Archive for the '99s' Category

Meeting – November 8, 2014 – Gnoss Field

Next Meeting:

Date:           November 8, 2014
Location:       Gnoss Field / Scanlon Hangar
Time:           9 a.m. for GFCA meeting (breakfast and speaker) / 11:00 a.m. or 99’s meeting in pilot lounge of Scanlon Hangar

The Gnoss Field Community Assn. has a great breakfast set up ($7.00) and speaker – Michael Knight will speak about starting up a skydiving business at Gnoss..  If you want to come for the breakfast and speaker, the meeting starts at 9 a.m.

The 99’s group will meet after the GFCA meeting at 11 a.m. in the pilot lounge upstairs at Scanlon Aviation.  It would be great to get together and share ideas of what our group would like to do to promote aviation activities and opportunities for our ladies in Marin County.  I am here to serve you all!!  If you know any women who would be
interested in being part of our group to support aviation for women and have fun, PLEASE let me know.  We would love to have them in our group. –Sue Royce


The moments I’ve thought about our group could fill up an aux tank. My thoughts are like con trails hanging across the horizon, suspended across the what was to the will be, blowing up from a slender thread to a cat tail of fluff, or the etch a sketch disappearing into memory. Our commonness, that love of flight, the concern for others sharing the sky, the willingness to promote even the curious is what binds us hip to hip, hand to heart. Yes, the group identity has slid off the radar, handed off to another facet of a busy life. Yet if we all were to scratch a little deeper there would be that treasure buried in the beach of time.

My apologies for not writing sooner. I had the unfortunate experience of being hit and run over by a truck Sept 24th in Moab, UT. I had just returned from Wings Over Marin, come off of a great hike and climb and was in the wrong place at the wrong time. It took a month to get walking again. The lingering injury is a smashed wrist with possible surgery to look forward to. I have to be the luckiest person on earth; it could have been a tragic report. No wind in my sails, no wings in the sky but a profound appreciation for the life we live. Lots to celebrate this holiday season and adventures to dream for the new year.

As long as we’re getting the bad news over with first, Nina Ortega and Len Ball have had their stampede of ill fortune. Len was diagnosed with stomach cancer and has been through the wringer. Please go to the web site ‘‘ and search for Leonard Ball. You have to register first, but it’s a great way to stay in touch. You can read how things are going and most of all send your thoughts and wishes to them. When life gets one down, so low, it’s the friendship that eases the pain. (They’ve been without electricity for 11 days!) Nina and Len had moved up to Siskiyou County a few years ago but still made time to come back and visit. We got to see Nina earlier this year at Kitty’s memorial. She had the most wonderful, wacky stories about her chickens. I never knew they could be such characters. Nina was featured in an AOPA article. Check it out!

Since flying is what we do best, it’s time to set up a calendar of flying adventures for 2014. Where have you been dreaming of going? What’s on the bucket list, no limits? Where did you want to return to for more fun? Since the holiday season is booked up let’s gather in January for some brain stormin.

Luncheon, Gathering and Flight Planning
January 12th, 12:00
Gnoss Field Pilots Lounge
Bring a dish to share
contact Cindy for details

Stay warm, get out and enjoy this gorgeous weather, take to the air and hope to see you early next year! Thanks for all your support.
Cindy Pickett

Wings Over Marin

Christa Coleman - 2013 scholarship winner

Christa Coleman – 2013 scholarship winner

How to begin? How in the world could we ever have anticipated such a deluge? It rained, it poured, it emptied the frogs out of the heavens. The estimates were for 2-3,000 visitors clogging the ramp area, in awe of all that’s aviation.

Because parking is non existent at Gnoss the plan was for buses to shuttle the guests from Firemans Fund parking area to the field. Barbara O’Grady, Barbara Powell, Beth Behrens, Susan Royce and Kimberly Lewllyn were our docents for the bus ride over. Our poor wet duckies; waiting all morning for no one to show up, shoes and socks getting soaked, huddled under umbrellas and hoodies, hopes diminishing in the puddles and all the time they had their smiles out and ready. Three buses were canceled, no crowds storming the doors. These 99s get the heroic medal of the day!

Pat Pittelkow staffed our Marin 99s table always with a warm welcome for the people darting out of the rain and seeking shelter under the awning. She even managed to sell two note pads. When times get tough and you need help these are the people to call. Never a complaint, chin up and a little ‘gallows’ humor carried the day.

 Laurie Riebeling and the 'Yak Attack'.

Laurie Riebeling and the ‘Yak Attack’.

I was busy being the mistress of ceremony for the speakers and seminar participants. The hanger was the busiest spot because it provided the most shelter. Laurie Riebeling, captain with Fed Ex, gave a great talk on life in the cargo world. Most of her flying is at night, escorted by star light, when routes are less congested. The planes originate out of Memphis, TN stuffed with boxes, livestock, cars and mail. If it fits they fly. Laurie deserves so many thanks for stepping up 2 days before the event and volunteering to talk. Our scheduled speaker had to cancel due to training issues and I was scrambling to find a replacement. She was wonderful!

Our second speaker, Col. Yvonne Cagle flight surgeon, astronaut, NASA researcher and local girl goes supersonic was a treat. She grew up in Novato, was inspired by the first boots on the moon and never looked back. During med school she joined the Air Force, graduated and then worked as a surgeon in the military. From there she moved to NASA in prep for a space mission. Retiring from space she joined NASA research studying the influence of space travel on humans. What I enjoyed about her talk was how much more is unknown than understood about our cosmic neighborhood. There is always an “awe!” when bumping into a new experience and space is a big opportunity to wander around.

Yvonne spent the entire day,through rain and drizzle, being available to all. She would greet people, listening to their stories, encouraging kids and being a beacon of good will. Never once did I hear a “What a bust”. Later when the clouds lifted you could see her taking off in an open cockpit, pink baseball hat blasting through the sky, thrilled to be airborne.

We then had a seminar with four speakers; Laura Kushner from NASA wind tunnel research, Mollie Davis, pilot with Virgin North America, Allie Metcalf from Oakland FSDO and Kristin Winter, aviation attorney. The intent of the seminar was to provide a forum for questions and answers and to show kids the many avenues that aviation can take one. Initially I asked what inspired them to do what they do, what background did they need, what are the benefits of their jobs, what do they love about it, and what would they do differently? The answers were all frank and a great look into what makes aviation possible in our nation. The audience had lots of questions beyond what I had prepared.

My favorite moment was giving Christa Coleman a scholarship from our chapter. Christa was overwhelmed by our generosity, her family was so proud and you can imagine what a pivotal moment this was in a young person’s life. It made me so proud to represent all of you and our support of a young person’s confidence and vision. A big thank you for all who voted to allow this scholarship. It’s a great investment in the future of aviation.

All day long as I worked the crowds with Yvonne it was the kids who most impressed me. Their questions, their enthusiasm and intent was absolutely amazing. Around 2:00 the weather cleared enough to get some of the planes airborne, people could stroll the ramp and admire the planes on display, hot dogs were rolling and smiles emerged. Although too late for the planned fly bys a few planes got to grace the air with their sound and wing.

Thank you, thank you to all who gave up their time for a very soggy,wet day. You met the challenge with smiles and unflagging energy. You’re the spirit of aviation and the best part of the family of flight. Your love and excitement for what you do touched many people. We have been gifted with so much it’s an honor to return the good will.

Wings Over Marin 2013 – Scholarships


Information about the GFCA youth scholarships will be distributed to Marin High Schools, 8th grade middle schools, and organizations including Young Eagles, Boy Scouts, Civil Air Patrol, Explorer Scouts, Novato High ROTC, GFCA Membership, and Marin County 99’s.

Scholarship Purpose:
To fund youth who wish to actively pursue their interest in the field of aviation.
Two scholarships of $1,250 will be awarded to 1 male and 1 female winner.

Age of Applicants:
This scholarship opportunity is open to applicants between the ages of 14 to 22 years who submit an essay showing genuine and specific goals of what the student would accomplish if awarded
the scholarship funds.


  • Must be a Marin resident
  • 14 to 22 years of age (Note: FAA requires student to be 16 years of age to acquire a pilot license.
  • Students can take ground school and flying lessons prior to being sixteen.)
  • Students may be attending school (college/flight school) outside of Marin, as long as they are from Marin.
  • Applicant must write an essay of no more than 1,500 words (three single spaced pages)
  • This essay must be submitted and received by 5:00pm, Thursday, September 12.
  • Top 6 finalists may be interviewed by phone. Must provide your Name, Address, Email, & phone number with your essay.
  • Submission will be sent to Pat Scanlon, Scanlon Aviation, 451 Airport Road, Novato, CA. 94945
  • GFCA will make every effort to announce the scholarship recipients at the WOM 2013 airshow at Gnoss Field in Novato. Applicant does not need to be present in order to win the scholarship.
  • The scholarship recipients, by accepting the scholarship, agree that GFCA may publish their names and photo for use in web site, news announcements or publicity activities.

Essay should explain:

  • Name, email, address, phone contact, age, year in school
  • How your interest in aviation developed
  • What activities and actions have been pursued to date in aviation
  • What area of aviation you are interested in and why:
    • Private or commercial pilot (fixed wing or helicopter)
    • Flight instructor
    • Air Traffic Control
    • Air Transport Pilot
    • Airframe and Powerplant license (airplane mechanic)
    • Military career
    • Other
  • How you plan to achieve your goals with and beyond the scholarship funding

Updates by Recipients:
Both winners will agree to submit a 1 page update every two years for the next 4 years (2 updates) to GFCA reviewing the progress toward your goal. GFCA may request an “in person” update with GFCA membership at some mutually agreed upon time.

Submission of Application:
Please submit the essay as a PDF file via email to BOTH Pat Scanlon and Steve Knecht

99s International Meeting 2013

Bozeman, Montana

From Sand Point Don and I kept to the odd flight levels and turned our prop towards Montana. You wind your way through dense ridge lines of the Continental Divide following rivers and passes much like the early explorers. How they ever managed to pierce this huge wall of terrain was an amazing feat.

The scenery is so inspiring the crossing goes by quickly. Soaring east you quickly swap cloud piercing peaks for the descending plains of the ‘Big Hole’ country. These lands and water are the headwaters of the Missouri River. The Gallatin, Madison and Jefferson Rivers drain the lands of Yellowstone creating the link of waterways from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Northwest. The magnitude of our continent is so impressive from the 12,000′ flight level.

We made an overnight stop in Great Falls, MT.. When I read Lewis and Clarks expedition notes they were utterly blown away by the falls of the Missouri. They thought it was a huge fire/smoke from afar. I wanted to experience the sting and spray of water from its edge. Alas the Army Corp of Engineers got there first and brought the mighty river to heel. Sadly five dams have tamed the once magnificent falls of the Missouri River. What compensates for the lack of drama is a well done interpretive center detailing L&C’s entire route into the western wilderness. Also in town is a museum dedicated to Charlie Russell, one of the early artists of the west.

When you park at Great Falls airport be sure to stay at the Front Range FBO; Super nice people, courtesy car and good gas prices. There is also the added entertainment of the Montana Air National Guard and their F18s screaming across the skies.

Onto Bozeman we followed the trail of Lewis and Clark, winding our way up the Missouri River and its tributaries. You can’t help but ask, did the wonder, the amazement, the joy of scenery never before witnessed ease the burden of hauling canoes up river? Did they sink to their knees in the mud as the ropes bit into shoulder sinew? Did the mosquitoes attack with the same vengeance? Did the awe of the evening light slipping from mountain peaks soften the cost of the unknown? Truly what undaunted courage!

The Missouri River is one of the few waterways that flow north from their headwaters. When we were flying over Three Forks, Mt, where the Madison, Jefferson and Gallatin rivers converge to form the Missouri, I felt the thrill that explorers must have celebrated. Where rivers begin, knowledge flows.

Bozeman, MT has to be the most liberal town of Montana. Anywhere ranching is king you know there is a conservative bent in the politics. Yet Bozeman is blessed with a university, lively art and music venues, close to Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks and adventure capitol of Montana. Best of all was a congregation of women pilots from all over the world. How cool to sit and talk with a young 83 year old who is still flying. The spirit of these conventions is so “can do!” We enjoyed some really interesting speakers, cheered on 36 Amelia Earhart Scholarship winners, honored Kitty Houghton with the Award of Inspiration and bathed in the light of women who make the most of life.

During the business meeting I was corrected on my interpretation of the amendment I wrote to you about earlier. (Having to back pay dues if you want to be reinstated) What this amendment was referring to was if you wanted your ‘original’ initiation date on record, ( instead of when you rejoin after a lapse in membership); you would pay for the past years away. OR If you want to rejoin there is no penalty of arrears payment to restart your membership with a new start day. The rationale for this is that it’s important for some people to say they’ve been members for 20, 30,40 years or more.

The score card on the 4 Amendments were:

  • Amend 1: Passed: reinstatement after lapsed membership (discussed above)
  • Amend 2: Failed: Associate members being allowed to vote. Amendments need a 2/3 majority to pass. There were enough people voting who thought voting privileges should only go to licensed pilots, (not student pilots). I don’t agree with this. Our future Life blood of the organization are these women. We need to understand their concerns.
  • Amend 3: Passed: Was just house cleaning on a statement regarding the AE Birthplace Museum
  • Amend 4: Tabled: Was referred back to the BOD for clarification. This was about Life Membership
  • Ratification of Standing Rules: passed: just a house cleaning change in verbiage
  • Ratification of Standing Rules: Passed: Publication- If you want a directory you will have to pay for one and its shipping. All info is Online now so we don’t necessarily need directories. (I bought one any way)

July: 2014 99’s International meeting- New Orleans!!!
Bon Temps Roulez!

We then had an hour of reports of all the committees which you can also access online.

Besides all the fun of flying and gathering with friends, the meeting once again restores my commitment to our organization and our goals of promoting women in aviation. It really is an inspiration!

After 4 days in Montana it was time to find home. I had left CA back in April and felt the pull of the hearth. Lift off was crisp, early Sunday morning, as I climbed to 12.5 to navigate the Continental Divide once again. The fun of mountain flying isn’t just the sights but the navigation around peak and cloud, the flurry of virga on your wing, the “where are we?” and all the WOW factors. Five hours and 17 minutes later, multiple mountain ranges, geography changes, wx systems, vast plains and the wealth of the west we were home again. What a joy to call this gorgeous piece of the west home!