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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Come Celebrate the Last Wings Wings and Keels at Hummel Field

The 20th annual and final Wings, Wheels and Keels celebration is set for this Saturday, September 26th at Hummel Airfield in Topping. This event is free and runs from 8am-4pm.
“This is the grand finale — last dance. Twenty years has been a good run,” said event founder Jamie Barnhardt. “If it is a rain-free day, it is planned to be the pinnacle of 20 years work showcasing the value of Hummel Airfield and community service.”
 Barnhart said the day includes a variety of vendors, more than 200 classic cars, 30 antique watercraft and 100 antique and classic aircraft.There will be a children's carnival, bluegrass music, and a radio-controlled turbine jet air show, as well as an opportunity to ride in an open cockpit airplane.
“This year is the 20th event and (we) will be going out with the best show ever,” Barnhardt said. “Having gone to many different types of auto and aircraft shows, I have never been to one so diverse as this one.”
The Virginia Department of Aviation is also having the Ambassador Ceremony at this event near the DOAV trailer at 11am. If you have completed the program then please stop by to get recognized and share your story with others who have also completed the program. We look forward to seeing you there!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

16 year old female pilot makes her first solo flight in Warrenton, Virginia

     Congratulations to Elise Wheelock who soloed on April 30 at Warrenton-Fauquier Airport. This 16 year old student pilot is a poster child for the volunteer organization "Women Can Fly". Their goal is to improve the pilot population, especially the female pilot population. Last year Elise attended the Women Can Fly event in Warrenton and after taking her introductory flight, she was hooked! Now she is excitedly embarking on a path toward becoming a professional pilot.
     Elise is a member of the Virginia Chapter Ninety-Nines and is also a recipient of a Ninety-Nines Fly Now award and her mentor is Susan Passmore of the Old Dominion Chapter Ninety-Nines. While learning to fly at Aviation Adventures, she is also a high school student dual enrolled at Lord Fairfax Community College. She is considering transferring to Embry Riddle in another year to get the proper training to become a pilot. There is no doubt in anyone's mind who knows Elise that she is and will be successful in pursuing her passion.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Sun 'N Fun 2015 delivers another action packed event

Beginning on Tuesday, April 21 thousands of aviation enthusiasts packed into Lakeland Linder Airport in Florida to attend Sun 'N Fun, the six day international fly-in expo. Vendors, exhibitors, air show performers and educators enjoyed the opportunity to share their passion of aviation with others from around the world.
The flight line consisted of eager people of all ages looking to the skies to watch aerobatic
performers such as Mike Goulian,  Rob Holland, Patty Wagstaff, The Aeroshell Team, Will Allen, Warbirds, Geico Skytypers, David Martin, Team AeroDynamix and Kyle Franklin. Eyes and ears were in full focus for the 2 jet teams that performed. The Breitling Jet Team, pictured on the right, made their very amazing US debut this year at Sun 'N Fun and will also be performing at the Manassas Regional Airport in Virginia on May 2nd. The Thunderbirds did a few fly overs early in the week then put on a terrific show Saturday and Sunday. All performers gave fans a chance to get pictures and autographs throughout the week.
There were educational events aimed to help promote careers in aviation including the Second Annual Career Fair and the Aerospace Educational Showcase. Other informative activities included teacher's workshops, forums and stories from the keynote speaker, retired astronaut, Gregory H. Johnson. There were also activities for the youth like Aerospace Discovery at the Florida Air Museum which consisted of interactive learning workshops featuring a wind tunnel, ham radio, and a hurricane station. 
There was a plethora of aircraft on display that people flew in for the judging competition or just for "plane" fun. With numerous things to see on the ground and in the skies, this event was a great opportunity to interact and inform the public about aviation. A thank you is owed to the friendly volunteers who helped the event run smoothly.
To see more pictures and videos from the event check out The Virginia Department of Aviation on Twitter (@VAis4FlynLovers) and Facebook. For a list of all the Sun 'N Fun performers and events visit the website

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Horizon Flight Camp holds summer Flight Program for Youth

The Horizon Flight Center, LLC Flight Camp in Chesapeake Virginia is offered over two separate weeks in the summer.  The camp dates are July 6 through July 10 and August 4 through August 7. Camp hours will be held Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 4 PM/0900-1600. The registration deadline for both weeks is June 30, 2015. The program is conducted at Horizon Flight Center located at the Chesapeake Regional Airport (KCPK).

Horizon Flight Camp is an opportunity to explore the world of aviation during a 5-day program consisting of a Cessna Pilot Center ground school and flight training experience, guest speakers, including Amelia Earhart’s cousin, Horizon’s flight school manager. The program is designed to introduce the students to flight for consideration of a future flying career or enjoyment. Attendees must be 12 to 18 years of age. Enrollment is limited and registration is provided on a first-come, first-serve basis. Parent & child enrollments are encouraged and charged separately.

Program students will be governed by the Horizon Flight Center Safety Practice & Procedures Handbook and regarded as private pilot students. Flight training during the program is accredited toward the private pilot license.

Horizon Flight Camp information can be found on their website:

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Whirly-Girls International Announces 2015 Scholarship Winner
Congratulations to Banumathi Cole, The Study Director for HemoShear in Earlysville, VA, for winning the 2015 Whirly-Girls International Scholarship. The Air Evac Lifeteam 206 Bell Flight Training scholarship will allow her to take a Bell 206 transition course.
Colleen Chen, Vice President of Scholarships, made the announcement March 1st at the Whirly-Girls International annual banquet during the HELI-EXPO convention in Orlando, Florida. The banquet also celebrated the 60th anniversary of Whirly-Girls, an organization founded by Jean Ross Howard Phelan in 1955 so female pilots could share information and camaraderie.
Whirly-Girls International, a non-profit, educational and charitable organization dedicated to advancing women in helicopter aviation. For more information, visit their website



Friday, March 27, 2015

Virginia's flight plan to a greener aviation industry

     Virginia is embarking on a 66-airport-strong sustainability initiative — the biggest pilot project of its kind in the United States.
     Airports face many of the same sustainability challenges as other facilities with a large employee base and a steady stream of visitors, such as retail centers or sports arenas: high energy and water use, lots of waste to dispose of and varying socio-economic impacts for employees and neighboring communities.
     Yet airports also face some unique considerations: the potential for major water quality challenges, such as pollution from aircraft deicing; substantial noise generation, which comes with implications for both ecological and land use compatibility; and emissions that may affect local air quality.
     As essential economic hubs and flagship facilities in their communities, many airports are looking for new on-the-ground opportunities to help overcome these challenges. At the same time, the aviation sector more broadly is making efforts to become more efficient, from aircraft design to changes in routing to the use of aviation biofuels and large-scale carbon offsets.
     “Opportunities abound to reduce the cost of operations, to generate new revenue streams and reduce the environmental footprint at airports across the country,” said Peter Trick, an executive vice president with consulting firm Cadmus.
     In early 2015, Cadmus was enlisted to help the Virginia Department of Aviation implement a first-of-its-kind initiative to create a sustainability plan that will serve all of the Commonwealth’s 66 public-use airports.
     Funded primarily by the Federal Aviation Administration, the project will create the first statewide airport sustainability management plan in the United States to include all types and sizes of public-access airports.
     The plan will accommodate a range of facilities, from large airports with many hundreds of commercial flights daily to small, general aviation and local service airports with turf runways.
     “We are excited at the opportunity to address sustainability across all airports in our state system,” said Randy Burdette, executive director of the Virginia Department of Aviation. “This pilot program will be the first of its kind and will address key policy issues and provide valuable guidance to any of our 66 public use airports.”

Monday, March 23, 2015

Virginia Teacher wins $100,000 in Dream Big Challenge

Rockingham County Public Schools announced that Ms. Cindy Ferek, health and physical education teacher at Turner Ashby High School, has been awarded a $100,000 grant by Farmers Insurance Company. Cindy was one of 15 finalists in the Farmers Insurance Thank A Million Teachers Dream Big Teacher Challenge. Executives from Farmers Insurance, Virginia Department of Education, and Rockingham County Public Schools surprised Cindy by visiting her classroom and presenting her with the $100,000 grant check. The announcement was met by the wild applause from her students. In celebration of the good news, Cindy began racing around the gym sharing high-fives with her proud students and staff members.
The grant title is “Two Wheels Squared Driving Course Challenge”. The money will be used to create and implement a paved walking/riding path on the grounds of Turner Ashby High School. The course will help students train for future driving challenges by offering a versatile bicycling course to challenge teenagers physically, emotionally, and cognitively. Overall, the course will help teens develop critical on-the-road problem-solving skills they will inevitably use when they earn a driver’s license. The course will also be used as a walking/riding trail for students with disabilities and the community at-large.

Farmers Insurance flew all the winners to California for the Rose Bowl parade to ride on their beautiful float.   Cindy was thrilled to spend time with actor Jack Black who also rode the float accompanying his middle-school teacher, Debbie Devine, who had a profound influence on his life.  Following the parade, Cindy and her husband Tony attended the football game as guests of Farmers Insurance. She was thrilled to see the Goodyear blimp flying over the parade route as well as a formation of planes writing Happy New Year across the sky.

Cindy’s job now is to complete the paved path and the contracts will be awarded soon so the project can begin.  Her husband Tony is so thankful that he can sit back and watch on this job as he has spent many hours volunteering on Cindy’s other projects. 

 As a top grant winner in Virginia for public schools, Cindy has won over $132,000 for her school programs. Cindy is also a member of the Hampton Roads Chapter 99s where she also devotes her time to supporting the aviation community. Cindy joined as a student pilot and earned her private certificate in November, 2013 after only six months of training.  Letting no grass grow under her feet, she began instrument training and should soon have her certifications.  Cindy’s aviation goal is to become a flight instructor; as with everything else in Cindy’s life, she will do it to the fullest and will surely be an amazing instructor. 

 Cindy has remained very active in the community and every project she gets involved with she tackles whole-heartedly. Cindy graduated from Bridgewater College Magna Cum Laude in 1996 and has been teaching physical education and driver education at Ashby Turner High School in Bridgewater, Virginia for 17 years. She was selected as the 2012 National Teacher of the Year for Physical Education after receiving numerous other awards at both local and regional levels.  She carried the Olympic torch in the 2001 Salt Lake City torch relay.  In 2006, she rode a bicycle 3700 miles from San Francisco to the Pentagon as part of A Ride to Remember; she also organized and rode in a 250-mile bike ride across Virginia in support of Special Olympics for five years.

Cindy is notably modest and loves to teach. Her blog contains this statement:  “What a privilege it is to have a job where we can build relationships with others and make an impact.  I am so grateful to everyone in my life and the rich blessings that have been bestowed upon me.”
We are very lucky to have a teacher like Cindy Ferek in Virginia. Congrats on your success and thanks for all you continue to do in education and aviation throughout the Commonwealth!


Friday, February 13, 2015

Virginia Soaring Association’s 2015 Winter Soaring Summit 
Nearly three dozen sailplane instructors from the soaring clubs comprising the Virginia Soaring Association (VaSA) met in Charlottesville on January 17 for its third annual Winter Soaring Summit. It was hosted by Dr. Jim Garrison, the Regional Director for the mid-Atlantic area of the Soaring Society of America, a member of two Virginia soaring clubs (Skyline Soaring and Shenandoah Valley Soaring), and an active competition sailplane pilot.
This year’s conference was attended by nearly thirty active glider flight instructors and other soaring club leaders.  They shared experiences, success stories, and problems encountered in managing their flight instruction programs for glider pilots.  Topics included standardization of syllabi, record keeping, maintaining flight instructor competence, instructor liability, safety issues, and how to deal with ‘problem instructors’.  There was also an update from John Molumphy, Designated Pilot Examiner qualified in gliders in Virginia on common issues that Clubs could address to assure success of candidates for a rating.      
This year's conference theme was the sharing of information and ideas about flight instruction activity within the state’s substantial and growing glider community. 
Virginia appears to be relatively unique in the country as a state where the soaring clubs meet regularly to improve safety.  The Virginia Soaring Association was established in 2012 at the suggestion of the Virginia Department of Aviation’s Executive Director, Randy Burdette. Comprised of the 6 soaring clubs in Virginia, it gives the soaring community a unified voice as it interfaces with the Department of Aviation and other facets of General Aviation within the Commonwealth. Finding ways of being good neighbors while sharing Virginia’s skies and many airports with Power Pilot friends is always important to them. For more information, visit the website


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Governor McAuliffe unveils first Welcome to Virginia sign at Dulles International Airport

Governor Terry McAuliffe unveiled on Tuesday a new “Welcome to Virginia” sign at Dulles International Airport (IAD), welcoming travelers to the Commonwealth of Virginia. Dulles, located 26 miles west of downtown Washington, D.C. in Loudoun and Fairfax Counties, is a major hub for domestic and international travel, servicing about 22 million travelers a year traveling to 83 nonstop domestic and 50 nonstop international destinations. The new signage is the first of its kind at IAD.

 Governor McAuliffe said, “In order to build a new Virginia economy, we need to continue to not only increase tourism, but attract new businesses and bring the Virginia story to new audiences. This new signage will welcome millions of travelers every year to our great Commonwealth, and it will serve as a reminder that wherever their travel through Dulles is taking them, they are always welcome to explore Virginia and its abundant business opportunities and travel destinations.”

“Virginia is for Lovers is one of the most powerful advertising slogans in our country’s history,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones. “Having the Virginia brand here at a major international airport will connect travelers with the promise that Virginia offers a place to work, play and visit loved ones. Driving home our travel message at every gateway to the Commonwealth is imperative to increasing visitation and spending in Virginia.”

“For travelers, now more than ever, there is a lot to love about flying to Dulles International Airport,” said Jack Potter, president and CEO of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which runs the airport.” At Dulles, we’ve created a speedier trip through customs with new self-service kiosks, a fresh new array of shopping and dining options, and better connectivity than ever to Metrorail with the Silver Line Express bus. We look forward to welcoming more visitors to Virginia and the National Capital Region – whether they are Dulles users or experiencing it for the first time.”

Governor McAuliffe also announced that the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) plans to gradually roll out a series of newly designed “Welcome to Virginia” signs at all 105 interstate gateways to the Commonwealth. The last design of the sign, depicting a large cardinal perched on a flowering dogwood, was rolled out in 2006, and many of these signs have reached the end of their usable lives due to visibility at night. The welcome signs should all be updated by the July 4th holiday.

“The newly designed signs will present a fresh new aesthetic to travelers entering the Commonwealth, one that reflects Virginia’s modernity but also our rich traditions,” said Aubrey Layne, Secretary of Transportation. “Every year motorists travel 81 billion miles on Virginia highways. The new signs will help connect them to the Virginia is for Lovers brand—and inspire future travel across the Commonwealth. VDOT worked in record time to begin replacing these signs.”

The design of the signs at Dulles International Airport and interstate gateways are consistent with Virginia Tourism Corporation’s (VTC) “Virginia is for Lovers” branding and logo, and will welcome travelers with a clean, modern aesthetic. VTC provided the design of the signs; VDOT will facilitate the production and installation.

The iconic “Virginia is for Lovers” slogan celebrated its 45th anniversary in 2014. The slogan was inducted into the Madison Avenue Advertising Walk of Fame in 2009, and was recognized by Forbes magazine as one of the top ten advertising campaigns of all time.

Tourism is an instant revenue generator in Virginia. Last year, visitors spent $21.5 billion, which supported 213,000 jobs and contributed $1.42 billion in local and state taxes. To learn more about visiting Virginia, go to