Sunday, March 13, 2011

Flying it Forward!

Yesterday was a BIG day. A dozen pilots gathered at Out of the Blue to give free flights to girls of all ages, 5 to 105. On the way in, my car broke down - in the pouring rain - and I had to get a push and a jump from a taxi driver (thank you Mr. Taximan!). I arrived barely in time for the scheduled pilot briefing, but I managed to get them briefed, fed, coffeed up, and ready to go for the first passenger.

Dick and Todd were there with their 180s, Lane in his 182, Pete with the SR20, Laith, Jeanne, Casey, Jerry, Mike, Marla, and Tim with 172s, Teri in her PA-140, and Mike in the Remos. Between them all, we flew 152 girls in one day!

I know some businesses won't do a thing unless they've carefully calculated the return on investment. They probably make more money than I do. When my son asked me at the end of the day, "Was it worth it?" I had to acknowledge that I spent way more time and money on this than I'll probably recoup. It will be a long time before that grinning nine year old girl becomes a paying customer. Likewise, those pilots who spent all day and lots of dollars on fuel will get nothing in return. Except maybe one thing: the satisfaction of making a difference in someone's life. In a little way, I like to think that we made a difference yesterday. And that, is priceless.

Friday, March 4, 2011

"Now is the winter of our discontent, made glorious ...."

What is a Shakespeare quote doing on an aviation blog?

Well, it HAS been a long, dark winter here, wings too heavy to fly. We're ready to see it end. This winter has seen many changes, the hardest being the loss of my Chief Pilot who has been with me through thick and thin and ups and downs. Difficult as it is to say goodbye, I wish him the very best of blue skies ahead.

With the coming spring weather, we're ushering in new changes here at Out of the Blue. The newest addition to our line of events is our Girls fly Free Weekend. We're joining up with Women of Aviation Week to offer short free flights, on March 12th, to girls and women who have never flown in a small aircraft. I've coordinated helicopters and gliders and jets to join us to provide a great day to encourage girls to "give aviation a try." This is very near and dear to my heart and I am so excited about it!

The four males in my household argue that "girls just aren't interested in flying or adventure as much as guys." I think it is still very much a matter of role models - who do girls usually see behind the aircraft yoke and who do they see behind the kitchen stove? This is what they normalize. It's changing, but slowly!

And being an idealist, I keep trying to help change the world - one day at a time, one person at a time.

Affectionately, Cathy