Sharing the Passion through Discovery Flights

In my story “You Can’t Just Pull Over”, I described the tool that I used to conquer my fear of an engine failure in flight.

Oshawa Municipal Airport, the 2010 Most Female Pilot Friendly Airport Worldwide

After overcoming that obstacle, I had no problem flying solo or taking Jeff for a $100 hamburger, but flying non-pilot passengers is a different story.  For almost the first three years after getting my license, whenever I flew with non-pilot passengers, they were assigned to the back seat. As pilot in command, I am responsible for the safety of the flight and my passengers, and that is a huge responsibility!

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You Can’t Just Pull Over….

Checking the fuel level

In some of my earlier stories, I described some of the strategies and tactics that I used for overcoming my obstacles, but conquering the fears was more difficult.

For example, even after I got my license, I was still afraid of an engine failure. Jeff and I talked about it extensively and he explained how unlikely that was. While he was describing why it was unlikely (maintenance schedules, etc.) I was reminded of a tool that I had used in my corporate life to analyze difficult situations. Read more

FrostKosh – Airventure 2013

As the date for annual AirVenture adventure approached, I kept an eagle eye on the weather websites, in order to decide when to depart. We wanted to arrive at KOSH (Oshkosh Airport) by Friday, July 25th at the latest, in order to get a good camping spot, close to the show and the showers. By late Tuesday, it was looking like Thursday was going to be the best day to fly, so we scrambled to make that happen. On Wednesday evening, we took the back seat out of the airplane and loaded all our camping gear. A careful weight and balance calculation confirmed that we were below our maximum weight (by less than 50 pounds!) and well within C of G (centre of gravity).

On Thursday morning, we departed from Oshawa under clear skies and with a tailwind! The enroute forecast was for clear skies, so we planned to fly over Lake Michigan at 8,500 feet. That would save us more than an hour of flying time (and therefore, fuel) Read more

$100 Hamburgers

$100 Hamburger Flight to Haliburton

Pressing the ‘push-to-talk’ button on my control yoke, I called the radio operator at the Collingwood Airport.

“Aircraft calling Collingwood, go ahead”, was the reply.

“Collingwood Unicom, this is Cessna 172, Golf Mike Whiskey India, 12 miles to the east, 3,500, inbound for landing, request airport advisory.”

“Golf Mike Whiskey India, this is Collingwood Unicom. Winds light from the west, runway 31 in use, traffic reported in the area.”

“Golf Mike Whiskey India”, I acknowledged. Read more

You Mean I Passed?

2007 Award of Excellence from the First Canadian Chapter of the Ninety-Nines

Woohoo!! My nephew, Alex passed his flight test yesterday afternoon, April 17. I’m so proud!

He messaged me on Facebook yesterday morning to let me know that his test was booked for 1300. I asked him which aircraft he would be flying and when he told me he would be flying F-SCG, I told him that was the luckiest airplane at the airport. The real reason that I wanted the aircraft ID, was that I planned to listen in on Read more


Rock your Wings“, “Hi, Welcome to Oshkosh” and “Easy-Up, Easy-Down”  was the series of stories that described our first annual trip to Airventure in Oshkosh Wisconsin in 2006. This story is about our seventh and latest trip, in 2012!

This time, we were lucky with the weather on the days that we were flying, but not so lucky on some of the days that we were at the show, as we were challenged by heat and thunderstorms. I wish they would move Airventure to mid September!

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A Tale of Two First Solos

It has been a few weeks since I posted a story and I just received some news that inspired me to get back to writing. My nephew, Alex, flew his first solo this morning! Every time a pilot hears the news about a student’s first solo, they are reminded of their own first solo. So this story is about two first solos; mine and Alex’s.

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Easy-Up, Easy-Down

From the title of this story, you might expect that I will be describing my experience of learning how to take off and land an airplane. Not so – in fact there are no landings in today’s story. In my next story “A Tale of Two First Solos”, you will read about how I mastered the art of landing an airplane.

In Welcome to Oshkosh, I wrote about our first arrival at AirVenture and taxiing to the spot where we would be camping for the next week.

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“Hi, welcome to Oshkosh!”

In Rock Your Wings, I described our first flight to Oshkosh and my unexpected emotional reaction when the air traffic controller instructed us to rock our wings. After we rocked, the controller said “Nice rock” and gave us the rest of our instructions, advising us that runway 27 was in use, that we should follow the railroad tracks and join the right downwind for runway 27. He told us which of the Oshkosh tower frequencies we should switch over to. A few minutes later, we had the airport in sight! Read more

Rock your Wings

Shortly after I sprouted my wings by starting my flying lessons, Jeff let me know that our airplane would not be available for a lesson during the last week in July. He and his friend Brian would be flying to an air show in Oshkosh for that week. I was surprised that he would give up an entire week of cottaging in the middle of the summer – prime water-skiing season! This must be a very special air show! Read more

Sprouting My Wings

Five years ago today, on May 2, 2007, I became a Licensed Private Pilot! I can’t believe that I have been a pilot for 5 years!! I decided to celebrate the milestone by writing the story of my first flight lesson, which, even though it took place almost 7 years ago, I remember like it was yesterday – especially the moment when the wheels left the ground. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Read more

Life is too Short to be a Passenger

In “Love at First Flight”, I described how much I enjoyed my first flight in a small airplane. I didn’t, however, describe my first landing in small airplane.

It was a bit traumatic. I had really enjoyed the flight. Except for the part right after we took off, when I looked down into someone’s backyard and felt dizzy… And the part where I felt sick as we were circling over the cottage… But I loved everything else!

Until the landing… Read more

Love at First Flight

April 9/05. My First Flight

“How Small and How Old?” brought us to the point where Jeff was explaining why we really could afford to buy an airplane (a small, old airplane). Apparently, we would be paying about the same as we had paid for the car that I had bought the previous year. I wasn’t sure this was really a fair comparison, as that car was new – the airplane wasn’t. I may have mentioned that it was a small, old airplane?

Then he helped me get over the scepticism of buying a small, old airplane by explaining all about the very stringent rules and regulations with respect to inspection and maintenance schedules for general aviation airplanes. After all, if you have a problem when you are flying, you can’t just pull off to the side of the road… Read more

How Small and How Old?

In “E is for Experimental” I explained how it came to be that my husband, Jeff, is building an airplane (yes, folks – BUILDING an airplane!). I was asked what “experimental” means as it relates to airplanes. Perhaps the Canadian moniker for this category of aircraft, “amateur-built”, describes it better. Simply put, it is an airplane that is not built in a certified factory (such as a Cessna is), but rather it is built by a person. Rest assured that it is inspected by Transport Canada to meet quality standards; however, when you fly in such an airplane, you need to trust the skills of the person who built it.  I was discussing this with someone who said to me “I wouldn’t fly in an airplane that my husband built” and I replied “Neither would I, but I would fly in one that my husband built”.

This is the story of how we came to be owners of a certified airplane, a Cessna 172.  Read more

“E” is for “Experimental”

My husband, Jeff, had a pilot’s license when we got married but he wasn’t flying at the time. After food, mortgage, kids etc., there was no money left over for such frivolity.

Fast forward 20 years – house paid off, kids moved out = more disposable income. Jeff got back into flying; renting airplanes from the local fight school, but renting turned out to be a bit frustrating. Sometimes the airplane he liked was not available when he wanted it. Sometimes there was no airplane at all.

His solution? BUILD an airplane. That’s right…BUILD one! A full size, four seat airplane that we would eventually, (theoretically) fly in!

To be fair to Jeff, he is very smart and is good with his hands. He has built several very good quality items, including a cabinet for our TV and a free standing workshop at our cottage. Also, he is an electrical technologist, so he is very technical and mechanical.

But seriously, an airplane? Read more