Crunch Time

by joyce@idpa.com 17. June 2013 21:52
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Today was filled with meetings. After three years, it's all the same but I have to remember that we have a lot of first time racers that haven't heard all the information about the race, the scoring procedure and how to do the fly-bys.  It's always interesting to hear their questions and it makes me remember my first race as well.  

Its now crunch time.  We have strategized to the best of our ability and have run scenario after scenario as to what will happen with the weather and the winds.  We got our laundry done, we've eaten the last great meal that we'll probably get for the next four days and now we have replaced our baggage to take only what we barely will need. We will attempt to sleep tonight but when that alarm goes off early in the morning, we probably won't have needed it. We meet for breakfast tomorrow morning at 6am and have our last weather briefing at 6:30. We will head to the airport shortly thereafter so that we are in the planes ready to start promptly at 8 am.  We take off in our race number order.  Our team is number 30.  The tower will launch us into the air probably every 45 seconds to one minute apart. And the race will be on. 

This year we are using the SPOT trackers. You can follow us at www.trackleaders.com/arc13. Look for team 30. This is the first year that the race is using the trackers so it will be interesting to see how it works.  Please remember that while this is not new technology, it is new for the race.  These are electronic devices that can and/or may fail due to any number of possible causes.  Please, please do not get concerned or try to call authorities if for some reason you see our track disappear.  We will be turning the trackers off when we land and since its new, may not realize if it malfunctions or the battery dies.  We all have ELTs (electronic locator transmitters) on our planes that automatically send a signal if we are in trouble. 

Thanks for following our team.  You can also follow us on Facebook at Xxtreme Aviatrixx and on our website, www.Xxtremeaviatrixx.com. 

We will keep you posted as we can. (Remember, we don't want to give our secrets away to our competitors :-))

Joyce

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Pre-race activities

by joyce@idpa.com 16. June 2013 23:38
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We are all settled in Pasco for all the pre-race activities. Getting all of our personal and airplane credentialling done on Friday gave us Saturday to have our own sort of pre-race melt down. Dianna is the best at getting us ready for the race as we took a nice long walk (long for me, around 6 miles) in the morning, and once I was convinced she wasn't trying to kill me, she scheduled us for a really nice relaxing 2 hour massage at wonderful local spa in the afternoon. We followed that with great dinner at PF Changs and called it a night. My Internet wasn't working so unfortunately I couldn't tell you about all the fun we had on Saturday.

Today started with breakfast at the hotel and a great visit with friends we met at the race two years ago.  That's one of the neat things about the race; meeting people and keeping in touch. Its a whole lot like the shooting sports, you can meet people at a match and maybe not see them for a while but catch up like it was yesterday when you do see them.

We had our first mandatory meeting this morning, it was a great safety seminar on mountain flying.  We will be flying through and around a whole bunch of really large mountains. There is a whole lot of different information to consider when flying around mountains. The plane sometimes performs differently and the winds will drive the plane differently. Add to that the fact that if you get into a dead end canyon, you may have to turn around in a space much smaller than you are used to and it can be an extremely dangerous situation.

We had lunch and then another meeting.  This year every team will be using two different tracking systems. The first is the Bad Elf GPS tracker which will track our altitude and ground track and the second is the Spot tracker which will track essentially the same information but allow you to follow us on the race route.  The website is www.trackleaders.com and if you click on Air Race Classic, you can follow all of the racers. Our team is number 30 so make sure you watch for us.

We had the official start banquet this evening where they announce all of the race teams. It's fun to put names with faces and meet new racers.  It's great to see so many college teams in the race this year.

Tomorrow we have lots of meetings from safety briefings to understanding how to the fly by.  It will be a busy day. We have to do our last minute planning, our laundry and make sure we have a way to get all of our stuff to the finish line.  It's getting down to crunch time and the race is about to start. We have A plan and we think its a pretty darn good one. As always, we will keep you posted. Joyce

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Mountains and adventures!!

by joyce@idpa.com 13. June 2013 22:02
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I'm not even quite sure where to begin about today's adventures.  What started off as a fairly quiet breakfast at the hotel In Holdredge, NE, ended up with lessons learned and fun as well.  

We decided at breakfast that we wanted to see one of the race stops that wasn't exactly on our way to Washington, that stop being Woodward, OK.  We're fast enough to go a little out of the way and if you look at your map, you'll see that from Nebraska, Oklahoma isn't exactly on the way to Washington.  But it was a great choice as we got to practice some lower altitude flying and the folks at Woodward were exceptionally friendly.

From there, we wanted to see what some of the mountains we would be crossing looked like, so we headed towards Spearfish, SD.  Now it's a long way from Oklahoma to South Dakota, even in a fast plane like Dianna's Cirrus SR-22.  But we had some pretty good tail winds and had an airport to stop at for fuel all planned out.  Heading out on our 2 1/2 hour journey from Woodward to Spearfish we were able to admire some of the scenery and enjoy the flight.  As the terrain rose, we monitored our systems and fuel and dealt with a little increasing turbulence. We had some storm systems to our west that we monitored during our essentially uneventful flight.  As we approached our destination, we listened to the specific frequency for the airport that described their weather and gave any other important information regarding the status of the airport.  And the fun began.

The runway was closed.  Yep, we listened to the information a couple of times and sure enough, we hadn't checked our appropriate information before we left Woodward or we would have known that.  The neat thing about becoming a pilot is that it teaches you that you always have options. And we always have a plan B and most of the time a plan C as well.  We looked for the next closest airport and only had to divert just a few short miles from our path. The difficult part was that we had to navigate over some terrain.  i was still flying as PIC ( pilot in command ) and got us lined up just great for what  should have been a routine landing.  All my experience is in our Cessna 182, a high wing airplane that travels about 150 mph.  I ended up being too high too close to the runway and wasn't sure I could safely land the plane so I asked Dianna to take over as PIC.  She got us athlete ground and all was well.  We each gave a huge sigh of relief that we had our plan B airport to divert to.

While we were fueling the plane, the airport manger noticed the Wilson Combat sticker on the plane and we started talking about guns and shooting.  He mentioned that he was going to shoot his first IDPA match this coming weekend.  It's a small world.

We left Custer, Wyoming on our way to Logan, Utah.  We had to dodge some weather and deal with some higher elevations, but Dianna flew and it was a great flight.  We landed at Logan, greeted three of the air race teams that had landed before us and headed to our hotel. 

We ended the evening with a nice dinner to celebrate a great day of flying and Dianna's birthday.  She's a youngster.  A whole 11 days younger than I am.  Tomorrow is the last of the pre-race journey as we find our way to Pasco, WA.  We'll keep ya posted.

 

 

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Racing to the start, kind of ...

by joyce@idpa.com 12. June 2013 22:40
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We are now officially on our adventure. We departed from Port Lavaca, TX today and stopped at Sugerland airport which is just a little southwest of Houston.  We picked up a wonderful Angel Flight patient and his wife and proceeded north.  Our destination was Kansas City. Even in the Cirrus, that's a long trip so we decided to stop for fuel and lunch in Fayetteville, AR.  We let our patient pick the lunch spot and ended up at Mama Deans.  If you want some really good down home foods, that's the place to go.

The flight on to Kansas City was uneventful and we said our goodbyes.  Dianna and I had decided to continue on to Holdredge, Nebraska for the evening.  Again, the flight was smooth.  We taxied to the ramp and realized that there wasn't anyone around.  This isn't extremely unusual with smaller airports but Dianna had called during the day to confirm our rental car for the evening. We didn't know what mix up had occurred but we didn't have transportation. Luckily, the airport had a loaner van that we could use for the evening.  So we were off to our hotel which happened to be in Kearney, NE and not too, too far away.  We found a decent restaurant and are now settled in for the evening.  

We will make our plan for tomorrow over breakfast and as always, I'll keep ya posted.

Joyce

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Port Lavaca, TX

by joyce@idpa.com 11. June 2013 22:02
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So we made it to Port Lavaca, Tx. I know, you're thinking that we are going the wrong direction in trying to get to the state of Washington.  But, we are really combining the start of the Air Race with helping people by transporting an Angel Flight patient tomorrow from Houston to Olathe, Kansas.

My race partner, Dianna Taylor Stanger, has been an Angel Flight pilot for several years and has flown patients in many of her different modes of aviation.  Dianna is an incredibly accomplished pilot that flies not only single engine general aviation airplanes, but turbine helicopters and multiengine single pilot jets. I know how to pick partners :-)

She picked me up at Mt. Pleasant, TX this afternoon and we flew her home airport which she happens to run.  We dodged some weather enroute and had an otherwise uneventful trip. Jasmine Gordon, our publicity/media manager took a few pictures and we had an interview with one of the local newspapers. Tomorrow morning we will fly to Sugerland airport to pickup our patient.  For those of you in the Houston area, I think Channel 2 news will be at the airport in the morning to film another interview and our departure. So watch the local news :-)

Here's a picture that Jas took today of Dianna and I. 

I will continue to keep you posted on our adventure.

 

 

 

 

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IDPA HQ Phones and Internet down

by joyce@idpa.com 11. June 2013 09:16
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Good Morning.  I just received word that someone has stolen a couple miles of phone line in the Berryville area shutting down all communication at IDPA HQ and Wilson Combat.  The phone company assures us that they are working diligently to return service.  Thanks for your patience.  Joyce Wilson

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Joyce's Air Race Adventure 2013

by joyce@idpa.com 10. June 2013 22:01
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Well, it’s that time of year again for Joyce’s annual mecca in an airplane.  I’m really not very good at writing about myself.  I’d much rather talk about all the good works the Tiger Teams are doing or how IDPA is growing, but I realize that people like to know that I’m human too and have interests outside of IDPA.

As many of you know, this is my 4th year in the Women’s Air Race Classic (www.airraceclassic.org).  I got my pilot’s license in 2007 and in 2010 competed in my first race.  This is what used to be known as the women’s Powder Puff Derby.  It’s generally about a 2300 mile cross country rally race with airplanes.  We’re all handicapped based on the planes that we’re flying.  It’s open to all aircraft under 600 horsepower that are normally aspirated, meaning non-turbocharged.  And it’s all women pilots and crew. 

Interesting enough is the fact that just like in the shooting sports, only about 6% of the competitors are women.  Just as in IDPA, we only have about 6% of the membership that are women, only 6% of the pilot population are women as well.  My race partner this year is an incredibly dynamic lady in the aviation industry.  She not only flies little single engine planes but also flies big turbine helicopters and jets.  She’s flown this race the last two years and she and her partner won last year.  Dianna gives new meaning to the title Aviatrix.

Tomorrow is the day that I leave the ranch.  We’re flying back down to her ranch in Port Lavaca, TX.  On Wednesday, we’re picking up an Angel Flight patient to fly to Kansas City.  Angel Flight is an organization that pairs private pilots with patients that need to get somewhere.  Dianna has been an Angel Flight pilot for many years and it on their Board of Directors.  She recently encouraged me to join the organization to help with their missions.   I whole heartedly accepted.  This will be my first official mission even though we’ve actually flown a couple of patients before this. 

From there, we’ll make our way to the race start in Pasco, WA.  It’s a long way over some pretty steep mountains, the Rocky’s.  Our race starts there and winds as follows:

 

We’re ending in Fayetteville, AR, just an hour west of IDPA Headquarters.  If you’re in the area, come see us.  The race officially starts on June 18 and we should be in Fayetteville either the 20th or 21st.  I’ll try to keep you posted as we get closer.

Our team website is www.XXtremeAviatrixx.com and you can even like us on Facebook.  I’ll keep ya posted!

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