In March 2016 I had the honor of touring the Ninety-Nines museum with museum curator Denise Neil-Binion on assignment for Disciples of Flight. I was able to recap most of women in aviation’s history and tell my story of being a female in the aviation industry. This was one of my favorite articles to date and an absolute honor to write. I could have written much much more on this topic but left it at the highlights! Enjoy!
(photo source: BBC)
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A look at two new technological advances taking place in the aviation industry right now! Super cool!
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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
Pilots volunteer time and resources to save animals doomed for euthanasia
“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.
With the craziness of moving and recently being picked up by The News Hub I realized that completely forgot to mention an article that I had published while at the 26th Annual Women in Aviation Conference!
The first day I was there, I volunteered in the Press Room. When I arrived, I was immediately put on assignment to write a story about Walmart Aviation and how the WAI Conference helped many of them gain employment with Walmart Aviation. I was humbled that they would give me a task so large and quickly got to work. A few things that I learned was 1) I should always write down my interview questions before I go to interview people and 2) also remember to get everyone’s full names that are involved with the story. I had to go back a few times to gather up loose-ends, but it’s always a learning experience right? I was honored to be featured in their daily conference magazine that’s distributed to all the attendees every morning: “The Daily.” This was the FIRST print article that I had published, it was very surreal to see my name physically printed in front of me. (And it also gave me great credibility when approaching magazines offering my freelance services!). Thank you Women in Aviation for supporting me & my endeavors to becoming a published author!!! This is just one step on the journey for me!
Without further ramblings… here’s my words in print for the first time! (The first page is just the cover, the second below the picture is where you can check out my article!
As always, thank you for following my journey.