Archive for the 'Events' Category


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.

Private Pilot Ground School


Wings Over Marin – Sept. 21, 2013

Wings Over Marin

Sept. 21, 2013

The Gnoss Field Community Association is pleased to announce ‘Wings Over Marin’, a day full of fun, flying and friends at Gnoss Field.The event is for all of Marin to enjoy. The theme is ‘Women In Aviation’ with emphasis on different ways that women interact with aviation.

There will be two speakers, (astronaut and FedEx pilot) and a seminar with 4 women in very different roles of aviation. During the day there will be free plane rides for kids, displays of planes young and old and lots of exhibits.

As our commitment to the youth of Marin GFCA is giving away two scholarships to youth, $1250 each, who aspire to a career in aviation. We need help in distributing the information about the scholarships.

If you need more information please visit our website:

Many thanks for helping to promote youth in aviation!

Wings Over Marin

Sat. Sept. 21, 2013

When I first got reeled into helping with Wings Over Marin (WOM) I thought it was just for planning and ideas. Well now that the theme is Women in Aviation I’ve jumped in with all feet and have lists of things to do.

We will have two keynote speakers and a panel of speakers for a seminar. The wealth and depth of aviation that women are involved is exciting. We will have two commercial pilots on the panel, an ATC, aviation attorney (Kristin Winter), and the director of Oakland Airport.

Because Gnoss Field has no parking they will be busing people from the Fireman’s Fund parking lot on the west side of the freeway. There will be 6 buses and we need a docent on each bus to explain to the visitors some of the basics and also what’s in store for them on the field.(speakers, seminar and fly bys, raffles.) I need 5 of us to be docents. Can you help? It will be a short job. Starting at 9:30 until maybe 11:00. Thanks so much for volunteering.

There will also be 5 kid flights being raffled off. They would really like to have women flying the kids. It would only be a ½ hour local flight. You could totally make a kid’s day! Give me a call if you and a plane are available.

As we get closer I’ll be sending out schedules of the event.


Let’s put our best smile forward!



Time for a party!

I’m casting out for a good date to get together for a summer party. You’ll hear soon! Lots to celebrate!