"Lynda Meeks" Avstry #5

Lynda Meeks, Founder of Girls with Wings, tells us about in the US Army as a Huey Pilot, the Girls with Wings scholarship program and her feature film debut in Acrocamp.

Published Date: Tue, 31 Jul 2012

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Show Notes

J.R. Warmkessel: Well, Lynda, thank you so much for being with us today. I always like to start by asking our guests what their aviation credentials are. So maybe you could tell us about that.

Lynda Meeks: As far as my ratings are concerned, I have ATP privileges, I've got commercial in both single-engine land and helicopter, and I have Type ratings in everything from Citation 2s and 5s, Beech jets, Citation 10, and 737. Think about covers it.

J.R. Warmkessel: Then you've definitely flown some big iron?

Lynda Meeks: Well, that was a type riding. I actually only flew the simulator so I haven't actually been in the airplane yet.

J.R. Warmkessel: Take us back to the very beginning. Talk to me about maybe your first flight or kind of early flights in your aviation career. Tell us kind of what that was like.

Lynda Meeks: Well, I actually, I'm one of those rare individuals, I think, that didn't grow up wanting to be a pilot. I actually was already in college, in ROTC, studying history and planning to go into the military intelligence field and then, you know, at the end of ROTC when you go to graduate, they ask you what branch of the Army you want to go into, and I had military intelligence first and military police after that and aviation somewhere down the line, and then somebody said that aviation was the toughest branch to get into, and I kind of took that as like a challenge, like, "Yeah, I'll just go off and be a pilot. Why not?" not realizing all that it involved. In fact, I had ridden in helicopters in ROTC and never even thought about being a pilot so it was really kind of a roundabout, obscure reason for me to get into flying in the first place. So six months after graduation I was in initial entry rotary wing training with the Army down at Fort Rucker. So kind of a strange story.

J.R. Warmkessel: What about that time really stands out in your mind?

Lynda Meeks: I'm a pretty intense individual. Anybody who knows me or has tried to teach me anything will tell you that I really, I can be frustrated by my inability to understand some things, and one thing that happens when, and I went to flight school back in '93, so things can be very different at this point, but when we did training back then we had 10 weeks of primary and that was 10 weeks of intensive training to learn how to fly the helicopter, at the end of which you're pretty much a pilot in 10 weeks, and so when they do this literal firehouse training, there's not time to explain the whys and how’s of anything and that really tripped me up at the beginning because I needed to now every little thing. For example, one of the first things they do is they sit you in the hollowed out shell of a Huey helicopter, which is what they were using to do the initial training back then, and you just run through the checklist. They have it hooked up to a power source so things hum and light up and everything like that, and one of the first things is that you have to turn the generator on, and I looked at my instructor and said, "Okay. Why don't you tell me what a generator is," and he said, "Well, it's like the alternator in your car," and I said, "I have an alternator in my car? I didn't know that." So at all of these different stages of training I just really struggled, and somebody finally, and it was friend of mine, and just pulled me aside and knocked me upside the head and said, "You have to stop trying to understand all this. Memorize it and you'll learn it later. You'll get it later." So that was really kind of foreign, a foreign concept to me.

J.R. Warmkessel: So you served in the Army for how long?

Lynda Meeks: At the time, after you graduated from flight school, you owed another six years of active duty, and so that's exactly what I did. I did seven years of active duty, and then I did about three years in the National Guard total.

J.R. Warmkessel: What years are we talking about?

Lynda Meeks: I entered flight school in '93 and so I was out off of active duty in '99, just right at the end of '99. The Army actually trained me also to fly fixed wing, so when I got out I went to go fly for a regional airline, and then, as many people well may know or may not know, you don't make a lot of money at a regional airline, so that's why I hooked back up with the National Guard, not only to fly the helicopter again, but also to supplement my regional airline pilot income.

J.R. Warmkessel: Tell us a little bit about the helicopters you flew.

Lynda Meeks: The only helicopter I ever flew was a Huey. I'm pretty limited in that sense, although I will say that I was honored to fly the Huey because of the history of it. My first duty assignment was over in Germany, so I did that for about a year over there and then again in the states back with the National Guard, so any time that, you know, I was recognized in my flight suit as a pilot people asked me what I flew, it was usually an older guy, and when I said the Huey, most of them got tears in their eyes because they had a personal experience in Vietnam where they had been rescued by a Huey, so even though I wasn't there, I was born in '68, even though I wasn't personally there, it was like connection for them and I just really feel honored to have gotten time in the Huey.

J.R. Warmkessel: Regards to the safety aspect of helicopters and I was always told that coming out of Vietnam we really learned a lot about how to make helicopters survivable for the pilots and crew.

Lynda Meeks: I hate to say it. I really don't know because that was my only helicopter experience but they were amazingly reliable aircraft. I mean, they were so well maintained by the crew chiefs that it was just unbelievable that, you know, in flight school I'm flying these helicopters that are as old as I am, and some of them, which even had bullet holes in them, but they were just, they were incredibly reliable. I think in, and I only got 414 hours in that Huey by the time I hung up my helmet, but I only had one experience where we got a transmission oil lowlight and we did a precautionary landing. I never had any kind of engine failure or really any other malfunction in a Huey that entire time. The only reason I switched to fixed wing was because, I can't tell you for how many years they said, "All right. That's it. The Hueys are going away. They're going away, they're going away." So I wanted to have a plan B in place, but I think those, I know those aircraft are still flying because, you know, we sell them to foreign countries and they continue to take care of them and use them, so it's just a reliable workhorse.

J.R. Warmkessel: Tried and tested.

Lynda Meeks: Exactly.

J.R. Warmkessel: So you switched to fixed wings. Can you tell us a little bit about what you flew there?

Lynda Meeks: Well, I had this Huey time, which most of the time we only flew in visual conditions, although it's instrument rated. We usually didn't do that, especially in Germany because, if it was cloudy it was usually cold, and then you've got icing issues and everything. When we transitioned from the helicopter to the airplane, there was a quick course in a 182 about 30 hours where they just did a transition from you getting used to the controls in a helicopter to the ones in the airplane. To me it was just funny to be humiliated, for a lack of a better word, by a 182 because we just didn't have the skills to fly a single-engine airplane after only flying helicopters, and so the first few days were kind of funny because if we were to go into a cloud we practically turned the thing upside down because we just weren't used to flying under instruments. So it was 30 hours in 182 and then we went to the King Air, which is a C-12 in the military, and that was my whole transition. I went back to Germany and flew those for a couple more years.

J.R. Warmkessel: Any interesting flights kind of in those years that are worth talking about?

Lynda Meeks: I really lucked out with my military career and the assignment that I got because I was in a VIP unit out of Heidelberg, Germany, so we flew generals and other dignitaries around the country, So a lot of what I did, especially in the fixed wing world, was we did a couple of transatlantic flights, so I got to go via Great Britain and Iceland and Greenland, back to the states a couple of times. We spent a lot of time going down to Kosovo for Operation Joint Endeavor. I hope I still that correctly, and we went down to Turkey a lot and supported the activity in Iraq at that time. I'm taking '94 to '97, I think is when I left. I got to go to a lot of really great countries. Some of them I only got to see the airport, but other ones we did get to spend quite a bit of time. For example, like Hungary, which I never would have been able to do otherwise.

J.R. Warmkessel: Fascinating. That's really interesting.

Lynda Meeks: Yeah.

J.R. Warmkessel: One thing that I've always been curious about is that helicopters just don't ever seem to go very fast. I mean, they have a lot of things. Maybe can you explain to me why that is?

Lynda Meeks: The average crew speed in a Huey was 90 knots. That was kind of the sweet spot of it. If you went faster you got a lot of vibration, and slower it just wasn't very efficient. So about 90 knots was where you wanted it to be. Obviously a lot of helicopters fly a lot faster, but that was the case of the Huey.

J.R. Warmkessel: After you left the military, you went to the regional airlines. What were you doing there?

Lynda Meeks: I actually got a job right away flying the Beech 1900, and it was because I knew somebody who flew for the airline so they pretty much said, "We know what your training was in the army. If you want a job here you have one," and so two months after I got out of the military it just was a natural fit. I thought that I would go to this regional airline and get my magic 1,000 hours of PIC time so I could go onto the major airlines, and 9/11 happened and that short time turned into about three years. So it didn't really work out the way that I wanted it to, but the Beech 1900, usually they're not taken care of very well and they're not pretty but it's a good flying airplane. It was a lot of fun to fly that.

J.R. Warmkessel: And then you said you went back to the National Guard. Is that on a reserve basis?

Lynda Meeks: Yes, I was in the Ohio National Guard for a little while, so I kind of coordinated my airline schedule with my National Guard schedule and, actually, somewhere in that point I went to what's called a fractional airline, which is, for lack of a better term, kind of like a timeshare in business jets, and so, in addition to flying the Huey I was also flying the jet, which was kind of funny because I would go to fly the jet job and I would mention that I flew helicopters. The jet pilots were impressed, and then when I told the helicopter pilots that I flew jets for my full-time job they were impressed. And then again, with the National Guard they said, "That's it. They're getting rid of the Hueys again," and they were going to the Chinooks, and I really have no desire to fly a Chinook so I gave up the National Guard and just went down to just a fixed wing pilot.

J.R. Warmkessel: So you went to the fractional airline. Then where did you go from there?

Lynda Meeks: Well, I flew for one fractional airline for about five and a half years, and I flew the Citation 2s an 5s and the Beech jet with them and then I had an opportunity to move to another fractional airline, unfortunately flew only for about a year and a half until I got furrowed so right now I'm kind of laid off waiting for them to call me again so I can go back to work.

J.R. Warmkessel: So explain to me what a furlough is.

Lynda Meeks: Furlough I think is just a fancy way of saying that you were laid off. A lot of these airline, you know, their contracts call for very rigid seniority rules, and so everybody has a number on the seniority list and so if the airline decides that they have too many pilots on staff, they lay off in reverse seniority and then when they can bring pilots back on, they'll take the most senior people first, so I'm just waiting for the economy to kind of do a little turnaround here. I was flying the Citation 10 for the second fractional airline, so I really, really want to go back to that job.

J.R. Warmkessel: My memory serves me correct that the Citation 10 was the fastest jet available?

Lynda Meeks: Yeah. Yes, in competition with the G650 now, unfortunately, so we'll see how that falls into pieces there. I think they're within .05 Mach of each other now.

J.R. Warmkessel: Tell us about flying the Citation 10.

Lynda Meeks: I just, first of all, it's a very recognizable, sleek-looking airplane. I think a lot of people have respect for it. Unfortunately, there's always this competition, like, who's got the faster car, who's got the bigger boat, whatever, and also who's got the best jet that they fly, so you're riding the hotel shuttle to the hotel and people would compare aircraft, and when you tell somebody you fly a Beech, you know, you don't get the respect from the heavy iron guys, but for some reason when you say you fly the Citation 10, you know, everybody just kind of, you know, nods in appreciation. It's service ceiling on it was 51,000 feet. It flies at .92 Mach, so it can cross the country in, depending on the weather conditions, you know, five hours one way, four hours the other way. So it's a fast airplane, and I just really enjoyed flying it.

J.R. Warmkessel: It sounds like it was a real treat.

Lynda Meeks: Yeah.

J.R. Warmkessel: So the grass hasn't been growing under your feet. You've been really busy with lots of organizations. Can you tell us a little?

Lynda Meeks: I try. Yeah, I started, even before the fractional, I started about 10 years ago with the concept of having a volunteer organization to encourage more girls to have an interest in aviation, and it's called Girls With Wings and the concept kind of derived from a lot of different experiences in my career as a pilot. I would say the first of which is basically because, the reason I got into aviation was not because I grew up wanting to, even though when I was in ROTC and we were taking these helicopter rides, the pilots would specifically try to get to the female cadets and say, "Listen, we're really trying to up our number of female pilots. You should do this," and it's like I never even heard her. It was just so foreign a concept to me, and then of course after getting into flying, you know, only 6 percent of licensed pilots are women, so there were so many experiences where people just really had a difficult time understanding that no only was I a pilot, but I was on the same par as all the male pilots as well, which I know sounds really funny, but trust me, if I had a dollar for every time somebody said, "Well, are you a real pilot?" And so as I was getting out of the military, after the time that I owed there, I was kind of thinking that I would try a different career and whether it was going to be in aviation or another one, I wasn't really sure where it was going to take me and I was on a commercial airliner and the captain came over and did his usual announcement about our crazing altitude, and weather conditions at our destination, and when he was done speaking, there was a little girl sitting behind me and she asked her mom why you never heard any girl pilots, and it just really, to me it was kind of a sign that, here I'd been given a great opportunity through the military, you know, to become a pilot, and I really owed to myself and to other people to continue with that and try to encourage other people to become pilots as well. I had started out going to career days just to talk to people about what I did and I had a great opportunity through NASA Glenn here in Cleveland to do a presentation to the Girl Scouts, and I really wanted to make it interesting. I really wanted to draw them in and convey my excitement for what I do, and so I came up with this hands-on, interactive, start-to-finish, kind of everything you need to know to be a pilot, and it was very successful with the girls. They were excited about it. They learned a lot, and I think it kind of planted the seed, not only to be a pilot, but maybe consider things that they normally wouldn't consider. So it just kind of grew from there and it's kind of taken on a life of it's own. I think even if I wanted to stop, which of course I don't, I don't think I'd be able to.

J.R. Warmkessel: I have to tell you, when I was at Oshkosh with my family in 2011, we stopped by your booth and my daughter now has one of your t-shirts. I think your, what does it say? "Girls need flight plans, not fairly tales."

Lynda Meeks: Yeah. To me, that's a big one, and the reason I feel that is because I've done a lot of reading about encouraging girls to do things and part of the problem is we tell girls that they can be whatever they want to be, but we don't often provide them very good role models because they have a hard time envisioning that, "Yes, I can do this and be a Mom," or I, you know, have a family and still be able to work at "blank," or be good at something that involves math for heaven sakes. So that's one of the main things that I'm trying to do is, if you go to the website,, there's a page of women involved in various field of aviation, not just being a pilot, but air traffic controllers and mechanics, just to show them, and they can send them emails as well just to say that, "Yes, this is something that you can do," and the whole thing behind that "Girls need flight plans, not fairy tales," is just because I have nieces, and luckily they're kind of over this by now, but the whole princess thing I think is misleading for the girls. It tells them that, you know, if they just wait for their knight in shining armor, they'll be taken care of. When really there's a lot of women that are getting married these days, that you have to set your goals and achieve them to have a fulfilling life.

J.R. Warmkessel: And maybe that you won't be rescued. Maybe you have to rescue yourself.

Lynda Meeks: Right. Yes. Or maybe not need rescuing. Maybe you can just take care of yourself the whole time, so yeah.

J.R. Warmkessel: So tell us a little bit more about the Girls With Wings organization website. What kind of sources and opportunities do they provide for girls that our listeners might be interested in?

Lynda Meeks: Well, mainly it's an internet-based organization. So, you can come by the website. There's games on there. Like I said, there's stories about women. That's how we reach most people. Another thing that I do is the presentation, like, I talked about everything you need to know to be a pilot. It takes about an hour and I do it to 15 to 30 girls at a time because I've realized, after giving this to thousands of girls that that is the right dynamic to have the girls get the most out of it, and just let me say, because I know people are thinking, "Well, why is it just girls?" because I've tried to give presentations to boys as well. I'm not ant-boy, trust me. I have nephews that I just absolutely adore, but there's, especially in the grade school, boys are so much more self-confident at that age and so, especially after I tell an audience that I've been in the Army, the boys always start asking me questions about, you know, what kind of weaponry I shot, you know, did my aircraft ever have armament and everything, so, unfortunately the girls kind of get left out. So this is a real opportunity for me to talk to the girls directly, and, especially when they start getting into 7th, 8th, 9th grade, they have a lot of confidence issues, so it kind of allows them to be more comfortable in talking and getting stuff out of the presentation. And then also we are a 501c3 organization so we do scholarships. So we try to put our words into action and actually provide funds for girls to take flying lessons.

J.R. Warmkessel: That's really fantastic. So give me a little more flavor about the scholarships. What do your applicants have to go through to be honored that way?

Lynda Meeks: I think the scholarship requirements are similar to a lot of other ones. We require a copy of your medical and your logbook and everything for the private pilots scholarship, and that is 1,000 dollars that awarded to somebody who has soloed but not yet gotten their private pilot license, and then we also have another one that we just started last spring. We call it the Dreams Take Flight Scholarship, and it's for, both of them are for women that, young women, girls, whatever that would like to be a role model for Girls With Wings, and so the biggest port of the application is they have to write an essay and talk about what their motivation is for wanting to fly, their inspiration, and what their future plans are. So the new Dreams Take Flight one is for, you never have to have been in an airplane before but you're pursuing something in aviation no matter what it is. We just want to get that person into an airplane to kind of see the world from a different angle. So it's just kind of to give that nudge. 500 dollars, so it's not enough, obviously, to get a license, but just to be that encouragement to maybe go a little bit further.

J.R. Warmkessel: Well that's fantastic, and the essays must really be moving. I think that it would be really amazing to have an opportunity to review and read those essays and see what girls and women want for their future.

Lynda Meeks: When you start reading them you know that they've got it and they put a lot of energy and effort into it, and it's one of the things that I mention on the website, you know, if you're going to apply for the scholarship you need to take it seriously because being a pilot is not something you do on a whim. It takes not only a lot of money, but a lot of time, a lot of study, whatever, so you can really tell from an essay. We don't put, like I said, a lot of restrictions on it. Just tell us why you would like to be a Girls With Wings role model. You can tell so much by what people can say in a page or two pages.

J.R. Warmkessel: And so what else has been going on? Did I hear that you're a movie star now?

Lynda Meeks: I don't know about a movie star. You're talking about, I'm sure, the documentary, Acro Camp. It's a... they filmed it a couple of years ago and the producer, the everything, guru for this, Steve Tupper, is putting together this documentary. He had this concept of getting four people that had never done aerobatics before and filming everything from start to finish about these people going through aerobatics training for four days up in Pontiac, Michigan. He selected this first year four very diverse people, one who was a flight instructor, one who had just gotten their license, one who is a heavy iron cargo pilot, and myself who, again, went from helicopters to King Airs within, like, 30 hours of single-engine time. So my special niche in this whole thing was just that I didn't have a lot of single-engine time and that first flight out to the practice area in, I think it was a Citabra we were in first, made me a little bit nervous. I wanted to hear some jet noise and have the reassurance of two engines, you known, one on each wing and didn't really have that. So within four days though, the two instructors took us through our paces, and by the end of it I was in a Pitts doing hammerheads and tail slides and everything, so I'm really looking forward to it coming out. I think it's going to be great. I've seen a couple clips of it, one of which, people will tell you I'm so embarrassed by because I'm sitting there chewing on my gum while the camera was in my face. I really wish somebody would've told me to skip the whole gum thing, but, anyway, it should be a lot of fun.

J.R. Warmkessel: Sounds really interesting, and for those of our listeners who don't know who Steve Tupper is, give us 10 seconds on who Steve Tupper is and what he does in the aviation community.

Lynda Meeks: Airspeed Online, his website and everything, but the guy I think has been in every aircraft ever built, but he really is not just an aviation enthusiast. He's an aviation fanatic, and he really believes in trying to get the community more involved into aviation. Those people at the aircraft fence not only are welcome to there, but welcomed onto airport because there is so much to enjoy about aviation. He's just, he's amazing.

J.R. Warmkessel: He also has a podcast. Airspeed, I believe.

Lynda Meeks: Yeah, and that's probably why it's taken him more than the couple months than he envisioned it, putting together the documentary, just because he's into so many things.

J.R. Warmkessel: I think you could draw a straight line from Airspeed and Uncontrolled Airspace to this podcast, so we have to honor those who came before us and what we could only aspire to be, as amazing as those podcasts are. Any reflections about Acro Camp that really kind of stand out in your mind? Now I don't want to ruin the movie for any of the other listeners, but anything really stick in your mind?

Lynda Meeks: One of the reasons that I really wanted to do it, and I had already been furloughed at this point so money was tight. We did have to pay for our own flight time so it did get rather pricey in that regard. I really wanted to do it just because, in a word, I was scared to do it. Don't like flying on the edge, or anything like that, but I knew that what I wanted to bring to it and to get out of it was to show people that even though they're scared to do something, go ahead and do it anyways because that's what I hear so much when I talk to people about flying. They think it's so scary, and it doesn't, like, have to be. So I really hope, and, again, I've only seen little clips of it, but I really hope, and Steve and I have talked about this, about my transformation from the beginning to the end shows people that you just sometimes have to do a little bit of a gut-check and go ahead and do it anyway, and you'll get so much more out of it.

J.R. Warmkessel: I can't imagine going from a Huey to a Citation 10 to an upside-down Pitts. That must've been quite an experience.

Lynda Meeks: Yes, it was, and it really showed my lack of, I hate to say it, my, I'll just say my lack of good pilot skills, just because flying in an aircraft where you're programming the autopilot you tend to lose of that, those fine motor skills, and one of the things that I decided to do after getting out of acre camp was to get back and get my CFI rating, my flight instructor rating, because I'd never done that, and so I think Acro camp really helped in that regard, flying a ..., flying, like I said, on the edge, then going to get my flight instructor rating, I really was able to bring a lot more out of the aerobatic training to now being a flight instructor. I can, not only with 5,000 hours and 19 years of flight experience, but I look at my students and I'm like, "Listen, I understand where you are. I've been there, I've done that, so let me just tell you the real deal." So I am having a blast flight instructing. So that's a nice side effect of being able to go through Acro camp.

J.R. Warmkessel: Fantastic. Now I was always told that the CFI, or the certified flight instructor rating, was one of the most difficult aviation ratings to get. Was that your experience? What about getting your license?

Lynda Meeks: I will completely concur with getting that. I can't tell you how many people that said, "Oh, you should be able to get your CFI rating in two weeks," and it was more like, I think it ended up taking me nine months to do it, and that was pretty intensive training as well. It was, again, wasn't used to flying a single-engine airplane so the first time I went out with a flight instructor in a 172 and he handed me the controls and wanted me to do stalls and slow flight, I wasn't prepared for, and I don't know what everybody's flight experience is. Left-turning tendencies of an airplane were, those rudder pedals were not just a place to rest your feet. You really need to use them, and so not only just actually flying the airplane, but also the maneuvers, which I either hadn't done in years or had never done, to go back and learn chandells and lazy eights, so, and then flying as a VFR pilot instead of a IFR pilot. So my first time of, you know, getting a clearance through class B airspace as a VFR pilot, that was really intimidating. It did take a lot longer than I thought it would, but, again, I think I'm a better pilot now than I ever have been.

J.R. Warmkessel: It sounds like you've really experienced a lot of aviation has to offer. I'm always in envy and awe of anyone who's gotten to do maybe a little bit more than I got to do.

Lynda Meeks: Well it's definitely a bug that has bitten. So, when I think about what else I could possibly do with my life, I know that it has to be something aviation related. You can't get rid of me now.

J.R. Warmkessel: Now, are you doing any acrobatic flying? Are you thinking about going on the circuit or anything?

Lynda Meeks: No, I unfortunately did not do that well to actually have turned it into anything. There is one of the campers, Michelle, she actually went out and got her own Super D, custom made, in this great orange paint scheme, and she actually does aerobatics now, and the other camper that had just gotten his license, he's now a CFI. He's doing a lot of flight training, but I think I'm, I like to keep the greasy side down more this time. It was fun so I would like to every year or so go back and do some just because I think a lot of people are so afraid of spins. I think it's valuable training. It doesn't have to be something that you do all of the time, but I think everybody needs the experience of doing just a little bit of aerobatic training.

J.R. Warmkessel: You know, that's something that was a very interesting observation, that doing a little bit of everything and trying everything and seeing what you like and what you don't like, and even if you don't like it, at least you've done it and you can put it in your bag and try something different next time.

Lynda Meeks: Right.

J.R. Warmkessel: Any other fun activities that you've been doing since the furlow?

Lynda Meeks: Unfortunately, not so much. Other than the instructing, I am trying to look for some employment that'll take me up until the time that I'm recalled from my furlow, but I did get the opportunity to fly my nieces for the first time last weekend. So they were super excited. That was a lot of fun, and I will tell you that it was the most nerve-wracking landing I've ever done, but luckily one of the best, so they're very impressed with their Aunt Lynda's flying skills.

J.R. Warmkessel: Now, if any of our listeners are listening near an airport where you instruct at, are you at a regular flight club that...?

Lynda Meeks: Yeah, south of Cleveland, Ohio, Medina Airport is where I'm currently instructing out of.

J.R. Warmkessel: Now, do you instruct for private pilots, do you instruct light sport? What are you specializing in, or do you specialize?

Lynda Meeks: Right now I'm just a CFI, although I do have intentions of getting my instrument instructor rating here pretty soon. The flight school does have an Aircoup and a cub, which I have not yet gotten checked out in, but sometime within the next month or so I should be able to do that as well. I have had primary students and then I also have, and I've loved this, I've had several students that already have their license but they want to either rust off some skills or there are things that they don't feel that they really learned well the first time around. So I really have a lot of respect for pilots that will block some time to maybe go practice and learn some more and refresh some skills. So I really do enjoy being able to do that and I've given a couple of flight reviews, the biannual, what used to be a BFR, but the flight reviews, and I usually take a little bit more time than other people will just because, like, I'm an airspace fiend. I loved talking airspace and I think that one of the skills that go quickly, if you're not thinking airspace, if you're not thinking weather minimums, you won't remember it. So a good refresher in all of those topics never hurt anybody, and it'll raise your confidence and if you're more confident then you're a more proficient pilot.

J.R. Warmkessel: What do you find that people forget or don't understand about airspace that maybe you might help them understand better?

Lynda Meeks: I think a lot of it is just understanding what airspace they're in and, like, actual weather minimums that they have. I've seen a lot of people say, "Well, it's 1000 - 3 so it must be VFR," which I think is oversimplification, for lack of a better term, but the whole, you know, 500 below, 1,000 above, 2,000 feet horizontal, and what does that mean to you when you're the traffic pattern? Medina Airport is in Class G airspace so all you need is clear of clouds, which, again, and this is something that I'm having to slow down on, is when you say, "clear of clouds" to somebody who's not familiar with aviation, they think, "Well they sky has to be clear of the clouds," not just you have to stay clear of them, so Class G, clear of clouds, one mile visibility, but that's only to 700 feet or 1,200 feet. Well then the airspace changes. So if you're in the traffic pattern, then you're no longer in G. You're in E, and so you need better weather, and so what does that really mean to you? What weather do you have to have when you're flying in the traffic pattern? So a lot of people, you know, learn these rules of thumb and they don't, they haven't really learned to apply them very well.

J.R. Warmkessel: The magical word: application.

Lynda Meeks: Yeah.

J.R. Warmkessel: Lynda, it's been so interesting talking to you, and, as I said, I'm a big supporter of the Girls With Wings organization and their website. I hope that when my daughter is a little older, she's three years old now, but when she's a little bit older that she'll take up an opportunity to fly an airplane and maybe write you one of those essays and win a scholarship.

Lynda Meeks: Oh, great. Are you going to Oshkosh this year?

J.R. Warmkessel: Likely not. If EAA called me and said, "Hey, we need you." I would get in the airplane and I would fly to Oshkosh. We did go last year. She was two years old last year, and I'll relate one story very briefly with you. So my wife, who's a pilot as well, decided that, my daughter asked to be taken on a helicopter ride and one thing about Airventure at Oshkosh is that they have essentially helicopter tours that go around their field and a very short ride. So my wife takes my daughter and they get in the helicopter, and they go around and the helicopter comes in for a landing and the blades are still spinning. I guess, what are those? Are those Bell helicopters?

Lynda Meeks: Probably, yeah.

J.R. Warmkessel: So the blades are still spinning, and my daughter will not get out. "Go again. Go again, Mommy. I want to go again." And I guess the pilot is trying not to bust out laughing, and my daughter's in tears. Finally my wife pries my daughter of the helicopter and gets her away from the active area of the helicopter, and my daughter runs down to the hangar where the people are sitting and she gets in the last chair in line and she goes, "It's okay, Mommy. I wait my turn."

Lynda Meeks: That's awesome. That's really great. Yeah.

J.R. Warmkessel: So that's probably one of my best stories from Oshkosh, and I wasn't at that thing but, "Okay, Mommy. I wait my turn."

Lynda Meeks: Well, and that's really, again, like I said with Girls With Wings, I'm not anti-boy, but Girls With Wings is really designed to appeal to girls. It's pink and purple and we've got flowers going on and everything, just because things do tend to appeal to girls differently than with boys, and so, you know, when you see a lot of the aviation things that are red, and blue, and black, or military themed. They're not instinctively, you know, attractive to girls, so what I want to do with Girls With Wings, like you said, with her, I'm sure it's a dress, but "girls need flight plans, not a fairly tale." It's just, for them to grow up knowing that aviation is a completely natural interest for them, so it sounds to me like your daughter is going to be a big fan of flying.

J.R. Warmkessel: Well, I hope so. Both her parents are big fans of flying, and we look forward to the day. In all fairness, I did buy her a senior logbook the day she was born.

Lynda Meeks: That's great.

J.R. Warmkessel: We'll see how that works out for her.

Lynda Meeks: Wonderful.

J.R. Warmkessel: Lynda, thank you so much for your time. We very much appreciated it, and I wanted to thank you once again.

Lynda Meeks: Oh, you're welcome. Thank you for having me.

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Show Notes