Amelia's flight journal from her cross-country flight

6:00 AM, Jan 3, 2012   |    comments
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Day four: Austin to Miami

"First, have a definite, clear practical ideal; a goal, an objective. Second, have the necessary means to achieve your ends; wisdom, money, materials, and methods. Third, adjust all your means to that end."
- Aristotle


On Saturday morning, I am about to climb in an airplane and complete my goal: a transcontinental flight across the US in a single engine aircraft, following Amelia's 1937 route. Two months ago, this goal seemed impossible, more of a dream than a plan. Much has been realized about goal setting and accomplishment in this time, and while I by no means have things figured out, I certainly feel like I have discovered some universal tools to success.

  1. Do not be afraid to ask for help. If you are anything like me, asking for help seems a sign of weakness. That is not the case. Differing perspectives, new ideas, experience, advice, and a fresh look can make all the difference in the world. Also, when someone wants to help you for the right reasons, let them. It feels good to give gifts. Sometimes you will be the giver, but other times you will be the recipient.
  2. Say your goals out loud. When you take the bold step to tell others what you are planning to do, your goals immediately come alive. From that point, details get filled in, dots get connected and accountability comes into play. In my case, I used this blog to put some real gumption behind my goals. Whether it is family, friends, social media, or a blog, just start saying it! For me, it felt great to catch people off guard. When someone says, "how are you" or "what's new?", REALLY tell them! I started saying, things like, "I am training for a cross-country flight" and guess what the response was... "Oh really? I know someone who you should talk to" or "how can I help". You will be quite surprised to find how much people want to cheer you on and hope for the best. For those who don't cheer you on, decide that you don't have room for them in your life. As I have said before, there is room for everyone to be great. 
  3. Don't set aside certain times to be the kind of person you strive to be. Be it ALL the time. While we all have roles we play in life, there is no excuse for only allowing yourself to be great when it fits into your schedule or when it convenient to how you feel. Feeling like your own role model is a full time job, but trust me, it pays very well. Off days are for lazy people. Take time to relax, of course... but relax in the mindset of someone who is living a rockin' life, not like someone who is taking the easy road because it feels good to check out. 
  4. Cheer others on and make friends with your role models. When you see someone making a difference or excelling at something unique, tell them what you think. Tell them you are proud of what they have pulled off and that you look up to their qualities. In terms of role models, it feels great to be able to shoot an email off to someone who you look up to and actually get a response. Maybe it is a friend who is a smart entrepreneur or a successful athlete. Our role models don't have to be world-famous or historic figures. Those kinds are excellent but we are all surrounded by a community of people who are one degree of separation away from us. When you meet someone who you look up to, don't go home and sulk about how you have nothing going on in your own life, call them up, email, or inquire as to how they got where they are! Chances are, they will be willing to tell you a lot about how they got to their position. You are completely in control of who you bring into your circle of friends so you might as well choose some amazing people who inspire you to be great. 
  5. Stop multi-tasking. This one is simple. Stop trying to be 2 (or 346) places at one time. When you commit to getting something done, put your heart into it, be it dishes, flying, data entry, a conversation, or sleeping. Whatever it is, do it whole heartedly and with enthusiasm. Nothing is worse than talking to someone when they are texting or have their mind on the next thing they must do. Let's start being genuinely interested in our lives and the people and things we choose to invite into them. It feels great to care. 
  6. Look each day in the eye. Just as you look your loved ones in the eye and listen to what they have to say, acknowledging them as unique and important, you should do the same thing to each day you are given. When you wake up in the morning, you MUST realize that you have just as many minutes and hours in the day as someone like Albert Einstein, Amelia Earhart or anyone you hold in high regard. Not having enough time to reach your goals is a choice, a decision that you make in terms of which items you deem important. What I like to do is get all the tough stuff out of the way early in the day. Work out, pay the bills, make the tough phone calls, get them done so that the rest of the day can be spent in goal oriented focus!

Maybe I am right, maybe I am wrong. These things have worked for me and I have a huge smile on my face a majority of the time.

To read more about Amelia's flying adventure, visit


Day three: Burbank to Austin

"You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it true. You may have to work for it, however"
- Richard Bach


When we departed Burbank this morning at 6am, winds were calm and Los Angeles was just waking up. For once, that town felt calm. The calm within me came from the fact that I was literally holding the tools in my hand to rise above the city and head East. We had filed the night before, did a dark and cold pre flight on the plane, and jumped into the cold seats of the Cirrus. Two doors closed and all I had to do was fly the plane. We got our clearance, departed on runway 5, and flew over the San Fernando Valley.

As we continued to fly towards the high desert of Southern California, the sun rose over the mountains. From that first sliver of bright orange light came full sunlight, spreading over the silver wings, fuselage and tail. We were bathed in the pink, blue and golden colors of the sunrise and everything was calm, clean and fresh.

Right now, the autopilot is in command, John is to my right and we are cruising at 174 kts at 11,000 feet. I would say I feel lucky, but that would be a lie. I feel in control, smart and focused on completing this goal, enjoying each and every take-off, landing, heading change, and altimeter setting. The end of this trip will mean a new goal and all the difficulties that come along with the planning and the preparations. I feel like I have all the tools and the power to make any dream come true and I know that you do too.

It is going to take time and be hard, but the satisfaction that comes from whatever your version of flying is, will be worth all the hard work in the world. I promise. 

To read more about Amelia's flying adventure, visit


SLIDESHOW: Amelia Earhart's journey - Day 2

Day two: Oakland to Burbank

Within all of us is a varying amount of space lint and star-dust - the residue from our creation. Most of us are too busy to notice it, and it is stronger in some than others. It is strongest in those of us who fly and is responsible for an unconscious, subtle desire to slip into some wings and try for the elusive boundaries of our origin."
- K O Eckland, 'Footprints On Clouds.'


We woke in Oakland, Calif. to a bank of fog that keep many a pilot on the ground. Rather than taking off at 6 a.m. and heading straight to Burbank, we waited until 9 a.m. to head to the airport when the fog cleared. We thanked the crew at Attitude Aviation for their hangar space and gracious hospitality.

With a Cliff Bar in hand, we climbed in the plane and started a cold engine.

We decided to fly VFR to Santa Barbara in order to turn on the exterior N Flight Cams on the plane so that we could fly low-level on the coastal route towards Burbank.

Haze, ocean waves and some good music flooded our surroundings as we crusied at 1,500 feet above the water.

When we arrived in busy Burbank, we dodged other small aircraft over the San Fernando Valley and parked at a small FBO on the west side of the runway. A quick lunch and a Facebook status update about a safe landing meant it was time to meet with Jessica Ambats of Plane & Pilot Magazine about an interview for the inspiration issue of the aviation mag.

We told flying stories, laughed about cockpit conversations and talked about what a thrill it is to take part in a real life adventure. Jessica arrived by plane from Santa Monica Airport, which added to the romance of this meet up.

Burbank is where Amelia did much of her flight training in the 1930s. There are photos, sculptures, street names and parks in her honor through Burbank and also North Hollywood. We checked out the bronze sculpture of her on Tujunga just off the 5 Freeway. Amelia stands tall, flight jacket and propeller always nearby.

The flight was amazing, the views spectacular, but the best part of the day was seeing my mom, who drove in from San Diego to cheer us on and have a relaxing dinner. As she crawled in the plane, she asked lots of safety-related Mom questions, but she also told me that she loves seeing me happy, adventurous and spending lots of time in the plane.

She beamed as we went over GPS buttons, auto-pilot settings, the PFD and the headsets. My mom gets what I mean when I tell her that this is what I must do. Thank you Mom, for instilling in me a desire to soar.

To read more about Amelia's flying adventure, visit



Day one: Denver to Oakland

As we launched out of Centennial Airport at 7 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 26, a huge mountain-wave cloud sat over the foothills of Denver, waiting to rock our wings and remind us that flying is still a challenge and a feat that is not for the faint of heart. After a clearance for a Rocky 7 departure, Red Table transition, then direct to Oakland, we were told that we would climb to 16,000 feet in our single engine aircraft.

It was a tough climb. Airspeed wavered, our bodies bounced and we shot on Westerly course towards Golden. Once we made it through the light turbulence, we were on a smooth path over Colorado's fourteeners, snow covered ski areas and the most beautiful pinkish-orange-purple sunrise.

Winter Park, Aspen, Rifle, Eagle and the Utah state line passed below us as we cruised at true airspeed of around 190 kts. I stared out the window and watched as smooth and deeply snow-packed Colorado mountains transitioned to jagged mesas with only a dusting. The shadows were deep and the sun was low in the East. The colors were an intensified burnt orange hue, reminiscent of the Fall colors of an oak tree. Utah felt open and vast, speckled with neon blue lakes that still had patches of floating ice. I searched to find shapes in the formations on the water, much like I search for shapes in the clouds.

Because of our 45 to 50 knot headwinds, we had to stop for fuel in Nevada. We used our Garmin 1000 to locate a nearby airport with 100LL fuel, which is a bit of a task in this desolate area. We chose Tonopah, a small airport with a 7,000 foot runway. Save the crows flying above, we were the only ones around for miles.

We landed smoothly on runway 15 and taxied to a double-wide trailer with a fuel tank outside. Did this place even have running water? John and I nervously laughed as we made our way towards a man in coveralls and work boots. He greeted us with a smile and filled our tanks. Fuel is cheap in Tonopah, Nev.! We paid around $5.40 a gallon, which would take us to Livermore airport in California.

As we left this one-horse (and one-airplane, too) town and looked to the southeast, we saw what looked to be a storm in the distance. With squinted eyes, we saw what looked like the mature stage of a thunderstorm as the anvil of a cumulonimbus-cloud arcs to the side before rain pounds the ground below. How could this be? We had blue skies all around, as we lifted of into the air, we found that our eyes had deceived us. A desert mirage appeared as we climbed into the quiet and mysterious Nevada sky.

Our instrument approach into Livermore Airport took us over the Sierra Nevada's, frigid alpine lakes and windmill farms. The decent was smooth, our landing was on the centerline and our airplane was happy. What more could a pilot hope for? I felt an exciting buzz around the fact that we were here to kick off the start of an adventure.

We met with the crew from A Pilot's Story - a documentary about the passion of aviation. John's uncle and cousins were also waiting at Attitude aviation. We looked to familiar faces smiling and waving, as we taxied into the beautiful hangar filled with WWII aircraft and aerobatic planes. Meet and greet, lunch and a short rest and it was time to do the photo-recreation of Amelia's 1937 flight over Treasure Island and the Bay Bridge.

As we cruised over Treasure Island, interacting with the photo ship and cautiously making turns while hitting specific altitude marks and speeds, I couldn't help but get chills knowing that I was flying in the same spot that Amelia flew 74 years ago.

She surely admired the beauty of this coastal city, she probably watched the barges pass below her shining Lockheed Electra, she undoubtedly skillfully navigated her plane over this town which would eventually become her kick off point for her round the world flight.

To see the shot that we recreated, head to




Evoking memories of a legend, Amelia Earhart took to the skies over the United States, retracing the North American route of her namesake, distant relative and legendary aviatrix. Fueled by a love of adventure and passion for inspiring others to pursue their own dreams, this modern-day Amelia will fly a Cirrus SR22 from Oakland, California to Miami, Florida.

Amelia's thrilling quest to recreate Earhart's trans-continental flight soars on Dec. 26, 2011. Why Oakland? In the late spring of 1937, Earhart flew from Oakland to Miami where she announced her bold intention to circumnavigate the globe. After more than a month's worth of flight covering a staggering 22,000 miles, Earhart departed from Lae, New Guinea, for the final leg of the journey: 7,000 miles over the Pacific Ocean. Earhart's Lockheed Electra, along with co-pilot Fred Noonan, disappeared a short time later en route to Howland Island, never to be heard from again.

Independence Aviation instrument flight instructor John Post will serve as Amelia's co-pilot for this 2011 attempt. Earhart and Post will depart from Oakland making stops in Burbank, Calif.; Tucson, Az.; Austin, Texas and New Orleans, La., before finally landing in Miami. Along the way, Amelia will recreate the iconic photo of Earhart taken over Treasure Island in Oakland. Amelia will also visit the PIMA Air Museum to view an Electra similar to the legendary Model 10 version in which Earhart flew. On the final leg of her inspiring flight, Amelia will complete her first ocean crossing over the Gulf of Mexico between Louisiana and Florida.

This will be the first of many planned long-distance flights for Amelia, all in preparation for her own attempt to circumnavigate the globe in a single engine aircraft. In addition to studying for her instrument rating in the Cirrus SR22, Amelia is working toward a degree in broadcast meteorology through Mississippi State University.

For more information on Amelia's flight training and the planning that has gone into this trip, visit her flight training blog at

We will also be checking in daily with Amelia on 9NEWS and through live skype reports, photo slideshows, in flight video and Amelia's flight diary about the trip.

Also, join in the Facebook conversation about Amelia's journey here,!/ilike9news/posts/10150512519236077.

(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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