Like many young children, Nicky Jordan wanted to be an astronaut when she grew up. What makes Nicky different from so many kids is that she never gave up on the dream.
If going through NASA is the conventional way to become an astronaut (not that there is really anything conventional about becoming an astronaut), then Nicky chose a decidedly unconventional way to get into space. While she was working on her aerospace engineering degree, she became a pilot. After graduating she went to work in the space department of the X PRIZE Foundation. Their current project is the Google Lunar X PRIZE, a $30 million international competition to put a rover back on the moon.
As exciting as Nicky finds her work, she continues to accomplish steps toward her childhood dream. She recently earned her instrument rating and is eager to get her commercial pilot certificate. In two or three years Nicky hopes to become a test pilot flying the amazing innovations coming out of the private space industry. When asked where she wants to go when she gets to space, she answered enthusiastically, “To the moon!”
One of the best summer memory-makers is a campout near the lake. So let’s take a trip; nothing too fancy, but a great place where the whole family can gather and enjoy the outdoors. This month, American Flyers Newsletter features destinations on the water, complete with family fun and natural wilderness!
When’s the last time you went out on a house boat? If it’s been a while, you may want to head out to Guntersville Lake in Alabama for some fun on the water. Easily accessible from Guntersville Municipal/Joe Starnes Field (8A1), this 67,900-acre manmade lake boasts nearly 950 miles of shoreline for you to enjoy.
The many marinas on the lake offer fishing and pontoon boat rentals, as well as canoes and jet skis; you can also spend the day on a house boat if you like! The accommodations range from rustic to merely ‘roughing it’: there are areas for camping, or you can rent a cozy cabin. You can also stay… in a houseboat.
Visit www.guntersvillelakeinfo.com to see what you could be experiencing: “good fishing, clear waters, beautiful wooded Appalachian foothills” and of course, rented houseboats!
This Month in Aviation History
The jet engine revolutionized air travel around the world; however it was not widely embraced as a viable commercial option. Although a jet offered greater speeds and altitudes, it had higher operating costs, required more advanced materials, needed longer runways and burned expensive fuel.
The first commercial airline to embrace this emerging technology was the British national airline, British Overseas Aircraft Corporation (BOAC). In July 1949, the De Havilland Comet, a 36-seat aircraft took off into history on July 27th. Less than three years later, the BOAC’s Comets began serving passengers on regular trips from London to Rome.
Picking the Right Sunglasses
Every pilot knows that a quality pair of sunglasses is essential in the cockpit environment to optimize visual performance. Look for lenses that incorporate 100% ultraviolet protection. They are available in glass, plastic, and polycarbonate materials. Glass and CR-39O plastic lenses have superior optical qualities, while polycarbonate lenses are lighter and more impact resistant. Best tint choice is a neutral gray tint with 15 to 30% light transmittance. Polarized sunglasses are not recommended for pilots, because of their possible interaction with displays or other materials in the cockpit environment. Small lenses may not be practical, since they allow too much visible light and ultraviolet radiation to pass around the edges of the frame.
For more information see FAA Publication AM-400-05/1.
Laugh Out Loud
N123AB: This is Cessna 123AB, I’m out of fuel. ATC: Establish best glide, squawk 7700 and say position! N123AB: Ummm… I’m not really sure. ATC: See any landmarks? N123AB: Well, I’m here parked behind the hangar, and I can see then end of Runway 12. I’m sure the fuel truck will find me.
Did You Know…
St. Louis factory. The seaplane was constructed of Spruce, fabric and wire. The Benoist Model 14 was flown by pilot Tony Jannus for the first scheduled airline using winged aircraft, the St. Petersburg- Tampa Airboat Line in 1914. The airline provided two flights a day, six days a week across the bay between St. Petersburg and Tampa. Each flight lasted 22 minutes and the standard fair was $5. Each passenger had a 200 pound allowance which included any baggage. The airline operated from January 1 through May 5, 1914. The airline shut down operation because a town subsidy lapsed and seasonal residents returned north.
Source: Florida State Archives
How to Improve Your Landings
To achieve a safe and smooth landing we need to keep as much of our momentum going forward down the runway and as little as possible momentum going downward.
We do this by not making a steep approach. There are two severe consequences attributed to exceeding a reasonable approach angle. First, the aircraft can impact the runway creating damage, or worse, catapult it back into the air. A ballooned plane is about as friendly as a rodeo bull, and about as easy to get under control.
Secondly, too steep an approach can result in building up airspeed, which is the driving force behind many excursions beyond the runway threshold.
So you can “land and skip” across the surface or go “plop”. The best and safest approach is one that keeps your landingapproach angle to a minimum. (Consistent with terrain and obstacles of course.)
Turner and Gilmore Raced Together
Roscoe Turner made racing and barnstorming a business. He was a relentless and effective self-promoter who designed his own military-style uniforms and portrayed a dashing pinpoint-waxed mustachioed persona. His major sponsor was the Gilmore Oil Company, and he named his pet lion cub “Gilmore”. After 6 months, and 30,000 air miles at Turner’s side, Gilmore became too much of a handful even for Turner and was retired to a zoo to lead an easy additional 16 years of life. When Gilmore died at age 17, Turner had him stuffed and added to his trophy room. Turner was one of the best pilots of his day, winning the Thompson Trophy in 1934, 1938, and 1939. He won the Bendix Race in 1933.
Safety Tip for Surface Operations
Take care to note the position of traffic and, while you are awaiting takeoff clearance, keep track of the amount of time that passes after you have received the “position and hold” instruction.
There have been some collisions and several incidents involving aircraft holding in position waiting for a takeoff clearance. The FAA’s analysis of those collisions and incidents indicate that TWO MINUTES or more elapsed between the time an instruction was issued to “position and hold” and the resulting collision, land-over, or go-around by an aircraft cleared to land. Contact ATC anytime you have a concern about a potential conflict.
From the Professor’s Desk By Dr. Michael Bliss
Q: If you depart on a cross country and encounter weather conditions that delay your return trip two days, does the flight still count as one cross country?
A: Yes, it still counts as one cross country. The regulations do not require a cross country flight to be completed within any certain time frame, nor does it make sense that a pilot should be penalized when acting prudently concerning weather.
Health experts are telling us to exercise even more. Sounds hard, doesn’t it? The good news is that you can exercise in small segments all day long. Wash your car. Walk the dog. Work in the garden. Park your car far away from the store. Get off the bus a couple of blocks before your regular stop.
These “fitness breaks” can be added to the official amount of time recommended for exercise break down as follows:
MINIMUM 30 minutes reduces risk for heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers.
SUGGESTED 60 minutes prevents weight gain in adults.
OPTIMUM 60-90 minutes to lose weight and keep it off (along with restricting calories).
Source: Looking Forward, Summer 2005
Calendar Ground Schools & Events
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“You’re Invited …” Join Us Saturday, August 8th, 2009 at 12:00 Noon For a Free Pilot Seminar & Lunch
August - “A Closer Look at Airplane Performance Factors & Performance Charts”
One of a pilot’s best tools to make his airplane do what he wants it to do is a sound understanding of why it does what it does. Join us for a review of the aerodynamics that affect airplane performance. We will review the common performance charts used by pilots, as well as introduce other factors that should be considered when predicting aircraft performance but are usually not included.
September – “How to Maximize Your Performance Takeoffs & Landings”
Why not challenge yourself to maximize your performance takeoff and landing skills during the month of September? You can have fun while perfecting your technique. Reward yourself with an adventurous trip somewhere new and exciting. Join us for a discussion on how to get the maximum performance from your airplane when operating at short and/or soft fields. We will review crosswind takeoffs and landings as well.
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