March/April 2002 Member Profiles

CPA Member Profiles

Angela Farnham PIREP webmaster, PP-ASEL

She made a CPA dream become a reality, and it now www.pirep.org reaches across the Internet in an on-going effort to educate pilots about the Anti-aviation presence on the Internet.

Angela Farnham’s straight-forward design of www.pirep.org makes a vital web site easy to use. She’s also going to be helping CPA webmaster Jim Davis keep www.calpilots.org locked and loaded with timely placement of important news items.

So how did a former E-4 Army Medic go from learning how to save lives to saving airports?

“When I was 12, my family and I flew from Sacramento to New York on a 747, and the amazing thing to me was hearing a woman captain’s voice coming from the cockpit over the PA. It never occured to me that a woman would be flying anything, and I fell in love with the whole idea, especially big aircraft.

“Years later, I also didn’t think it would be possible for me to join the Air Force and fly because I didn’t have 20/20 vision. I thought you had to be in the military to go onto the airlines. So, I joined the Army with my boyfriend, David, who later became my husband. I was a medic, and afterwards, I graduated from Azusa Pacific University with a B.A. in Psychology.

“When I was 26, I was flying on a Southwest Airlines flight once, and after meeting the female captain, I asked if I could sit in her seat! She said to my husband, ‘If Angela loves flying, why isn’t she flying?’ The captain then explained how it was possible to do it not going through the military…'”

And the rest fell into place faster than you could say “Clear!” Angela was working full time at Cal Tech for a professor when she discovered the Mt. San Antonio College program for an Associates Degree in Commercial Aviation. She enrolled in the Fall 1999 semester and has been working towards the credential and training that will help make her dream a reality. Mt. San Antonio is located near Brackett Field, which meant the answer to Angela’s dream had been not so far away all along.

Each student is required to re-apply each semester, and only 45 are admitted fo each session, so nothing is taken for granted on this path. Along the way, the loss of a school instrument student in the nearby mountains made Angela take a serious look at whether she might have second thoughts about the goal.

“It was too close to home. I stopped flying and studying for awhile, but he would have wanted us to continue, so I did…”

Shortly before completing her private pilots license last Spring, Angela had been surfing the Internet for pilot associations when she discovered CPA…

“The California Pilots Association sounded like something I wanted to read about, and I wanted to get involved somehow. I clicked on Volunteers Needed, contacted Toodie Marshall (CPA’s Airport Rep Program Manager), and volunteered to be the representative at Brackett.

“I have this very protective nature about things I hold dear, there’s something about protecting your airport that’s so important. The CPA web site did a good job of convincing me. I didn’t want anything happening to Brackett Airport, because it’s done a lot for me.

“Plus, so many things go on at Brackett, so many lives are touched by the places that are here, like Runway 37, Air Desert Pacific, and Mt. San Antionio’s flight training association. It’s a shame that just a few bad people can take away so many of our privileges.”

And it was to that end Angela was drawn when we approached her about developing the www.pirep.org website, the likes of which never existed anywhere on the Internet prior to her creative efforts.

“CPA made me realize how blind we are as pilots. We just get into the airplane, we are in our own little box, and we don’t really think about what’s going on outside our box and how quickly it can be taken a way.

“I had a skill, and CPA needed that skill to get the idea going. I thought it was a perfect opportunity…”

Indeed. The task as to create a web site containing links to hundreds of anti and pro aviation groups in a way that would stand out and make pilots want to know more about their unseen adversaries. The layout of www.pirep.org was given to Angela in the roughest of drafts with one basic instruction: make it your own.

The United States map on the Pro Aviation links page was one such example. Angela spent many hours physically creating mouse-drawn outlines for each state, linking to separate pages containing the state and local pilot associations.

The rotating display of aviation photos on the home page was her idea as well, filled with images from www.corbis.com. One image inparticular communcates 1000 words and then some, the crossed red batons on the Anti-Aviation page depicting a whole new meaning to “full stop”.

But the simplest and subtile touch is the moving American flag on the home page, a timely symbol in very symbolic times. Aviation has never known such an adversarial relationship with the media and the public, compounded by a tragedy of unthinkable proportions.

This makes www.pirep.org all the more timely and all the more significant as contribution to aviation. The Pilots Information and Resource Exchange Program presents invaluable situational awareness, a simple idea brought to life through Angela’s volunteer efforts.

The CPA website will soon be undergoing major revisions, and Angela will be working with CPA webmaster Jim Davis to keep it as current and seamless as possible to provide CPA members with current news updates of aviation defending items across the state. Her energies and creativity are blessings to a state besieged by anti-aviation sentiment.

Aviation is fortunate to have such a gifted and dirven soul who understands the true givng nature of flight, Angela Farnham forges a confident and caring path, and she’s already made aviation history with www.pirep.org.

Not a bad start for a someone who heard her future in a woman’s captain’s voice…

-David R. Aldridge

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