Aircraft pilot – Pilotin Wed, 22 Sep 2021 03:53:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Aircraft pilot – Pilotin 32 32 Small plane intercepted by fighter jet over Hudson River for violating temporary flight restrictions during UNGA Wed, 22 Sep 2021 03:53:00 +0000

The FAA said a Cessna 182 entered the TFR around 2 p.m. The small plane was intercepted by an F-16 fighter jet and escorted out of the TFR “without incident,” according to a NORAD statement.

The plane, owned by the US Military Academy at West Point, was flown by an army training pilot, West Point said in a statement. The instructor pilot was running a cadet flight lab in support of an engineering class when the plane “briefly” violated the TFR near the George Washington Bridge, the statement said.

FlightAware, a website that tracks commercial and other flights, shows the plane flying south along the Hudson River at about 800 feet, 130 miles per hour when it abruptly turns around and flies toward the north at the time of the interception.

“NORAD closely coordinates air defense activities with the FAA and responds as needed,” the statement said. “Temporary violations of the restricted area like this do occur from time to time and are part of normal NORAD operations. “

The temporary flight restriction for VIP travel in New York airspace was in effect from 4:45 pm Monday until 3:45 pm Tuesday. The TFR includes the Hudson River and East River.

The FAA is investigating.

On Tuesday morning, President Joe President used his first UNGA speech to detail his vision for leading the United States into a new era of diplomacy as he sought to reassure allies – some freshly skeptical – that he passed the “America First” era of foreign police.
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Purdue showcases technology, hoping to recruit and help fill ongoing pilot shortage Tue, 21 Sep 2021 14:48:00 +0000

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University showcases its unique aviation technology.

Enter the Niswonger Aviation Technology Building and you’ll find three large aviation simulators for the school’s students. Among them is the A320, a full-motion “Hawker 900XP” – which mimics in-flight motion – and a 737, which mimics most of Boeing’s fleet.

It’s very rare, ”said Mike Suckow, clinical associate professor and deputy head of department in the Department of Aviation Technology. “In the college environment, there are maybe five universities in the country that would have this level of technology. ”

Purdue officials believe the high level of technology has helped launch their aviation students into the commercial flight industry. Suckow said many Purdue aviation students got jobs right after graduation.

“A lot of our students go directly to the big airlines,” he said.

One student who hopes to become a professional pilot soon is Adam Dunham. The masters student and flight instructor said he had no aviation training prior to attending Purdue.

“Four years later, I know how to fly an A320 plane,” he said while testing the simulator. “You don’t just learn how to move a stick and a rotor, but you also learn how airplanes work, the systems behind the scenes. How does an airline work? How to ensure that ground personnel can push back the plane while communicating with air traffic control? “

Dunham said he had practiced smooth flights, but also flights that mimicked emergencies, such as a theft or engine failure.

“With the pilot shortage and the high demand for pilots, it’s easy to rush into training and say I’ll get there and fly the plane. We don’t just teach you how to fly, we teach you scenarios, the systems behind the aircraft, and we really provide a safe experience for us as well as future passengers, ”explained Dunham.

Currently, Purdue has approximately 103 freshmen who have declared their major in aviation. Last year there were 38 students and the year before 78. The school is recruiting for its program in hopes of helping fill what has been described as a severe pilot shortage.

“We are also working very hard with middle and high schools to increase the base. The industry has responded with great compensation packages and has done its job. Now we need to find a way to make students better understand that this is a viable career path, ”Suckow said.

Several major airlines have told CBS4 they are hiring, including Delta Airlines, Southwest Airlines and American Airlines.

“Hiring pilots is really a boom or a bust,” Suckow said. “It’s very cyclical. There are many years when there are extreme hires. They overcome their seniority and then you get the extreme pensions. We are in this phase of retirement.

Purdue professor Jason Cutter said their program also focuses on the mental preparation of pilots.

“Flying the plane, physically piloting the plane, is a very small part of the job. It’s all those other things that go with it, like looking after the passengers, knowing how to look after the crew members, being able to support the crew members, ”he said. “One of the changes since September 11 is that the cockpit door remains locked. So if something happens in mid-flight, the way we react to it now as a captain is very different from how we would have handled it 30 years ago. It is a stressful time for everyone in the industry.

Cutter said that when he was a captain he would occasionally get up from his seat and approach the individual himself. Now the captains can’t do that.

“Usually they would respond to that authority figure of the captain. Now that option is off the table. We trust our cabin crew to take care of it instead.”

TSA confirms flight attendants take self-defense courses

As of September 21, 2021, the FAA reported that there had been more than 4,000 unruly passengers since the start of the year. More than 3,000 of these were mask-related incidents, resulting from the federal travel mask mandate requiring everyone on airports, planes, trains and other public transportation to wear a face cover.

CBS4 spoke to the Transportation Security Administration about what they are doing to reduce the current strain. TSA spokesperson for the Great Lakes region, Jessica Mayle, confirmed that about 3,000 flight attendants chose to take a self-defense course to assist them in flight.

“It’s a confined environment up there. You don’t have access to a lot of tools that we would have on the ground in a threatening situation, so we just want to make sure the flight attendants are able to protect themselves appropriately, ”she explained.

Mayle did not believe any Indiana-based flight attendant took the course in 2021.

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Tuskegee Airman, 98, receives exhilarating flight in WWII biplane Tue, 21 Sep 2021 01:53:28 +0000

In early 1943, 19-year-old James Shipley of Tipton was training for military service with other African Americans at a military base in Tuskegee, Alabama. In his biography, “Together as One”, he recalls looking up to the sky during his basic training to watch planes such as the PT-17 Stearman being used to train black air cadets who would soon receive the iconic title. of “Tuskegee Airmen”. “

Almost eight decades later, Shipley had the experience of a lifetime when he flew a similar aircraft. The event was a partnership between nonprofit Dream Flights and organizations such as Sports Clips and Veterans United Home Loans, seeking to recognize World War II veterans in a program called “Operation September Freedom.” .

According to the Dream Flights website, the organization is “dedicated to honoring military veterans and seniors with the adventure of a lifetime: a flight in a Boeing Stearman biplane.”

They added, “As we make these heroes’ wishes come true, our Dream Flights inspire them to share their stories. We collect, preserve and share these stories about how they survived times of great conflict to remind us of our shared humanity, our connection to each other and the value of listening. “

Nearly a dozen WWII veterans took to the skies on Saturday for a free flight experience at Jefferson City Memorial Airport. The crews took great care in helping the veterans get on and off the plane, as many of them developed mobility issues in their later years.

The flights were part of the “Flying into the 1940s” event open to the public. The WWII-themed event included live musical performances from Kapital Kicks, demonstrations of modern and historic parachutes, and displays of several types of aircraft.

Shortly after arriving at the airport, Shipley was elated when he had the opportunity to take a closer look at a P-40 Warhawk and a P-51 Mustang – two planes he helped to “set in motion” and which he maintained during their deployment to Italy during the war.

“I remember when our equipment got the P-40s; they were worn out but we kept them in working order as best we could so our pilots could carry out their missions,” he said. “When we got the P-51s, it was like having a new high performance sports car after driving old cars.”

He proudly added: “I was a crew chief for three different pilots while on duty, and each of them came home safe and sound.”

With dozens of spectators leaning against a temporary fence to watch the historic event, Shipley was tenderly loaded into the open cockpit of the biplane and adorned with an aviation flight helmet. Slowly taxiing towards the runway as Shipley grinned broadly, the plane took off for a 10 minute flight.

After returning to the airport, he still kept his smile on as the plane stopped near the flight hangar. When he was disembarked from the front seat of the biplane, the pilot thanked him for his service. Next, Shipley was asked if he would be willing to sign the tail of the plane, forcing the request before he was surrounded by media wishing to interview him about his flight.

The 98-year-old veteran stayed at the event for several hours, signing copies of his biography and visiting members of the public demanding the opportunity to meet one of the few surviving members of the Tuskegee Airmen.

Reflecting on her flight, Shipley demonstrated the selfless and humble nature that is now recognized as the defining characteristics of the men and women known as “the greater generation”.

“The flight was great and I didn’t expect it to happen to me,” he said. “During the war, we had some pretty tough experiences, but we were all just doing the job we were supposed to do. “

He added: “Guess I don’t understand all the attention – I’m just proud to have been able to serve my country and to return safely to Tipton after the war.”

For more information on Dream Flights or to donate, go online at

Jeremy P. mick writes on behalf of the Silver Star Families of America.

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Air Force still short of pilots and hopes technology will help close the gap Mon, 20 Sep 2021 13:06:14 +0000

The Air Force is still a long way from its goal of training around 1,500 new pilots per year, as it seeks to fill a persistent gap and address the long-standing exodus of pilots to well-paying jobs in the airlines. .

But the Air Education and Training Command said it sees progress and hopes a combination of technology and new approaches will help it increase the number of new pilots it can get each year.

AETC Commander Lt. Gen. Brad Webb said on a Sept. 13 call with reporters that the Air Force’s technology-based pilot training overhaul is starting to pay off. results.

Read more : Air Force Leaders: Time to “Wake Up” to Racial Disparities in the Service

“We are constantly exploding and reinventing,” the original Pilot Training Next technology, said Webb.

But there are still bottlenecks in the process – especially an issue with understaffed simulator instructors – that prevent the Air Force from producing all the new pilots it needs.

The service graduated 1,263 new pilots in 2020. By the end of fiscal 2021 later this month, Webb expects this year’s tally to reach around 1,350 graduates.

flight simulator as part of the Pilot Training Next program March 5, 2020, at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas. The PTN program is part of Air Education and Training Command’s initiative to “rethink” the way learning is delivered to Airmen. (Photo by Sarayuth Pinthong / US Air Force)” typeof=”foaf:Image”/>
Student pilots from Detachment 24 practice on a virtual reality flight simulator as part of the Pilot Training Next program March 5, 2020, at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas. The PTN program is part of Air Education and Training Command’s initiative to “rethink” how learning is delivered to Airmen. (Photo by Sarayuth Pinthong / US Air Force)

The Air Force needs approximately 21,000 pilots in its total strength, which includes active duty, the National Guard and the Reserve. At the end of 2020, the most recent year for which figures were available, the service was short of 1,925 pilots in total, leaving it around 19,075. Active service was short 800 pilots; the Guard, 675; and the Reserve, 450.

This is an improvement from the shortage of around 2,100 pilots that the Air Force experienced in fiscal 2019, but it still represents a shortfall of 9%. The severe economic blow to commercial airlines in the first months of the coronavirus pandemic caused them to significantly slow down the hiring of their pilots. In the spring of 2020, for example, the Air Force gave at least 171 pilots who were due to retire or a separate clearance to stay longer.

But with the resumption of commercial travel this year, Webb said, that “grace period” is coming to an end and the pressure is mounting again for the Air Force to push for more pilots.

One of the main bottlenecks in the process is simulator training, which is usually taught by civilians. The staffing is “not great,” said Webb, and about 80% across all flight training bases.

This means that places such as Vance Air Force Base in Oklahoma, Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi, and Laughlin Air Force Base in Texas have been forced to withdraw instructor pilots, who would otherwise take students on training planes. real, out of the flight line to teach on simulators. This made it more difficult for students to gain real flight experience and has hampered pilot production, Webb said.

The Air Force is looking for ways to get around these dead ends, for example by performing remote simulator instructions. For example, a commercial airline pilot who lives elsewhere in the country could “virtually head” to training bases and instruct future Air Force pilots on simulator flight, a technique the service hopes to prototype. here next year, Webb said.

In recent years, the Air Force has adopted a suite of other technologies and methods, originally developed as part of the Pilot Training Next program, which aimed to streamline the training of undergraduate pilots using reality headsets. virtual, biometrics and artificial intelligence.

In 2018, officials touted the virtual reality-powered training overhaul, in which students sometimes train simultaneously at a series of stations side-by-side, as much cheaper and more efficient than existing simulators. The AI ​​and biometrics components track how a student pilot does on a virtual excursion and are able to make the flight more difficult if the pilot finds it too easy – for example making the weather stormy – or making it easier the challenge if the pilot struggles and becomes frustrated.

But, said Webb, the push to incorporate VR training is still worth it, even if it hasn’t been able to remove traditional simulator outputs from the process. The combination of VR flights, traditional simulation time, and real-life rides in T-6 Texan II trainers allows the Air Force to be winging new pilots sooner than ever, he said.

In March, the first class of pilots graduated from the Undergraduate Pilot Training 2.5 program, which includes lessons and techniques developed as part of Pilot Training Next. These 10 new pilots got their wings after seven months of instruction, unlike the traditional one-year process.

This overhaul of undergraduate pilot training, powered by technology and AI, is in full force at Vance, as well as at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph in Texas. This fall, it will launch in Columbus, then Laughlin next spring.

The Air Force earlier this year launched a program called Accelerated Path to Wings, which aims to train new pilots after about nine or 10 months, faster than the traditional annual schedule. Some students in this course arrived with previous flying experience, which allowed them to progress through the process more quickly. Others already know which aircraft they want to fly, such as mobility planes or helicopters, so the program allows them to go straight to the T-1 Jayhawk training or training helicopters, and skip the usual time period. pilot of the T-6, after completing their preflight academics.

The accelerated program frees up about 90 training places per year, Webb said.

The Air Force is still heavily focused on virtual reality technologies, seeking training for jobs beyond flying airplanes, such as for maintenance technicians or civil engineers, as part of a program now called Tech Training Transformation.

A Kelly Field detachment in San Antonio, Texas, is developing training methods that use VR glasses and a “virtual hangar” that training maintainers, or other Airmen, can use to hone their skills.

There are several ways to use this virtual hangar beyond maintenance training. For example, air transport aviators, who are responsible for loading passengers and cargo on planes, can practice operating their cargo loading vehicles with virtually no immobilization of an actual vehicle.

Or aero-medical evacuation technicians can practically practice securing all the equipment needed to safely transport patients with medical emergencies to where they need to be.

Eventually, as this tech training technology becomes more standardized and mainstream, other parts of the Air Force outside of the AETC could begin to take advantage of it, officials said.

– Stephen Losey can be contacted at Follow him on twitter @StephenLosey.

Related: Air Force Virtual Reality Fighter Training Works Best for 5th Generation Pilots

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Pilots thrown from military plane before crashing in Texas neighborhood, firefighters say Sun, 19 Sep 2021 23:06:31 +0000

One of the pilots’ parachutes was caught in a power line.

According to the Fort Worth Fire Department, three homes were damaged after a military trainer crashed in Lake Worth, Texas.

The Navy T-45C Goshawk jet trainer crashed in the backyard of one of the houses and debris damaged nearby structures, the Lake Fire Chief told reporters Worth, Ryan Arthur, at a Sunday afternoon press conference.

A military student pilot and an instructor pilot were apparently carrying out a training exercise at the time of the crash, Arthur said. The pilots were on a routine training flight out of Corpus Christi International Airport before the incident, according to a statement from the chief of naval aviation training. The aircraft is assigned to the Training Wing at Naval Air Station Kingsville, Texas

One of the pilot’s parachutes got stuck in a power line after being thrown from the plane, he said. The other was found in a nearby neighborhood, Arthur said.

Both pilots are being treated in hospital, Arthur said. The instructor is in stable condition and the Navy student aviator is believed to be in serious condition, but his injuries are not life-threatening, according to the military.

A small fire resulted from the crash, Arthur said. According to the Fort Worth Fire Department, three residents of the damaged homes sustained minor injuries and were treated on site.

“We are incredibly lucky that the plane crashed in the backyards of houses and not the residences themselves,” read a statement from the Fort Worth Fire Department.

More than 40 homes in the vicinity of the crash suffered power outages, officials said.

Residents have been advised to stay away from the area due to the hazardous materials that must be cleaned up. Clean-up crews have been advised by the military that the ejection seats may contain unexploded ordnance.

The Navy is cooperating fully with local authorities, said the Chief of Naval Air Training, adding: “We are extremely grateful for the support of the Lake Worth and Fort Worth Fire Departments, Lake Worth Police, the Fort Worth Joint Reserve and other community partners. who responded to the scene. “

ABC News’ Matthew Fuhrman and Flor Tolentino contributed to this report.

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They served with honor: the lingering desire to fly | Local News Sat, 18 Sep 2021 22:30:00 +0000

“I went into commercial aviation because you just couldn’t be a pilot in the military, pretty much,” Brown said. “They were just kicking the guys left and right.”

But Brown never lost the urge to fly military planes. He finally joined the Navy in 1997 at the age of 26, about two years before he was banned from starting military flight training.

“I’ve always had my candidacies in the Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy, all at the same time,” Brown said. “The Air Force was like, ‘yes we’re going to take you but it’s going to be a year.’ The Marine Corps said to me, ‘are you sure you want to be a Marine?’ I said, ‘I guess.’ And they were like, ‘Not a good enough answer; you won’t go through training camp with that answer. Then the Navy said to me’ yes, we’ll take you in three months. ‘ “

Brown received training after training and eventually moved to Miramar, San Diego, a Marine Corps base. He had then married his wife and had a son on the way. Then, after a year and a few months, he moved to Lemoore, Calif., To serve with a Navy strike squadron known as the Argonauts.

Brown said 9/11 started out as a normal morning for him. But his brother called him and told him to turn on the television, and Brown saw the World Trade Center towers fall. He got to work, he said, and due to security concerns it took everyone several hours to get to the military base.

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Overnight, 12 Chinese MiGs were dispatched to intercept a single CIA B-17 spy plane. They failed and two of them crashed. Sat, 18 Sep 2021 08:23:24 +0000

On the night of March 13, 1958, a Mig-17PF piloted by Wang Guo Shan of the 18th Division was the PLAAF’s last chance against a 34th Squadron (Black Bat) B-17 which had flown over the southern provinces for six hours.

After Mao’s Communists took control of mainland China in 1949, the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) developed a difficult partnership with the Chinese Nationalist government in Taiwan for covert air operations over the mainland. – dropping agents and propaganda, and collecting signals, images and nuclear weapons. intelligence. But Communist China’s air defenses reacted with determination and ingenuity to unwanted intruders.

In fact, as explained by Chris Pocock with Clarence Fu in The Black Bats CIA Spy Flights Over China from Taiwan 1951-1969, Chinese military technicians adapted Soviet equipment and tactics. In 1957, the 11th Aviation School of the People’s Liberation Army (PLAAF) and the 14th and 18th Air Divisions worked to improve the performance of the newly arrived MiG-17PF fighters. The shortcomings of the aircraft‘s RP-5 interceptor radar were already apparent to Western and Chinese intelligence services. First, the effective range was only two and a half miles. Second, operating below about 3,000 feet, it could not distinguish aircraft targets from the echo on the ground.

One solution explored by the Chinese to the second problem was to inhibit the radar’s downward sweep by -14 degrees in elevation. The upward sweep started from two degrees below the horizontal and could still be adequate for interception, provided the MiG pilot is properly guided by the Ground Controlled Intercept (GCI) to fly towards the target at the same altitude. But the PLAAF soon realized that in order to intercept a relatively slowly flying target like the B-17, the MiG-17 had to fly at an angle of attack (AoA) of 4 to 5 degrees to prevent it from stalling. . At this attitude, the -2 degree sweep was unnecessary, unless the target was over the interceptor. As the Taiwanese intruders flew at 1,000 feet, they were usually found below the interceptors. And it would be suicide for MiG pilots to try to fly lower at night.

Chinese pilots and technicians have still thought about it. The downward sweep of the radar was inhibited by only seven degrees. When the MiG was flying at 4-5 degrees AoA, the radar was effectively 2-3 degrees below horizontal. This could provide a target sweep without including a lot of ground clutter.

MiG-17PFs equipped with radars were launched into the battle to intercept intruders. On the night of March 13, 1958, a Mig-17PF piloted by Wang Guo Shan of the 18th Division was the PLAAF’s last chance against a 34th Squadron (Black Bat) B-17 which had flown over the southern provinces for six hours. No less than eleven MiG-15s had already been dispatched further north when Wang took off from Shati airfield in Guangdong. As the B-17 left the mainland and flew at low altitude, Wang pursued it for 50 miles. Running out of fuel, it was directed by GCI to land at Shuixi Airfield on the Leizhou Peninsula north of Hainan Island. But fog blanketed the airfield and Wang crashed and was killed as he tried to approach.

It was the second fatal loss of the night for the PLAAF. Earlier, a MiG-15bis piloted by Yang Yu Jiang had taken off from Changsha to serve as a radio relay plane in the search for the B-17. Contact with the pilot was lost shortly after takeoff, and the MiG crashed near Datuopu airfield at 11:00 p.m.

The Black Bats CIA Spy Flights Over China from Taiwan 1951-1969 is published by Schiffer Publishing and can be ordered here.

At night, 12 Chinese MiGs were dispatched to intercept a single B-17 spy plane.  They failed and two of them crashed.

Photo credit: US Air Force

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DVIDS – News – Haitian Black Hawk Pilot Supports JTF-Haiti Relief Efforts After Earthquake Fri, 17 Sep 2021 22:32:00 +0000

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – U.S. Army Capt.Alix Idrache, pilot and future operations planner with 1st Battalion, 228th Aviation Regiment, Joint Task Force-Bravo (JTF-B), based at the base Air Force from Soto Cano, Honduras, mobilized in support of Joint Task Force Haiti (JTF-Haiti) to provide much-needed assistance as quickly as possible to victims of the recent magnitude 7.2 earthquake in Haiti from August 15 to September. 9.

Idrache, who was born in Haiti, and has been a key player in ongoing relief operations, supporting medical evacuation missions, as well as helping to interpret French and Creole to facilitate coordination.

“I knew I wanted to join the US military,” Idrache said. “So I enlisted and then applied to a university – the United States Military Academy at West Point. “

After graduating from West Point with a degree in physics with a track in electrical engineering, Idrache attended pilot training and was selected for the US Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. His unit, the 1-228th Aviation Regiment, was called in to support JTF-Haiti relief operations.

In support of the whole-of-government effort led by the United States Agency for International Development’s Humanitarian Aid Office, JTF-B and Idrache joined forces with JTF-Haiti to provide assistance. essential as soon as possible. He spent the first days of operations in the air traffic control tower.

“The airfield was incredibly busy, we had planes from the US Coast Guard, Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force, there was a lot going on here. Alix, being able to speak the language and to be from here, was really important to establish good relations and to establish an agreement with our Haitian partners who work at the airport ”, declared the colonel of the American army Steven Gventer, JTF-B commander and deputy. Commander of JTF-Haiti. “His work kept our missions safe and allowed us to find the fastest way to get help from the airfield to the people who needed it.”

In support of JTF-Haiti, JTF-B provided a total of 340,740 pounds of aid including food, shelter, blankets, tents, tarps, water purifiers, generators and a full mobile medical hospital to communities in need.

“It’s a lot to deal with, I’m also one of those people,” Idrache said. “It’s great to be in a position where you can make a difference. We help those in need, build relationships here and there is hope in the conversations I have. The Haitian people are such a strong and beautiful people.

In total, JTF-Haiti carried out a total of 671 missions, transported 587,950 pounds of relief supplies and equipment, and assisted or rescued 477 people.

“Alix has been invaluable to us,” said Gventer. “He has piloted medical evacuation missions and helped save lives in Haiti. He’s a great pilot, an incredible person, a whole American, a whole Haitian-American, he is a hope for the people of Haiti.

Date taken: 09/17/2021
Date posted: 17.09.2021 18:32
Story ID: 405550

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“Girls in Aviation Day” Seeks to Close the Gender Gap in Aviation – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth Fri, 17 Sep 2021 11:47:06 +0000

If you’re leaving town soon, think about your pilot.

This person is probably a man. In fact, 95% of all pilots in America are men.

It’s a harsh reality that the daring women of aviation are trying to shatter. Girls in Aviation Day, a special conference to be held in Dallas and around the world next week, aims to attract more women to the skies.

Reach for the heavens

The Escaped Women have been making headlines lately. This week, the first black female pilot of a spaceship took off from Space-X. This summer, local pilot Wally Funk became the oldest person to ever be in space.

It is a story that is played out over the generations.

Funk, from Grapevine, has herself broken the mold of runaway women for the past 60 years. She was the first female aviation safety investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board and for the Federal Aviation Administration.

Two months ago, NBC 5 covered an evening watch for its trip to space. A room filled with dozens of female pilots from the local chapter of The Ninety-Nines and Women in Aviation International, which are national organizations dedicated to women in the aviation industry.

It was there that we met Deborah Hecker, who has made the accompaniment of women on the run her lifelong mission.

“When you step into a field that is really not traditional, I think you really have to have a strong will and dedication to just persevere and keep going,” she said.

She took a rather unconventional path to the heavens.

“I got a degree in international relations and really didn’t know anything about aviation,” she said. “I didn’t know women could fly. I thought you must have been in the military.

After graduating from Michigan State University, she traveled and eventually accepted a job as a waitress while studying for LSAT. At the time, a friend whose father owned a freight business told her that she should become a pilot instead.

His original road to law school was derailed when this friend offered him a flying lesson for his one-year birthday.

“I was addicted,” she recalls.

Deborah Hecker

After that, she stopped studying law. Through her work as a waitress, she spent years working to pay for more flight lessons and eventually bought her own plane to save money.

“It’s one thing to fly an airplane, but it’s another to understand the mechanics behind an airplane. I had a degree in international relations rather than a science field, but you can study and learn how to do it, ”Hecker said.

It paid off. Her hard work led her to a career in cargo and regional aircraft. Eventually, she made it to the pilot’s seat at American Airlines.

“I feel like our office is the best there is,” she said.

She is now a captain with nearly 30 years of experience to her credit.

“A lot of people are very passionate about aviation at a very young age. Especially if they’ve been exposed to it. I was never exposed to it, but found it later in my life. And I definitely had an amazing career, ”she said.

But it is in the minority in its industry.

Of all pilots in the United States, only about 5% are female.

“We have about 750 female pilots at American out of 15,000. But there are still quite a few of us,” she said.

The same is true for other airlines in the United States and in many parts of the world.

“And that really hasn’t changed since the 1970s. Even though we try to promote this as a great and viable career, it still hasn’t really moved the dial,” Hecker said.

But there is an effort to change that through mentors and programs, including the upcoming Girls in Aviation Day – hosted by Women in Aviation International. The idea of ​​”take your daughter to a conference” originated many years ago and has become an annual tradition for the past seven years in Dallas.

Girls aged 8-17 are linked to female role models in various aviation professions. Mentorships are established and dreams are aroused.

In addition to the Dallas event, there will be over 60 other events around the world. During the 2019 conference, they were able to reach 20,000 young women around the world.

Hecker herself has become a star in the WAI Local and National Organization.

She even started the “Keep Flying” aviation scholarship with one of her best friends at United, to encourage young pilots in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. So far, they have offered $ 180,000 in flight training through their connection to WAI.

“It can be a mechanic, a pilot, an air traffic controller, an engineer, an aviation law, a design, a manufacture – the whole aviation career is all encompassing,” she said. “Our job for all of us who are in these areas is to move that dial. And encourage more people to join us.

More people love Sydney Harper. Her love for aviation was born only at the age of 16 when she took a discovery flight to see if a path in aviation was something she wanted to do.

“Once we got to the top of the clouds it was so beautiful, it was so awesome,” she said.

Sydney harper

Sydney Harper of DFW is on a new journey to become a pilot.

Like Hecker in her early years, Harper said she was addicted to theft. At 19, she already has a private pilot’s license.

“If you had asked me two years ago what I would do after high school, I wouldn’t have told you I would fly planes,” she joked.

She is now part of the American Airlines Cadet Academy, on the way to becoming a commercial pilot one day.

“They aim to help you and take you to the next level. Help you cross safely and make you a great pilot, ”she said.

Harper said she also sees many other girls like her excelling in the program.

“If you’ve got a passion for it, they’re going to work hard and they’re going to get there,” she said. “I’m not going to say you have to like it right off the bat. There are going to be frustrating days. And there are going to be days when you work on a part of something that you’ve struggled with and you finally get it, and you finally understand. And that’s just the greatest feeling.

Look ahead

Hecker says the aviation industry needs more passionate people than ever before.

“As we move forward, we know there will be pilot shortages, mechanics shortages, and engineering and air traffic control shortages,” she said. “Sometimes all it takes is for someone to tell a young woman that they can do it. To put her mind in this space she has the confidence to do it.

And as so many young girls are discovering their potential through groups like Women in Aviation International, the hope is that more people can realize that the sky is literally the limit.

“And that’s not even the case, you can go to space,” Hecker said. “Many of us have an explorer’s heart. And it’s really all about adventure and going to new destinations, seeing what you see from the cockpit. People can see through the side windows, but what we see from the front of the cockpit is pretty amazing.

Deborah Hecker

American Airlines Captain Deborah Hecker.

Girls in Aviation Day

When: Saturday Sept. 25, 2021, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Or: Memorial Air Force National Aviation Education Center at Dallas Executive Airport (5657 Mariner Dr., Dallas TX 75237)

Cost: To free. Places are limited and reservation / ticket is required. Click here to join. For more information, visit


  • 12 practical activities
  • Flight simulators
  • Air Force, Dallas Police Department (Helicopter), Trainer Aircraft, and Personal Aircraft / GA Aircraft on Display
  • 14 exhibitors
  • Special program for high school girls with in-minute mentoring
  • Stock market information
  • Deepening sessions

Girls will not be flying in planes during the event. Each participant will receive a drawstring backpack with the 2021 Aviation for Girls magazine (which has an 8-page detachable section with activities), an aviation section activity, a keychain, a temporary tattoo, a bandana, a sticker and the fun WAI Aviation Girl patch.

“This event will help girls in North Texas discover the exciting careers available to them as engineers, astronauts, aircraft maintenance technicians, pilots, dispatchers, air traffic controllers and dozens of other jobs. within the aviation community, ”said WAI North Texas Chapter President Lauren Featherstone. “The girls will also meet role models from all areas of the aerospace industry and in all
STEM roles in a fun, safe and supportive atmosphere.

Precautions against covid19

  • All volunteers and exhibitors will be masked
  • Masks are encouraged for participants and will be available for children and adults at the door
  • Weather permitting, giant hangar doors will be opened to promote air circulation
  • Weather permitting, the static aircraft display will be outside
  • The facility has specialized air filtration systems in certain areas of the facility

Virtual opportunities

Families can search for virtual opportunities on the event website.

Girls who are unable to attend a Girls in Aviation Day in-person event are welcome to order their free kit with Girls in Aviation Day materials, activities and loot at www.waistore .org.

In 2020, due to COVID, WAI canceled all in-person events and developed the free Aviation For Girls app for children to use at home. The app offers hundreds of hours of interviews, tours, virtual flights and activities. They will be releasing new content on September 25 to celebrate our 7th GIAD. It can be used on a desktop with the link.

Search for Aviation for Girls in your smartphone’s app store or scan the code on the leaflet below:

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Specialized Navy vessel searching for helicopter that crashed into aircraft carrier southeast of San Diego – Redlands Daily Facts Fri, 17 Sep 2021 00:19:05 +0000

A ship typically used for submarine recovery is now searching for a Navy helicopter that fell overboard from the USS Abraham Lincoln on August 31, along with two pilots, two corps and a naval aircrew still on board.

The HOS Dominator arrived at the location where the helicopter was last seen about 60 miles southeast of San Diego late Wednesday, September 15, and immediately began recovery efforts, including using a scanner. sonar known as SWISS and a towed pinger locator, Marine Lieutenant Samuel. Boyle said.

The wreckage of the MH-60 Sierra helicopter and the remains of the five sailors are estimated at an ocean depth of between 4,000 and 6,000 feet.

In March, the Navy recovered a downed helicopter to a depth of 19,075 feet off Okinawa, Japan. The twin-engine Sikorsky Seahawk crashed in the Pacific Ocean last year while operating from the USS Blue Ridge. The crew was able to escape before she sank.

Efforts to retrieve the helicopter overboard from the USS Abraham Lincoln will continue until the wreckage is found, Boyle said. Then a second vessel operating with a large crane will help with the recovery.

The helicopter became unbalanced and went overboard at 4:30 p.m. on August 31. A crew member was recovered from the water around 10:30 a.m. that night, and five other sailors working on the ship’s deck were injured. All six are in stable condition, Boyle said.

An investigation into the causes of the accident is underway.

Navy and Coast Guard ships and planes searched the area after the helicopter sank for about 72 hours before search and rescue turned into a recovery effort. The five sailors were presumed dead and identified. All five were from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 8 based out of North Island, San Diego.

Those on board the helicopter were Lieutenant Bradley A. Foster, 29, an Oakhurst pilot; Lieutenant Paul R. Fridley, 28, a pilot from Annandale, Va .; Naval Air Crewman (helicopter) 2nd Class James P. Buriak, 31, of Salem, Va .; Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Sarah F. Burns, 31, of Severna Park, Md.; and Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Bailey J. Tucker, 21, of St. Louis, Mo.

The Abraham Lincoln is now back at the Port of San Diego. The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier was preparing for deployment next year.

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