Special Delivery Part 2

The first proof copy has been under the microscope since it arrived. I’ve found that some errors just don’t show themselves until they’re bound and in print! Long lists of necessary changes have been noted and checked off. Small changes in color and design have been applied to the cover. A few more pages in the back have been added to enhance the educational value to readers. So, nearly a month later (phew!), proof copy 2 has arrived!

Just in case you read my prior post, Special Delivery, and are wondering: yes, I again found it impossible to resist tearing open the envelope at the mailbox.

After cursory examination, the changes look good. I’m encouraged that little more needs to be done before I begin sending it out into the world for its pre-publication debut. From my list of accomplished, well-known people in the field of aviation I plan to contact, hopefully at least a few will be willing to help a newbie like me get started as an author.

Special Delivery

Today was a momentous day. It wasn’t the gale-force headwind that tried—and failed—to cease my forward motion on my bicycle ride, or my experimental foray into lemon pudding cakes (which turned out delightfully, if not perfectly). Today was special because I received the first proof copy of my book!

It isn’t too often that a piece of mail demands instant attention at the mailbox. After all, isn’t it easier to bring the pile inside, especially on a breezy day, and sit down at a table like a reasonable person? But how could I wait? Standing there in the aforementioned wind, I tore open the envelope and laid my eyes on the first paper copy of the book that has lived only on a computer for so long. With a silly grin on my face, I eagerly looked over the cover, front and back (hey, that’s my name!), and flipped through the crisp pages, scanning the design I know so well. My book. It’s amazing!

Of course, soon enough, I began to see things that needed improvement: a bit of color tweaking here, a little more frame inset there…over the next few days, that clean copy will be leafed through several times in search of more details that need perfecting. Then another order will go to the printer for a secondary proof copy. I might wait next time to open the envelope until I bring it inside, but then again, I might not.

Now I get it: what can compare to the first time an author holds her book in her hands, even if it is a proof copy? April 30, 2011, you’ve been a good day. And I even have pudding cake leftover for tomorrow.

Fulfilling Your Dream of Flight

I have been a flight instructor since 1996. During the past sixteen plus years it has been my pleasure to facilitate the aeronautical knowledge and skill training of more than two hundred men and women.

What is it that makes some of us humans feel the need to fly?

Recent studies, conducted by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), indicate the primary reason is the sheer thrill and enjoyment of flying and being in the air. This is closely followed by a feeling of accomplishment, pride and enhanced personal confidence. And lastly, the freedom and independence one achieves when they become a pilot.

While not all of us aspire to become professional pilots (those who earn their living flying aircraft), a significant number of us have great respect for those who have mastered the profession; and we willingly entrust them with our lives. Additionally, studies have shown that more than half of all adults, have, at some point in their lives, been aware of a desire to pilot an airplane.

Now a question might come that, given this relatively widespread respect and admiration of aviators and the innate desire to fly, why are less than one in fifteen hundred of us pilots?

The answer to that question, I believe, is based primarily upon the flight instructor one selects to teach them how to fly. Would you be surprised to learn that eight out of ten people who start their flight training never finish?

Certainly, this fact is well known by those of us in the industry.

But how to we help those, who want to become pilots, find a professional flight instructor who is genuinely interested in students and their goal to earn pilot certifications?

One way might be to give the aspiring aviator a questionnaire to help profile the selection process of a professional flight instructor. These questions may include; does he/she: ask you about why you want to fly; show a genuine interest in you and what you plan to do as an aviator; give you the big picture of what it takes to become a pilot (both in tasks to be performed and costs to be incurred); provide you with a resume of his/her qualifications and a track record of the students success; provide you with an example of lesson plans to be followed; give you a comprehensive list and explanation of tools and equipment that you will eventually require; invite you to inspect his/her tools and equipment and to compare the way they train versus that of other area flight schools; make you feel a part, in fact the most important part, of the flight training experience; introduce you to other individuals (students, instructors, pilots, management, examiners, etc.) in the local aviation community.

If a majority of the above items aren’t addressed by the potential flight instructor, you may be making a mistake in selecting that instructor. In the final analysis, you must be convinced that you can communicate with that instructor and that he or she is genuinely concerned and dedicated to your success.

John B. Brown, CFI/CEO
Flying Start Aero, LLC
1151 Airport Road, Ste. 1
Minden, NV 89423

Chance Meeting at WAI

There are times when chance makes for happily unexpected surprises. This past Thursday at the Women in Aviation, International conference in Reno, Nevada, I was fortunate to find a bit of chance on my side. As I was standing in the hallway near the exhibit hall entrance waiting to meet up with my brother, a fellow conference attendee walked up and said hello. (I was wearing my “First Time” ribbon, which must have helped.) She shook my hand, welcomed me to the conference, and we chatted briefly about who I was and my reasons for coming. I knew I’d seen her in a magazine wearing epaulets, and said so. It turns out I had just met Leja Noe, a Captain for Mesa airlines, and one of the 2010 winners of the Amelia Earhart Memorial Scholarship. This is a prestigious award given by the Ninety-Nines each year to a select few women worldwide. I was honored to meet such an accomplished woman pilot!

Leja was on a mission that day to find an “interesting person” to write about in the Show Daily publication, and I was flattered that she thought I fit the bill. During our interview in the media room, I mentioned that I’d learned to fly with my brother, and that our teaming up during lessons was a great way to enhance our flight training. Tarl was subsequently invited in as well for a photo of us together. Leja told us that it was possible her article would appear in Saturday’s Show Daily. Whether it did or not, I was grateful for the experience.

On Saturday, we walked through the doors of the Summit Pavilion to attend the morning’s General Sessions, and each grabbed a copy. Flipping through, we indeed spotted our photo. Leja had written a wonderful article about us, our flight training together, and mentioned my book as well. Thanks, Leja!

Our chance meeting was my good fortune, for I was so happy to meet Leja, an accomplished, intelligent, and very personable women. It was an added bonus that I became the most minor of celebrities that day—a few people I knew or had met at the conference said, “I saw you in the Show Daily!”

Read the article here, at the WAI Connect blog: Soaring Siblings Attend WAI Conference by Leja Noe, a Captain for Mesa Airlines.

Going to the WAI Conference?

I’ll be attending my first Women in Aviation, International (WAI) Conference in Reno, Nevada February 24-26. The schedule is packed with great education sessions, featuring everything from the Kings on risk management to a lecture on flying the SR-71 Blackbird. The exhibit hall sounds like a candy store for anyone interested in aviation. I’m really looking forward to meeting lots of dynamic people involved in this exciting field.

I’ll also be volunteering at the Ninety-Nines booth, #407. Please stop by and learn why this is an extraordinary group of women pilots.

In addition to learning as much as I can at the education sessions, helping out at the Ninety0Nines booth, and exploring the delights of the exhibit floor, I’m excited to be spreading the word about my new book, Flight Emergency, set to be published later this year. I hope to get lots of ideas, advice, and new contacts to work with down the road to publication and beyond.

For information about the WAI and the conference, e check out wai.org.

A New Book!

Welcome to the new Starflight Press blog! This year, the new book Flight Emergency will be published. A unique a fun format, Flight Emergency allows the reader to take the pilot’s role and make in-flight decision in realistic scenarios. The reader will then face the consequences—good or bad—of each decision made.