Tag Archives: air traffic control

picnic

A Family Summer Picnic, A Castle And Providence

This weekend I will be joining my mother, her brother and members of three of the seven branches of my maternal grandfather’s siblings for a family picnic near Boise Idaho.  Sometime in the 40s or 50s three of  my grandfather’s six siblings moved from Kansas to this area so I only knew them by name.  A large reunion of the Rightmeier clan in Kansas in 2005 and the advent of Facebook reinstated relationships  geography had eroded.

This picnic gathering has me thinking about this branch of my family tree’s German roots.  It centers around a small village in the northern District of Lippe Germany:   Varenholtz.

A Castle

When my husband and I had an opportunity to visit Varenholtz in 1998, we found a landmark never mentioned in any of the family stories:  Schloss (Castle) Varenholz.  The castle location was the seat of a family of Knights , under Heinrich the Lion. Built to its current size in 1596 by Simon VI, the son of a staunch Catholic Count, who ruled the region and fiercely resisted the Protestant movements in the area.

When the elder Count died, the care of Simon VI, his son, was left to Phillip of Hessen.  Although the Count gave strict orders that his son be educated in the Catholic faith, Phillip did not adhere to this request and Simon was educated as a Lutheran, and later studied “at a reformed school in Strasbourg” where he became a follower of John Calvin (1503 – 1564).  It was in this way that Lippe became a mix of Lutheran and Calvinistic influence.

Regetmeir to Rightmeier

My maternal great great  grand-father, Frederic Regetmeier,  immigrated to the United States in 1864 at the age of 14. During this period, a long-term drought, along with political and religious unrest made living conditions in Lippe quite desperate.  In other words the feudal system was breaking down.

The life they knew was disappearing.  Word of the opportunities in America sparked by desperation, drove young Frederic and his brother August  to make the voyage.   In reality the brothers were stowaways on a ship to New York.  It is said they jumped ship in New York harbor and swam ashore.

Continue reading A Family Summer Picnic, A Castle And Providence

“I Can Do that” – Words To Succeed By

To Succeed – “I can think. I can sleep. I can move. I can ride my bike. I can dream.” Bill Walton

succeedWhen I was accepted into the the Federal Aviation’s Administration’s Air Traffic Academy in 1976, I knew I was on the right path.  At the same time, I had no idea what I had signed up for.  It was daunting in every way.

I remember, after having passed the first phase of academics, challenging in itself, my class of 16 was now headed to the dreaded non-radar labs.  “Phase III” of a thirteen phase program known to be a phase in which “50% will not make it”.  I don’t mind saying it, I was nervous, partially because I was not aware of the process.

On the first day of labs, the Air Traffic Academy Superintendent passed by our class, first to congratulate us for passing Phase II and then to encourage us as we entered Phase III. However, the superintendent said something that gave me courage.  It was something like: “You have been tested and accepted into this program, so we know you have the aptitude to do this job.  All you have to do is apply yourself”.  I thought, “I can do that”.  Ahhh hope.  I trusted what the superintendent said and in the process behind all the uncertainty.

The Process – “I Can Do that”

At that moment, I knew I would not be distracted, party instead of study, or otherwise drop the ball. I had been told I had it within me to succeed and I determined to give this opportunity my full attention.  Still, it was not easy and there were obstecles.  For instance, we were not allowed to miss any days or be late for any reason.  Not even illness.  It was winter in Oklahoma, I was not eating right, nor sleeping well and there was just a bit of stress (sarcasm). Yes, I managed to get the flu.

Succeed By Showing Up and Staying the Course

I have an audio recording of a graded pass/fail lab problem while hosting a fever of 102 degrees.  I did not pass, managing to score a whopping thirteen “conflictions*  (you were not allowed any to pass a graded problem).  But  I was there and I finished.  Fortunately you were allowed one failed graded problem and still pass the course.  It was also a Friday, so I had the weekend to get over the creeping crud.  Ultimately, I graduated.  I trusted the process.

There were many more challenges and not a few moments in which I really wanted to walk away.  Even after becoming a journeyman controller, there were moments, even days when I wanted to disappear.  Invariably, t\someone or something  would remind me to trust the process and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Most of the time it was that still small voice inside that said “I will never leave you..” that I have come to recognize as the voice my Father God.  Now that I have retired from the life of telling pilots where to go, I have been employing the same “trusting the process” in developing my second wind for this season of life.

“I Can Do That”

Micheal Hyatt was made known to me as a virtual mentor through hearing him interviewed by Dave Ramsey.  Micheal’s book, Platform – Get Noticed in a Noisy World, had just come out and they were discussing the book in the context of the whole entrepreneurial thing.  I bought the book and just like those many years ago, I thought, “I can do that”, and so it started.  I am still figuring it out as I go, putting one foot in front of the other,  learning, studying and trusting the process. This BLOG is one aspect of this new life.

Another aspect is an intentional personal development or a personal growth plan (PGP). One element of my PGP is reading books.   Yes, good old fashioned reading.  I was inspired to be intentional about this through Mr. Hyatt as well.  In both his BLOG and through podcasts he talked about the benefits of consuming a balanced diet of books:

1. Reading makes us better thinkers
2. Reading improves people skills
3. Reading improves our communication skills, including speaking and writing
4. Reading helps us relax
5. Reading keep us young (I am all for that!)

Process  – A Personal Growth Plan

I thought, “I can do that”.   So in my  annual PGP I set a goal to read or listen to 3 books per month. I endeavored to divide these between fiction and non-fiction with some in an audio format.  You can see the list of books completed on my Pinterest 2017  Book reading list.  I set aside a minimum of 20 minutes each morning as a part of my quiet time and 20 minutes before bedtime for this activity.  Fiction reading is reserved for my evening routine.

Instead of going out and spending money on books I did not know if I wanted to keep on my shelf, I have been giving my local library a serious workout.  It has been wonderful. There are a few I ended up purchasing as I wanted to mark them up and keep for future reference, but for the most part the public library has been a great partner in this goal.  I have been surprised at how much I have enjoyed this activity and its benefits.

So once again, by trusting the process, in other words, taking someone’s advice even if you can’t see or understand the rationale, I have found myself in a better place.

*a confliction meant that two aircraft got closer than the required margins allowed. Opps!

Is there some process you have simply taken someone’s word on?  How did it work out?  Please share it in the comments below!

Making Difficult Choices – How They Become Easier

When your values are clear to you, making choices becomes easier. – Roy E. Disney

From the moment we became aware of more than our need for food, water and a warm cuddle from our parents, we have been faced with the awesome and sometimes bothersome privilege we have as humans:  making choices.

choicesAt first we had a lot of help from our parents and others who influenced our formation  in making those choices.  Ideally, we were introduced to solid values from which to make choices:

  • Values that go deeper than our mood on any given day
  • A plumb line that provides objectivity for decisions in situations that arrive in subjective, feeling based moments.

This privilege of making choices by stepping outside of ourselves is one of the many things that sets us apart from the rest of creation.  We have free will.  It is the part of our soul on which our life and its activities pivot.

We all have had situations thrust upon us in which we were faced with a decision we did not want to make.  We did not necessarily choose to be in that place, at least not directly.   After all, the free will of others comes into play in our lives as well as our own.  It is in those unwanted places where the first crucial choice is made:  will I be a victim of other’s choices or will I make the choice right for me and for the right reason?
This is subtle, because the action and the outcome in either case may be the same, but the reason, the heart behind it come from different places.  It is a place of respecting the right of others to make their choices while retaining my choice as to whether I will participate. Then to live with the outcome, whatever that might be.
 Remembering A Hard Decision
This comes to my mind each summer, because in August of 1981, actually the months leading up to that time, I was faced with a hard choice:  whether or not I would strike against the government of the United States of America.  I was
  • in my 5th year and final stage of radar training to become a journeyman air traffic control specialist.
  • a non-active and reluctant member of PATCO, the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization.
I really enjoyed my job.  The training was challenging and the testosterone dominated culture somewhat unkind to this twenty something. blond. no-previous-experience. female.  But I was in my element.  Spending 40 hours a week telling pilots what to do and where to go – what could be better?  Seriously!
Unpopular Choices
As a radar developmental, my information regarding the issues on which the PATCO contract negotiations were based were rather one-sided.  I did not know much about labor laws and negotiations at that time, and was not aware that staff and management were restricted on what they could say.
As things heated up and the talk of a strike escalated, I was feeling pressure.  Pressure from my fellow teammates who inferred that should I choose not to strike, my attaining of journeyman status would be in jeopardy.  Although not the ones who would sign off on my certification, as my trainers they had a great deal of influence and input into the process. They had the power to withhold support.  To simply declare that I couldn’t do the job and therefore prevent me from having the opportunity to demonstrate otherwise.
Choices by Others
Thankfully,  there were a couple of colleagues that shed some light on the situation to me.  One let me in on the contingency plan in place by the FAA in the case of a strike.  He was convinced that if a strike occurred it would be broken.  I was relieved to know that management was doing something but was not convinced any contingency plan would prevail.
Another friend made his position clear, it was too good a job to put in jeopardy and what ever happened he was not going to participate.  When I finally got above the pressure, other’s opinions and looked at the situation from outside myself, it came down to this,
  • I had taken an oath.
  • I had given my word.
  • therefore, could not participate in any action to bring the USA “to its knees”.
It was on that basis I made my choice.  If the strike prevailed I knew my working life would be made a living hell as a “scab”.  I had to be willing to face that or to walk away on my own terms from a career that I truly enjoyed and from a salary I had never dreamed of earning.
Choices In Hindsight
It has been 36 years since the 1981 PATCO strike.  The strike was broken, air traffic continued and I went on to have a wonderful career.  But that is not the point.  I was not the only one who made choices on this issue.  There were thousands who made choices during this time.  They made them for their own reasons.
I had made peace with my choice before the outcome was known and whatever the outcome, I was OK with it.  You see, the time to make choices is before the situation occurs.  In this case, I decided years before when the value that my word is my bond was instilled in me.  I had sworn an oath.
You have a free will
Your ability to choose daily, even moment by moment is precious.  In your Stonebridge journey, avoid yeilding to the “I had no choice” thought process.  What you are really saying is, “within my set of values, this was the choice I made “.  Own that.  Should that ownership not fit, then make a different decision.  Review the values you have bought into.  It is your choice.  The outcome, whatever it may be, is easier to face.
What one decision have you made that was both hard but the right one to make?  Awesome!  You are a hero.  Please share in the comments below. 

Dreams – An Airport Story in Three Parts – II

“Worse than not realizing the dreams of your youth would be to have been young and never dreamed at all.”  Jean Genet

This is a continuation of a previous post.  Enjoy!

“The day arrived and on September 14, 1969,  Daddy became a certified private pilot.  He logged 1114.45 hours of flying time over the span of 19  years and one month, almost to the day.  His first lePaul Hancock Pilot Certifcationsson was at the Phillipsburg, KS airport in a J-3 Cub on October 14, 1962 and his last logged flight was from the Plainville airpark on September 21, 1981.  Most of the hours flown were in Aircoupe N3052G.  In high school, I was a frequent flyer passengers.

The coupe became Daddy’s transport, companion and therapy; his place to dream and escape. It would be years before I understood the relationship he had with that little plane. The coupe remained at the Plainville Airpark until 1991.

Dreams Fade

In the late 1960s and into the early 70s, in addition to running his auto parts business, Dad became involved in local government, both as councilman and later as mayor.  So as time progressed, the coupe’s time in the air began to dwindle.  In the mid to late 70s, economic downturns and health issues, infringed further on Daddy’s ability to spend time in the air.  There were rumors that Dad had offers to sell the plane, but he needed to keep her close, even if she had to sit quietly on the ground looking south from her open hangar.

Activity at the airpark came and went.  The one major issue:  water.  The field was well drained and a perfectly fine grass strip but rain, snow, ice and other kinds of moisture hampered consistant use.  In fact, there were no all weather airports in all of Rooks County.  In 1978 he and several others began to work on a plan to correct this.  The vision was modest:  simply black top the airpark runway.  Plans and proposals were made with rationale far beyond just a few guys with a hobby.  As mayor, he could see it as an extension of main street for business, as well as providing access to medical flights, and other emergency needs.  Perceptions, costs, and local politics got in the way and plans ended up on the shelf. The time was not yet.

Dreams Transition

In the meantime, I had left home, married and began a career with the FAA as an air traffic controller. When that career brought me to Wichita, KS in 1988, I decided to finally get my private pilot’s license.  I had wanted to do this since I first flew with Daddy, and had even begun training at one point, but the right time had finally arrived.

In a phone conversation with Dad, I asked if the Coupe was flyable. His answer was evasive:  “it was flying when I last parked her in the hangar”.  I asked how long it had been.  “A couple of years”.   I asked if I could use it to build the hours I needed to get my license, his response after thinking it over, was “if you can fix it, you can fly it”.  I had no idea what was invdreamsolved.  I later discovered it had been 11 years since her last airworthiness check.  It was going to be work.

My flight instructor and I flew his plane to Plainville to assess the situation in the fall of 1991.  She was in sad shape. It took two more trips with different assortments of mechanics before,  on a cold March day in 1992 she departed Plainville Airpark on a ferry permit for her new home in Wichita.

In the meantime, I had continued my flight training and realized the Coupe would not be the plane I would build my flight hours in. The plan had shifted.  Daddy was ready to share her with me, and so we took joint ownership.  When I was not supervising a shift at the Wichita air traffic tower/TRACON or working on some aspect of my pilot training, I was assisting the team of mechanics bringing N3052G back to an airworthy condition.”

Comments Please!

I know, this was more about an airplane than an airport, but one exists for the other! The  final installment of this airport story and vision next time.

The Joyland Carousel – Exposing Hidden Connections

 Joyland
I have never been to the Joyland Amusement Park founded by the Ottoways in 1949.  Although still active until 2004, I simply never had a reason to check it out.  As a child, my amusement park exposure was limited to school playgrounds,  county fairs and carnivals, but I loved the carousels.
I also love seeing lost things found and restored.  So when the Joyland carousel was donated to Botanica, my ears perked up.  As a member of Botanica, I have been following the plans to relocate and restore this wonderful icon.  It seems her new life will be as close to heaven for a carousel as it can get:  In the midst of well tended gardens in a secure protected structure.  Bravo!
Hidden Connections
Even though any direct personal experience with this carousel and Joyland is non-existent to date, I feel a connection on several levels.  Levels that, to the non-discerning eye, are not even there.
First, as as I said, I love seeing things of value restored.  Value, not just in monetary terms, but value at a deeper more visceral level.  Thus our passion for restoring our historic home, Maison Steinbuchel.
Second, as written about in a previous post, the land Botanica sits on was originally a part of the Stackman-Steinbuchel-Hahn homestead, the family for whom our Kansas Historic home is named.
Third, the the connection to the Chance family.  This family is behind the Chance manufacturing company.  It was the Joyland train that sparked the emergence of this Wichita based enterprise.
Aviation, Flight and Air Traffic Control
This connection too, is more visceral than direct, but it is special.  You see, I knew Mary Chance Van Scyoc, but not in the way you might think.  It was not through the amusement park connection but rather through air traffic control.
I met Mary in the 1990s through my local Kansas 99s chapter, a global women’s pilot organization founded by Amelia Erhart.  Mary was an accomplished private pilot and quite a personality.  It was later I discovered she had been the first woman air traffic controller at Denver Airways Control Center, the predecessor to the Denver Air Route Traffic Control Center where I began my air traffic career.  She was also the first woman controller at the Wichita Airport Traffic Control Tower, where I later worked on staff and in supervision.  Mary paved the way for me.  She was an inspiration not only as an air traffic controller, but as an early woman pilot, even learning to fly helicopters in her late 60s!  The last time I spoke with her, she was still active and overflowing with life.

Continue reading The Joyland Carousel – Exposing Hidden Connections

Goals: Write Them Down. It Works!

goals“It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”  Paulo Coelho
 Each year since the early 1980s I have set goals.  I always had goals, lists, “to-dos” in my head, but actual written goals came later.  When I first started, it was primarily in the context of my job/career.  In fact, it was forced upon me as a part of the air traffic community as one of the cures for the 1981 air traffic strike.  The air traffic world was told we needed a culture change, and one of the expressions of that became the Individual Development Plan (IDP).  We were strongly urged to create one of these as a part of our annual performance review.  At the time, I just wanted to be an air traffic controller and separate air planes, but to comply with the “suggestion” I did a rather tongue in cheek” IDP.  In other words, I did not take it seriously.  Or so it seemed.
In that first IDP.  I put down three “goals”.  They actually fell more into the desire, dreaming or wish list category:
  1. Move back to Kansas, my home state – We were living in California at the time
  2. Become a fighter pilot
  3. Work for the FAA in Europe
There was no way these could happen from where I sat at the time and my supervisor told me so.  He basically smirked and gave me that “you’re kidding, right?” look.  I looked back with raised eyebrows and stated:  it was “My IDP”, and he reluctantly signed it.  Boxed checked.  Back to telling pilots where to go.  That was in 1985.
Or Could They?
In 1988 we moved to Kansas after I applied for and was offered a promotion to the Wichita Airport Traffic Control facility.  During my time there, I became a private pilot and was also allowed to fly an F-4, a T-38 and an F-16 as a part of my air traffic staff duties.  OK, the F-16 was a simulator and I am not qualified to fly a fighter on my own, not even close.  Yet, for a civilian private pilot in her late 30s at the time, it was the closest I was going to get!
Then in 1994, I was selected as the Air Traffic Representative for Europe, Africa and the Middle East based out of the Brussels, Belgium office.  I had actually forgotten the IDP until I was going through some papers packing for the move to Brussels.  I was as stunned.  Nine years from impossible to completed!  Three seemingly unrelated, lofty, even silly goals, done.  That was a true aha moment.
Written Goals Work
Since that first IDP, I have come to value the process of setting written goals.  The reason:  it works.  Somehow, articulating one’s desires. dreams and intentions in a written form gives them life.  So, this time of year, I begin to look at my current year’s goals.  What did I achieve?  What did I miss?  What do I carry over in light of what I want the end of next year to look like?  It it both painful and exciting.  Painful; because some things  did not get done – this year.  Exciting because some things were completed and moreover a whole new year lies ahead.  This year, I am doing all of this goal stuff under the umbrella of my Life Plan that I developed earlier in the year, and which I recently did an annual review and update.
Goal Setting – A Framework
I break my goals into categories in an effort to maintain a certain equilibrium:  Spiritual, Soul Tending (Mind, will and emotions), Physical, Relational (marriage, extended family, church family and social), Vocational and Rest/Restoration.  Having these set as a framework for my goals helps to ensure each area gets appropriate attention.  Some call it life balance, I just want things to stay upright and moving forward as smoothly as possible.  That means that there may be seasons where one area gets more attention than another.
Your categories need to reflect your unique life and values.  Perhaps you have never taken the time to inventory and articulate the facets of your life.  This would be a good place to start.  Here is a  free resources that can guide you:  http://www.goalsettingbasics.com/free-goal-setting-worksheets.html
Goals and Vision
Once you have the various areas of your life defined, then look at each one and think:
What does this mean to me?
What do I want this area to look like at the end of 2017?
It may also to be helpful to make an inventory of activities you currently expend time and energy on.  Then look at each one and decide:  Is this truly contributing to my intention in this area?  will it move me toward my desires in this area next year.  If not, does the activity need to be adjusted, delegated or simply deleted?  Once this evaluation is complete, using the activities that remain, list one thing you can do to or continue to do to move you toward your vision for each area.  I have found that when I do the above process, my goals for the next year emerge organically and can move to further define particular goals in each area.
For this, I recommend the following sites as a resource.  Much of the information offered at no cost, along with products and/or subscriptions available for purchase.  To be honest you don’t need to spend a dime to get a robust plan of your own going.  Just search “goal setting” once on each site, pick a process and then trust it.
Goals Nuts and Bolts
Some things to consider to ensure a balanced goal setting menu:
  1. Goals should be SMARTER
  2. They should include both habit goals and one-time goals
  3. Consider a PUSH goal – or a BHAG – a Big Hairy Audacious Goal.  One that will get you us in the morning and (sometimes) awake at night.
  4. Set between 5-10 total goals for a year. More than ten and the likelihood of finishing any of them diminishes.
Last – Schedule them on your calendar for next year.  Start with the what Stephen Covey call the BIG ROCKS, events and/or activities that have great value to you or to reaching a goal but tend to get crowded out by the trivia of life.  Consider assigning the one-time goals into a particular quarter or season.  That way you focus on one or two at a time, get it done and move one.  That can help avoid the end of year crunch.
Since I wrote that first IDP, I have learned some about this goal setting thing adding a certain intentionality and efficiency to the process.  Therefore it does not take nine years.  Still that first effort and the results, impresses me to this day.  It has served to keep me motivated in my goal setting process.
Has goal setting been a part of your life?  If so, what benefits has it had.  
If not, what is holding you back?
 
Please comment below

Trust the Process – Lessons from Air Traffic Training

processWhen I was accepted in the the Federal Aviation’s Administration’s Air Traffic Academy in 1976, I knew I was on the right path.  At the same time, I had no idea what I had signed up for.  It was daunting in every way.  I remember, after having passed the first phase of academics, which was challenging in itself, my class of 16 was now headed to the dreaded non-radar labs.  “Phase III” of a thirteen phase program known to be a phase in which “50% will not make it”.  I don’t mind saying it, I was nervous, partially because I was not aware of the process.

On the first day of labs, the Air Traffic Academy Superintendent passed by our class, first to congratulate us for passing Phase II and then to encourage us as we entered Phase III. However, the superintendent said something that gave me courage.  It was something like: “You have been tested and accepted into this program, so we know you have the aptitude to do this job.  All you have to do is apply yourself”.  I thought, “I can do that”.  There is hope.  I trusted what the superintendent said. I trusted in the process behind all the uncertainty.

The Process – My Friend

At that moment, I knew I would not be distracted, party instead of study, or otherwise drop the ball. I had been told I had it within me to succeed and I determined to give this opportunity my full attention.  Still, it was not easy and there were obstecles.  For instance, we were not allowed to miss any days or be late for any reason.  Not even illness.  It was winter in Oklahoma, I was not eating right, nor sleeping well and there was just a bit of stress (sarcasm). Yes, I managed to get the flu.

Showing Up and Staying the Course

I still have an audio recording of a graded problem I took while hosting a fever of 102 degrees. I did not pass.  Even thought managing to score thirteen conflictions*  (you were not allowed any to pass a graded problem),  I was there and I finished.  Fortunately you were allowed one failed graded problem and still pass the course.  It was also a Friday, so I had the weekend to get over the creeping crud.  Ultimately, I graduated.  I trusted the process and it worked.

There were many more challenges and not a few moments in which I really wanted to walk away. Even after I became a journeyman controller, there were moments, even days when I wanted to disappear.  Invariably, there would be someone or something that would remind me to trust the process and keep putting one foot in front of the other.  Most of the time it was that still small voice inside that said “I will never leave you..” that I have come to recognize as the Voice my Father God.  Now that Now that I have retired from the life of telling pilots where to go, I have been employing the same “trusting the process” in developing my second wind for this season of life.

“I Can Do That”

Micheal Hyatt was made known to me as a virtual mentor through hearing him interviewed by Dave Ramsey.  Micheal’s book, Platform – Get Noticed in a Noisy World, had just come out and they were discussing the book in the context of the whole entrepreneurial thing.  I bought the book and just like those many years ago, I thought, “I can do that”, and so it started.  I am still figuring it out as I go, putting one foot in front of the other,  learning, studying and trusting the process. This BLOG is one aspect of this new life.

Another aspect is an intentional personal development or a personal growth plan (PGP). One element of my PGP is reading books.   Yes, good old fashioned reading.  I was inspired to be intentional about this through Mr. Hyatt as well.  In both his BLOG and through podcasts he talked about the benefits of consuming a balanced diet of books:

1. Reading makes us better thinkers
2. Reading improves people skills
3. Reading improves our communication skills, including speaking and writing
4. Reading helps us relax
5. Reading keep us young (I am all for that!)

Process  – A Personal Growth Plan

I thought, “I can do that”.   So in my 2016 PGP I set a goal to read or listen to 3 books per month. I endeavored to divide these between fiction and non-fiction with some in an audio format.  You can see the list of books completed on my Pinterest 2016 Book reading list.  I set aside a minimum of 20 minutes each morning as a part of my quiet time and 20 minutes before bedtime for this activity.  Fiction reading is reserved for my evening routine slot.  Since I plan to continue this element of my PGP for next year, my 2017 list is being compiled.

Instead of going out and spending money on books I did not know if I wanted to keep on my shelf, I have been giving my local library a serious workout.  It has been wonderful. There are a few I ended up purchasing as I wanted to mark them up and keep for future reference, but for the most part the public library has been a great partner in this goal.  I have been surprised at how much I have enjoyed this activity and its benefits.

So once again, by trusting the process, in other words, taking someone’s advice even if you can’t see or understand the rationale, I have found myself in a better place.

*a confliction meant that two aircraft got closer than the required margins allowed. Opps!

Is there some process you have simply taken someone’s word on?  How did it work out?  Please share it in the comments below!

Seeds of a First Flight

 
“Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is like a man who scatters seeds on the ground. He sleeps at night and is awake during the day. The seeds sprout and grow, although the man doesn’t know how. The ground produces grain by itself. First the green blade appears, then the head, then the head full of grain. As soon as the grain is ready, he cuts it with a sickle, because harvest time has come.” 
Mark 4:26-28
 
This summer we took a short trip to my hometown for my 45th High School Reunion.  We extended the IMG_0697trip by one night taking the long way home in order to make a few more memory stops from my childhood.  One of those stops was in  Philllpsburg,  Kansas.  For the most part, growing up, Phillipsburg was the town we headed north to in order to join Highway 36 east bound when traveling to visit my maternal grandparents on the farm located in Jewell County.  However, there was one formative visit to Philllipsburg that planted a seed from which a harvest continues to this day.  It was the place where I took my first airplane ride.
I do not know the exact year, but I was somewhere around the age of eight.  Other details are foggy as well, but I do recall that 30 minute introduction airplane rides were provided at the Phillipsburg Municipal Airport on that day.  I am not sure if it was a Young Eagles type program aimed at children or for perspective pilots.  Perhaps both.  I am not sure if there was a charge or if the rides were free.  What I do know is that I was with Daddy and we were going for an airplane ride.  Since He was involved with the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) and Civil Air Patrol (CAP) around this time, these organizations may have been the sponsors for the day.  I do remember a lot of folks having a good time, standing in line and Daddy and I climbing into a Cessna 172.  To be honest I did not know one from the other, but I do rememember it was a high wing type because I could see down clearly.  I was in the back seat and daddy in the front on the right.
Seeds Work Without Much Awareness
I do not know what time of year it was, except it was not too cold or hot or windy.  A blue sky, cloudless Kansas day.  Nor do I remember a lot about the take-off or landing, just the way the Kansas landscape looked from up there:  all checker-boarded and green.  I do remember the hum of the engine, daddy looking around and talking with the pilot and how utterly free it felt.  I do not remember much else.  Not getting out the the plane, the 30 minute ride home with dad, nor ever talking about it again.  But, something happened that day.  A seed was planted.  A seed that was watered almost by chance along the way:  more rides with dad in the aircoupe, hanging out when he was working on his EAA Bi-Plane project, trips to the Wichita Kansas airport traffic control tower, air shows at Schilling Air Force Base in Salina, Kansas.  All just stuff we just did.
Seeds Grow to Unexpected Harvests
I never set out to become an air traffic controller (now retired), private pilot or hangar owner.  I now see these as harvests of that seed planted in the early 60s at a small municipal airport in Kansas.  They are not only personally fulfilling but have been opportunities to serve others.  To be a part in safe flights for countless travelers, contributing to our national defense, providing a bit of joy by giving airplane rides myself, and providing a place for other pilots to keep their planes in a secure place.  It is sobering to me to think that a seed with so few details attached to it could have such impact.
Seeds
The Tarmac – Seeds Planted Here

 

Your Stonebridge Journey is formed by seeds planted in your life.  You get to choose which seeds to water, cultivate, harvest or pluck up.  Some should be discarded, but many are there waiting to be recognized and nurtured so they can come to fullness.  There are seeds in your life that are waiting to become full harvests.  Some of these are already for reaping, some have yet to sprout.  With a bit of reflection, you will be amazed!

What one thing you are doing or have today that you recognize the seed  from which it came?  Please post your story in the comments below.

What To Do When Disaster Strikes – Fly the Plane!

”May you livefly every day of your life. “  Jonathan Swift

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Jesus, in Matthew 6:24

This BLOG posted the first time on the last day of 2016.  I am re-posting as prayers go forth for those in the gulf area dealing with Hurricane Harvey.  For those who are facing the “what now?”  One thing:  Fly the Plane.  You will get to the other side.
 A Year Contains Opportunity to Fly
It is not always been that way of course.  Disappointments, crisis and even devastation, do not discriminate.  Should they come around, we deal with them as appropriate.  As a pilot, we train for those times when, in spite of the best planning and precautions, things go wrong and we shout MAYDAY!
I was reminded of that reality recently while watching the movie, Sully.  For me, as a former air traffic controller, FAA accident investigator and current private pilot it was more than just a good movie, it was visceral.  It epitomized the value of what to do when things go wrong:  fly the airplane.  To do this well, one must choose to
resist the natural urge to:
  • Panic
  • Sit down and cry
  • Scream and holler
  • Freeze
  • Ask “why me?”
and so on, and so forth.  None of these things are helpful or productive in that moment.  It takes training and practice.

Continue reading What To Do When Disaster Strikes – Fly the Plane!

Personal Assets – You Already Have What You Need

assetsIn my post about hard decisions, I outlined a personal struggle that impacted my career path as an air traffic control trainee.  The knowledge and skills developed were highly specialized assets and there were a limited number of employers for this occupation.  In fact, at the time there was only one:  The United States Government.  You either were in the military assigned to to this specialty or were a civilian employee of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).  There were a few private controllers such as Beech Factory, in Wichita, KS but they were few and far between.  Even more specialized, the skills required at an en route center, where I was training, were only useful to the FAA.  There were some opportunities abroad with the International Civil Aviation Organization, but as a U.S. citizen my opportunity was the FAA, where I was then employed.
This was one of the realities the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) used to make their case for going on strike for better pay:  Since this was the primary place the skills we were developing could be employed, the FAA owed it to us.  Never mind, we were getting paid by the FAA (e.g. the U.S. taxpayer from whence our funding came) while we were developing these very assets; knowledge and skills, that when completed were the equivalent to a four-year college degree.  Yes it was tough and yes, I had to bring all I had to the table and allow that something within to be pulled out, but I was getting paid for the privilege.  I was grateful and honored and – scared.
 Facing and Fighting Fear
 Scared that this opportunity was my one and only shot at a great career.  If I lost my job, what would I do?  My husband had just completed a masters degree and was making plans to continue on into a doctoral program.  These were his dreams, even calling.  This decision would affect both of our lives.  Our dreams were being threatened with derailment or at best, delay.  Then there was the “fact” that the skills I had spent so much time and energy developing were useless anywhere else.  Or were they?   Enter the book:  What Color is Your Parachute?  by Richard Bolles.  I am not sure where or how I got the book, but once I had resolved to go against the flow of my colleagues, based on the values I held,  I decided to begin preparing in case I needed to look for another job.  This book provided the information and perspecrive I needed.

Continue reading Personal Assets – You Already Have What You Need