My Flying Story Part 7: Flying Solo & Oil Changes

My Flying Story Part 7: Flying Solo & Oil Changes

Part 1 || Part 2 || Part 3 || Part 4 || Part 5 || Part 6



The evening after I soloed I texted Ted to see if I could go flying again :)


My Flying Story Part 7: Flying Solo & Oil Changes


He got out of the plane after the first few landings, then I did 6 or 7 by myself.  When I finally came in from practicing the landings, he said, “I thought I was going to have to shoot you down!”  Later he mentioned signing me off at other airports so that I wouldn’t be bored at Rochester, “But maybe you wouldn’t get bored, it didn’t seem like it tonight!”  Lol!


Just a couple of days later, I went flying again.   After the first landing, Ted said, “Okay, I just can’t take it anymore!  Go drop me off now!” 😀   Then he went home and didn’t stick around the airport.  That was a weird feeling to know that not only was my instructor not in the plane…but not even on the airport!  Not that he could do much if I got in trouble, lol!


After I dropped Ted off, I flew over to our house and circled it a couple of times, and ‘waved’ at my siblings :)  Then I flew back and did 3 or 4 more take offs and landings.  My next to last landing was when another pilot came into the traffic pattern and I had to talk to him over the radio (horrors!), and I got completely flustered and reported that I was in the opposite part of the traffic pattern 😀  But as I said before, we got it worked out.  He was fueling up when I taxied to put the plane away and I sheepishly waved.  “Sorry…I’m the student-pilot-who’s-scared-to-talk-on-the-radio.” 😀

Since Ted wasn’t there that time, I had to put the airplane away by myself.  Pushing the plane is harder than pulling it, and I discovered that there is the tiniest bit of incline to get into the hangar 😀  After pushing and pushing and PUSHING and throwing all of my weight against it, I finally got it in.   I sure hope nobody was watching, because I’m sure I looked ridiculous! We always have to text our instructors to let them know when we’re flying, and when we’ve landed, so that they know we’re okay.  So I texted Ted this picture of the airplane in the hangar and said, “I may be more proud of the fact that I parked it by myself than that I landed it!”

I’ve finally worked out a system for pushing it in…and I’ve learned you don’t stop on the incline! 😀

My Flying Story Part 7: Flying Solo & Oil Changes


Kristina, the other lady who is learning to fly right now as well, soloed not too long after me.  One day we were both getting ready to fly, and we were talking about our solos.  We both agreed that it was fun that we could fly by ourselves, but we missed having our instructors in the plane with us.  It’s just not quite as fun by yourself!


On the 24th, I flew again. I told Mommy, “I think I’m addicted to flying.”  and she replied, “You think?!”  Hehe!

That time, I met Matt, who also works at the airport.  I was taxiing back to the hangar after I was done flying, and I saw someone come over in the golf cart to the hangar and open the hangar door.   He introduced himself and said that Ted had asked him to help me push the airplane in 😀   It goes in a lot easier with two people!


Almost every time I come home from flying I do my own version of Dory’s song, “Oh, oh, I love to flyyyyy!”  and my siblings say, “Yes Jessica, we know!”

However they have no room to talk…especially Cassia when she gets home from driving the ambulance…she acts the same way 😀


The next time I went flying, I practiced some of the maneuvers Ted had taught me.  Slow flight is one that simulates being able to land at a slow speed.  Only you practice it 3,500 ft MSL (mean sea level) which would be about 2,800 ft. AGL (above ground level).  You get it flying so slow that the stall horn comes on, then you add enough power to keep it from sinking.  You want to stay right on 3,500 ft, as well as keep it on a certain heading (like 360°/North), and keep that stall horn whining 😀  You can fly the airplane as slow as 49 miles an hour or so that way :)


Some other maneuvers you have to practice up high are steep turns where you bank your wings 45°, AND keep it on altitude (right at 3,500 ft.), AND at a certain airspeed AND turn out at a certain heading. Those are fun!


Also, there’s stalls, which I like!  At least I like the power off stalls (simulating a stall while you were landing).  The power on stalls, which simulate a stall during takeoff,  are a little more ‘exciting’ 😀


The ground reference maneuvers are fun to do as well.  Those you do lower, at 800 feet AGL (or 1,600 MSL).

There are turns about a point.  You pick out a point, and my instructor taught me that crossroads make a good ‘point’ :)  You have to evenly fly around the circle (and make sure you stay on your altitude…right on 1,600 ft.).  This is a good maneuver for flying over your house 😉

My Flying Story Part 7: Flying Solo & Oil Changesimage via the Airplane Flying Handbook


Then there are rectangular patterns.   On these you usually pick out a country block, and fly around it.  You have to correct for the wind, which means your airplane’s nose might be pointed sideways a bit, but you’re still flying straight :)  This is called ‘crabbing’:

My Flying Story Part 7: Flying Solo & Oil Changesimage via the Airplane Flying Handbook



Then there are S turns :)  Whenever you’re about to cross the road, your wings should be level and parallel to the road.  With all of these maneuvers you have to correct for the wind, and with the S turns, you work at making the points at the top of the arcs evenly spaced from the road.  For example, the ‘2’ and the ‘4’ on the picture should be about the same distance from the road.  Depending on the wind, you’re pattern might not look like such a perfect ‘S’, but you should have those two places evenly spaced, and your wings level when you cross the road :)

My Flying Story Part 7: Flying Solo & Oil Changesimage via the Airplane Flying Handbook


Around the first part of August, Jim put out an email saying that they were getting ready to change the oil in 12874.  I thought it would be interesting to see how to do that, so I asked if I could come ‘help’…errrr watch!

I’ve never had much of a desire to learn how the spaghetti of wires and pipes and things under the car hood work.  I’m just glad that they work!  I can add air, oil, or gas, but that’s about it.


At first I felt the same way about the airplane, but one of the things I have to know for my oral test is about a few of the things inside of my airplane.  Like it has 4 cylinders, 2 magnetos, and 2 spark plugs for each cylinder…that it’s a normally aspirated engine, etc 😀   I wanted to see what all this stuff was that they were talking about, and I kind of wanted to know how it worked.  Once Ted had the cowling off of the Cherokee, and I got to see the cylinders, magnetos and spark plugs on it, and since I am a visual learner, that really helped cement it better :)


Jim said that I definitely could help/watch, so I went over one evening to help him and some other club members change the oil and clean the spark plugs.  I didn’t expect to help much, because I didn’t have a clue what to do, and I didn’t want to get in the way, but Jim was good about including me and showing me what to do.  I got to unscrew the oil filter,  screw on the new one, pour in the new oil, and wash up the plane.  There’s a certain tool that tells you exactly how tight to screw on the filter and the spark plugs, so Jim showed me how to use that as well.


Jim had me put some cloths underneath the filter before I unscrewed it to help catch any oil that would come out, but then I accidentally dropped the filter, and caught it again underneath the airplane with the cloths.  Tim, who they call ‘Doc’ said, “It’s a boy!” and we all started laughing. Oil was all over my hands, and the filter was all wrapped up in it’s ‘blankets’.  Then Jim told me, “Go take care of your newborn now!”

Anna likes to change the oil in the cars at home, and she’s said how happy she gets when her hands are all oily and messy.  After getting my hands all oily and messy, I knew what she meant, lol!


After getting more interested in the ‘insides’ of the plane, it’s made me a little more interested in the ‘insides’ of the car.  The plane is heaps more interesting to me, but I would like to learn how to change the oil in the car now 😀


A week or two later, I went to go flying, but when I got to the airport there were gusts of 14 knots going across the runway.  I hadn’t had much experience with that kind of wind yet, so I texted Ted saying that I guessed that I shouldn’t fly?


He said that I probably shouldn’t, but did I want him to help me practice crosswind landings?  I said of course!  😀


So once he got there, we taxied to the runway, but when we checked the magnetos during the engine run-up, one of them ran really rough, so we had to take it back to the hangar.  Ted cleaned the spark plugs, to see if that was the problem, and I got to help.  He showed me out to clean out the lead, sandblast them, clean them with a wire brush, and then put them back on.  It was so interesting to see how it all worked and went together :)


Once he had them all back on, he asked if I wanted to test it out.  Is that a question?!  Of course I said yes!!! So we got to practice some crosswind landings after all :)




→to be continued :)

My Flying Story Part 6: SOLO!

My Flying Story Part 6: SOLO!I love to fly!

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5


Flying was coming along pretty well.  Ted said that my radio communications and cockpit work was becoming more confident.  And I noticed as well that I wasn’t as afraid to talk on the radio :)   I asked Ted about my turns, because they felt sloppy to me.  When you turn a car on the ground, you have trees and houses and things whizzing by, and the turn feels very definitive.  But up in the air, you don’t have that immediate feedback.  So I wasn’t sure if that was why it felt sloppy, or if I needed to do something to fix them.  He said that my turns were good, “Actually, I was thinking they were about as smooth as a commercial pilot.”  That made me happy!


I decided to buy my own headset. I ended up buying two to see which I liked more, then I resold the other one.  I was so excited when they came in the mail…I later told Ted it was like Christmas.  He laughed and said, “You are so pathetic!  How many girls would be so happy to get a headset in the mail?!”


My Flying Story Part 6: SOLO!


Landings were the most challenging part.   Several of our lessons were just going around and around the pattern, practicing landings :)  Ted told me that when he wasn’t saying anything to me during the whole landing, that meant I was doing it by myself.  At first he had to remind me to do just about everything, then he started getting quieter, and quieter.  It was a little spooky, and I almost wanted him to tell me what to do, but I knew that wouldn’t help anything.  At the same time it was also encouraging to know that I was starting to get this by myself.  I even looked outside, just because I had time to, not because I was supposed to 😀

There’s a certain part of the landing where you have to ‘flare’ the airplane, which means you’re bringing the airplane level with the runway, right before touchdown, like in the picture below:


My Flying Story Part 6: SOLO!image via FAA

Ted told me that it’s hard to explain, but that one day I would ‘see’ it and know when to flare the airplane.  Eventually, the only part that Ted was talking was when I needed to flare.  We went around and around the pattern, but I still wasn’t able to recognize that point.

Then on June 26th,  Ted said ‘the light bulb came on’.  He was right!  I can’t explain it, but I ‘saw’ it!  He even drew a light bulb in my logbook to remember it by, lol!


My Flying Story Part 6: SOLO!

Then the next lesson, I couldn’t ‘see’ it anymore and felt like that light bulb hadn’t come on at all!  That time we went around the pattern 11 times.

When we got back, we needed to refuel, but first we had to wait on another guy named Jim, while he filled his twin engine airplane.  I’m not sure what kind it is…I’m not very good (yet!) with seeing an airplane and recognizing it’s name :)  But at any rate, it was a bigger one, so we had to wait a bit.  Ted knew Jim, and we got out of the airplane while we were waiting, and Ted teased him, “Would you get your airplane out of the way?!”


Sharon, a lady who works at the airport,  came out and joined us, and so I got to meet her for the first time, and I found out that I liked her a lot, too 😀  We talked for a bit, then when she left, she was razzing Ted, “You be nicer to her!  She told me! She told me!”

And he teased her right back, “Oh, just ’cause she acts all sweet and nice doesn’t mean anything!  She’s terrible!”



After that lesson he told me that I had learned and done everything I needed to solo…I just needed to be able to solo (a.k.a. land the airplane!).

We had a pancake breakfast fly-in at at the club hangars on July 11th.  I went and helped and got to visit with the club members and other pilots,  and see all of the neat airplanes they brought in.  There was a Piper Cub and a home-built airplane, plus several other Cessnas and other airplanes I don’t remember.  I hadn’t seen Ted for a week because he had been gone for his job.  When he came to the breakfast he said, “I think I know you…you look kind of familiar.”  He was teasing because I was flying 2 or 3 times a week if I could, and a whole week seemed like a very long time to not fly!  We got to fly again that day and practice some more landings.  That was a good thing, because the 4H fair was coming up the next week, which meant another whole week of not flying 😀


The club also gives airplane rides at the pancake breakfast to raise money for Operation Quiet Comfort which is headed up by one of the pilot’s wives (have I told you that we have lots of neat people in this club?) :)  I told Ted, “Hey, can’t I give some airplane rides??”  And he laughed and said, “Maybe next year you’ll have your license, then you can.”  I said that I might be more excited to fly the airplane than the people were were going for the ride.  The kids might be saying, “Moooommm?  This girl is too excited…I’m not sure I want to fly with her!”


the fly-in

My Flying Story Part 6: SOLO!

We had another flying club meeting on July 17th, and Andy asked me again, “Have you soloed yet kiddo?”  😀

I haven’t told you about ‘Captain Andy’ yet.   I first met Andy while going to ground school, and Jim told me that Andy and his wife took a ten year trip, sailing around the world in their own boat!  They’d sail for a while, then stop and open a restaurant and run it long enough to create enough money to keep sailing.  Then off they’d go again.  Two of their children were born on that trip, and I asked him if they were born on the boat. But he said no, they were born in a hospital at one of the places they had stopped :)  When I first heard about this, I thought, “His wife must be a pretty neat lady!”  And I was right!  I got to meet her at a club dinner and she is a neat lady!

Andy already has his license, but he came to ground school as a refresher course.  He’s a part of our club, so at every meeting he’d ask me, “Have you soloed yet?” or asked how flying was going.  He’s always been an encouragement to me.




July 20th…I SOLOED! It was a nice calm evening.  We did several landings, a couple of which felt so smooth!  My landings often felt like a ‘thud’ to me 😀  Whenever they were smooth, I’d be bracing myself for the ‘thud’ and then be pleasantly surprised.

He said that my pattern work was perfect, and that he was checking emails on his phone because he had nothing to do, lol!  After several landings he asked me, “Are you ready to do this by yourself?”

“I don’t know…maybe!”  I replied.

“Drop me of by the office, and go do three take offs and landings to a full stop.”


I was excited that the time had come to solo, AND I wasn’t too sure about him leaving the airplane!

I dropped him off, he waved, and away I went.

As I was taxiing to the runway, I was thinking, “I can’t believe I’m doing this!  I’m gonna take off and land by myself!  I’m soloing!”  then my next thought was, “Okay, pay attention, Jessica–what are you supposed to be doing here?  If you don’t pay attention you won’t solo!  Oh I can’t believe I’m soloing!!!” 😀


The plane felt lighter without another person in there, and it was so quiet.  The trip around the pattern seemed a lot longer.

The first time I landed I thought, “I just landed the plane BY MYSELF!”  I was so happy.

I did exactly what Ted warned me about…I left the flaps down (you use flaps to land, but they need to be back up before you take off), but thankfully he reminded me over the radio.


It was a pretty, pretty sunset about that time, too.  Sunsets are pretty enough, but in the air…they’re even better!

I taxied up to the fuel pump and Ted met me there and congratulated me and shook my hand, and said that he’d pump the gas since I soloed 😀  He asked me if I noticed that the plane took off quicker without him in it.  I said that it did, and that the turns felt different, too.  He said, “Are you trying to tell me that I need to lose weight?!”


I said, “Hey, you were the one who suggested it!”


When we taxied back to the hangar, I forgot to put the brake on when I started up the plane, and Ted pretended to roll his eyes and teased me that we needed to get the plane put away before he changed his mind or I messed up some more 😀



My Flying Story Part 6: SOLO!

We got the plane put away (after I asked Ted to take my picture next to the plane, lol!), and filled out the logbook.  I started my first column of solo time!

My Flying Story Part 6: SOLO!

After everything was filled out, I put all my stuff away, then when I stood up and turned around, Ted had scissors in his hand and a big smile on his face and he said, “Here comes my favorite part!”  Lol!  It’s tradition to cut out the back of the t-shirt and write your name and the date you soloed, then you hang it up as a trophy 😀


I looked it up once, curious how that tradition got started.  I found several things that said that ‘in the old days’, an instructor sat behind his student (there wasn’t a seat next to the student like there are in a lot of airplanes now).  There was also no intercom, so the instructor couldn’t just talk to the student, it’s too loud in the airplane.  So apparently the instructor would tug on the the student’s shirt, about which way he was supposed to go, etc.

So to cut off the shirt tail was kind of like ‘cutting off the apron strings’…you didn’t need your instructor to tell you how to do every little thing anymore 😀


My Flying Story Part 6: SOLO!

I wore it over my jumper, so I told him to make sure he didn’t cut off the ties of my jumper and he said, “Hey!  I’m a wild man with scissors!”  Lol!   We then had to hunt around for a marker, and finally found one.  He wrote on the shirt and tacked it up on the bulletin board.

As we were getting ready to leave, Ted was putting the hangar door down, and he said, “Heads up!  It’d be a shame to drop the door on you right after you soloed!” 😀


I was oh so happy as I drove home, and I skipped into the house, dropped my bags, turned around to show my family that the back of my shirt was gone and said, “I SOLOED!” 😀  Then we all hugged each other, and they congratulated me, and I was on cloud nine for the next few hours.  Actually for the next SEVERAL hours…I couldn’t even try to sleep until after midnight…and then I think I still wasn’t asleep until 2 a.m. because I was so wired, lol!


My Flying Story Part 6: SOLO!

When I got home, I saw an email from Ted that he had sent out to our club email list,

Huge congratulations to Jessica (Amelia) Richardson for her 1st solo tonight (7-20-15)!!!  Great job, Jessica!

And one from Jim, who lives right under the downwind leg of the traffic pattern,

Congratulations!!  I knew you were soloing.  I was watching you fly, then there was a lapse in the cycles, which told me Ted was getting out and you were going by yourself….I am so proud and happy for you…


Other club members also emailed to congratulate me as well :)  They’re all so encouraging and supportive :)  There are two other student pilots in the club right now that were in ground school the same time I was, and we all soloed within a month of each other, I think, and it’s been so neat to see the rest of the club encourage and cheer us on :)






→to be continued :)

My Flying Story Part 5: First Lessons

My Flying Story Part 5: First Lessons

One of my favorite views…sunshine over the cornfields

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

When people found out I was interested in taking flying lessons, they’d ask me, “So are you going to do it?  are you going to get your license?”.  For several months I’d just say, “Well, maybe… I’m hoping to!”  Finally, sometime in March or April I decided I wasn’t going to hope anymore…I was GOING to!


I didn’t see how it was all going to work out, but in so many ways God kept confirming to me to move forward, and that He would provide.


I wanted to have all of my ducks in a row, and have every dollar saved up that I needed, but then I realized that I just needed to begin.  I told a friend that I think God gave me enough money to go forward, but not all of it at once so that I’d still depend on Him 😉


The verses God gave me to study this year is Isaiah 66:9-14.  I like to take verses ‘apart’ by seeing what each of the words mean, and then put them ‘back together’ again with my own ‘paraphrase’.   Through studying these verses, I’ve been discovering how rich God is in toward us…spiritually, materially, emotionally…He has everything we need and is eager to give it to us :)


 “That you might be able, and have the liberty to draw from and ‘suck’ in the goodness and richness of Jesus, and to become and remain FULLY satisfied, gratified to the utmost, furnished to the fullest extent of your desires.  And may you be comforted, and strengthened and refreshed by His love.

That you may drink deeply, to the last drop, and remain continuously delighted, enjoying and excited by the promise and expectation of His goodness. (I like that, expectation of His goodness!)

For His goodness and richness and love and glory towards you is easy to be seen, easy to find, more than enough, heavier than you can carry away, abounding and overflowing.  It sparkles and flashes like a magnificent diamond.


“Right now the Lord is promising, “Look this way!  pay attention to what I’m about to do!  for I have the power and resources  to carry this out! and of a surety I absolutely will!  I will deliver, and purposefully bend the river of My Peace to flow over you.  It will be spread out all around you. ”

Is. 66:11-12, my paraphrase


These verses, along with so many more things, have shown me, and keep showing me that He is for me :)


I think it was my second or third lesson, I was up in the air, learning how to fly the airplane, and I thought, “I can’t believe that I’m actually taking flying lessons!”  Then my next thought was, “Snap out of it Jessica, Ted’s trying to tell you something…pay attention!”  Lol!


My Flying Story Part 5: First Lessons

“78Quebec” with the tow bar


I was very proud of myself the first time I pre-flighted the airplane and pulled it out of the hangar by myself.  You have to pull it out by hand with a tow bar, and when I do it by myself, I have to tug a few times to get it rolling 😀  You definitely don’t ‘drive’ it out of the hangar like you drive your car out of the garage.


I started keeping a journal specifically for my flying.  It started out as a notebook to write down things I needed to remember from each lesson, but it grew into a journal.  I know it’ll be fun to go back and read it someday :)


This most perfect journal was given to me by my friend Allison :)

My Flying Story Part 5: First Lessons


June 7th 2015

I’m ‘on top of the world’ right now 😀  I got to fly two days in a row.  I learned basic maneuvers (turns, descents, climbs, taxiing),  slow flight, takes offs and landings, and steep turns <<I like those!


June 13th, 2015

I had fun today :)  We did power-off stalls and power-on stalls.  It was weird to feel the plane buffet and shake :) The power-on stall was especially exciting-my left wing dropped and it seemed to be more shaky.

Today was the first time he didn’t say anything to me about pulling the nose up on takeoff.  I did it by myself!  That one time, that is! 😀


A stall is when the airplane doesn’t have enough air going over the wing properly to create lift.  First you hear this annoying sound which is the stall warning horn, then the airplane shakes a little, and if you would let it go long enough, it would start dropping.  To recover, the first thing you do is lower the nose. At about the same time you push in the throttle all of the way.  Ted told me that when he taught Daddy stalls, Daddy pushed the nose down a lot farther than he needed to, which made it rather exciting, and he said, “I don’t know if your dad remembers that, but I do!”

So when it was time for me to learn how to recover from a stall, Ted teased me and asked if I was going to do the same thing 😀  I didn’t, but later, I pulled the knob for the carburetor heat and it was stiff, so my hand slipped and jerked off of it.  Ted teased, “Don’t go pulling controls out of the plane or you really will freak me out!”  Lol!


I remember it was a struggle for a while to be able to ‘feel’ where I was in relation to the airport as we went around and around the pattern practicing take offs and landings.  I kept wanting to ‘hug’ the airport 😀


June 19th, 2015

Feel better about landings :) Have a better feel for where I am in relation to the airport :)


June 20th, 2015

Flares!  Knowing how close to the ground I am.  Need to look up and down runway, not just stare at one place.

He said that I did a couple of more landings by myself.

I bounced one landing 😛



Sometime in June we had an ‘airplane wash day’ to get the airplanes all cleaned up for our pancake breakfast fly-in.  My sisters teased when they saw I had written “airplane wash day” on the calendar, but then I pointed to the “llama wash day” just a few Saturdays before that, lol! 😀   It’s fun being with the club members whether we’re washing planes, flipping pancakes, or just together for the monthly meetings…they’re always having fun, teasing, and joking.  And they did plenty while we washed the airplanes.

I was sitting cross legged underneath the tail of one of the planes, washing the elevator, and someone started spraying the plane with the hose, which was starting to get me wet!  I looked behind me and saw Jim (my ground instructor) and Bob (the club secretary) laughing.  😀


The meeting that the club voted me in, they were especially ornery!  There were more members in attendance that night than usual, and there was a lot of teasing going on, from laughing about Bob’s reading glasses breaking in the middle of the meeting, to teasing people about going in the wrong door when someone went into the closet where we keep the chairs.  At one point Jim turned to me and said, “Are you sure you want to join this club?!”

I was sure!  It was just another version of the joking and teasing my sisters and I do to each other 😀


If learning how to fly isn’t fun enough, Ted’s sense of humor and teasing make it even more fun 😀  Like I said before, my sisters and I tease each other all of the time, plus we tease and joke around with our parents, too, so if there wasn’t any teasing going on, it would be kind of boring!


My Flying Story Part 5: First Lessons

Once another instructor, Tom, was teaching his student at the same time Ted was giving me a lesson.  We followed each other around the pattern several times, practicing take offs and landings :)   Tom was looking at the airspeeds in our airplane to compare them with the airplane they were using.  He was trying to write in a notebook, and it made me laugh when he suddenly said, “Here, let me go to my desk!”  and he walked to the back and set his notebook on the horizontal stabilizer (the flat horizontal part of the tail).  It’s perfect desk height when you’re standing 😀

I started my airplane just a few seconds before they started theirs, and Ted teased, “Your start was better than his!  I’m so proud of you!”  Lol!


I flew…no wait…I DO fly…every chance that I get!  After the club finished washing the airplanes, Ted asked if I wanted to go up for a lesson.  I think he knew the answer already, because when I said that I did, he laughed and replied, “Of course you do!”  That was a windy, cloudy day, and we literally went bumping around the pattern and just barely kept out of the clouds 😀  At one point it was so bumpy my head hit the ceiling of the airplane, lol!

One time a lady told me, “From someone who gets nervous when I hit the tiniest bit of turbulence in a big jet, what is it about flying that you enjoy so much?”  I thought a little bit and said, “Well, I like turbulence…”  Lol!   However, I have discovered that when I’m the one responsible for the airplane, I don’t like the turbulence quite as much as when I know there is another capable pilot in charge :)



My Flying Story Part 5: First Lessons


There were lots of times that all of the information that I was trying to assimilate seemed overwhelming, but never so much that I wasn’t still having fun!  I tried to remind myself, “You felt just like this when you started driving, and now you can drive almost without thinking.” :)  I also reminded myself to not worry too much about ‘everything I still had to learn’, but just focus on the ‘bite sized pieces’ that Ted was giving me at that time.


I really like Ted’s teaching style…he never lets me get by with just ‘good enough’, teaches me how to do it ‘like the professionals do’,  and is always encouraging (and teasing) me along the way :)


Learning how to fly has been SO. MUCH. FUN!


It has become so normal to go sailing through the sky twice or three times a week…seeing the fields and houses and roads from that perspective has become so regular.   Then every once in a while I stop and think, “Am I actually FLYING?! Is this really my life?!  Do I really get to do this?!!!”

Yes!  Yes I do!  And I am thoroughly enjoying it!





-to be continued!-


Haiti (part 2) Traveling and the Medical Clinic

—–To read part one, click HERE.——



June 14th the 7 of us left at 5am for Chicago O’Hare Airport!!!!!  All of our checked bags were supplies for the trip and our carry-ons had our personal stuff.  Somehow, although I really don’t know how, I fit everything I personally needed for two weeks (Space Compressible Bags are a wonderful invention!!!!).  I pretty much rotated 4 outfits the entire time…but it worked fine!!



Haiti 2015
A group “selfie” (or is that called a “groupie”?) at the airport in Florida :)


We arrived in Port au Prince, Haiti late afternoon.  It was mighty warm!!!! Ok, it was hot.  After unsuccessfully waving off any help to carry our bags (you must tip if they help so we were going to just try to carry all the bags on our own….but they wouldn’t listen) we got to our bus that would take us to the town we were staying at.


I guess you could say I had a little bit of culture shock.  Seeing the real thing. Not pictures from somebody else’s trip, but I was ACTUALLY THERE!!!!  It was kind of a deep down heart wrenching feeling that people really do live like this.  It isn’t some fiction story someone told….it’s real.  It’s something I couldn’t really understand until I saw it in person.  Pictures just don’t do it justice.


Haiti 2015


I was also quite shocked amused astonished at the way people drive down there! They sure do use their car horns!  If you see somebody you know, you honk. If you are going around a corner, you honk.  If somebody is in your way, you honk. If you see somebody who might be in your way, you honk. If you see somebody who probably won’t be in your way, you honk. :)  Several times I caught myself gripping the seat because we almost ran into another vehicle (or they almost ran into us)….relax!!!! I kept trying to remind myself.  By the time it was time to come home, I was used to it. You know that you probably maybe won’t actually hit someone….maybe.


Haiti 2015
That white “box” is a chest freezer (not plugged in…no electricity). Those are common to see. They put ice in them to keep the drinks cold to sell.


After the bus broke down for an hour, and driving on extremely bumpy rocky roads, we arrived at Dèsarmes (the town that we were staying at) at about 11pm.  We were so tired and I could barely think about where we were…I just wanted to go to bed!!!!   But the introduction to the bathroom quickly woke me up.  I mean, how could it not?



Haiti 2015

Yes. That was our bathroom. You go in through the curtain (right behind the tree) and behind another curtain is the toilet:


Haiti 2015

After the first several times of using it, it almost seemed like old hat. Just get used to it and move on.  I mean, you don’t really have any other options!!  (but make sure you remember to always carry toilet paper with you!)

That’s the same shed we took showers washed off ourselves in too.  There is a bucket with a scoop just inside the door.  It’s almost bath temperature if you take your bath at the right time of the day from the sun warming it :)  We would just use the scoop to pour water over ourselves to wash up.  Our hair was a different story. Three of us girls would help each other wash our hair (I especially needed help with my hair length!).  We would sit in a chair and lean back giving tips on how we wash our own hair and hand the shampoo back when they were ready for it. :)


Haiti 2015

We set up our beds and found places for our bags by flashlight (no electricity….but they did have one bulb in that house that was solar powered….and attracted all the bugs from a mile around :)  ) and they had supper waiting for us.  I honestly can’t remembered what I ate. I think I might have slept-ate. Is there such a thing?

We got some much needed rest that night (I actually woke up cold at one point in the night) and the next day, Monday,  was day 1 of our medical clinic!!


Haiti 2015

We had the medical clinic 2 days in a row.  And we saw about 250 people!!  We spent some time setting up, figuring out who was going to do what, and splitting up vitamins and medicines into one or two dose baggies.

Haiti 2015


Two nurses came with us to help with the medical clinic.  Three of us girls (Jamie, Heidi and I) manned the “pharmacy”, as we called it, and Heidi was the main prayer-person. We prayed with everybody after their check up and before we handed them their vitamins.


Haiti 2015




Haiti 2015
Our “pharmacy” :)



Haiti 2015


Haiti 2015


Those chickens? I think they thought their home was right there at the church.  They were pretty much always there :)

Haiti 2015


I hung out with the kids for awhile.  Someone from the team brought a coloring book. Those kids LOVED coloring!!! As soon as I pulled it out kids came out of the woodwork wanting to color!!! And they colored every single page!! :)

Haiti 2015

I had fun trying to communicate with them….which was actually next to impossible.  It’s amazing how much you can “talk” with facial expressions and hand motions!!

Haiti 2015

They loved getting their pictures taken!! I showed them how to take pictures…so then I came home with 600 pictures on my camera 😀  Oh well!!  They got lots of good candid photos for me :)

They loved looking at my watch, bracelet, touching my hair and skin :)


Haiti 2015


Oh yes, and I got to hold babies.  One of the absolute best things in life in my opinion :)


Haiti 2015


We finished up at 3:30ish that afternoon.  We had our only meal of that day then. Chicken, rice, fried plantain, fresh bananas, potatoes and eggs. It. Was. Delicious!!  I love bananas!!!!  And those bananas were really good!!!!!

That was the only day we only had one meal.  The rest of the time we were there we had two meals a day. Breakfast and “lunch” (between 12 and 2).


We pretty much relaxed for the rest of the day, and enjoyed the rain in the late afternoon which cooled it off a bit.






–to be continued–

My Flying Story Part 4: When My Feet Stopped Touching the Ground

Read Part 1 here.

Read Part 2 here.

Read Part 3 here.


Guess what?!  I just went on my second solo cross country yesterday…and I flew into Class C airspace by myself!  I flew into Fort Wayne, International (FWA), and landed on their 11,000+ foot runway, behind a regional jet….ohhhh that was exciting 😀  I just had to take a picture of my little Cessna parked near a big jet!   Lots of fun stories…but I’ll tell those in a later post 😉

My Flying Story Part 4: When My Feet Stopped Touching the Ground



After passing my written test, I became an owner-member of the Mentone Flying Club, which meant that I would become part-owner of the club planes and therefore be able to fly them :).  The club has to do a background check on you, then they vote you in at one of the meetings.  I remember at the April meeting, Dave Lattimer came downstairs and shook my hand and told me that they had voted me in 😀  Yay!!!


After that meeting, I emailed Ted:

I’ve gotten my medical, passed my Written, saved some money, and now I’m ready to go  flying! 😀  Are you available to teach me? :)

He was in the UK that week  (he flies jets for a living…to Cancun, Aspen, the UK, and lots of other places…how cool is that?)  so we had to wait until May 8th for my first lesson.

I wrote in my diary that night,

“I had my FIRST flying lesson 😀  Only we couldn’t fly because the weather was bad–but it was fun anyhow :)”



That evening he showed me how to preflight the airplane,  which is where you check to make sure the fuel, hinges, oil, tires…everything…is in order.  He also gave me ‘hangar orientation’…and showed me where everything was.  He told me that these were my airplanes, my documents, and my hangars now as well :)  I remember the first few times I came to the hangars when no one else was there, I felt like I was trespassing, lol!   Now I tease (and my sisters tease!) that it is my second home.



My very first actually flying-in-the-sky lesson was on May 29th.   I remember that the first few times of taxiing I could NOT stay on the center line!   It probably looked like a drunken pilot 😛 :)   It didn’t help that we have a zero-turn mower, (and I do a lot of the mowing because I like it so much!).   On one of those mowers, if you want to turn left, you push on the right joy-stick.  And if you want to turn right, you push on the left.  In the airplane, if you want to go left, you push on the left rudder pedal and I kept thinking I needed to push on the right one 😀  Eventually, it became easier and easier, and now it’s almost second nature.


When you’re on the ground, you use the rudder pedals to steer the airplane.  You don’t turn the yoke like a steering wheel.  I’ve tried and it doesn’t work.  And my instructor keeps telling me it doesn’t work…and lo and behold, he’s right.  It has never worked. But it’s hard to retrain those muscles!


Once when I was driving home from my lessons, I had a split-second thought that the centerline was supposed to be going through the middle of the car, since that’s what you do on runways and taxiways 😀  I laughed when I saw this picture on Pinterest.


My Flying Story Part 4: When My Feet Stopped Touching the Groundphoto via Pinterest

Another time after driving home from a lesson, I had another split-second thought, that I could steer the car with the gas and brake pedals, lol!!!   That works with an airplane, but in a car…no way!



My home airport isn’t a tower controlled airport, so the pilots landing there announce where they are in the traffic pattern, what runway they’re planning on using, etc.  Ted did all of the talking on the radio the first time, but he said I was going to do it at the next lesson.  I remember thinking, “What?!  That’s scary!”  I also remember that it was overwhelming divide my attention between looking out the windshield, and the seemingly million dials and gadgets on the inside!



The ‘one million dials’

My Flying Story Part 4: When My Feet Stopped Touching the Ground



I forget which lesson it was, but I remember when I actually looked outside the plane just to see what was going on down on the ground, because it was becoming more comfortable to fly the plane and easier to pay attention to everything at once. I had time to look outside, just for the fun of it.

It amazed me how Ted would look out his side window while I went around and around the traffic pattern.  He never acted like he was nervous and has always been calm :)  If it were me, I’d probably be watching my student’s every move. He might have been nervous, but he never showed it, and  I’m sure I have done/do some scary things sometimes!  I remember once when we were coming in for a landing, he calmly stated, “We’re actually starting to get dangerously slow…”  but he didn’t quickly push in the throttle, he waited for me to do it.


It reminded me of when Daddy taught me how to drive.  He was always calm, too, even though I was almost hanging off the side of the road about to hit mailboxes because I was so afraid of going over the centerline.


True to his word, Ted made me talk on the radio on the next lesson.   It was so hard to remember what to say, and what order to say it in, but Ted helped me out when I couldn’t remember.   Crop dusters fly in and out of my home airport a lot during the summer, and once when we were practicing take offs and landings, either they asked us a question or started talking to us.  I looked at Ted like, “Help!  He talked to me…now what do I do?”   I forget if Ted answered him for me, or if he told me what to say, but either way…I didn’t die from talking on the radio!

An example of a traffic pattern.  Each part has a name so that when you announce on the radio where you are, other pilots know where to look for you.


My Flying Story Part 4: When My Feet Stopped Touching the Groundimage via Wikipedia


Here’s another interesting thing about runways that I learned.  One runway is actually two different runways, and a runway is named by what heading it is directed.   So if a runway lays north and south, and you land on it headed north, you are landing on Runway 36 (360° – they drop off the zero).   And you say, “Three-six”…not “thirty-six” :)   If you land on it the other way, headed south, you’re landing on Runway 18 “One-eight” (180°).



In this picture, the runway has a magnetic heading of 260°…this side is Runway 26.  If they landed on it coming the other way, it’d be Runway 8 (80°).

My Flying Story Part 4: When My Feet Stopped Touching the Groundimage via Wikimedia Commons



So when I enter the traffic pattern, I usually say, “Rochester traffic (to let anyone in the Rochester airport area know I’m in the area), Cessna 12874 (my airplane type and tail number) is entering downwind for Runway two-nine.”


One time after I soloed, another airplane entered the traffic pattern while I was on downwind, about to turn to base.   I got so flustered about having to talk to another pilot on the radio, that I reported that I was about to turn onto crosswind.  As you can see from the picture, crosswind and base are on totally opposite sides of the pattern, but then I corrected myself and once again, I didn’t die from talking on the radio.   I told my sisters about it later, and I joked that I felt like telling the other pilot, “Don’t get in my airspace!  I’m trying to fly here!”, haha!


It’s so easy now, it’s hard to believe that it used to be difficult!  Now whenever I have something else that seems too hard to remember how to do in my flight training, I just remind myself of the string of things that used to be hard but now are normal and easy :)


12874 is my favorite airplane, but I like 4378Q’s name, because when you talk on the radio, letters have special names. “E” and “3” and “P” could all sound the same, as well as “M” and “N”.   So “4378Q” is “Four-Three-Seven-Eight-Quebec”.  Doesn’t that sound cool?!  Haha!



Aviation Alphabet


My Flying Story Part 4: When My Feet Stopped Touching the Groundimage via AddisonAndLake on Etsy


It took a while for me to be able to make the pattern look like it was supposed to.  Especially when turning onto Final.  It looked more like this:  :)


My Flying Story Part 4: When My Feet Stopped Touching the Ground



I remember Ted telling me that I was consistently overshooting final, so I needed to figure out what to do differently.  Now that’s an idea…something isn’t working here, so maybe I need to change it, lol!  I guess I was so focused on carburetor heat, wing flaps, airspeed, throttle, etc. that I wasn’t thinking that maybe there might be a reason I was overshooting final 😀   It was also difficult to judge where I needed to be in relation to the airport.  I wanted to ‘hug’ the airport, but then I was too close to set up for a good landing :)


Eventually I learned to control the airplane, instead of letting it control me…Ted told me once, “Pretend like it’s one of your little brothers and you’re going to make it do what you want it to do!”  Lol!


When you are turning an airplane, you step on the rudder pedal at the same time that you turn the yoke.  That took a lot of concentration at first.  A few weeks ago when I was flying I realized, “Hey!  I didn’t even have to think about the rudder pedals…I just did it!”  😀



(Juliet Echo Sierra Sierra India Charlie Alpha)


…to be continued :)



My Flying Story Part 3: Ground School & The Written Test

My Flying Story Part 3: Ground School & The Written TestRead Part 1 here.

Read Part 2 here.

Having Jim as a ground school instructor was a lot of fun :)  He’s flown in the Marines, corporate jets, the airlines, and at one of the classes he mentioned flying for President Johnson. At first I thought maybe it was a president Johnson of some company…then he mentioned Lady Bird and I thought, “Wait! You mean THE President-of-the-United-States Johnson!!!”

My sisters teased me that I was just going to ground school for all of the stories that he told about his flying adventures.  He is a great teacher and helped me out with several different things in ground school.  When I was having trouble understanding parts of it, he’d take the time to go over it with me before or after class.
By the way, if you ever visit the air museum in Dayton, Ohio, the King Air and the Sabreliner that Jim flew for President Johnson are there :)  I haven’t gotten to visit that museum…yet!  I’m going to someday :)

We learned about airspace, how to use a flight computer (the wheel in the picture above),  plotting a course on a map, light gun signals, airport signs and taxiway markings and so much more.  We also heard about a coyote who used to race the airplanes on the runway, how the air traffic controllers at O’Hare like to put on an accent for the country the pilot is flying from, a couple of pilots who ran out of fuel and landed their plane in a tree, only for one of them to die from trying to climb out of the tree, and a deer than ran into a plane while the plane was taxiing!  I also found out that all of the planes coming up from Florida to O’Hare fly through an area called ‘The Cleft’ (part of an ‘air highway intersection’) which is only a few miles from me :)




From January to about March, I went every Tuesday night for ground school (and stories!).  Then I’d come home and tell Daddy about what I’d learned.  He likes to go to bed on the earlier side, but he usually waited up on me and I’d tell him some of the interesting things (or stories!) I had learned…it’s fun having another pilot in the house :)

There was one other lady who took the classes at the same time I did.  By now I was getting more and more used to being ‘outnumbered’ by guys at the meetings, but it was nice having Kristina there doing it at the same time as me :)  Don’t laugh…I’m used to be surrounded by GIRLS not guys!  I have SIX SISTERS peoples! :) Hehe!




I knew that March was when Women in Aviation awarded the scholarships…so I was wondering (and hoping!) that perhaps my name was on the list of those being awarded.

But alas! No scholarships came my way.  I was somewhat disappointed, but by this time He had shown that He was well able to provide, and He kept encouraging me to go forward.  Like I said before, I often asked Him,  “Are You SURE that I should be doing this?”  and in one way or another, sometimes in multiple ways He kept telling me, “Yes!  THIS is where I want you to be right now.  Keep going!”

Remember how in my previous post He had so clearly told me to ‘Be still’?  This was just as clear, only He was telling me, “Move forward now!”



Moving forward has been so much fun for me…learning and trying new things I didn’t think were possible.  It’s exhilarating.  And scary sometimes…pushing me out of my comfort zone, but moving outside of that zone is freeing :)

I did ask Him one day, “Why did I go to all of that work of submitting the applications if I wasn’t going to win anything?”  That was a silly question, and I knew it, but I love how He doesn’t mind my silly questions :)  Hardly had I gotten that question out before He quickly told me, “Because you wouldn’t have come this far if you hadn’t have heard about them! It put you on the ‘road’ to flying.”


Which is so true! By the time I found out that I hadn’t received a scholarship I had:

1. Gotten my medical and student pilot certificate
2. Went through Ground School
3. Met a whole group of pilots, who are so good at encouraging and cheering you on :)
4. Had a pretty good idea who I wanted to be my instructor
5. Become a member of the Mentone Flying Club
6. Discovered WAI, a great organization that encourages women to fly!
7. Saved almost half the money I needed for lessons ( I probably wouldn’t have had the motivation to save like I did if I didn’t have the possibility of flying)


photo via Sporty’s

My Flying Story Part 3: Ground School & The Written Test


I was sad when Ground School was over…I missed my Tuesday night ‘airplane study/story time’ 😀    I kept trying to study parts of what Jim had taught us, to get ready for the test, and did a few practice tests on Sporty’s  ‘Study Buddy’   (There’s also an app for that 😉 ).  Finally I decided that I wasn’t going to be any more ready than I already was.  And if worse came to worse…I’d just have to pay and take it again.  I might lose some money, but I wouldn’t die! 😀


So I scheduled my test for April 10th of this year.  I was pretty nervous, and I think I took the whole 2 1/2 hours they give you to do the sixty-question test…because I SO wanted to make sure I got the answers right!   Much to my relief, I PASSED the test the first time! 😀  When I clicked the last button on the screen and the message popped up saying I had passed,  I collapsed into the back of my chair and said something like, “Yay!!!  Whew!”.  The lady who was there to get the printout for me said, “Were you worried?!”  YES I was! And I was sooooooo happy!



A couple of weeks before my test I was feeling really discouraged, about almost everything (you know those days?!), but especially because I hadn’t really ‘heard’ anything from God for a while, about anything, and it was miserable.  Nothing was standing out to me in my reading, he hadn’t spoken to my heart very recently…nothing.


Whenever I’m discouraged my favorite thing to do is to listen to an encouraging sermon or message, and just let my mind soak in truth :)   I was on my way home from Fort Wayne that weekend, and decided to listen to a message while I was driving.


I started listening, and in the message there were ten people who prayed and spoke words of encouragement over this business lady.  But what they were praying and speaking could have been for me about flying!  One man told this lady, “You’re struggling with lies that you’re not smart enough, but you are…you’re intelligent, you’re smart, you can do this!”. My Flying Story Part 3: Ground School & The Written Test

How did they know that?! I don’t often think of myself as a ‘dumb’ person, but neither have I considered myself as especially ‘intelligent’ :)  And my upcoming test was intimidating me.

Another person prayed that this lady would have peace ‘flowing from her belly’…and I don’t know about you, but whenever I get anxious, I feel it in my stomach! I am such a careful, cautious person when it comes to doing things that I’ve never done before, going places I’ve never gone before…anything unknown…so God’s been stretching me a lot, and I tend to get anxious with anything unknown :)


Someone else said, “God wants you to go forward!  Don’t worry about the pressure you feel, God is using it like water in a dam to produce great things in you.”  And another one spoke of a wall that God was building, and to not look at the rubble from the walls that God was taking down, but to focus on what God is building (like in Nehemiah).  I feel like God has been taking down and rebuilding my thoughts in so many different ways over the past few years, in several areas.  And he gave me that story of Nehemiah last year, so that was like an extra confirmation. Another person spoke of God moving obstacles out of the way.


There were so many things that they said that just kept reassuring me, “Go forward!  God will provide!  You’re supposed to be here!  Keep going!  Don’t be afraid!”


The Holy Spirit was so clearly speaking to me through this message. I cried because I was so happy to be hearing him again. I cried because I was realizing (again) how much He cares about the details in my life. He doesn’t say, “I want you to do this, now go’, and leave us to figure things out on our own. He loves being involved in our lives. He loves giving good gifts to His children :)




I also asked Him, “What lie am I believing?” and he answered, “You don’t believe that I’m going to come through on My promises.”
I’d never actually say that, but I realized that it was true…I had this subconscious attitude of, “I know You said that you’re going to provide, but I’ll just wait and see how you’re gonna do it first before I really believe you.”

“And what is the truth to replace that lie?” I asked.

He replied, “I am with you, I will NEVER leave you or forsake you. I will finish what I start!”


He won’t lead me down a dead end. He won’t get me lost. He will provide for everything he is asking me to do. It most likely will not look like I think it will look like, but it will be better than what I thought it would be!






boldmethodP.s.  If you like airplanes, and you want to see pictures, watch videos, and take quizzes…visit!   And if you’re a student pilot…they have three courses that are extremely helpful, too, if you’re trying to study airspace, VFR charts, or weather reports :)  Jim got me hooked on this site…then I got Daddy hooked on it, lol!  I told him about it one evening, then later he came to me and teased, “You are bad!”  “What?!  What’d I do?” I asked.  “That Boldmethod site…do you know how long I’ve been on it this evening when I was supposed to be working in my office?” he replied  😀 😀 😀


Read Part 4


My Flying Story Part 2: Medicals & Flying Clubs



A few weeks after the retreat (read Part 1 here), I got a package from Lisa! She got our address from Mommy, of course, being in contact with her with T-Tapp :)  She not only sent me four of the magazines from Women in Aviation, she also sent me a note with money to join WAI if I wanted to. And a CD with a song based off of the verse, “Be still and know that I am God”.


I was so excited! I read all of the magazines, looked up the website, and found out that actually, they DO have scholarships for people who want to fly, ‘just for fun’! It was too late to send in an application for the scholarships for 2014, so I knew I would have to wait until November of 2014 to apply for the 2015 scholarships. And oh it seemed SO far away!


My first three magazines :)



It started becoming a countdown….

…to April when I would send in the membership money (they require you to be a member through March of the year of the scholarship you’re applying for, so I wanted to make sure my membership was current when I applied).  It was a happy day when I got the little packet and membership card in the mail from them!

…then a countdown for my first magazine to come!

…then for the second magazine to come that would list all of the scholarships available for 2015.
I picked two scholarships I wanted to apply for and started reading up on what they required. One required that I get my third class medical and student pilot certificate. What was that?! I emailed Lisa several times, asking her questions :)

The student pilot certificate is sort of like a driving permit.  The 3rd class medical was basically a physical, only I had to find an ‘AME’…aeronautical medical examiner…to do it.  That was another happy day when I held that piece of paper that said I was physically fit to fly. It was starting to feel a bit more real!


I started writing the essays and putting the scholarship requirements together, and saw that they wanted to see what kind of involvement I’ve had with aviation. Ummm. None. Other than dashing out of the house when I heard a low-flying plane, or waving at a nearby crop duster as he looped over our house. So I asked Lisa again…what do I do?  I remember one of her suggestions was to visit a local flying club.


One of the many crop dusters we’ve seen this year :)

crop duster


That intimidated me a little bit…you mean go to a meeting where I don’t know ANYBODY?!  Yikes! 😀


It turned out that the Warsaw Flying Club was getting a new hangar, and they needed help remodeling and painting the lobby area. Cassia and I went one evening and had a blast helping peel off old wallpaper, and visiting with some of the moms who had kids in the ‘Young Guns’ flying program .  We made new friends, and it was fun to be able to help out that way :)


I also visited the Mentone Flying Club during a meeting where they had a cookout. I asked Cassia if she wanted to come with me, because I was so nervous about going into a group where I knew NOBODY 😀  Especially since I was pretty sure there weren’t going to be very many other ladies, lol! She was interested in coming, so the two of us went together. I met the same instructor that taught Daddy how to fly, and also several other people. They were ALL so nice and very helpful, and I kept hearing good things about Ted Cox, Daddy’s instructor.  I asked Ted a few of my questions (if only he knew it was the beginning of many questions, haha!), including whether I should do ground school before, during, or after flight training.  Ted told me about Jim Ewen, who teaches ground school for free every January!


We also talked to another pilot named Brent.  When I asked him if he flew for the airlines he said, “No, I’m a crop duster.” Kind of like, “No big deal…I’m a crop duster.” Cassia and I lit up and started asking him lots of questions about that…we love watching the crop dusters around us! We also talked to a helicopter ambulance  pilot, and several other people. I realized during that club meeting that I REALLY enjoyed talking to pilots. I also became a ‘social’ member of the club that night :)  I found out that I didn’t really need to be nervous…they were all very welcoming and a lot of fun!  Cassia and I really enjoyed coming that night, and I started attending the club meetings whenever I could.


At this point I hadn’t told a lot of people yet about the possibility of flying.  I guess unconsciously I had this idea that I wanted to see if it would work out before I said anything about it.  The problem with that idea is that you miss out on a lot of help and encouragement from others in your journey…whatever it may be.  People aren’t waiting to see if you’ll succeed, they’re wanting to help you succeed!  I’ve seen that to especially be true in the aviation community.  I LOVE my flying club!  It’s like having a lot of uncles and grandpas cheering you on :)



At some point in time, I started realizing that God had bigger plans than for me to just ‘fly for fun’.  I’m still not sure what that is, or what that looks like…but I think God takes dreams that He’s placed within us, and then gives us ways to bless others with the things we love doing most!


Always, always there was the thought that maybe this is a silly thing to be pursuing. Maybe I shouldn’t be spending all of this money on it. Maybe this is frivolous …maybe it’s irresponsible…maybe.

It’s NOT that I haven’t enjoyed it!  I have enjoyed every.single.minute of my flight training :)    God gently kept nudging me forward, through encouragement from someone, or something I read that day, He kept (and keeps) telling me again, “THIS is where I want you to be! Keep moving forward!”


A big hurdle for me was/has been the cost of flying, which is why the scholarships appealed to me so much. When I first started applying for them, I also began saving whatever money I could, but I was pretty sure that if I didn’t get the scholarship, I wasn’t going to be flying. There was just no way.
Well, God is way, way bigger than my box! Thank goodness! And he keeps nudging me out of my box, too, which is rather frightening and exhilarating at the same time.  He is also a very good Father with all the resources of the world at His disposal…and He loves to give good gifts to His children :)


My next thing I looked forward to was ground school.  You have to take a few tests to get your Private Certificate, and one of them is the Written, or ‘Knowledge’ test.  I didn’t have the money to fly yet, but I could get the book work part out of the way plus it was going to be fun to at least learn more about flying :)  Ground school started on January 6th of this year…I wrote in my journal that night, “Tonight I had my first night of ground school-YAY!”





to be continued 😉


My Flying Story Part 1: A Dream Awakened

I’ve always wanted to learn how to fly an airplane…and this year that dream has become a reality!

Last Saturday was my first solo ‘cross country’!!!  I talked on the radios and landed at a towered airport…by myself! 😀

But let me start at the beginning…


First solo cross country – September 6, 2015

My Flying Story Part 1: A Dream Awakened


I’ve been wanting to share this story for a while, but I wasn’t sure how to start.   I finally decided the best way to start was…well…to start!

My first experience with flying was before I was born :)  Daddy got his license the year Mommy was expecting me, and he took her up a few times before I was born, so I guess you could say that my first flight was in utero!  

Daddy, myself, and Leah

June 1994

My Flying Story Part 1: A Dream Awakened

By the time I was old enough to remember anything, Daddy was no longer current (he had us cute little girls to take care of, haha!),  but first time I remember flying I was about seven years old when Daddy took Leah and I up with his friend as the pilot (since Daddy’s license wasn’t current). I remember that we flew over the water of Michigan Lake with the sun shining on it. I remember flying over our house and waving at Mommy, Susannah, and Cassia. And I remember that the earmuffs/headphones were tight on my head and gave me a headache, but I still liked the flight. I also remember that Leah fell asleep :)  Leah now says, “WHY did I fall asleep and waste a good airplane ride?!”


As I got older, I always liked airplanes, and I used to joke that I didn’t want a driving license, I wanted a pilot’s license!!!  But alas…you can’t run errands or go to the grocery store in an airplane, so I got my driving license first :)


Off and on through the years, I’d feel that little tug in my heart whenever I got around airplanes or heard or read about flying. There’s just something in an airplane…the wings, the tail…it’s so beautiful!
I so wanted to do it, but I would just not think about it too often because, I thought, it wasn’t practical. If I didn’t think about it, it wouldn’t tug at me as often. What would I do with flying anyway besides just fly for fun? And there was no way in a million years (it seemed) that I could save enough money to do it. And why pour the time and money into it when, again, I didn’t have a ‘good reason’ to?


Then Jesus took me through a time of resting and being still with Him. I struggled for a few years, wondering if I was supposed to be ‘doing more’. I loved my life and it was very comfortable, but I’d wonder often if I wasn’t supposed to be ‘out there doing something’. Whatever ‘out there doing something’ was! Especially as Cassia and Susannah started pursuing their callings in EMS and midwifery.  I often asked God, “What is my calling? Shouldn’t I be doing something?” And every time I asked Him, He always gently and clearly told me, “You are right where I want you to be, doing exactly what I want you to do.” He taught me to be still with Him, and showed me so much more of how much He loves me. SO MUCH of what I read and heard during that time was, “I love you so much! Rest on Me, and be still. I’m taking care of you.”


When we saw the caption, we thought, ‘No YOU guys are the legendary ones! You fly airplanes!’

My Flying Story Part 1: A Dream Awakened


All of us like airplanes in this family, so when Disney came out with the movie Planes, ALL of us ‘kids’ went to see it 😀  On the way in to the theater, the Warsaw Flying Club had their trainer plane out there with info on Discovery Flights.  We had liked their Facebook page, so when we walked up, Jon Fussle said, “Your’re the Seven Sisters!” and we thought, “How did you know who we are?!”  Lol!   We got our picture taken by the plane, and he posted it on Facebook. :)     We ended up buying Discovery Flights when they had a special in December, and then we spread out all of our flights over the next year (2014). It was SO much fun! And I ended up going up in the plane three times, once up front, twice riding along with siblings.


June 12, 2014 – my first ‘discovery flight’

My Flying Story Part 1: A Dream Awakened


Cherokee Cove

My Flying Story Part 1: A Dream Awakened


In November of 2013, Mommy was getting ready to go do a T-Tapp retreat in Tennessee. I was feeling especially stressed during that time because I wanted to go (I love traveling with her to her clinics!), but I had lots to catch up on at home, and wasn’t sure if I should spend a long weekend relaxing when I could be working and catching up on some things at home. I debated and debated. Finally, I decided to go, and Leah did, too. I was glad I was going, but I still had a nagging feeling all the way to Tennessee that maybe I should be home, working on stuff.


Cherokee Cove in September (when we went back in 2014)

My Flying Story Part 1: A Dream Awakened


Then we started coming into the mountains! We saw this ‘logging trail’ on the side of one and commented that it looked a bit daunting. “Can you imagine driving up that?!” We drove through the pretty valley for a while until the road went straight to that ‘logging trail’. It wasn’t any wider than our driveway in some places, it turned into gravel part of the way up, had hairpin turns, and there was NO guard rail! At that point I started really getting excited…this was exhilarating!


My Flying Story Part 1: A Dream Awakened


As soon as we arrived at the Christian retreat center, I was amazed by the peace that I felt in that place! And everywhere I looked I saw the verse, “Be still and know that I am God!” (it happens to be this retreat’s ‘theme verse’). And when we went into the ‘bunk room’ where we were going to sleep, verses of God’s love for us were painted over the beds. And several of them were ones that God had given to me as ‘my’ verses! I loved this place already! I met a lady there named Lisa, who had come for the retreat, and she commented on the verses, too, and I remember she said that she picked her bed underneath her favorite verse 😀


One of the verses painted over the beds

My Flying Story Part 1: A Dream Awakened

Everyone in the South is so warm and friendly, even if they’ve never seen you before in their life, and on top of that was their Christian love…it shone out everywhere and made me feel so safe and warm and loved :)  I was SO glad I had come along! Stewart and Samantha are the couple who own and run the retreat center, and Stewart, we discovered was a super good cook! No…a gourmet chef! Every meal we had, he would come out and describe the menu to us, just like you see the chefs on cooking shows describe the food they’ve prepared, and we found out that the blueberries were picked off of the mountain, the potatoes were grown in their garden, and the beef came from a nearby farm. SUCH. GOOD. FOOD!
The whole place oozed peace and goodness :)

Yummy food at Cherokee Cove

My Flying Story Part 1: A Dream Awakened


One of the evenings that we were there, I got to talk to Lisa some more, and I asked her what she did for a job. When she told me that she was aMy Flying Story Part 1: A Dream Awakened pilot for Delta airlines I was like, “WHAT?! Tell me more!!!!” I didn’t say exactly that, but I’m sure my face did! I asked her a few more questions, I think, and told her how I’ve always like airplanes and wanted to fly, but it just wasn’t practical because I didn’t have a specific goal to use it for. She then told me about an organization called Women in Aviation that awarded scholarships every year. That interested me!

I remember she said something about she could send me some of her magazines, but I didn’t want to be greedy and be like, “Yes please do! Here’s my address!” So since she didn’t have my address, I didn’t expect her to actually send them to me. Besides, I was guessing they didn’t have scholarships for people to learn how to fly just for fun! They probably wanted you to use it toward a career.


I went home refreshed and so blessed…and there was a teeny tiny awakening of that dream to fly.  I just didn’t quite realize it yet :)








Haiti (part one)

I. LOVE. Haiti!!  Looking back, I can’t even remember when it started, but that was a long time ago, so we’ll just leave it at that.

Haiti has always (as long as I can remember) had a special place in my heart.  I knew, if I ever went on a mission trip, it would be Haiti.  But I never thought it would happen. I mean, none of us kids have been out of the country (until last year when Anna went to Guatemala), I didn’t have my passport, and haven’t came across an organization that I would want to go with. Oh, and money. That always is a problem.   I had prayed about it on and off, here and there…and forgot about it.


Last November I was successfully wasting time on Facebook browsing, and saw that someone had invited us to like a page of this organization called “Breath of Life Haiti”. That immediately caught my attention!!  I read everything I could on that page and liked what I saw.  The organization is focused on women and babies (my cup of tea!!!!! Since I am going into midwifery!). They go to Haiti several times a year and teach a prenatal class to about 25 women.  They had a trip coming up January 2015 and were asking for sponsors for these women.  It is a one time $80 sponsorship so a pregnant woman can attend the two day class, receive water, a meal, vitamins and a baby outfit/blanket etc. You can write her a note and send a picture too.

I had decided to sponsor, and hadn’t really even thought about the fact that I might be able to go to Haiti with this organization. I was just super excited that I could do something to help and personally write a Haitian a note!

After a month-ish, corresponding with Ashley (the mission trip leader/organization president), she had emailed me and said she noticed that we sew and crochet (she clicked on the link to our Etsy shop that is in the signature of my email). Would I be interested in going on a future trip to teach the women there?


Months went by. I prayed about it (a lot), talked to my parents (sure I can decide for myself, but it is wise to listen to the counsel of parents!!) and kept in touch with Ashley.

One other problem that was miraculously solved….getting the time off of work.

I got my passport, church family had generously donated to help out with my trip expenses, lists were made of what to bring, we brain stormed on what to teach them to sew, sewing kits were put together, someone had generously donated over 175 yards of fabric and patterns were made.


Haiti 2015


People. I was going to Haiti!!!!!






—to be continued—

What Not To Do When Driving An Ambulance & First Night of Class


We had just gotten back from a call, I pulled up  by the station and saw a piece of something on the side of the road. I thought to myself “that doesn’t look like a good thing to run over, I’ll pick it up later so no one runs over it”, so I went around it with the front wheel best as I could, but when I swung out in the street to back in I ran over it with the back tire.

Get backed in, open the door and was greeted with a not so lovely sound, “SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS”…you could hear a big air leak.

I looked at my partner and said “do you hear that?”

He went to go check it out, and I went to go pick up that piece of trash,or whatever it was, because I knew exactly what had happened. I have no idea what it was other then a mixture of plastic and metal.

We have a second ambulance but it was currently out of service. 😛 Called the maintenance guy, couldn’t get a hold of him, and it was getting late…

Thankfully he got back to us within 10 minutes, and was able to come down to the station to put on one of the spare tires. Yay!

Word of advice: Don’t slice ambulance tires. 😛


You can’t really tell in the picture, but it did loose a lot of air.




Last night was first my very first class…it went exceptionally well and I’m looking forward to the next one! :)


And so it begins!



Thank you so much for your prayers…I appreciate them so much!!! :)