Making New Friends

Week 5

Friends – Furry and Not

IMG_E2683I really love dogs, but didn’t have one of my own while training at the Spruce Creek Fly-In. However, I was excited to spend time with Riley, a Sheltie, who is a certified therapy dog. In addition to visiting hospitals and nursing homes, he has also served at Burns Sci-Tech by listening to kids practice their reading skills.

If you look closely you can see that I’m wearing a shirt that has the Women of Wings (WOW) logo on it. WOW is an organization of Spruce Creek women who are interested in  aviation. Some of them are pilots with major airlines, some are private pilots and some are just interested in flying.They are also involved in community projects to share aviation with others. At Burns Sci-Tech School they donated a library shelf of books about aviation and volunteers, and have visited classrooms to share stories about famous women aviators. It was through this group that I first came and spoke at the school.

I also belong to several national aviation organizations that inspire, encourage and provide scholarships:

  • The 99s, started in 1929, had Amelia Earhart as its first president.
  • Women in Aviation International (WAI) was founded in 1990 for women in aviation and aerospace industries.
  • Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) was organized in 1939 to further the interests of general aviation.

Sci & Tech say:  Learn more about . . .

Take the Sci/Tech Challenge:

The aviation organizations I belong to do much to help young people. Find how by exploring their websites.

Best Buds

IMG_2678Soon after moving to Spruce Creek Fly-In, I became friends with Hunter, who turned out to be one of my best flying pals. He also grew up around airplanes and claims that flying is in his blood. His is an interesting story. At age two he was diagnosed with a brain tumor and had surgery to remove it, but he never gave up on his dream of flying.

Although he is only in his 20s, over the years, in order to pay for flying lessons and aviation gas, he has taken a variety of jobs such as: ski instructor, business owner (landscaping and snow plowing), airshow pilot and aerobatics instructor. He is also interested in the mechanical side of aviation and has had much fun buying, fixing and flipping planes for a profit.

He has even had time to put in three years at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, majoring in Aeronautical Science, Air Traffic Control and Business. Recently he got a job offer to fly for an air ambulance service and he decided to take it and finish up his degree online. At this time his goal is to become an airline captain for a company like FedEx or UPS.

Sci & Tech say:  Learn more about . . .


Hunter also likes to buy, fix-up, and sell or trade planes.

Some of his favorites have been:


Pitts special

Great Lakes



Sci & Tech say: Learn more about. . .

  • The history and characteristics of these planes by doing a web search.

Take the Sci/Tech Challenge:

Design your own aircraft and share your creation by emailing a copy to


Flying (in) Formation

One of the exciting things Hunter and I do together is to fly in formation with other planes. Formation flying got its start when military pilots grouped together in flight for defense and tactical reasons. After the Cold War ended, the military did less of that type of high intensity training. However, some ex-military and general aviation pilots, looking for reasons to fly more and for ways to expand their skills, banded together to make formation flying into a safe, organized activity. As a result, experienced, highly-skilled teams can be seen performing at airshows and other community events.

The main organizations that have met the FAA standards to certify airshow pilots are:

  • F.A.S.T. (Formation and Safety Team) with a focus on warbirds
  • F.F.I. (Formation Flying, Inc.) with a focus on non-warbird/general aviation aircraft

The basic formation configurations are:

  • Fingertip – It is the standard flight configuration. It is so named because a 4-ship formation resembles the fingertips of your hand when viewed from above.
  • Echelon – It is a configuration where all the wing aircraft are either to the right (echelon right) or to the left (echelon left) of #1.
  • Trail – These formations are flown, as the name implies, with the wing pilots following in trail behind #1.

Sci & Tech say:  Learn more about . . .


Flying a Furry Friend to a Forever Home

I have been involved in many aviation-related activities, but none so rewarding as flying this pup from Spruce Creek to his new home. The arrangements were made through a local rottweiler rescue group that was able to locate a family in North Carolina who wanted the pup. The family was willing to pay $400 to have the dog flown to them. Hunter volunteered to fly the trip and I was able to go along for the ride. The new owners were such nice people and both they and the dog were very  happy with the matchup.

I have discovered that there are many charities that raise money to support this much-needed transport work. Often pilots donate their time and even their planes to fly rescued animals across the country to their forever homes.

Sci & Tech say:  learn more about. . .

Sci & Tech say:  Learn more about . . .

Do a web search to find out about the needs of local animal rescue groups in your neighborhood or Volusia County. With classmates,friends and/or family design a plan to help. Share your creation by emailing a copy to