Wednesday, November 7, 2018

June Recap

Again, I honestly don't remember everything I did this month. Time for more captions!

We had a fair amount of crummy weather. This was at HWY, shortly before the skies opened up.

I had a pretty crummy week at the beginning of the month. A wine tasting on my Friday helped turn things around a bit.

The next day, we packed the doggies in the car...

...and drove up to Reston to have dinner with our friend Jen and check out her new place. We took all the doggies for a walk around her neighborhood.

Bacon remembers Jen and her mom, but it took Wembles a little longer to warm up enough to get some pets.

We had some more decent porch weather, which Mark used to repot some plants...

...and I used a random day off to get both of my planes detailed. They looked so much better when they were done!

Bacon got a new soccer ball, which she promptly flattened...

...and we had tacos for dinner one night.

I had been buried in my computer and up to my eyeballs in Women Can Fly planning and was starting to get burned out. I took an afternoon off and went to a nearby park with Mark and the doggies for a break.

The doggies had fun wandering around and sniffing everything.

For how nice it was, I was a little surprised there were still so many boats left at the dock!

After we finished up at the park, we dropped the doggies off, hopped in the Datsun...

...and drove out to the Prince Michel winery for a tasting and a glass of wine. It had been a nice break for a few hours; I definitely needed it!

I was back at work the next day; while I was working approach, someone walked by with a container of macarons they were sharing. I wasn't about to turn that down! I immediately got too busy to eat it (of course), but I saved it for my next break and savored it in front of my locker.   :)

I went right to the airport after work that Saturday; time for a Women Can Fly planning meeting! We had our core group of lead volunteers there to review the event and make sure we were all on the same page. It was a really good meeting, and we even had pie (thanks to Dave).

We had some more good porch weather...

...and the doggies staked a claim on my floor pillow.

Finally - our new kitchen window being put to good use!   :)

Mark took advantage of the good weather to do some grilling...

...and I took advantage of our pool table to work on a jigsaw puzzle for a much-needed break from my laptop and event planning.

Our power randomly went out again. Hopefully this time they've fixed it so it won't happen again, because this one woke me up stupidly early on one of my days off because the air conditioner clicked off.

I had one last Women Can Fly planning meeting with a couple people just a few days before the event. We met up at a Silver Diner, where I had my favorite tasty cauliflower thing while we finalized the flightline ops.

Finally, it was time for Women Can Fly! You can read more about it in one of my previous posts, but we had a great time despite some uncooperative weather.

Thank goodness for the HondaJet drawings; I think that helped keep so many people there until the weather cleared up enough to fly!

I thankfully had the day after the event off. I had a bit of a lazy start, but I eventually got moving and went to check out the Graffiti House with my dad and Mark. The house was used as a field hospital during the Civil War, and there is graffiti all over the walls inside. It was pretty neat!

I especially liked that they wrote the date of that year's first snow in one spot. We had a great tour guide; he had all sorts of interesting stories and I could have listened to him all day.

After finishing up at the Graffiti House, we took Dad to Morais for a wine tasting...

...then finished up with some more time hanging out on the porch.

Dad and Zach went home the next day, and I went back over to my hangar to start weeding through the pile of boxes left over from the event.

I also made a bit of time to go fly my C172. It was so nice to have a bit of free time again!

I wrapped up June with a flight to SHD with Dave to drop off some signs and supplies (you can read more about this and see more pictures in my previous post). Overall, June had been a busy month; I was looking forward to things calming down a bit after the event.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Quick Trip to Shenandoah

A few days after my Women Can Fly event wrapped up, the weather cooperated enough for Dave and I to fly some signs and supplies over to Shenandoah Airport for their upcoming Women Can Fly event. We met at the airport in the morning, wrapped up the preflight, and took off.

We climbed up to get above the ridges, which also gave us a great view of the absolutely gorgeous weather. The visibility was stunning.  :)

I think it may have been one of the few times I've flown with Dave where we weren't really talking about much because we were both just sitting there, soaking in the views.

We crossed the ridge line and started making our way down the valley toward the airport.

Looking back to the east; most of that is Shenandoah National Park.

It didn't take long to get to SHD.

I loved the bright green of the fields as we descended on final.   :)

Dave landed just fine, and we parked between two jets on the ramp. This picture doesn't really do justice to how pretty the view is from their ramp.

We went inside, dropped off the things we had brought, talked with a few people in the FBO, then made our way back to the plane to head home.

Bye, SHD!   :)

Visibility was still spectacular as we flew home. If I didn't have to go to work that afternoon, I would have just kept flying all day.

Dave's airplane is a bit faster than mine, but the tailwind certainly helped, too!

We crossed back over the ridges and made it back to HWY just fine. It had been a great morning for the quick trip!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Women Can Fly at HWY 2018

This was my third year as event coordinator for our annual Women Can Fly event at my home airport. Since women make up only about 7% of pilots (and I'm tired of being one of the very few ladies hanging around the airport), it's something I especially enjoy putting together. I've found each year has gotten exponentially easier as I figure out the best ways to put everything together, and this year somehow crept up on me! Before I knew it, it was late June and time to start setting up.

My dad and Zach came down to help with the event, so we went to the airport the day before to set up as much as we could. This was the lovely weather we had for pretty much the entire day.

Luckily, Dave (the airport manager) had already moved some of the equipment into my hangar, so we were able to set up the preflight briefing area without getting soaked. We did as much prep as we could, then headed home to try to get some sleep before the next day.

The next morning dawned with a 400' ceiling. Not exactly ideal, but the show must go on! Frank and Gary moved the HondaJet up to the ramp, and we started getting the hangar prepped for our volunteers and exhibitors. We had a short volunteer meeting, split everyone up into stations, and got them settled into their spots. Zach got the exhibitor hangar set up beautifully (which I somehow didn't get a picture of), and I headed up to the pilot safety briefing, which was a bit quieter than normal since nearly half our pilots couldn't fly in with the low ceilings. The first participants started arriving around 8:30am, and we were off and running!

The clouds stayed very low through the morning, but we still had a lot of people come out anyway (which was great!). Many of our morning preflight briefings were nearly full houses, and it was great to see so many people happy to be there, even with the weather. 

Of course, it may have helped that we were able to do drawings for TWO HondaJet flights this year. At least something could fly with the low clouds! I was able to arrange for them to fly high over downtown DC again this year, though they didn't really get a view of the city with all of the clouds below. Oh well...they all still had fun!

One of the other nice things about the HondaJet drawing was that a LOT of people stuck around to see if they would win a spot on the afternoon flight. With all of our pilots stuck on the ground for the weather, the flightline turned into a bit of an impromptu static display area as the pilots took groups of girls out to get a closer look at their planes.

It turned out to be a good thing that so many people stuck around, because shortly after lunch the clouds finally started to break up. The clouds lifted enough for the pilots to safely fly, and it was kind of hilarious to see them all make a mad dash for the flightline when our safety officer and air boss agreed that it was time to start flying.

There must have been 40-50 people lined up, waiting for rides. I'm glad so many of them stuck around!

I had been able to get a few of my FAA buddies to come out and help in various ways. From left to right: Jen, Andrea, me, Susan, and Cat. Jen, Andrea, and Cat manned the ATC exhibitor table, telling people all about what we do, while Susan did a fantastic job (as always!) with our preflight briefing presentation. I, as usual, ran around making sure nothing was falling apart too terribly.

We had ladies of all ages come out to fly with us; Ms. Broussard was one of my favorites. Last year she came out and requested to fly in a high performance aerobatic plane AND do aerobatics (which she loved), and this year she wanted to try out the Piper Cub. Travis took her out for an extra long flight of airport hopping around some of the local grass strips. I'm not sure which one of them enjoyed the flight more!   :)

I was up at the flightline as the last few ladies were getting airborne; suddenly several of us had our phones go off at the same time. Nothing like a tornado warning to get your attention! Turns out there was a huge line of weather heading right toward us. We got the word out to all the volunteers, had them pack everything into the hangars as quickly as they could, and broke down the event in near record time. It was kind of hilarious to watch the ramp clear out as all of the pilots hightailed it back to their hangars, and we even had one pilot based at the Flying Circus take his last passenger over there and have their parent drive over to pick them up. Everyone scattered as the weather got closer until eventually there were only a couple of us left at the flightline, filing the pilot folders one by one as everyone safely returned ahead of the weather.

The last plane made it back and into their hangar about five minutes before...

...THIS hit the airport. It absolutely poured. Like, monsoon level rain. That's one way to shut it all down!

I wasn't about to walk back to my hangar in that downpour, so a bunch of us hung out at the FBO until the storm passed (which didn't take long). It was gorgeous weather behind the storm, but we had managed to get everyone who stuck around in the air before the weather shut us down. Not bad!

We even got a rainbow to end the day.   :)

Overall, the day went incredibly well. We didn't have any major hiccups, and for how crummy the weather was, we had a great turnout. By the end of the day, we had 177 people attend our preflight briefings, sent 10 lucky girls on a HondaJet ride, and when the weather briefly cooperated, had 14 pilots help us get 112 people in the air. Considering we really only had 3 hours of flyable weather, I'm absolutely thrilled with those numbers, and we couldn't have done any of that without the fantastic volunteers that pitch in to help us make the day so good for so many people. We tried out a few new things this year that should make next year even easier, so I'm hoping for better weather next year so we can get even more people in the air!