Jacki Van Valkenburg-Lapp is based at N85, Alexandria Airport, Pittstown, New Jersey.
I received my private pilot’s license in 1987 in a Cessna 152. A year later I married a corporate pilot who had recently purchased a 1950 Piper Pacer. What luck to have the love of my life own his own plane! It took many, many trips around the patch in the taildragger but I finally soloed. Luckily, my new husband had a current CFI — plus lots of patience!
Hank and I flew the Pacer (“Patsy”) everywhere; always attending weekend flyouts. We built a house at the newly sanctioned N85 Airpark and lived happily with the runway in our front yard for 9 years. Sadly, Hank passed away in 1998.
I kept our baby — the Pacer — and continue to fly it today. Without my original flying partner I find myself a bit timid in cross wind situations, but I keep plugging along trying to overcome that. I’ve long since moved from the airpark and even re-married five years ago. My current husband is not a pilot but is a wonderful passenger and welcomes riding along whenever he can.
Aviation has encompassed most of my life. I have worked as a flight attendant for 37 years — first with the airlines and for the last 25 years with various corporations. I am now working strictly on a contract basis, so I hope to have more time to take to the air with Patsy.
Jacki Van Valkenburg-Lapp
Piper Pacer N7009K