Many of us know Sandra Smith — the SVA Aviation Ground School instructor, CAP Sugar Valley Composite Squadron and Young Eagle pilot, from among many other roles we may know and recognize her. Recently Sandra was awarded by The Ninety-Nines International an Amelia Earhart Memorial Scholarship, specifically the Vicki Cruse Memorial Scholarship for Emergency Maneuver Training. Only one such scholarship is awarded each year to those who apply out of the more than 5,000 members worldwide. The course covers not only “upset recovery,” but also spin training and an introduction to aerobatics, the purpose of which is to enhance piloting skills and safe operations.
Sandra represents a beautiful example of focus, dedication and persistence, and we are proud to know and have her on our team of volunteers who make Sugar Valley such a flourishing place.
Audrey Floyd (Scholarship Chairman of the Kitty Hawk Chapter of The Ninety-Nines) expressed it this way: We all know about Sandra’s service and dedication to the 99s, and she is also very committed to promoting aviation to the community in general. Her hard work and sacrifice has made her extremely deserving of this award. Please join me in congratulating her on this prestigious award!
We are indeed joining in celebration of this meaningful accomplishment. Sandra will be an amazing ambassador for women in aviation and as a representative for The Ninety-Nines. There could not be a more lovely ambassador! Congratulations, Sandra!
Here is another group of happy students who completed private pilot ground school on 1/25/19. Congratulations to all the participants and a special thanks to the instructors Sandra Smith and Lee Kosub, who generously share their knowledge, skills and time. SVA Aviation Ground School is a free training offered twice a year by our amazing volunteers. The next session begins on May 24, 2019. Sign up if you'd like to take advantage of this opportunity and spread the word. Learn more here.
Look at all these bright faces! They sure do have a reason to shine, as they've just completed the spring course of our free aviation ground school. Next session begins in October! Find more info here.
One of SVA friends, Steve Fritts, has offered 3 wonderful classes to some children (and a few adults 😊). The first class was about building a toy airplane, followed by a class in which they worked on constructing a radio. In a recent class, the theme was electricity and magnetism.
Since early childhood, Steve has been fascinated with “how things work.” What he wasn’t able to learn about electricity tinkering in the family’s garage, he made up for by joining 4-H where he discovered many opportunities to learn more. This only increased his interest in all things electric. After his service in the Air Force, Steve became involved in a career as an A&P (Airframe and Powerplant mechanic) in the aviation industry with a focus on avionics. Steve is now retired and owns and flies his Cessna 140 at every opportunity. A gifted and enthusiastic teacher, Steve continues to share his enthusiasm for “how things work” with youngsters all over the Piedmont Triad. Enjoy a few photos from these sessions, and see the children participating in and focused on learning “how things work.”
In addition to classes with Steve, children and young adults have enjoyed some pottery classes, art classes, as well as woodworking classes with local volunteers.
If you are interested in exploring what opportunities might be found at Sugar Valley Airport for you or your children, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. SVA offers a beautiful platform for people to share, connect, learn with and from each other. Come and experience for yourself!
Congratulations to our own “SVA local,” Lee Kosub, who on October 24th became an instrument-rated pilot, one who is certificated to fly an aircraft in conditions of reduced visibility, as in the clouds, depending primarily on instruments for navigation rather than on visual observation of external surroundings.
She studied and practiced, practiced and studied with that tremendous focus and determination which are among her many gifts. She did this while being pregnant and having a toddler to raise, among other responsibilities. It was not a walk in the park. In fact, Lee admits that it was definitely more challenging and took longer than she expected.
However, as often happens when one is serious about pursuing a heart-felt dream, things magically line up, challenges are transformed into doors of opportunities and one is a step closer to the destination. Lee’s achievement is just another example of that “magical” process.
Lee shared that behind her pursuit of the instrument training was her interest in becoming a flight instructor. Achieving an instrument rating is one of the requirements on that path. “Becoming a flight instructor was inspired by the gift and joy of flight and wanting to be a part of passing that on to the next generation. So many people have been so generous on my journey as a pilot. People in aviation want to see people learn how to fly and experience the joy of it. I'm looking forward to being a part of passing that joy on and paying it forward,” said Lee.
She shared that with a lot of support and encouragement, she was able to achieve her instrument rating. “And when I say support, I mean way above and beyond what is ‘normal.’ Susan, one of the airport managers at SVA, took care of my 2-year-old daughter two mornings a week for nine months so that I could fly! Definitely not in the usual airport manager’s job description! And my instructor, Gary, really had to be as dedicated to my success as I was. He made time in his schedule to fly with me 4-8 hours per week for nine months. He had just retired from a successful career as pilot and trainer with American Airlines when I connected with him to start the instrument training. Not only did he make the time, but the instruction was absolutely topnotch. Better than money could buy. So the story is really about the people at places like Sugar Valley and the inherent generosity and good character in the aviation community. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of passing that on?”
This is a well-earned and a significant achievement that is inspiring to many of us.
May this story serve as an encouragement to all of us in navigating our paths towards worthwhile pursuits.
This year, SVA has yet another good reason to celebrate!
Sandra Smith, our very own ground school instructor, passed her checkride on 12/14/16. So now she is officially a Commercial Pilot! An achievement built on persistent, consistent hard work.
In her own humble words, Sandra says "that anything one of us achieves is actually the product of input, energy, feedback, and constructive thoughts of others. So although it may seem that an individual accomplishes something, the achievement is a structure created with the building blocks offered by others". While, we believe it to be true, we also acknowledge her own strength of character and all of the dedicated effort put forth.
Congratulations, Sandra, and thank you for your inspiring example!