey through Aviation

Hello everyone!

I’ve recently been adjusting to life in Oklahoma and putting time into multiple little projects – I feel like I’m dabbling in a lot of different things right now, but all equally amazing.

Last week, I was approached by Disciples of Flight to start writing two articles per month for them. I’m going to be focusing on ATC topics and some aviation history but I’ll also have the flexibility to propose different topics as I see fit.  Today, my first article went live on their website! “How I fell in Love with Aviation Years Before my Discovery Flight.”  Read it HERE!

SPOILER ALERT:  There’s a video from the USAF Thunderbird’s performance at Wings & Waves 2014. Go check it out!!

This article showcases how I became interested in flying & aviation and the steps I’ve taken thus far to hone in on what exactly I wanted to do in the industry.

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Photo with my Flight Instructor, Bill right after my first solo

I’ve also been putting the finishing touches on a story for Air & Space Magazine and have one other article for them that’s ready to go and should be published soon. The News Hub also has me on assignment for a new article… And I just started a new (temporary) job to help pay my bills until I start my ATC Training. I finally got my start date:  June 12, 2015!!!!  It’s all so exciting!

This whole process has been absolutely amazing. Never did I expect to get into journalism let alone get published this often. I’m truly awestruck. This experience has been absolutely amazing. Thank you for reading my blog. Thank you for sticking with me throughout my journey. Thank you for providing the inspiration and support throughout all of this. And thank you for continuing to read my words even if you have to go to another site to see them.

I will hopefully be back posting interesting content here (instead of just links to other websites I’m publishing for) very soon. I still have recaps from the WAI conference I want to share and some other little stories I can’t wait to share. This weekend, I’m going to the Professional Women Controllers conference in Kansas City & can’t wait to share my experiences there!

Thank you so much for being here. Till next time!

xoxo Chrissi

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.


Embry-Riddle, My Journey

ERAU Communication Pride!

In the spring of 2014, I enrolled in Introduction to News Writing with Professor Steve Master at my university. I enjoyed the new style of writing and did a pretty good job in the class overall. The following semester, I enrolled in Aviation and Aerospace Communication again with Professor Master and I soon fell in love with writing.

This class combined my love of everything aviation and my new love of writing. Then, my coverage of Wings & Waves Airshow was published in Smithsonian Air & Space. I was surprised and flattered to have my work showcased in such a prestigious publication. The rush of producing great work and getting it published had me hooked.

This class was a very unique in that several students were able to gain the real-world experience of publishing works for national aviation publications. Professor Master used his “in’s” at different publications and his ability to teach quality writing skills to help several students get published. Today, my friend Andreia was published in our university’s alumni magazine, Lift.  She wrote an amazing article about an ERAU alum, Scott “Scooter” Yoak and his experience of becoming an air show pilot. Read her story here!

I’m so proud of everyone in our class, they all worked very hard to see what other students in our class have published, see our “published works” page on our class blog!

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

“NextGen Program Gains ADS-B Implmentation”

Another one bites the dust!


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

My Journey

The “Rainbow” Bridge

Okay, now I have to be completely honest. This post is NOT about aviation, safety, flying… or anything even remotely “fun” as my “About” line suggests my blog is. But as my blog has started to develop over the past few months, I’ve realized that I use this page as my outlet in this busy, busy world. And if I only share the happy, successful moments in my life; I’m leaving out the milestones of my life… milestones that can really explain my outlook on certain topics and milestones that really define who I am and where my life is going.

So what this post is about is the love and eventual loss you share for your pets.

Tonight, my family and I had to put our beloved Nutter “J.” Butter to sleep.

IMG_0117She wasn’t the most cuddly dog ever but on occasion you would get a look from her that just showed that she was really happy to be with us and content with life.


Her favorite thing to do definitely was sleeping… anywhere she could! On the couch, in the car, or even on the bed until the late hours of the morning. Even on long road trips, she was the perfect travel companion (as apposed to our Yorkie that likes to stand on your head while you’re driving and manages to roll down the windows by crawling on the driver’s side door & hitting the window buttons).


Nutter’s favorite toy was a Christmas present the first year we had her… a stuffed squirrel named “squirrelly.” She loved playing catch with it as soon as my dad got home from work every night. It was the most active she was all day (most days) and it was the point in the day that you could really tell she was happy to be with us.

Nutter Butter was only with us for a short time, about a year and a half. I wasn’t present for the entire year and a half as I lived in a different state than my parents… but since October we’ve been living as one happy family and I’ve really gotten to enjoy NJB’s company.  I know that Nutter was there for the last few week’s of my “first” dog’s life, Oreo; and for that me and NJB will always have a close bond – the love of Oreo.

But unfortunately, as many of us know, dog’s lives are very short and Nutter Butter was a very sick dog. Over the last few weeks she went from being our “tank” (she looks small and fluffy but she was secretly almost 20 pounds!) to being a mere 13 pounds with her spine and ribs poking out. From the time my parents got her home, they always noted that there was something off about NJB health wise – we think it may have been Cancer.

Over the last two years, my parents and I have had to say goodbye to 3 of our beloved pets. It has been absolutely heartbreaking.

Annie was sort of like my sister growing up. See, me and my (actual) sister are 12 years apart… I can’t remember my sister ever living at home. But I can remember Annie. From the time I was in middle school until the point that I went away for college, Annie was always there. Through 2 moves, many dogs, and very important milestones, Annie was our rock. Annie was the one constant in my life (besides my parents & sister obviously). I knew when I came home from school Annie would be waiting for me in front of the door. Ready to go outside and for a cookie break. Annie was my best friend, confidant, and constant throughout middle and high school. I cried for hours when my parents called and told me they had to put her to sleep because her back legs finally failed at 12 years old.

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Oreo was our first “small” dog — before Oreo all we ever had was big dogs (2 Saint Bernards at a time!!) and I wanted my “own” small dog. I finally got her for Christmas one year. Oreo was also a constant through my later middle school years and all through high school. Her quickly deteriorating health and sudden death took my family by surprise only a few short months after Annie passed. We were all devastated.

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(Oreo did NOT like having her picture taken!)

They are all now in a better place though. It breaks my heart to see a pet you love so very much quickly make a downturn health-wise. We try to make them as comfortable as possible for as long as possible, but you can’t stop the inevitable.

Annie, Oreo and Nutter Butter are all now over the “Rainbow Bridge” playing tenny-ball and pully-rope while enjoying endless treats and no pain with all the other dogs we’ve had over the years. (My family likes to adopt the older dogs that no one else will adopt so they can live out their last few years of life in dignity).

It has been a difficult, but I think writing about it definitely helps me. I’m very quiet and reserved when it comes to loss and mourning but I think in this situation blogging about it may allow me that closure that I so desperately need.

Thank you for reading.

I’ll be back in a few days to recap the WAI Conference and other aviation-realted topics per the usual.

xoxo Chrissi

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…

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Embry-Riddle, My Journey, Women in Aviation

Back to Reality…

As the ink is drying from all the notes I took during the #WAI15 conference, I’m slowly processing all the amazing things, people, and events I was blessed to be part of. It was truly life-changing and has inspired me to really pursue this love I have burning inside of me – writing. 

I’m planning a full day-by-day blog post within the next week, but for today I will be transcribing and writing my story on Heather “Lucky” Penney for Air & Space Magazine. 

I have great posts planned featuring some of the amazing women I met and experiences I had. 

I had a chat with Amelia Rose Earhart, the youngest woman to circumnavigate the globe – on Amelia Earhart’s original flight plan!!

Today, I’m traveling back to DAB and away from all this rain and cold (and snow!!!) DAL has featured while I was in town. There will be lots of writing & transcribing this week & maybe even a few published articles!! 

Xoxo Chrissi