I am excited to be attending the EAA AirVenture Show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin for the first time. I was invited to be a part of the NASA Rocket Woman panel and decided to come a few days earlier to check out the show. The timing for this is great, as I will be starting my private pilots training mid-August. I will be adding to this post each day, so check back for updates on the highlights of what of I experienced.
EAA AirVenture Friday July 24, 2015
Its my final day here at the EAA AirVenture show! This morning I was on the NASA ‘Rocket Woman’ panel, a panel specifically designed to discuss the state of women in the aerospace field. It was such an honor to be asked to sit on this panel with these five amazingly intelligent women! From left to right: Iylene Patino (Boeing), Susan Baggerman (NASA), Kathryn Crowe (NASA), Abby Harrison (me :), Sandy Magnus (Atlantis, Endeavor, ISS astronaut), Janica Cheney (Orbital ATK). I’ll be posting a separate blog post soon with more about the panel, so check back in!
EAA AirVenture Thursday July 23, 2015
My second day at the EAA AirVenture air show started out great with a fantastic panel focused on how we are going to get to Mars. The panel was moderated by Orbital ATK’s Charlie Precourt, who explained the Space Launch System and Orion from launch to landing. One of my favorite parts of the panel was when they discussed the technologies which are being researched and developed right now to sustain longer term human life in space.
Next we went outside and watched some aerobatic flights for a while! Its incredible to watch the way that pilots can dive and twist their planes! We also got to see some parked planes up close. Here I am pictured with the Lockheed Martin F22 Raptor, what an amazing plane!
We stopped by the Orbital ATK booth and I got to meet an amazing young woman, Kavya Manyapu. Kavya is a flight test engineer at Boeing. Lately she has been working on the launch abort systems for the Orion capsule! Even more exciting, she also wants to be an astronaut! Kavya will be applying to the NASA astronaut corps in the next selection. She told me that she loved space ever since she was a little girl growing up in India, and has been pursuing becoming an astronaut her whole life. It was really special to meet someone with the same goals and dreams as I have, but who is so close to making it a reality. I’ll certainly be cheering Kavya on during the next selection!
EAA AirVenture Wednesday July 22, 2015
First, I went and walked around the show for a while, looking at all the different planes! It was so cool to see such a variety of planes all in one place. Here I am pictured with the GINORMOUS Airbus, but I also saw a B52H and a number of other very impressive planes. This is the first air show that I’ve ever been at and it was really very interesting! One of my favorite parts was that it seemed like there was constantly something flying overhead. For a while there was an F22 raptor making loops!
I stopped by the Redbird Flight Simulations building and met Brittney. Brittney is a flight instructor for Redbird and offered to do a couple sims with me! It was incredible! The simulator was full motion, reacting as if I was actually tilting the plane, and had screens in a 180 displaying like windows. We worked on liftoff, landing rectangles, and landing. While flying the simulator, and after, all I could think about was how excited I was to fly a real plane!
About halfway through the day I stopped by the Women In Aviation (WIA) booth, just to check in and see what was up! It turns out that I came by at the perfect time. I was very lucky to meet Bee Falk Haydu, who is quite a celebrity in the aviation world. She was one of the few female pilots during World War II! I got to chat with her for a while and asked her how she became interested in aviation. She told me that she hadn’t gone to college and was working as a secretary, when one day she looked at her life and asked herself what she had really done. She then decided to sign up for a class at a nearby university, found one on aviation that interested her and learned enough to pass her pilots test. She continued to fly planes into her 70s!
The last part of the day, at least for me, was going to watch the Apollo 13 panel. The panel consisted of Apollo 13 flight director Milton Windler, lunar module flight controller Bill Reeves and Apollo 13 astronauts Fred Haise and Jim Lovell. Hearing them talk about what it was like to have lived through Apollo 13, a story that many of us know well, was amazing. It was great getting to hear the way that the decisions were made and executed! Unlike the movie adaptation of this real life event, the panel reported that everyone involved was very well organized and un-panicked. Hearing this first-hand account of Apollo 13, 45 years after it happened, was basically hearing history. I can’t describe what a great end to my day at Oshkosh AirVenture it was.
Be sure to check on this post for more updates!