Enough already!

For the record, I dislike Paula Deen, or at least I dislike what she represents. Paula Deen represents and encourages obesity and unhealthy eating without consideration for consequences. I do not buy her (overpriced) products or watch her TV shows because I do not support her in any way. The people I know that love her recipes are unhealthy, uncomfortable and have health issues they blame on genetics while they eat that butter filled casserole. We all know the ramifications this has on our healthcare system and insurance rates, but that’s another rant.

Now her name is everywhere, for a comment she publicly admitted to saying 20+ years ago. Enough already! I may not like what she represents, but she’s a human being in pain and I don’t like to see any person in pain. I may not like what she represents, but I’m sure that if I met her in person she would offer me a kindness and hospitality that I would graciously return. Anyone that watched that YouTube video or interview can see she regrets all of it and is not racist. I don’t think she should get her show back, but: Forgive, forget and move on!

With fame comes a public responsibility and often harsher consequences than the general public faces for indiscretions. Paula Deen is not a very thick-skinned lady, yet she summoned the courage to make a public apology (YouTube) and then agreed to an interview on the Today Show with Brian Williams. She was unable to attend the original interview due to her emotional state, which I completely understand, I would have probably done the same thing, but at least she finally did show up. She made a mistake, she apologized, now let’s move on. Now with these brands dropping her name? I think it’s ridiculous. She will find a way to continue to make money from all of us even without her face on products, because money buys more money. She will be okay.

I’m glad that the Food Network has dropped her show, but not because of this mistake she made decades ago, it’s because I’d like to see someone on the Food Network promoting heart-healthy cooking. Strokes, heart disease, diabetes and other diet related diseases are on the rise and something needs to be done to encourage a better way. I know everyone is responsible for their own health, but some people only know the ways their parents teach them and what they watch on tv, this trickles down to their kids and their kids and their kids. The problem there is that the food today is NOT the food our grandparents ate. The pesticides, GMOs, antibiotics & steroids were not a part of farming in “the good ol days”, and manual labor was a way of life for most people. I want to see a healthy America. I want to see my friends healthy, happy and able to enjoy their bodies as the machines they are.

I’ll end my health rant there, but I’ll say again: Forgive, forget and move the Hell on!

I Wish Lunch Could Last Forever

Hundred Dollar Hamburger

Hundred Dollar Hamburger

A friend has been asking to go flying with me for a while. Yesterday I noticed the weather would be perfect today for a trip to Greenville for lunch. Since this friend of mine is also from Greenville I thought this would be the perfect time to bring her along. We had a wonderful flight up and back. The flight from Mt Pleasant to Greenville was silky smooth, but the flight back was like a ride at an amusement park so my arms are going to be sore tomorrow. My parents were able to meet us for lunch, which made the trip even more special. If you are a pilot in the Southeast US, I strongly recommend a stop at KGMU for lunch at the Runway Cafe. There is no ramp fee, the food is good, the view is great and you’re sure to meet some fun aviation loving folks.

Building flight time is so much better when there is a purpose for the flight. Lunch is a good purpose.

Instrument Checkride

Coastal Aviation, the flight school that took me on at the very last minute to finish my IFR rating, asked me to do a write-up about my IFR checkride. Hopefully this will help someone else that is trying to get a feel for what to expect.

When the checkride was scheduled, the DPE (Designated Pilot Examiner) asked me to plan a trip from my home airport, KLRO, to Lakeland Florida, KLAL, using “Victor Airways”. This was no problem because I had already planned a trip to LAL since I was actually flying down as Safety Pilot there just a few days later with a friend. The flight plan was to include proper altitude,  frequency changeover points, expected approach and a weather briefing (among other things).

When the examiner showed up we sat down to the computer to have me “sign in” to the FAA website to officially begin the exam. We then went into a room to begin the oral portion of the exam.

He first asked me why I chose the route I chose. I chose it because of a NOTAM specific to the destination. The Victor airway route I chose required a specific altitude due to the high volume of air traffic enroute to the event (Sun-n-Fun). We discussed several symbols on the map along the way, weather briefings, equipment failure procedures and other emergency procedures. The DPE shared a few stories from his experience and asked what I may have done in the same situation. When he was satisfied that I was capable of good planning and decision making, we went to the airplane to begin the practical segment of the exam.

For the practical exam there are several procedures the FAA requires the IFR applicant to demonstrate and 3 approaches that must be completed. Before we departed the DPE proposed that we do the unusual attitudes and steep turns before navigating to, and entering, the holding pattern for the RNAV (GPS) approach for Rwy 27 at KJZI.

We departed on Rwy 35 on a Runway heading. When I reached approximately 700′ in altitude the DPE took the controls while I put my “foggles” on. We turned to the Southeast to head to the practice area. The DPE had me fly to 3,000′ over the ocean just off the coast of Isle of Palms and then he had me lean my head down while he flew the plane in attitudes meant to disorient me, and returning the controls to me with the plane pitched up and to the side at first, then again in a nose down attitude. Both times the recovery was smooth and satisfactory. After these I set up the GPS for the JZI RNAV approach for Rwy 27 and headed for the holding pattern entry. The direction we approached the IAF required a parallel entry, which we discussed as I was navigating to the IAF.

The FAA requires that one of the non-precision approaches be done with “partial panel”. As I entered the holding pattern for this approach the DPE covered the Attitude Indicator and the Heading Indicator. Lucky for me the air was silky smoothe and this was my best approach of the exam. When I reached the MDA (Minimum Descent Altitude) the DPE told me the airport was not in sight and I executed the published missed approach procedure, flying the entire MAP to include one full circuit in the MA hold at the RILEY intersection. After flying the MAP the DPE removed the covers from the instrument panel so I would have full instruments again.

Next I programmed the GPS for the precision approach, the ILS for Rwy 9 at the same airport (KJZI). Upon reaching the DH of 270 the DPE took the controls so I could remove the foggles and do a touch and go.

After doing the touch & go, we contacted Charleston Approach to request permission for our final approach procedure, the VOR/DME-A into KLRO. Charleston Approach gave us vectors to the CHS VOR, where we began our descent from 3,000′ to 1,600′ at the Final Approach Fix. After crossing the runway at the circling altitude of 540′ I began my turn onto the downwind leg. Unfortunately, the wind was a little stronger than what was reported, (AND I underestimated the distance I should have been from the runway) when we last listened to the AWOS, and I was blown past the runway. This was one of the few times in my flying career that a go-around was actually necessary, and it had to happen on my IFR checkride. At least I made the right decision and the checkride ended with the issuance of my IFR ticket, and not with catastophe.

Ramble On

My traveling Ben is back in town!

Just when I thought I had this blog thing figured out, my super sweet, genius husband hooked me up with a new blog. Now I have the domain name I really wanted but I have to start (almost) from scratch. I couldn’t resist copying & pasting the blog posts I had already written, though. I was too proud of myself to just let them waste away in cyberspace!

That’s all I’ve got to say about that.


So there I was…

…thinking about what to do with my night. I was recently asked by a local flight school to write a little blurb about my checkride. A couple of weeks ago Ben suggested that I start a blog, and a blog is a good way to kick me in the arse to do the blurb. So here’s my blog. We’ll see how it goes.