Ground Effect Glow.

Let’s talk about ground effect. What is it? Glad you asked. When an aircraft is within wing distance from the ground, an increase in lift is generated in reference to the surface of the earth and airflow patterns about the airplane. This is called ground effect. It’s sort of like a cushion.
Personally, I love ground effect. An airplane flies better when in this phenomenon. However, there are two problems when it comes to ground effect. 1. The airplane may become airborne before reaching recommended takeoff speed. 2. Induced drag decreases in ground effect, so excess speed may cause floating upon landing.
So don’t get me wrong, this ‘cushion’ is a wonderful mechanism, but it can sometimes be unsafe. Sometimes ground effect can be a relief because the airplane wants to fly better, but what about this ground effect that makes us feel so secure? I think in a sense, we all have our own ground effect- a place that makes us feel safe and gives us comfort. An airplane cannot fly unless it leaves its ground effect and breaks free of the Earth’s surface. If not, there is no such thing as pure flight. Adventure begins at the end of your comfort zone. We cease to do so much when we are afraid to get out of our ground effect- it’s like we never take off. We never get airborne. Although it may seem appealing to stay in a comfortable place, it’s probably the most unsafe place you could be because you aren’t growing. We need to remember that getting out of our comfort zones is where the deliciousness is.
When you allow yourself to step out of your comfort zone, you open yourself up to a richer, more fulfilling life. You see and hear things that others miss and you are faced with opportunities that most aren’t. Determine one thing in your life that makes you uncomfortable, but would help you grow if you embraced it. There is a reason we have to go through ground effect before we can put our wings to use.  

✈ I was so excited when I got this drink at Starbucks. It’s an instrument approach drink! Finally Starbucks is starting to recognize their pilot clientele 😉 If you didn’t know, VOR stands for VHF (very high frequency) Omnidirectional Range which is a means of radio navigation that enables an aircraft to determine its position and stay on course (that was the best ‘non-pilot’ explanation I could give). Haha.
The other day after my flight I looked up and found a Piper Arrow in my rearview mirror with my Embry-Riddle decal in frame. It was one of those moments. Another moment of leaving ground effect. Aside from working and flying, I am helping out at an aviation summer camp! Photos to come.
So, last thing’s last. Are you living in your ground effect, or are you rising above it?  It’s your call. When are you going to take it?
Blue Skies 
(My heart goes out to the passengers, crew and families who were involved in the Boeing 777 Asiana Airlines flight yesterday at San Francisco International Airport.)

Summertime Slipstream.

Sporting Plus One Flyers

This summer has been an awesome one so far. Catching up on sun rays, getting some flying in and working has been on the schedule lately… but mostly flying! I’ve been flying the C172/180hp and the Citabria 7GCAA and 7ECA. I think I’m addicted to tailwheels, but I’m completely OK with that. The airport has been quiet lately! Weather has not been CAVU (Ceiling And Visibility Unlimited), but luckily it’s been staying pretty warm here in San Diego.

Another side note to me.. in case some of you didn’t know, modeling is my other life. I started modeling when I was about 15 and have been doing it ever since. I can’t do as much when I am away at school, so during breaks it’s all I am doing. It’s definitely a fresh of breath air away from the college life. I get to work with all different kinds of incredible people, do awesome things, go to unique places (kind of like aviation, huh?)… and well, I love every part of it.

Modeling for my sponsor Scheyden Precision Eyewear

So, what’s going on this week?

Well, besides yoga and getting some sun, I’ll be up in Los Angeles for a few photo shoots and will be flying later on in the week. I’m loving this flying club and all it’s benefits, so if you’re already a pilot and not sure whether or not you should go to your local flight school as apposed to a flying club- join a club. The benefits and privileges outweigh any local flight school. For real. It took me about three and a half years to realize that. If you want to learn more, you can email me at GIANNOTW@MY.ERAU.EDU. I’m loving this huge airplane selection I now have! Especially, well, when I can get my hands on a few tailwheels.. you could say I am a bit spoiled. 🙂

Scheyden flight luggage in front of the Cub with Ben, a fellow ERAU graduate!

Short but sweet today, I have a huge week ahead of me.

 Keep squawking the blog!

Blue Skies


Slant Range Sunshine.

POSITION: MYF (Falcon 10)



“The meaning I picked, the one that changed my life: Overcome fear, behold wonder.”


 – Richard Bach 


Happy Summer! It’s been crazy already. So many opportunities going on. Just when I thought aviation couldn’t get any cooler, this happened.  This past week, I received an amazing opportunity: flying with John & Martha King!!



We took a 14 minute sunset flight at 11,500 feet to Borrego Valley (L08) for dinner. And I got the best seat in the house! Andreas took the wing photos- he’s the great photographer, not me.



Watching them fly was so neat. Sometimes when you’re so inspired, you can’t seem to make sense of words, so you sit and watch completely in awe. This was one of those few moments I experienced.



Borrego Valley


Descending into L08



California is truly beautiful. We took off looking over the ocean and 14 minutes later were here in the desert. I don’t know of many other places where you can do that!


After dinner walking around the jet








Falcon 10 cockpit at sundown









Falcon 10 cockpit in color



Losing myself within this masterpiece and its airfoils. There are certain things I can’t explain.



What else have I been up to? Glad you asked! 🙂 This past week and a half I had a very important visitor in town and was basically a tour guide all over San Diego. I also switched flight schools here in San Diego, not that I’m following my old flight instructors around or anything (haha), but I’m a HUGE fan of this new flying club which will also allow me to rent out at other airports all over California- the whole country, if I wanted to! More about this internship opportunity will be revealed this upcoming week. As of right now, I am keeping my lips sealed!



I’ve been living on that Richard Bach quote for the past month- it’s a good reference to live on this summer. At first I was like, “how do you really overcome fear and how are you supposed to truly behold wonder?” Then I thought – you don’t force it. You just do it. It’s as if your fear is not overcome, it will block you from visualizing your wonder. Once you experience the wonder, it just fuels that fire of passion within you. Let it. Seriously. You’ll forget what made you so fearful in the first place. The wonder of it all is that strong.


Blue Skies
….and “Slant Range Sunshine” – you figure it out.

True vs. Magnetic North

Woah. Where has the year gone? I’m officially done with my freshman year of college. So much has happened in one year. I left home with two suitcases (to have one actually stolen when landing at MCO) and a vision in mind; I made friends, acquaintances, a networking web, a new life for myself. I’m amazed at how fast it has all gone- how fast life is going. It’s incredible, really. I would not be where I am today if I had never attended Embry-Riddle. It’s made me grow into the woman and the pilot I am today.

There is a saying that goes, “Don’t get so busy trying to make a living that you forget to make a life.” What I’ve learned this year? You’ve got to commit yourself to making mistakes – they teach you lessons. You have to find hard work you love doing. You also have to accept and embrace change. And unless you’re trying to make a good impression while interviewing for a job,  you don’t have the time to care what others think about you. What is important is how you feel about yourself. You’ve got to ask questions. Most importantly- do what moves you, what shakes you to the bone. Refuse to recite the following: “How the heck am I going to do this for the next 30 years?”


See, there is this magnetic north that we think we have to follow. We have to keep our compass lined up or else we will feel as if we are lacking. Society tells us that if we don’t stay up to par on a materialistic, fake course then we are not successful. What is being successful? You can sort that out yourself. For me, it’s working hard and loving every minute of what I do. My love for aviation gets stronger by the day, the minute.. and it’s led me to other passions and interests that I didn’t even think I had. The qualities aviation has given me have branched out into other spectrums that I didn’t believe to be a reality until I followed them. Life gets more interesting by the minute- if you allow it. But if you follow this drawn out course your society, your peers tell you to follow- you will lose sight of your true north. Refuse to get so off course to where you don’t know how to get back again, because the farther an aircraft gets off course, the longer the time and the bigger the angle it takes to intercept back. Do not get so busy trying to make a living that you forget to make a life.

Warning: Don’t stand too close to the prop! But it needs loving too 🙂

I am now back in San Diego for a four month long summer. A possible internship here in San Diego is on the horizon (good thing I went to Sun N Fun) and I plan on learning some more aerobatics. Proposed: I may be going to Greece in August. I’m keeping the summer a fun and relaxing know, before I have to start doing ‘big people’ stuff.

 I recently shot for my sponsor Scheyden Precision Eyewear. Here are some behind the scene photos 🙂


Blue Skies and Endless Horizons

Sun ‘n a whole lotta Fun.

P-51D Mustang “Crazy Horse”

POSITION: KLAL (Lakeland Regional Airport, FL)

This past week I went to Sun ‘n Fun, the second largest airshow in the nation! It was a ton of fun and I definitely went back to my dorm with a not-so-fun sunburn. I met a ton of interesting pilots, saw unique aircraft I have never seen before and I was exposed to so many different sides of aviation all at once. THIS was aviator heaven- and a definite perk of going to school on the East Coast. Enjoy the photos!

P-51 Mustang


Cessna Booth

Cessna Caravan cockpit

Titan T-51 (3/4 scale P-51)

As you can see, I definitely enjoyed the airshow. This week is my last week of the semester here at Embry-Riddle. I have two papers due and six tests on the clock. Not to mention, packing up my stuff and shipping some back to California! I’ve got a fun summer planned ahead- full of aerobatic flying, working with my sponsor Scheyden Precision Eyewear, and a possible internship opportunity back home in San Diego! I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

More on the horizon!
Blue Skies

Hunks o’ Horsepower.

(KEVB) @ New Smyrna Balloon and Sky Festival

UPDATE: This past week has been chock-full of homework, Greek Week extravaganzas for ΣΣΣ , studying for the Commercial Pilot written and oh yeah, vintage aircraft! After quite a few chilly weeks here (yes, it gets cold in Florida), it’s finally starting to warm up and some nice CAVU weather is on the way! This week is also Sun ‘n Fun and I am so excited to attend! It is the 2nd largest airshow in the nation aside from Oshkosh and I am finally on the east coast to see it. Expect loads and loads of photos and me talking (and writing) my head off about it. So, if you see me around school this week, stay away! 😛


The most beautiful airplane ever made.                P-51 Mustang

T-6 Texan; this airplane will forever hold a place in my heart

Patty Wagstaff

Aerial torpedoes in the belly of a B-25

Checking out those airplane guts

Ever Forward ΣΣΣ

We had our new member initiation today! We gained four new beautiful Sigma sisters 🙂

Something I realized after reflecting back on this past busy week: We all have these alarm clocks that we tend to worry about as we go throughout our days. Getting this done, having to do that, wanting to do this, hoping to do that. Living life like a checklist. Working hard so we can get to our play faster. Normally, when we hear an alarm go off, it brings negative reminders of things we have to get done that day. But what if for once, you lived in the now and saw each alarm as another chance to be the best version of yourself? If you allow yourself to see every day as a new chance, a new horizon, your alarm clock is no longer a dreaded sound- but rather a beckoning call to be the most alive, passionate, extraordinary you. You’re either in full HP or you’re not. After all, who wants to go through life with a coughing, dull engine? Get up tomorrow, today, or whenever you read this and take it as an opportunity to be alive.The start is now.

See you at Sun ‘n Fun

The Rungs of an RVR Ladder.

POSITION: Women in Aviation Conference in Nashville, TN

Well, I have now returned to school from an on-the-whim Spring Break trip back home to San Diego! As most of you know, I was fortunate to have a 10 day Spring Break and be able to attend the Women in Aviation Conference held in Nashville, Tennessee! Wow. I can’t even begin to describe how awesome of an experience it was. I was in aviator heaven. From Boeing to Gulfstream to Virgin Air to XOJet to AOPA to Walmart Aviation to Delta to United to FedEx to UPS to name a few.. I guess you could say I was a little overwhelmed. Meeting pilots and company representatives from all over the world was nothing more than humbling. Honestly, I never truly realized how much there is to aviation until I attended this conference.

Top Left: Boeing. Bottom Left: Gulfstream. Top Right: FedEx. Bottom Right: WAI Main Booth.

From banquets, to FedEx chocolates, to having lunch with the Women in Aviation Chapter from Ghana, Africa, to Women in Corporate Aviation and Setting Your Stage for Success meetings, to just spending time with the girls in the Women in Aviation Chapter here at ERAU, this was an experience that I will take with me for a life time. Walking into the main Exhibit Hall at the Opryland Resort Convention Center, there was this overwhelming feeling I had- like I was a part of a family. Ok, ok, maybe that sounds weird, but there’s just this sudden connection you seem to have when you know everyone that possesses the same interests are all in the same room as you. I met some incredible and inspirational women and left with stories that I will take with me throughout the aviation world for many years to come. There’s this incredible ladder called aviation and I’m loving every moment in climbing it.

Embry-Riddle’s Booth at the Women in Aviation Conference

Spring Break back home in San Diego, CA

I got to spend a great deal of time with family and catching up with my beloved city. Not to mention- real Mexican food! I miss home, but it was definitely fun running around being a tourist in my own town for the week I was back. Now it’s time to finish out these last 4 weeks strong!

While being at the Women in Aviation Conference, a quote that I read on the plane ride home from BNA back to SAN struck me: “It’s better to be at the bottom of the ladder you want to climb than at the top of the one you don’t” – Stephen Kellogg

I immediately thought, ‘Wow. I don’t think I could have read that quote at a better time.’ Whether it’s through a job or getting a degree, we’re all climbing a ladder, but only some of us are climbing the ones we truly want to climb. Some of us climb ladders because others expect us to or it is the one that has simply presented itself in front of us. Whether it’s parents, friends, or society who tells you what ladder to climb- I want to know: are you climbing the ladder for yourself, or others? Let’s take a detour; in aviation terms, RVR is a means of visibility (Runway Visual Range). It is the distance which the pilot of an aircraft on the center line of the runway can see the runway markings so the plane can be landed in safe visibility. Some of us can see a reward at the top of our ladders so we quickly and eagerly climb the rungs to get the trophy; the job title, the degree. Yet we don’t see that starting a journey in and of itself is a reward we have already proclaimed. It’s not about the ultimate satisfaction at the end, it’s the juiciness inside the middle of the sandwich. RVR is great, don’t get me wrong, and you may be able to see the end of a certain ladder, but that doesn’t mean it’s yours. Your ladder may be scary, tall, frightening with minimal visibility as to what is at the top. Let that fear be your reassurance, because once you take that first step, you will open up a world of reward that you could have never imagined and I can guarantee you that nothing is more exciting than following not your parents, not your friends, not society’s ladder laid out for you, but rather your own. Trust me. It’s much taller.

To the starting end of the semester and my first year in college

Blue Skies.