Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Flying to their rescue: Pet project Pilots N Paws volunteers help shuttle animals to new homes

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — At Midwest National Air Center, in Mosley, Mo., a white Piper Cherokee drifts to earth like a paper airplane in the bright twilight, the buzz of its single engine only slightly louder than the chirp of grasshoppers in the surrounding farmland. 

On the ground, the plane noses down deserted runways and taxiways toward the padlocked terminal building. The propeller coughs to a stop, and the pilot unfolds his body backward through the passenger-side door.

Standing on the wing he asks his passenger, “Honey Bee, do you want to get out?”

Honey Bee, a 2-year-old bluetick coonhound, raises her head and cocks her floppy velvet ears. But she remains rooted to the backseat where she has slept most of the two hours since the gentle-voiced stranger picked her up at Spirit of St. Louis Airport and loaded her into this strange vehicle that vibrates like a pickup but is much louder.

The pilot strokes Honey Bee under the chin, then leans in and scoops up the 50-pound hound, no easy feat while trying to keep your footing on a convex aircraft wing.

Even cradling a coonhound, Sam Taylor has the squared shoulders and stick-straight posture of military servicemen. Taylor is a retired Navy helicopter pilot who flew search-and-rescue missions during the Vietnam War. Now he flies animal rescue missions in his plane for a nationwide network called Pilots N Paws.

On average, Taylor goes on one to three rescue flights a week. Most flights are in a 150-mile range, but he has flown much farther.

In September 2010, Taylor was part of a mission that rescued 171 dogs from Louisiana after the Gulf oil spill.

Taylor would go more often if he could afford it. Pilots N Paws pilots pay for their own gas, which averages $48 per hour.

Last year, Taylor spent $3,255 on gas for rescue flights. This year he's up to $2,400 already.

Crossroads pilots win Air Race Classic

After an incredible journey spanning four days, eight states and 2,862 miles, Diana Stanger and Victoria Holt are flying back to the Crossroads with new nicknames: "The Racing Aces." 

The two pilots placed first in the 36th annual Women's Air Race Classic against 56 other teams from across the U.S.

The race dates back to the 1920s and has seen competition from some of aviation's most notable women pilots.

"You feel like Amelia Earhart is patting you on the back," Stanger said.

Stanger, of Port Lavaca, and Holt, of Belton, took off from Calhoun County Airport Thursday in a Cirrus SR-22 toward their starting point in Lake Havasu, Ariz., and reached their final destination, Batavia, Ohio, by Friday.

Stanger said landing was a great feeling.

Read more here:  http://www.victoriaadvocate.com/news/2012/jun/25/mc_flight_winner_062612_180490/

Pilots reach new heights: Pair take to skies in 2,400-mile race

NEW CASTLE — In a small, single-engine plane that is slower than a speeding car, Cynthia Lee and Nancy Rohr found themselves caught in a thunderstorm somewhere over Newberry, Mich. 

 But the two pilots, tucked together their Diamond DA-40, weren’t worried. They were excited.

Last week, the duo competed in the 35th annual Air Race Classic, a 2,400-mile competition from Lake Havasu City, Ariz., to Batavia, Ohio, for female aviators.

The race is composed of various timed legs and challenges where pilots compete in events including high-speed flybys, following designated routes and flying clean legs that stay within parameters. Each aircraft is handicapped for speed and engine power, with the goal of having the actual ground speed as far over the handicapped speed as possible.

“It’s a huge tradition that’s been going on for [decades],” said Lee, 57, of Avondale, Pa. “It’s beyond my wildest dreams that I would fly and be in one of these races. [It] was fantastic [and] it was the first race for both of us.”

Lee, a relatively new flyer, and her co-pilot, 57-year-old Newark resident and experienced aviator Rohr, paired up after learning about the race during a Christmas party for the Mid-Atlantic Ninety-Nines, an international organization of female pilots that began with Amelia Earhart. They wanted to carry on the tradition of other Wilmington-area pilots who competed in the event in years past.

Read more here:  http://www.delawareonline.com/article/20120626/NEWS/306260040/Pilots-reach-new-heights?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|Home&nclick_check=1

Young pilot has high hopes for record


 It’s not an average summer trip to the East Coast but Matthew Gougeon is not your average teenager.

The 16-year-old Ontario resident is hoping to set a record as the youngest pilot ever to fly a plane solo from Canada’s West Coast to the East Coast.

“I’m looking forward to it, ” says Gougeon, without a hint of nervousness about the upcoming adventure.

He will leave Tofino, B.C., around July 13 and land in Halifax around the 19th. He will be piloting his dad’s amphibious Cessna 182 airplane.

“At the start and end of the trip I’m going to try and land in each ocean, just as kind of a cool thing.”

“It’s a float plane but it is amphibious, which means the floats have wheels that come out of them, so I can land on runways, too.”

Gougeon lives in Collingwood, where he has just finished Grade 11 at Pretty River Academy, but spends his summers in Sudbury.

During his long solo flight, he expects to fly about six to nine hours a day, and will make overnight and refuelling stops in various cities across the country. His schedule is weather dependent.

“If there is weather or rain or anything like that, I can be grounded pretty easily,” he said.

Read more here:  http://thechronicleherald.ca/novascotia/110996-young-pilot-has-high-hopes-for-record