Small white female seeks plane…preferably with wings

As a student pilot I’m learning new things everyday, feeling sufficiently overwhelmed, and still finding roadblocks at every turn. The most significant of which is acquiring a plane to do my flight training. I have secured an instructor, begun reading everything I can get my hands on about aviation, taken a few online lessons and joined a few aviation organizations. But I have fizzled out in the way of actually leaving the surface of the earth outside of the charity of some local pilots that let me go up with them.

My first plan was to rent a plane from a local flight school. I have not yet heard the end of “what a stupid idea” that was. To date, eight pilots have told me the rates the flight schools charge to rent is outrageous and inexcusable. With that idea out, I asked my pilot friends what they would recommend. They all said if I was serious about getting my license, the most economical way to go was to buy my own plane, or join a partnership in a plane. The theory goes something like this: planes do not depreciate in value. The price is driven by the technology inside each plane. A basic plane to train on would run me about the cost of a new car. When I was ready, I could sell the plane for what I bought it for provided it was still sound. For the next few weeks I spent all of my spare time looking at planes online and posted to local message boards. Indeed, I found lots of planes from 1945-1990s with varying equipment inside all somewhere between $17k-22k. Some of them even had wings still attached to the fuselage (many, oh so many did not). I wasn’t planning on owning a plane anytime soon, it would mean taking out a loan, but it made financial sense if I could make my money back.

Then I learned the cost of buying a plane is the least expensive part of plane ownership. Once you have the plane you have to put it somewhere and hangar space is not cheap (some T hangars cost more than my house). Plus there’s the maintenance, also not cheap. This is not to mention the insurance on the plane which, as a student, can get pricey. Then there are the taxes, the engine rebuilds, the annuals and so forth. I did a lot of research and I still don’t feel like I know the half of it when it comes to plane ownership. That option was out.

Next I turned my sights to joining a partnership in a plane. Long story short, lots of people are looking for partners…provided the new partner already has a license. I can’t say I blame them. If I had a plane I wouldn’t let a student take it up and practice landings in it. To be fair, I would feel a little uncomfortable being that student that is practicing my landings on a plane multiple other people own and depend on using later that day. Not to mention the insurance rate changes when you bring on a student. That doesn’t seem fair to the others.

So, I mentioned my quest for a training plane at lunch one day with some pilots and they said “why don’t you join the local club?” Club? What club? There’s a club? Indeed. Many airports have flying clubs that rent planes out to members upon request. The membership and rental rates are reasonable (especially considering they are often cut in half for student pilots) and as long as I schedule a plane before someone else does, I can have it to train on when I need. It just so happened the director of the local flying club was eating lunch in that same cafe that day, so I had a chance to meet him and interroga…..ahem…..ask him some questions. Here’s the catch: there are already sixteen members, and they have only two planes. It gets better. Next month, the owner of one of the planes is taking it out. If you’re doing the math, once I join that’ll be seventeen members and one plane. Can it get more disheartening, you ask? It can! Apparently there are no rules within the club about keeping the plane overnight or taking it for a weekend. There is no maximum hourly rental, so in theory someone could rent the plane from the club and have it all weekend, or for a week, or for a month. Better yet, if the plane needs maintenance, too bad everybody. It’s not the best option, but it is currently my only option. I checked around. The other airports near my house are more selective in their club members. A random student pilot not enrolled in any formal training program is riff raff to them. So, I’m joining this less snobby flying club in hopes of ever having access to their one plane to train on…unless a better option comes along.

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Hawaiian Chicken Stir-Fry

Ingredients:

16 oz broccoli florets
2 cups diced, cooked chicken
15 oz can pineapple chunks, in juice (juice will be separated out for sauce)
1/4 c. water
2 tbsp. vinegar
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 packages Ramen noodles

Instructions:

For sauce stir together pineapple juice, water, vinegar, soy sauce, cornstarch, onion, powder and red pepper and ginger. Set aside.
Preheat wok or skillet, add oil, stir fry broccoli for 2 minutes. Remove.
Add chicken 1 to 2 minutes and push from center of wok.
Stir sauce, add to center of wok. Cook and stir until thick and bubbly. Cook and stir 2 minutes more.
Add broccoli; mix.
Stir in pineapple.
Cover and cook 1 minute.
Serve over Ramen noodles.


Serves 2

Approx total carbs in one serving: 80g

Ninety-Nine pilots and a man ain’t one

original 99s infront of a plane

Google Images

I’ve just found the most wonderful group called the Ninety-Nines! Its an organization of women pilots that provides mentorship, scholarships and good old fashioned camaraderie.

It all started back in 1929, the same year women were allowed to participate in their first air race, and it was originally headed up by none other than Amelia Earhart herself. A collection of ninety-nine licensed female pilots came together for the mutual support and advancement of aviation and the rest is history. Today the Ninety-Nines is an international organization that even supports three online chapters for those that live in areas without a local chapter.

I contacted my local chapter, joined up right away, and have already spent a priceless day hanging out with another female pilot. She told me about the other members of my local group which include a national flying mentor (which can fast-track me to a commercial license), one trained in the space program (there were only 13 women in that program), and a family with three generations of female pilots (certified in every acronymn you can list). These groups do “fly-outs” to various points of interest, have the connections to tour airplane manufactoring plants and try out commercial flight simulators at hub airports, and are involved in every facet of aviation today.
I’m so excited to be part of this organization! Winning!

If you are a female aviator and don’t know about this organization yet, check them out at http://www.ninety-nines.org/

Chunky Veggie Soup

This recipe is part of a regimen I feed to add weight to my CF DDF508, GERD, CFRD 35 y/o husband.


Ingredients:
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 ribs of celery, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped
2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
4 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons fresh basil
2 tablespoons fresh oregano
1 teaspoon chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Greek yogurt for topping (optional)

Instructions:
Heat olive oil in a stockpot over medium-high heat.
Sauté all chopped veggies except tomatoes.
Lower heat to medium and add tomatoes, stock, basil, oregano, salt, pepper, and chili powder. Bring to boil.
Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
Puree soup to uniform consistency, or leave chunky if you like.
Serve and top with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt.


Approx carbs for the entire dish: 60g (without yogurt)

Big Stuff, Little Stuff, Rid Stuff, Whittle Stuff

Before we got married, my husband and I took a premarital class where we were taught a lesson about making space for all of the important stuff. There was a vase and some rocks of various sizes and sand to fill it. If you’ve ever seen this demonstration before, you know that first they start with the sand. While the presenter pours the sand in the vase they say things like, “this represents work, taking the dog for a walk, cooking dinner, paying the bills, washing the dishes and all of the busy stuff in life that has to get done” then the smaller rocks that will fit inside more easily are put on top of the sand while the presenter says “this is the stuff that you put off unless you have time, like going for a walk, meeting a friend for lunch, or taking a yoga class.” Finally, the largest rocks are identified as the truly important stuff, like telling people you appreciate them, making love, celebrating each other, and making time to be with the people that matter to you. Of course the largest rocks don’t fit. The jar is emptied and the demonstration begins again this time with the large rocks first, the smaller rocks filling the spaces between them and the sand seeping through the spaces between the rocks. The presenter then tells you, “if you make room for the big stuff first, there will be room for the rest.”

Recently we’ve found the exact opposite applies to purging our stuff before a big move. You rule out the big things first and whittle your way down to those kitchen gadgets and extra dog leashes to fit in your vases and stuff in the car.

The first thing we sold once we decided we were moving to Oregon was our truck. Followed by the pool table. Which was followed by an armoire. Now we’re trying to decide if we need to take our bed or if two hammocks will do. (Oh, it should be mentioned I find my two person hammock so much more comfortable than our bed and sleep like a baby in that thing!) Next up is the formal dining room set and our guest bed. We barely used this stuff while we lived in our house, it is silly to pay to move it to a new place where we will barely use it all over again.

The big stuff becomes the little stuff and the little stuff becomes the important stuff. True to moving, and to marriage.

Inspiration to be bold

I would rather be ashes than dust. I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.

-Jack London

Pilot Culture

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, full of great stories, and they all still have that sparkle in their eye that a college kid has. Flying gives them joy. A kind of joy that has never dulled. As Amelia Earhart once said, they fly “for the fun of it!”

Every Saturday morning a group of pilots that have built apartments in their hangars (apparently this is a normal thing to do) meet for breakfast at the regional airport cafe where they live. I learned swiftly that if you are invited to this breakfast once, you have been initiated and it is expected you will make it a part of your Saturday mornings from then onward. So, Saturday mornings I wake at the crack of dawn and drive down to the regional airport – an airport so small it hasn’t even a tower – and have breakfast with this group. After breakfast, most of them “go up” and if you play your cards right, one of them will let you tag along. If you happen to be a petite blonde woman, as I do, you often have the opportunity to fly their plane for a bit too. And this is how I managed to fly my first Grumman Cheetah last Saturday and my first Piper Cherokee the month before.

These breakfasts are a great opportunity to meet CFIs (certified flight instructors), learn the lingo of the aviation community, and find the local “board” – a cork board where airplanes and airplane parts and service sales are advertized. It’s not exactly a community of social media savvy individuals and I’m told every airport has a similar board. It’s also a great place to network and find out what is a reasonable price for plane rental, flying lessons, headsets, and other aviation gadgets. I had it in my head I would rent a plane from the local flight school and was warned it was the most expensive way to go. I was trying to figure out how to balance a full-time job with ground school until I heard there are accelerated ground school classes you can do on the weekends for a fraction of the cost. These guys know every trick in the book and are happy to share it with you, but you have to show up. It’s a very informal meeting and I imagine anyone could walk in, find a table of pilots, express they are new to flying and wanted to meet some people and they would be welcomed with open arms. Pilots love pilots. They just get each other.

It’s a different kind of community, especially for women. Every time I share with a girlfriend that I’m learning to fly I always get the same reaction, “oh my gosh! Were you so scared?! Did you worry you were going to hit a bird? Did you go really high? Could you open your eyes up there? That is so dangerous!” I don’t get this kind of reaction when I’m around pilots. They want to know what I flew, how it handled, and what types of things I learned. It’s a very supportive community and I think seeing a young woman express an interest in flying is a breath of fresh air to them. To be fair I have met one other woman that frequents the cafe that is working towards her private pilot license. Boom. Instant girlfriend that won’t freak out on me every time I have a flying story!

Pilots are also an easy-going bunch. My instructor has a habit of saying “nothing happens fast in an airplane.” I’m beginning to see what he means. [Spoiler Alert] Hollywood got it wrong again. When you’re in a single-engine airplane, there is lots of time. The sky is so big, it takes a while to get anywhere. Even touching down on the runway feels like it is happening in slow motion. Perhaps by necessity the piloting community is a very relaxed bunch. You have to keep your wits. On my second flight up, we learned we forgot to close the hatch door about 500 feet up during takeoff. My instructor kept calm, I kept calm, he latched tpic of inside a piper cherokeehe door shut, the lesson went on. I’m discovering things like that happen all the time in an airplane. Especially when you’re learning. On my last flight up – my first really windy day and first cross-country flight – I accidentally crossed into the flight path of another runway as I tried to circle back for touch-and-go practice. The air traffic controller gave a reprimand, my pilot apologized and explained to me what I had done, and the lesson went on. It happens. Lots of things happen in an airplane. Freaking out about them is not a good reaction. Ergo pilots are a well-humored, very forgiving troupe…and they’re always excited to see you for Saturday breakfast.

Steak in Mushroom Sauce

This recipe is part of a regimen I feed to add weight to my CF DDF508, GERD, CFRD 35 y/o husband.


Ingredients:

2 steaks (any kind)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons EVOO, divided
6 oz sliced mushrooms
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, or 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 cup dry sherry
1/4 cup beef broth
1 tablespoon plain Greek yogurt (can sub in sour cream)

Instructions:

Sprinkle steaks with 1/4 teaspoon pepper and salt. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet over medium heat.
Cook steaks method of choice – grill, stovetop – until done to your liking.
Transfer steaks to plate.
Add remaining 2 teaspoons of oil to the pan.
Add mushrooms, shallot, thyme and remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Cook for a few minutes until the mushrooms wilt.
Add flour, stir to coat.
Add broth and sherry. Cook, stirring until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Remove from heat. Stir in Greek yogurt.
Return steaks and any accumulated juice to the pan and turn to coat in the sauce.
Place steaks on serving plates and drizzle with sauce.


Serving size one steak

Approx total carbs for one serving: 6g

An open letter to the American Job Market

Dear American Job Market,

You are a tough one to pin down. The Republicans say it’s a terrible time for job-seekers while the Democrats say it’s a fantastic time. Once, not so many years ago, a fast learner with a can-do attitude and a college degree could find work. Now, the most basic, entry-level jobs require 2-5 years of experience, a specific degree, certifications and known contacts on the inside. How does one ever switch careers anymore? When did the workforce get so specialized that you could only have one career path from puberty to retirement?

Once an Environmental Services Specialist was a Trash Collector, a Chemical Agricultural Aviator was a Crop Duster, and a Student Services Representative III was an Academic Counselor. What happened to our job titles? Why are they so vague we aren’t even sure what it is we are applying for anymore? How are we to know the search terms we need when a Technical Writer could be listed as a Technical Communicator, Collaborative Editor, Copy Editor, Copywriter, Graphic Designer or Copy Analyst?

We also request to see your compensation sequence. Why does a ticket taker at a ball game make the same as a Sign Language interpreter? Why do the jobs with more physical labor, longer hours, higher medical risk and more time spent in the elements make considerably less than 8-5 office jobs? Why does it take as many years and certifications/licenses to train for a blue collar job as a white collar job? The idea behind “America: the land of opportunity” was that there was work for all skill levels and opportunities at advancement with experience and education. We have forgotten this. Our basements and couches are filled with college graduates that can’t find work for a living wage. Our shelters and ghettos are filled with skilled workers whose jobs were not as important as shareholder profits. What has happened that our oldest working generation can’t afford to retire?

Please open entry-level positions with on-the-job-training for the myriads of people that have served in our military, returned from the Peace Corps, raised a family, changed our minds about joining the family business, been laid off, are relocating, or for many other reasons find ourselves past our 20s and searching for work. Encourage more companies to offer internships based on competency criteria to people who are not college students. Grant us a chance to join your ranks. We are eager. We are capable. We will make you proud.

Sincerely,

The Americans

Creamy White Chicken Enchiladas

This recipe is part of a regimen I feed to add weight to my CF DDF508, GERD, CFRD 35 y/o husband.


Ingredients:

8 – 10 large corn tortillas
1 pre-cooked plain rotisserie chicken, shredded (or three frozen chicken tenders)
1 cup corn (you can skip the corn if there are digestive problems, or use creamed corn but it will change the flavor a little)
4 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese, divided in half
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
10 oz can cream of chicken soup (can substitute cream of mushroom)
1/2 cup sour cream (can substitute plain yogurt)
4 oz can chopped green chilies
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Fill the center of each tortilla with a handful of shredded chicken, a tablespoon of corn, and a pinch of the shredded cheese.
Roll and place in the bottom of a 13 x 9 baking dish with the seam side down.
In a pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add flour and whisk into a thick paste.
Add chicken broth, cream of chicken, sour cream, chilies, salt and pepper.
Whisk gently for about 5 minutes until warm and smooth.
Pour the sauce over the enchiladas and top with remaining shredded cheese.
Bake for 25-30 minutes and serve warm.


Approx total carbs for one enchillada: 20g