Donna Guerin  (Alabama)

Donna Guerin (Alabama)

Donna Guerin is based at her home and has a 2200′ grass strip in her front yard.  It’s about 10 nm from Huntsville, Alabama’s Moontown Airport (3M5). I got my Private in May of 2007 after flying right seat for 6 months with my husband – no reason for him to have all the fun!  Since then I have gotten high performance and tailwheel endorsements.   Bought my little jewel (a 1940 J5A) in Sept of 2008 and have logged over 100 hours in her.   We have a 2,200′ grass strip in our front yard.  Talk about blessed!  I really enjoy flying the Cub and get her out as often as the weather allows. We just finished restoration of another 1940 J5A that was given to my husband by his Dad before he passed in 2004.  It is the red and  white J5 in the picture....

August 13, 14 & 15 2010 Lady Taildraggers Summer Fly-in

1st Ever Lady Taildraggers Fly-in Friday, Sat. & Sun. August 13, 14 & 15, 2010 Rain Date following weekend Moraine Airpark (I73), Dayton, Ohio Ladies Love Taildraggers’ Judy Birchler and Susan Theodorelos, Waco owner and lady taildragger, are happy to announce the first ever Lady Taildraggers fly-in!  Mark your calendars… schedule some vacation time……  gather your friends……. and head for Ohio this summer. For all the details click here: Fly-in Info Fly-in location “Moraine Airpark”, Dayton, OH Susan has VERY generously volunteered to host the gathering  and says, ” We have a biiiiiig hangar on the west end of the field with lots of green grass out in front of our hangar that we can all tie down right opposite the hangar. We’ve got a BIG party grill for BBQ’ing — we can fly-out to breakfast at any number of close locales for breakfast on Saturday.” Camping on field If there is any interest at all — I can make arrangements for us to fly up to the Waco Museum in Troy for lunch or something like that if it strikes anyone’s fancy — or heck, we can just sit around under wings and catch up on the summer!!  We had 9 airplanes in our hangar one weekend — plus there are a few extra hangars not being used at the moment, so we would have some room if a t-storm should pop up along the way. There are plenty of hotels nearby — or if you like — bring your tent and pitch it alongside your baby. We have a bathroom in our hangar (no shower, unfortunately — I’m certainly going to have to remedy THAT!) but we can make arrangements for that. Fly in to Moraine Airpark!! For anyone that would like a rental car, we can make arrangements with a local car rental place to have cars on the field when you arrive. So let us know what you think! If you plan on attending … post a comment here and we can all figure out some details. You can also visit our FORUM and click on “Let’s Have a Fly-in!!!” where everyone can chat about the big event.  Susan has already warned all the “guys” at the airport – THEY will be in charge of cooking the food while WE fly!! We all can do a little of this – just like Susan in her Waco!! We certainly know there are lots of people living a long way away that won’t be able to make it — but hey — gather the ladies where you are — Susan says she has enough geeky computer friends she can even set up a web cam or something! from Judy…. and from Susan… …….plan now to attend the Ladies Love Taildraggers Fly-in!!...

Best Friends, Janice & Andrea’s First Solos (Kansas)

Actually, these cute little girls aren’t our “1st Solo – Best Friends” (Janice & Andrea) but I get the feeling they sure could have been! Best friends and 16 years old when they each soloed several years ago, Janice Griggs and Andrea Hattan-Stang of Goddard, Kansas had the good fortune to learn to fly in the Griggs family’s 1937 Aeronca “K”.  Janice’s father, Jerry Griggs, instructed both girls, soloing his daughter one day and her friend, Andrea the next. Janice is now 21 and in Oregon studying aquarium sciences.  Her shirttail still hangs on her wall while she is away at college.  Andrea comes from a family of pilots and has about 50 hours.  Her brother is a pilot, her dad a pilot, her mom a pilot (in a Luscombe), her granddad a pilot and her grandmother a pilot.  Her new husband is a crew chief on Army helicopters and Andrea would like to finish her rating when he returns from Iraq while he learns to fly too. Jerry Griggs’ “K”, registration NC18869, was converted from the original 36 HP 2 cylinder Aeronca E-113 engine to a 65 HP Lycoming O-145 in 1970. Kansas – Texas, it doesn’t matter – aviation really is a very small world.  Jerry Griggs, from Kansas, who owns this ’37 Aeronca, located his aviation mentor, Lori Adams, from Texas, on this website.  He started in aviation working for Lori Adams in 1967 at her flight school in Texas and is who he credits with inspiring his love of aviation.  See Lori Adams – Texas ! Here is a future lady tailwheel pilot, Jerry’s granddaughter and Janice’s niece.  She is now five years old and perhaps in eleven more years she can solo his 1937 Aeronca.  By the way, her name is Jazelle Aeronica Morris and Jerry swears he had NOTHING to do with naming that baby.  She is the daughter of his oldest daughter who helped him varnish the wing’s woodwork prior to covering in 1985.  The misspelling of Aeronca = Aeronica is intentional to make it sound more feminine.  Her sister is Joslyn Piper Morris.  He had NOTHING to do with naming her either!...

Final Approach – Alaska Style

Final Approach, Alaska Style! This picture was sent by Alaskan Tern tailwheel pilot, Vickie Domke, with this note, “Here’s a pix of our grass strip”. One look at this picture and I had to send her a note back, “Vickie – you’ve got to be kidding me – is that really your runway I’m looking at between the trees??  Holy Cow – you don’t see any like that in Indiana!” Then Vickie’s reply, “Gosh, Judy, you make me feel like I am a Real Pilot.  The runway is 1000’ long with another maybe 300’ over-run.  The end of the over-run is a cut-bank down into the river.  The Tern easily lands in half of the runway.  I have to watch for moose, woodchucks and porcupines as well as wind changes during final.  It is a relatively nice runway only 14 minutes from home, our cabin is off to the left side out of sight.” Well, what else can I say?  “Yes – you bet you’re a REAL pilot, Vickie”. For Vickie’s Profile visit: https://www.ladieslovetaildraggers.com/vickie-domke-alaska/...

The Infamous Ground Loop!

While airport hopping yesterday, Boyd and I struck up a conversation with a really nice guy flying a Cessna 180.  He said he’s been flying over 50 years, many of them in the 180, and in all that time had never been involved in any kind of incident or accident – until the day before!  He wasn’t the pilot and was just flying along with an old friend in his taildragger when things got a little “ugly” on takeoff.  A lax takeoff quickly got out of hand and resulted in a pretty messy ground loop.  Anyway, his story was a good reminder to me that no matter how long you’ve been flying, you can’t get too comfortable or too relaxed when you’re in a taildragger. So what exactly is a ground loop?  If you are flying a taildragger, no doubt you know and, hopefully, are focused on every landing to make sure it doesn’t happen to you.  If you are considering flying a taildragger, you NEED  to know; a ground loop, simply put, is when the front end of your airplane switches places with the back end. T-6/SNJ in a ground loop During take-off, and especially during landing, taildraggers are directionally unstable – stability is the function of the pilot.  Any swerving movement on the ground has the tendency to tighten and, if not corrected by the pilot, can result in a ground loop. In a crosswind, a taildragger will tend to weather-vane into the wind increasing the possibility of a ground loop.  This must be counteracted by the pilot by keeping the tail firmly planted on the ground, applying the appropriate amount of opposite rudder and keeping the wing that is into the wind down. This video is stuffed full of actual video shots of taildraggers experiencing ground loops.  It also shows some unbelievably uncontrolled tricycle aircraft moments before touching down and how miraculously forgiving a tricycle gear aircraft can be.  And lastly, it offers some basic and necessary simple instruction on how to land a tailwheel aircraft correctly. These few paragraphs from Dodgen Aircraft Training are a reminder to even seasoned tailwheel pilots and a must read for student and low time tailwheel pilots: The ground loop is probably the most feared occurrence that pilots think can happen in a tailwheel aircraft. It is also what most frequently causes damage to tailwheel aircraft. A ground loop is something that need never happen in a tailwheel pilot’s career as long as they understand the limitations of their aircraft, their ability based on their piloting experience, and how to properly avoid letting the aircraft get into this condition. The ground loop is when the tail of the aircraft loses directional stability and rotates about the horizontal axis of the aircraft. This leads the tail to want to spin around the nose of the aircraft as it is disturbed from a straight line. When this happens, the momentum will carry aircraft partway or potentially all the way around until the tail of the aircraft is headed in the direction that the aircraft nose was originally aimed if no correction is made. In many cases, the momentum will cause a wing to dip and may cause a wing strike on the outside of the ground loop, leading to a cart wheeling effect in which the other wing will be caused to strike as well. As the ground-loop happens, directional control is lost and the aircraft will frequently travel off the runway surface and be subjected to the potential hazards that exist off the runway such as lights, ditches, or unimproved surfaces. There can be no doubt that this can cause damage that may range from minor to very severe and is something that no pilot would choose to do. To avoid ground looping an aircraft the pilot will need to be able to maintain proper rudder control at all times, even through what most tricycle gear pilots will consider a moderate or slow taxi. Tailwheel aircraft have the ability to ground loop to some extent at virtually any speed of travel above stopped, the speed simply controls how much momentum will be available when the aircraft ground loops. This momentum will determine how far or bad the ground loop will become if it is encountered. It is for this reason that the pilot should taxi slowly, perform landings that will allow for appropriate stopping and get themselves to a controllable taxi speed as soon as possible when landing....

To Misty – From Dennis

The Happy Little Champ was chomping at the bit to get up and do some sunny, blue sky, late afternoon flying today so we gave in and took her for a spin.  Well, not the spin part – at least not today.  You just never know what you’re going to see up there.  Today it was this very hopeful message…..for Misty! We’re rooting for you Dennis!...

Gail Schipper  (Colorado)

Gail Schipper (Colorado)

Gail Schipper flies a Bucker Jungmann and is based at Longmont, Colorado (KLMO).  She writes, “There seems to be a terrible gap in your pilot map. WHAT! Not one in Colorado? I’m here to help you with that deficit.” I wanted to fly since I was a kid and my uncle took my dad flying–my sister and I got to tag along in the back seat of the C182. It was the 1970s and everything was about space flight. My uncle flew some parabolas so we could experience zero gs. It was fabulous. I tried to get my license in high school but became convinced that I both couldn’t afford it and that I wasn’t gifted enough to figure out how to control an airplane. I had no female pilot role models and just couldn’t see that there was a place for me in that world. After graduate school I met a woman who was just about to get her license and thought I should give it another try. At the party given for her completion of her private license I met a glider instructor, who later became my husband. I got my power license the day before our wedding, a wedding conducted in two Mooneys flying formation over NYC. We have owned a 7AC Champ, two C170s and are now proud owners of a Bücker Jungmann. I fly some basic aerobatics and have competed in two local competitions–one of which I somehow won in the Primary category. The next goals are to continue working on Sportsmann-level aerobatic figures and begin to learn to do some sky-writing–just for fun. Smoke on! ——————————————————– Gail also sent us a few of her videos! Here’s a link to my latest video. My husband and I do lots of videos for fun. This one is from last weekend’s flights in honor of the 100th anniversary of women pilots: Here’s a quick cutie taking my friend Natalie around the patch to “Where are the simple joys of maidenhood” from Camelot: The summer I first learned to fly upside down was highly documented by my long-suffering husband.  This one is rather long but if you hang in until the end you get to hear me swear:...

Hella Comat  (Canada)

Hella Comat (Canada)

“Hello, my friend Lorrie Penner sent me your website, suggesting maybe you might want some international members.  I fly a Pitts Special at Waterloo-Wellington Airport (Identifier YKF)  in Ontario, Canada.” I bought my 1984 Pitts Special S1T in 2005 from her previous owner in Florida.  Waterloo Wellington Airport in Ontario is a great airport as we have an aerobatic box right over the runways, on the opposite side of the circuit. The controllers are amazing as they juggle air cadets, student pilots, IFR traffic, a helicopter school, and the airlines, as well as aerobatics! My instructor is Gerry Younger, a many time Canadian National Aerobatic Champion and an incredible teacher. In the past two years, I’ve started flying aerobatic competitions again, competing at the Intermediate level. It’s an awesome sport and I’ve met so many wonderful people; pretty well all of them are taildragger pilots! I’ve joined an new International Aerobatic Club chapter based in Buffalo. We are having our first contest June 4 – 6 in Olean, NY. I just love flying the Pitts, and am always amazed when I land it successfully! Even practicing circuits is an adrenalin rush. In the past 2 summers, I’ve flown it as far as Union City, Tennessee, Farmville, Virginia and Salem, Illinois. There’s only a 20 gallon gas tank so a 4.5 hour trip gets broken up into 3 legs. But that’s a good thing, because even though it’s fast with the 200 hp AEIO 360 and a constant speed prop, it’s pretty uncomfortable and drafty, and requires you to keep your hands on the stick at all times – no relaxing or map refolding. But I’m definitely not complaining. I love my Pitts! Photos and permission provided by Hella Comat....

Blakesburg 2009 by Elaine Huf

The following article was written by Elaine Huf Blakesburg 2009 For the past several years, my husband Tom and I head out to Blakesburg, Iowa for their annual Antique Airplane Fly-in over Labor Day weekend, always flying his 1944 twin Cessna T-50 Bobcat……a distance of 882 statute miles.  In the Bobcat, this usually takes one day with a fuel stop somewhere in Indiana. This year I decided to fly my 1947 7BCM (L-16A) Champ to Blakesburg, starting out Monday with the intention of arriving either late Wednesday or early Thursday – – – Tom would be flying out Wednesday or Thursday with the Bobcat and the camping gear. I departed our farm in Harford, PA (PS50) that afternoon with about 7 kts. on the tail.  First leg was 195 miles (2 hrs. 38 min.) to Clarion, PA (AXQ), I fueled up and got a free hot dog left over from Sunday’s Young Eagle Day.  Next stop was Medina, OH (1G5) 121 miles which only took 1:30 hrs. but I would soon be running out of daylight because of the late start.  Up went the tent and out came the coyotes howling at midnight (almost a full moon). Departing the next day, my first fuel stop was Auburn, IN (GWB) covering 173 miles in 2 hours.  My next stop was Dwight, IL (DTG) 175 miles in just under 2 hours.  Dwight has a 2,800 ft.grass strip (9/27) with 25′ of asphalt down the middle (due to drainage problems) and a second runway that runs North/South – 1,900 ft. of grass cut out of a cornfield.  This airport is owned by David and Jeanne Constantine – what a delightful couple!  I had about 2 more hours of daylight, but it was so pretty with all the corn fields and that nice grass runway I decided to stay there for the night.  I only had another 2:30 to 3 hr. flight to Blakesburg which I could easily fly the next day.  Taking their courtesy truck into Dwight, I did some sight-seeing downtown (which is what you are supposed to do on a cross-country).  Dwight is known for its large publishing company and beautifully restored railroad station.  The train stops in Dwight 3 times a day and runs from Chicago to St. Louis.  There are 2 restored gas stations from the original “Route 66” and you feel you could be back in the late 40’s or early 50’s.  It’s a lovely town, and I enjoyed the visit.  Plus they let me sleep in the office on the couch; I didn’t have to put up my tent overnight….no coyotes. This is a working farm with corn and soybeans in the surrounding fields – and the early morning fog came down to the tops of the corn stalks the next day.  I ended up having breakfast with the Constantine’s and as soon as the fog lifted I headed west again (another 7-8 kts. on my tail) to Monmouth, IL (C66) for fuel…115 miles with a groundspeed of 89 mph.  My husband had stopped there a day earlier and let the FBO know I would also be stopping in for fuel.  The FBO knew of a local pilot that used to fly the L-birds in Korea and he was there to greet me when I landed.  Leaving Monmouth, I flew the last 102 miles to Blakesburg, where I finally landed in the early afternoon….a total of 10 hours, 45 minutes – 882 miles. Beautiful weather and good friends at Blakesburg – this was the year of the “Corporate Wings” and any older aircraft that flew corporate was front and center.  Our Bobcat flew for Berghoff Brewery and Tom was smack in center field, as was the Lockheed that was used to film “Amelia” (starring Hilary Swank – the movie was due out in theaters soon).  We stayed to the end of the fly-in on Sunday, camping at night and enjoying the coyotes in Iowa (now a complete full moon!).  Sunday night is the awards night, and I was surprised to hear my name being called to the stage to receive the “people’s choice” award from the Arizona Chapter of the Antique Airplane Association.  I had given up hope of winning any prize, as there were so many beautiful and unusual airplanes that flew in – 362 in all, a banner year.  Getting ready to leave the stage with my award….which was the state of Arizona cut from sandstone with a bi-plane flying in a sunset painted on the surface…..stunning!….I was shocked to hear the announcer tell me to wait as I also won the “people’s choice” award from the Iowa Chapter……but they FORGOT to buy a trophy so I have to wait until they mail it to me (or bring it out to Lock Haven next year when their president visits with his J-2 Cub).  Another Champ won the award for “Sweetest Airplane” – – – great year for Champs in Blakesburg! On Monday, September 7th I flew the return trip with our friend Joe Kaminskas and his newly restored 1930 Waco RNF (which took Grand Champion at OSH this year) making our first fuel stop at Mt. Pleasant, Iowa (MPZ) about 55 miles East of Blakesburg.  We hit headwinds but our speeds were about the same, I was a bit slower so I took the lead.  He had no radio so we used hand signals and planned alternate airports for every fuel stop.  Our next destination was back to Dwight, IL and our groundspeed dwindled to about 66 mph.  There was rain ahead so we stayed overnight, and I got to give Joe the tour of Dwight.  The Constantine’s had renewed their vows a day earlier – 60 years of marriage – and even saved a piece of cake for me! After the morning fog cleared Tuesday, we tried to fly to another grass strip further south on Joe’s route (he has a strip outside of Harrisburg) but had to divert to Peru, IN (I76) after covering only 121 miles in one hour and 37 minutes – the rain and low ceilings kept us in Peru overnight.  Since I had been camping all along the way out and at Blakesburg, I opted to get a motel room in Peru – it is the Circus headquarters of the US and is the hometown of Cole Porter.  But the only thing I was looking for was a washer and dryer for my clothes. Wednesday had us sitting in the airport terminal until 2:30 PM when the ceiling FINALLY lifted and the rain stopped, and Joe went southeast and I headed northeast into headwinds again.  Around Ft. Wayne I hit horrible clear-air turbulence that shoved me sideways about 1/4 mile and 40 degrees off-course……I have never encountered wind-shear like that.  All I could do was throttle back and ride it out……quite unnerving to say the least.  I was afraid my wings were going to come off!  I was headed to Seneca County Airport in Tiffin, OH (16G) and was only 30 minutes away, and I couldn’t wait to land.  Even though it was sunny the turbulence was awful and I opted to stay put.  This airport has about 30 employees working in the propeller repair shop based there, and they were also in the process of restoring an L-4 Cub.  They pushed the owner’s Stearman further back in the hangar and stuck the Champ inside, then gave me a tour of the place.  3 beautiful collie dogs and one huge labrapoodle greeted me in the terminal and the courtesy car got me to a local motel.  I was wiped out from flying 2:30 hrs. in that turbulence, but I was 154 miles closer to home. The first 50 minutes I flew on Thursday was smooth and clear, and then I hit turbulence and mist and low ceilings again by Youngstown, Ohio.  When I made my first fuel stop 2 hours 25 minutes later (159 miles) in Grove City, PA the crosswind was so bad I had to slip it down to the runway into the crosswind, land and then taxi to the pumps with the right wing totally deflected – and stay on the brakes until the line crew came out to chock the wheels.  WHEW!  I had called ahead to make sure they had hangar space available and we put it away and I rented a car and drove home.  I had no intention of submitting myself or my airplane to those conditions – I could come back later and pick up the Champ. It rained the next several days, but Monday (Sept. 14th) was beautiful so my husband and I drove the rental to Grove City, got in the Champ and had (normal) tailwinds home – fuel stop in Lock Haven to visit with some friends and then HOME. Total time was 12 hours and 14 minutes, mileage home 891; total round trip was 1773 miles.  All in all, a great trip – I got to meet new friends and new airports – we are so lucky to be able to do that in this great country of ours.  Even with the turbulence and headwinds, flying over the beautiful countryside in a slow airplane is still the best! By Elaine Huf...

Elaine Huf  (Pennsylvania)

Elaine Huf (Pennsylvania)

Meet “Rudolph”, the Pink L-16A! Elaine Huf’s  “Rudolph” This  happy, 1947 Aeronca L16A belongs to Elaine C. Huf of Kingsley, Pennsylvania (Identifier PS50).  I got my private in 1968, and since then I have added Glider, Seaplane (in a 90hp Cub) and Instrument ratings. I currently own and fly this 1947 Aeronca 7BCM (L-16A) that I purchased in 2002 (I fell in love with this airplane in 1976 when I flew Search & Rescue with the Civil Air Patrol); and a cute, pudgy 1941 Baby Stinson 10A that trained WWII pilots – designated as an L-9B.  My husband and I restored the L-16A in 2007-2008 to ALMOST the exact condition as new. . . . some “poetic license” was involved in the paint scheme. Elaine Huf with Aeronca L-16 This airplane is a “kid magnet” wherever I land, and there are always youngsters under the wings at any show! My L-16 was called “Rudolph” by the guys in the Army Air Corp. back in the 1950’s and it is actually in the logbook several places such as “Rudolph in for brakes” etc. You gotta love Pink to fly this bird!! Once You see Rudolph, you just don’t forget! ——————————————- Elaine also owns a fine looking 1941 Baby Stinson 10A. “As I was walking past row after row of delightful antique and classic airplanes at Blakesburg, Iowa’s 2007 Fly-in, I came across a Stinson airplane I have never seen before.  It was a cute, chubby little thing – like someone stuck a Stinson 108 in the dryer.  Checking it out, I noticed a “for sale” sign on the prop. . . . must be a guy, I thought, as the sign was made from the back of a beer carton and it was duck-taped to the prop.  After one hop in the “Baby” Stinson, I was sold, and contacted the owner to fly it to our farm in PA.” “This 1941 Baby Stinson 10A is the first of the Voyager series, seats 3 and has a 90 HP Franklin engine.  She was drafted in WWII, designated as an L-9B (Liaison Aircraft), carried a one-hundred-pound bomb and one is credited for sinking an enemy sub off our Eastern coast during the war.  Several of these L-9B’s went to France right out of the Stinson factory.  We decided to put the original Civil Defense logo on the fuselage and wings and my husband crafted a fake “bomb” out of balsa wood for display.  After the war this Baby Stinson flew charter for both SANTA FE AIR TRAILS and OZARK AIRLINES, and has flown Corporate Executives for the COCA-COLA BOTTLING CO. of Southeastern Arkansas.  What a life she has led!  The previous owner restored the Baby in 1986 and we did a top overhaul on the 90 hp Franklin Engine last year.  At 5 1/2 GPH she gives us a range of about 750 miles, cruising at 108 mph. . . .take off speed is 55 MPH and landing speed is a gentle 47 MPH.  The Baby is a fun airplane to fly, is pretty forgiving and tracks straight on the runway.  You have to  be mindful of the tail in your turns, but she is as sweet as she looks.  Out of the 760 manufactured, only a handful are flying today.  I feel pretty lucky to have this “Baby Bomber” in our hangar.” Look hard – it’s a small picture!  Elaine with her favorite Stinson! Of note, Elaine Huf comments that Ladies Love Taildraggers now has featured 3 gals that have a shared “history” of being published in Sparky Barnes Sargent’s book “A HUNGER FOR THE SKY”.  For more information please visit  \”A Hunger for the Sky\”. Visit the following link to read Elaine’s article about her 2009 round-trip flight to Blakesburg. BLAKESBURG 2009 by Elaine Huf...

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