This Women Of Aviation Worldwide community welcomes anyone, man or woman, boy or girl, association, corporation, anywhere in the world, who believes that:
- The aviation industry would be better off with more women involved.
- Each one of us has the power to make a difference.
Whether you have been involved in aviation most of your life or you are taking the first steps to discover this exciting field, if you share this belief and have a can-do attitude.
Taken from the Women of Aviation Worldwide Website, the original text can be found here.
Our Women of Aviation Week Contest Winner!
Any other Saturday morning, I would have slept in, watched TV, done chores and go about my day. However, that Saturday was different.
It’s not everyday my dad uses his military voice to warn me that if I don’t hurry that I’m going to be late for my flight lesson.
“It takes 45 minutes to get there,” my dad barked again. I quickly finished getting ready. I started thinking of what questions should I ask. How high are we going to go up?
Finally on the road, my father asked again, “Who set you up with this?” “My journalism instructor Jean, emailed me a link to a contest” I said.
I started to think back to that night I read about the contest. I had woken up from a nap with a terrible cold. Intoxicated with Nyquil and Orange juice, I was still lying in bed when I checked my email from my phone. The first email read “Woman of Aviation World wide week March 5-17th 2011. The winner will receive a flight lesson and a T-shirt.”
The link consisted of information about the “Karleen Pititt Writing Contest.” The rules were simple, describe in an essay or poem, why you want to fly in (500 words or less). I immediately knew I wanted to be part of it. It has never failed to fascinate me that something so big and heavy can carry people in the air.
I popped out of bed and started to scribble on a piece of paper. About 15 minutes into the brainstorming, aches of a cold sent me back to bed with, images of planes in the air. I fell asleep imagining how downtown would look from way up there. Who knew that a month later, I would be living out a dream of flying.
Early April came, and I received an email from Karleen Pititt, asking for my address and a photo. I recognized the name but I was still unaware that I had won. I replied to Karleen with the information and included small message at the bottom. “Did I win?” It wasn’t until she said, “YES! Congratulations,” that the overwhelming feeling kicked in. It has been a very long time since I won anything, let alone something of this magnitude. I felt a sense of accomplishment and contentment that the poem I wrote can apply to anyone. Any person who flies could now read and relate to the words I wrote, pilot or passenger.
We went over the introduction and how I got there in the first place. With my deepest gratitude, I thank my journalism instructor Jean Stapleton, Karleen Petitt and the Woman of Aviation Organization. Without all of you, I would have never been able to experience this opportunity. Special thanks to Reza of Skies Aviation for his patience and nerves of steel.
We went over basic knowledge and instruments of the plane. “This is the Six-pack,” said Reza. The “six pack” consist of six circles located on the board of the plane, the basic flight instruments that student pilots should thoroughly understand as they are highly important.
Reza went over everything, the flaps, the breaks, airspeed Indicator, attitude indicator, altimeter, vertical speed Indicator, turn coordinator, throttle and how to maneuver the plane using your feet.
“We’ll be flying over the coast and we’re going to extend the flight. To make it special, you got your dad here. It has to be special. You ready?” said Reza.
Maybe, because I was still fascinated by all the instruments in the plane or that Reza was making it sound easy, I didn’t feel nervous. He asked my dad if he wanted to come along. “Only if you’re flying,” my dad quickly responded. We all laughed. “No, she’ll be doing it,” said Reza. Both my dad and I thought Reza was joking and that’s why we both got on so eagerly.
In the calmest voice, my flight instructor began walking me through the steps to taxi out of the runway. “Keep it straight down the middle, and when I tell you pull up. Now push the throttle for full power,” said Reza. At this point the only thoughts in my head were to keep it straight, pull slowly and listen closely to the instructions. The plane climbed quickly as we began to turn left over the Redondo Beach Coast.
It was beautiful, for a short time my eyes were locked on the horizon, so that I could make sure the nose of the plane was inline. I don’t think I remembered to breathe until I heard my dad in the back seat, take a deep breath.
It’s almost hard to describe when one is being reintroduced to the world this way. I could see the Catalina Island, The Queen Mary, downtown, and even the hills close to my home.
Everything was working perfectly. The hills were green, the water was a dark blue sparkling blanket, and the sun was lighting up the Los Angeles like I’ve never seen it before.
There was music playing softly in the headset and I could hear the conversations between air control and Reza requesting clearance over the areas. We flew over LAX, Old Hollywood, The Getty, next to the Hollywood sign, Dodger stadium and my most favorite, next to the skyscrapers of downtown. I was looking at all these places that I’ve been to before from an entirely new perspective.
As we headed back to the coast, Reza began to speak about the landing procedures. For me, this was the scariest part. I even told Reza, that I didn’t want to do it. He could do it.
He surprisingly asked “You sure?” But before I could answer no again, he once again talked me into landing the plane. I absorbed the thought as much as I could, with very little time left. “We’ll do it together, come on” Reza said. By the grace of God and Reza’s extensive experience, we landed smoothly and safely back at Zamperni field. I wiped the sweat from my forehead and took a deep breath. “Wow amazing” I thought.
Before leaving the field, Reza said “Now there may be this weird thing that happens for the next 12 hours—you may not be able to stop smiling.”
I think I may have received an extreme case of the side effect because I haven’t been able to stop smiling since. Once again most thanks to all that were part of the once in a lifetime opportunity.