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Dec 22, 2014

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Friday, June 13, 2014

Air Race Classic Promotes Aviation Pilot Careers for Women

Next week, I'll be following the progress of one plane, a 1961 twin-engine Beechcraft Travel Air, piloted by Alicia Sikes (our daughter) and Emily Lewis, in the Air Race Classic. They will start the race in Concord CA on June 16 and continue to the final destination, New Cumberland PA, a distance of 2300 miles. This event is designed to encourage more women to enter careers as pilots. (Fewer than seven percent of all U. S. pilots are women.)

Air races for women began in 1929 with the First Women's Air Derby that started in Santa Monica CA and ended in Cleveland OH. These races continued on through the 1930s, were halted during World War II, then resumed as All Women's Transcontinental Air Race (Powder Puff Derby). The final AWTAR event was held in 1977. The Air Race Classic, Ltd. took its place and was reincorporated in 2002 as Air Race Classic, Inc., a non-profit 501(c)3 organization.

"Alicia's RG at West Point Airport 2008" ©MMSikes
In the past few years, I've learned a lot about airplanes, flying, and the pioneering career of one woman who fell in love with aviation and became a pilot, much to my surprise. Alicia's career started near the end of her senior year at the Honors College of the University of South Carolina when she began taking flying lessons at Eagle Aviation, Columbia Metro Airport. Once she received her private pilot's license, there was no looking back, even though she also had just earned a BS degree in computer science. She began instructing at Eagle and then at Midlands Aviation at Owens Field, Columbia. From there she went on to become a Beech 99 Captain for Air New Orleans, based in Birmingham, Alabama. Her career eventually took her to TWA where she was the first female to checkout on the B767. At one point, I recall her flying into Egypt. Most of her time with TWA was spent flying the B727 which she loved. During that period, her sister Amy and I stayed with her when she was in Vienna, Austria, flying to Istanbul, Turkey. Alicia is currently a MD80 Captain with American Airlines (which purchased TWA). Along the way, Alicia inspired her sister Allison to become involved in aviation. Allison earned her private pilot's license while attending graduate school in polymer science at the University of Southern Mississippi.

Emily Lewis comes from an aviation family. Her grandfather ran a flight school, and her father is a Captain with American Airlines. She started flying at age 14 and earned her private pilot's license at age 17. She is currently in her third year at Salisbury University where she is studying atmospheric sciences and environmental and land use planning.

For the Air Race Classic, Alicia and Emily are Team Friendly Flyers (Team #48).

Emily "would love to inspire others not only to pursue the field of aviation, but to pursue their own ambitious dreams as well."

Alicia "is looking forward to viewing a lot of fantastic scenery from lower altitudes, and helping Emily figure out how to do a successful long cross-country flight in a twin engine." She "would love to help the other teams by passing along any wisdom to other pilots."
For the race, I hope they have good weather all the way. Following Alicia has always been an exciting journey for our family. This is yet another adventure. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Flying in the Air Race Classic -- A Transcontinental Air Race for Female Pilots

When she was playing tackle football with the boys at age four and winning trophies in Pass, Punt, and Kick competitions as the only girl, I should have known our daughter, Alicia, was destined to grow up as a competitor in some unusual field. However, I didn't expect her to become a pilot. When she received her private pilot's license the day before she graduated with honors from South Carolina Honors College, I was shocked because I had no idea she was flying. She started instructing and flying and eventually became a flight engineer, then a first officer, and later a captain with TWA. Currently, she is a captain with American Airlines, is working on her third Master's degree, and plays ice hockey along with tennis and other sports.
Two weeks from now, Alicia and Emily Lewis will participate as Team Friendly Flyers in the Air Race Classic, A Transcontinental Air Race for Female Pilots. This is an adventure in the tradition of Amelia Earhart. Emily, a student at Salisbury University, earned her private pilot's license at age 17. Alicia met Emily through her father, John Lewis. While with TWA, Alicia and Lewis flew the first westbound polar operation on the 767 from Charles De Galle in Paris  to Los Angeles International Airport.  
Both Alicia and Emily are excited about the race that goes from California to Pennsylvania, approximately 2400 miles.  Emily has a blog on which she is writing posts about the race adventure.
What about you? Do your children sometimes surprise you with interests far different to your own?

Feline diabetes in remission!
Update: 6/8/13

-Kitties Need A Home-

Update: 6/8/13
Feline diabetes in remission!

Thanks to the low-carb wet food diet our foster mom has been feeding us, Jibbit is now off insulin! Sunshine isn't far behind, though for right now, she still needs a little bit of "juice". We're so excited to become diet-controlled diabetic kitties! Our new person would just need to keep feeding us low-carb Friskies, and we'll stay "off the juice"!

Meow! We are Jibbit & Sunshine, two very special sugar (diabetic) kitties who are looking for a forever home that's as wonderful as we are! Jibbit, a Manx, thinks he may be 15 years young, and Sunshine, a grey tabby, thinks she could be about 10 years young. We sure don't act our ages, though! Our foster mom thinks we're adorable lovebugs who need a lot more space to run around in than she can provide. We love our foster mom, but we know there's a really great home out there for us somewhere, where we can run and jump and play and get all the love we want!

We have a sad story: Our mom died very suddenly, and the person she trusted to care for us decided instead to leave us at the shelter instead. We're SO glad our foster mom came in to get us - we'd be over the Rainbow Bridge now otherwise! There's nothing at all wrong with us other than that we're just extra sweet! We can't help that! We think our new wet diet of low-carb Friskies is helping a lot to get our sugar under control, and we hope someday we'll both be "off the juice"! We know our foster mom will help our new person to figure out what to do to keep us healthy. We don't need expensive food, just regular ol' Friskies and maybe some Fancy Feast. But no dry food, please - that's what got us into this sugar trouble in the first place! We do still need insulin twice a day, but we're awfully good about taking our shots.

If you think you can give us the GREAT home our foster mom knows we deserve, please email her at matya13@yahoo.com ! You can also give her a call at 757-345-0929, but she really prefers email! She'll cry to send us off, but she'll be SO happy to know we have the home we should have! She can also work with a special diabetic kitty rescue group to transport us wherever in the US we need to go, so you don't need to live near our foster mom to adopt us! We���re located in Williamsburg, Virginia. We might be willing to split up if someone wants just one of us, but that could make us both sad. Jibbit needs a lot of company, so another kitty or a person who can stay home with him most of the time will make him purr! Neither one of us like dogs, so no homes with them, please!
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