Posts Tagged ‘flight’

Flying into Half Moon Bay Airport and Flying with a Service Dog

Saturday, February 5th, 2011

by Sue Ballew

Half Moon Bay Airport is one of the most popular airports among pilots in the Bay Area. It sits on the other side of the hilly terrain south of San Francisco, along side the ocean at the Half Moon Bay Harbor. It originated as a military airport and many people are surprised to learn of its existence.

On any given good weather weekend in the Bay Area, pilots come in numbers to fly along the beautiful, rugged coast, practice a couple of landings, or park at the South end of the airport and walk into town. They like to sample the great restaurants for lunch or do a little local shopping. It feels like you are really getting away from the city when you fly into Half Moon Bay Airport.

Flying with a Service Dog

Hans and his wife Betsy have been passionate and enthusiastic pilots for many years. They own a Cherokee and also Hans favorite, a motor glider, both based at Palo Alto Airport. The controls have been converted so he can fly with his hands only. (I am sure for many of you that are rudder challenged, you probably wonder why all airplanes aren’t rigged this way).

Recently Hans got a service dog, Rilla, who now goes everywhere with him and is his flying companion. If you feel like I do about my dog, what a great thing to be able to take your dog everywhere, especially flying. I hope she likes Mutt Muffs, those cute ear protectors for dogs.

Come Fly With Me: Adventures in Bay Area sightseeing flights

Friday, December 17th, 2010

Sue Ballew in her professional flying days. Photo courtesy of Sue Ballew.

Superman, Amelia Earhart and Bay Area resident Sue Ballew share a passion for flying. As a child growing up in Southern California, Ballew would search the sky for planes from nearby John Wayne Airport.“I can remember spotting airplanes when I was 3 years old and pointing up to the sky,” she said. “Later on, I’d be one of those kids who would tie a towel round my shoulders like a cape and pretend I was Superman.

“”I didn’t start flying until later in life because I didn’t relate flying like Superman to flying an airplane. So when I finally realized I could fly an airplane, I took flying lessons.”

Through personal experience, Ballew discovered just how important a good instructor is when learning to fly. “I got to the point of soloing,” she said, recalling an early incident. “I got lost and couldn’t find the airport. The tower eventually talked me down … I realized I needed an instructor who could teach me in more detail how to find myself if I ever got lost. They were short on instructors and so I quit for eight years.”

Eventually, she found an instructor who helped her learn the art of pilotage, navigating by landmarks as well as instruments, and she never got lost again. That’s also when she decided to become an instructor in order to help other pilots learn how to find their way by recognizing a freeway, an airport or a body of water. “Even if they think they know where they are,” she said, “I want them to know every single landmark so if they ever have a problem, they’ll know what to do.”

Ballew provides professional flight instruction at Palo Alto, San Carlos and Hayward airports. She also pilots Bay Area sightseeing flights.

For more information about Ballew, visit her Web site at

Photo courtesy of Sue Ballew.

To read the full article written by Mary Knippel originally published in CoastViews in the April 2009 issue, visit