Cross-Country on the Cheap!

Cross-Country on the Cheap!

If you love flying to new places and meeting new people, read on. If your love of flying means, like most, ya gotta do it on-the-cheap, keep reading. Best yet, if you’d like your personal flying adventures to inspire other ladies to fly, I have some very good news. There’s a way to make it happen and LadiesLoveTaildraggers is behind you 100%! For those with access to an airplane, it’s possible to cross the U.S. by air for fewer dollars than you might think. I’m talking about your own personal flying adventures — on the cheap! Granted, fuel is going to set you back but what if your overnight accommodations were free, and possibly your ground transportation too? What if flying buddies you didn’t even know you had, welcomed you with open arms, showed you around, put you up in their extra bedroom(s) and talked flying with you for hours? Would you do it? For that connection, would you also consider writing a simple blog post, snapping a few awesome pictures and submitting them to this website? I hope so because a weekend adventure or even a coast to coast adventure is possible if you know the secret; the LadiesLoveTaildraggers’ Bed, Breakfast & Beyond Travel registry. Following are just a few of the many offers to make you rethink staying home, let alone paying for expensive hotels or, heaven forbid, camping under your airplane’s wing! These offers and many more can be found in our Bed, Breakfast & Beyond Travel registry. LadiesLoveTaildraggers’ Wisconsin Host Pilot: “We are empty nesters and have 2 spare bedrooms; one is beach themed and has a queen size bed and the other is a cottage themed with 2 twins. These bedrooms share a bathroom. Our home sits on 10 acres. Very peaceful and beautiful. We have an above ground pool as well. Our home is about 5 minutes from the airport. Burlington is known as Chocolate City USA! We are also about 10 minutes from Lake Geneva, a well known tourist destination. We enjoy traveling and hearing about other peoples travels. We prefer no pets please.” LadiesLoveTaildraggers’ Washington State Host Pilots: “We are about 3 minutes drive from KTIW, we have a 2nd bedroom and bath available in our home, as well as a pull out bed at our hangar right on the airport. It’s a little walk to the restroom for that one. We have two small dogs in the home with us and it’s a very quiet community. We are about ten minutes from downtown Tacoma and about 45 minutes from Seattle as long as it is not rush hour. We are both pilots and can make great recommendations for nearby airports to explore and places within the community here and the state.”“Late night arrivals might be a little difficult for us as we both work. We may have an extra vehicle for day trips.” Airport has Courtesy car available.  LadiesLoveTaildraggers’ Alaskan Host Pilots: “We have a comfortable home on a lake with a dock for float planes, and are 5 road-miles from town center, where you can get fuel, mix with mountain climbers and tourists and enjoy a variety of restaurants and local adventures. We are both pilots, no kids or pets, no smoking at the house, but really like meeting other pilots and hearing about their airplanes and travels. PATK has transient parking and fuel. You can walk to town from there, or we can pick you up. There is a float plane/ski plane school across the lake from us.” LadiesLoveTaildraggers’ has Canadian Host Pilots as well: “We are 20 minutes away from Pierre-Elliott Trudeau International Airport (CYUL), but our preferred local airport is St. Lazare (CST3 – fuel available!) which is also close by. Montreal is a great city in all seasons, albeit some winters as this one (2018) can feel a little like Syberia! But all in all, the city is vibrant, there are two gliding clubs nearby and many taildragger enthusiasts. Our passion lies in old aircraft and old cars, motorcycles, lawnmowers, snowblowers, chainsaws, you name it! (John once said that life’s complexities are directly proportional to the amount of spark plugs in use!) We also have 2 children that are almost all grown up. No dogs yet…Our home was built in 1894 and therefore has the charm that goes with it. We have a spare bedroom with a double bed. There is one bathroom and a second “powder room”. LadiesLoveTaildraggers’ Whitehorse CYXY, Canada Host Pilots. Sarah and husband Kyle are happy to host everyone in their home. Courtesy car available.“Hi ALL!! My husband Kyle and I love finding N# registered airplanes hanging out at the fuel tanks in Whitehorse OR down at Schwatka Lake Seaplane Base looking for a place to stay or helpful local knowledge! We know what it’s like flying into an unfamiliar airport after a long day of flying and can appreciate a smile and a cold beer or glass of whiskey. Kyle and I run an aircraft maintenance shop here in Whitehorse at the International airport and would be happy and delighted to help in any way we can! Cheers from the Canadian side!-Our hangar is the Dark Green one on Taxiway Golf!-Also, smoking is fine with us but just not inside the house. -We have two dogs (husky & border collie) and extremely outgoing cat who LOVES the airplane!” As you can see, it’s no secret but may be time to shed some light on our LadiesLoveTaildraggers’ Bed, Breakfast & Beyond registry that connects local pilots at their home airports to aviators flying cross-country. Many host pilots are happy to open their homes for an overnight stay, provide transportation, share a meal, or show off local sights. Our Google Map shows a marker for each host pilot at their home airport, contact info and specifics about what they’d like to share with their flying guests. Our registry includes both women and men host pilots shown as pink or blue markers. Consider registering as a Host Pilot or search the link to connect with host pilots you would like to connect with. https://www.ladieslovetaildraggers.com/blog/bed-breakfast-beyond-a-travel-registry-for-aviators/ Please help me build our data base of Host Pilots and encourage more X-country flying by sending your pictures and flying blog stories to LadyTaildraggers@gmail.com....

High density altitude’s scary stuff!

High density altitude’s scary stuff!

High density altitude scares the hell out of me and that’s just the way I like it. When I’m flying outside of my familiar comfort zone and covering new ground (literally) I depend on that strong feeling of potential danger to wake me up and possibly save my butt.  If you’re from middle America like me, or even further East, density altitude is an often disregarded component to everyday flying. When you learn to fly at an airport with a mean sea level of 386’, and what you’re flying isn’t a total dog, you really never have to concern yourself with density altitude issues. It’s been a very long time since I studied up for the FAA written but admit I’ve occasionally used that knowledge on a few westbound solo cross-countries. For me the reality is “use it or lose it” so before a westbound, high altitude flight, I like a little review.  So what is density altitude? It’s the air density given as a height above mean sea level.  I prefer my explanations simple so that translates to me personally in two ways. I always remember that at higher density altitudes my aircraft will have less lift, and reduced engine power. If you understand that, you’ll be where you need to be, ahead of the power curve.  “As altitude increases, the air’s density decreases. … The thin air at high density altitudes reduces lift, because it exerts less force on your wings; reduces engine power, because there’s less air to mix with the fuel; and reduces thrust because the propeller is less efficient in thin air.” Keep in mind, as the temperature and/or humidity goes up, especially at higher altitudes, the density altitude goes up in addition to the airport’s actual altitude.  Last week Boyd and I decided to make an impromptu Decathlon flight 1,050 miles to the West. Cody, Wyoming was our flight destination but as luck would have it, Casper was the only location with a rental car available, a car we desperately needed to visit our goal, Yellowstone National Park. Casper was a whopping 5 hour car drive from Yellowstone’s east gate but Casper turned out to be king; a cheap rental car – the ONLY rental car for miles, and it made the decision easy.  I admit we did the one thing I was determined not to do, add additional hours driving time beyond the hundreds of miles we’d surely drive just to see Yellowstone. OK, I’m willing to take a little bad with a lot of good! The more I fly, the less I like road trips.  Either way, Cody at 5102’ msl and Casper at 5344’ msl were both well outside the density altitude we came from. At our time of arrival the temperature at Casper was 93 degrees with a density altitude of 8404’. Keep in mind that ‘less lift and reduced engine power’ holds true for all high density altitude landings – and take-offs too.  LANDINGS: When landing at high density altitudes you will have a reduction in engine performance AND a faster ground speed. “As the density of the air decreases a wing needs to fly at a higher true airspeed to maintain the same indicated airspeed. At high density altitude, therefore, a given indicated airspeed equates to a faster ground-speed than it does at sea level (assuming the same wind conditions).” What that means is, don’t land by visual cues, you’ll be too slow. Land using the same indicated airspeeds you would at your home airport, keeping in mind your true airspeed may be as much as 15 mph faster than at sea level.  DEPARTURE: If a high elevation departure is new to you, do yourself a favor and talk to the locals. When departing at high density altitudes you will likely need to lean your engine for a smooth idle, even during taxi. On take-off, lean the engine for best power. On many aircraft, this is necessary or you will not have enough power to take off. When the airplane comes off the ground, do not climb out of ground effect (one wingspan of height above the ground) until you are at your best-rate-of-climb indicated air speed. Expect a ¼ to ⅓ of what your sea level rate-of-climb would be and a much flatter climb angle. It might take you several miles to even get 500’ higher than your departure point. Pre-plan your obstacle clearances for departure with the knowledge that your climb gradient is going to be very shallow....

Odd Ducks, Unusual Aircraft 1921 to 1934

Odd Ducks, Unusual Aircraft 1921 to 1934

Have I mentioned that since Sun ‘n Fun 2019, in addition to membership (on steroids) in LadiesLoveTaildraggers, I’m now also officially a member of the Ninety Nines? This women’s flying organization does much to encourage more women to fly and I’m behind that mission 100%. I’ve discovered that one of the many benefits to membership is being included in a group email where members promote local and national aviation events, suggest educational opportunities, post news that’s near and dear to their hearts and more. It’s because of one email from Marion Nauman with the Columbia Cascades 99s, that I created this post and am sharing something amazing with you now – one incredible video. Hold on to your hats and be prepared to be amazed by the ingenuity of very early aircraft designers. Most incredible to me is the content is actual moving film from nearly a century ago. The first few are silent but the majority you can hear the aircraft designer/representative/pilot speak and even better, the sound of the engine(s) and voices in the crowds. It’s a wonderful peek into the past that gives a true sense of the imagination, inventiveness and vision these inspiring individuals had. Today’s headline is the video “Odd Ducks” ‘Unusual Aircraft from the Movietone Archives 1921 – 1934’ and is surely meant to be shared and enjoyed. It’s very ironic that the day I received the video link, I also received an email from a male pilot enthusiast bringing my attention to one of the aircraft featured in this video, an early wide-body airliner (14 ft.). Amazing timing Steve! The Burnelli RB-1 was an American twin engine biplane airliner from 1920 with a lifting body fuselage design. Clad in corrugated duralumin (an early type of age hardened aluminum) I can’t help but think it wants to be an early Airstream camper – with wings! Before unveiling the video, here are a few screenshots from this incredible collection. As noted in this video “FILM, Fox Movietone Outtakes from the Moving Image Resource Collection at the University of South Carolina, (MIRC.SC.EDU). Editing Copyright @ 2019 Richard Boylan. Trust me, the video quality is much better than my screenshots. So without further delay, I hope you enjoy this video as much as I did....

So sad to say goodbye

So sad to say goodbye

Thoughts of “NO, you can’t make me go home!” were on my mind this morning as I walked to my Decathlon from the AirVenture Bus Arrival Terminal. I’d just checked out of my Gruenhagen dorm room at the University of Wisconsin OSH, one day after returning there late-night and finding a padlock on my door for non-payment. Note to self, get your dates straight or eviction is imminent. When it comes to “All good things must come to an end”, as much as I don’t want to believe it, even this one-of-a-kind, annual event must end. Today, for me, was that day. There are so many amazing things packed into one short week at AirVenture it’s a shame we have to say goodbye. My Decathlon and I are back home tonight, after spending 8 ridiculously fun days at Oshkosh, Wisconsin. It was crazy busy with gillions of things to see, thousands of people to talk to and an incredible variety of taildraggers to take in. I am tickled to have reconnected with so many lady taildragger pilots and met so many gals who love to fly taildraggers....

The Happiest Place on Earth

The Happiest Place on Earth

The happiest place on earth today was surely Oshkosh, Wisconsin, home to Airventure the past 50 years. The sun shined, the fields dried and, area by area, parking spots officially reopened to incoming traffic. Homebuilt parking – Open. General Aviation parking- Open. IAC parking – Open! On Day 1 of AirVenture the tide turned and ‘normal’ is within sight! Ladies, if you’re at Airventure – Day 2, Tuesday, please don’t miss our LadiesLoveTaildraggers noon lunch at the Tall Pines Cafe. Location, just before the ultralight field. Ride the tram! Hope to see ya there....

Come on up, the water’s fine!

Come on up, the water’s fine!

It was a fabulous first for me, arriving at AirVenture 2019 a whopping 60 hours before it officially begins. There’s plenty happening on the grounds at OSH in the days and weeks before kickoff, high time to see it unfold for myself – not to mention live-it-up even longer than usual! This lovely little bird, Ray Hegy’s El Chuparosa, welcomes you to the big event at the famous Brown Arch. Its prominent position indicates it made an appearance here 50 years ago, the very first time EAA hosted their flyin at Oshkosh, Wisconsin. In 1969 the event moved from Rockford, Illinois before coming to Oshkosh. My prize for early Friday arrival was Queen Bee status in IAC parking near show center. Make that my bird, not me! Of course, it was short lived but awesome while it lasted! My flight up was uneventful, scooting along around 2200′ under a cloud layer most of the way. Dennis Hutchinson and his Davis DA2A were right there with me; behind, ahead, 9 oclock, you name it and a cool view for me for a few hours. Without a doubt, the big pre-story of AirVenture this year is the rainy weather. The big question is, how quickly will acres of soggy ground that thousands of aircraft are expecting to park on, take to dry out and become accessible? The latest news is the field is temporarily closed to incoming traffic for up to 24 hours. Keep in mind, it’s extremely wet right now but “temporarily” is the key word. Drainage is good here and warm weather and imminent sunshine will dry it out quickly. In the meantime hundreds of volunteers from EVERYWHERE are taking it all in stride, smiling and working like crazy preparing for your arrival. As I write, the rain has stopped and the sun is already peaking out. Hope you don’t let a little rain dampen your spirits and keep you away. And last but not least, today Boyd and I are at my favorite place on earth celebrating one very big day with a few favorite aviators. Big day?!...

Kendra Hart, “The Most Flying Fun!”

Kendra Hart, “The Most Flying Fun!”

Over the years we’ve sent many LLT scholarship winners to train with Brian Lansburgh at Tailwheel Town in Oregon. Brian’s not one to let tailwheel candidates off easy and he requires students develop a high level of precision control as they learn new maneuvers and the nuances of flying a tailwheel aircraft. By the time pilots complete their flight training and ground school with Brian, they are a more skilled and confident pilot. It’s the reason I love sending scholarship winners to train with Brian. When it comes to stick and rudder skills, more than a few of our scholarship winners have received excellent reports back from Brian. In the case of Kendra, Brian writes “Kendra may be the best damned pilot you’ve ever sent me. She has a lot of talent!” Way to go Kendra – you represented us well! We all appreciate your very kind thank you message. From everyone who donated to our scholarship program, and from Brian who significantly discounted his fee to us, you are very welcome. Following is Kendra’s feedback about earning her tailwheel endorsement. It’s been an incredible 10 days at Sisters Airport with Brian! I have had the most fun flying I’ve ever had this past week. With the beautiful backdrop of Central Oregon, our first flight was “shaking hands” with the sporty red and silver Cessna 140 that Brian flies – to include dutch rolls, sky doodles, stalls and spins, and education on coordination without looking at the turn coordinator. We even did some irrigation pivots! After that first flight I was wondering what I’d gotten myself into haha?! Our next flight focused on some landings and “multiples” – transitioning from a wheel landing to a 3 point landing and back to a wheel landing. Challenging, but so fun! We also stopped for coffee with the owner of a grass strip we flew into and even got some formation time on our way back to Sisters! Our next day Brian introduced some mountain flying which was absolutely gorgeous (we found sheep on the mountain too!) and then moved us on to slaloms on the grass and pavement runways at a nearby field. Another difficult maneuver that Brian makes look easy. Our last day focused on a dead stick landing (gulp!) from 8,000 ft and emergency engine failures after takeoff – what a wild ride! He taught me how to hand prop too! I got out of the airplane after each flight sweaty and exhausted, but with a huge smile.  I am so so grateful for the opportunity to come and learn with Brian – he is an incredible teacher. Patient and so knowledgeable – he has pushed me to think about flying in a completely new way and to not just accept the status quo. I have enjoyed being pushed outside my comfort zone and experiencing what an airplane can really do. With Brian’s watchful eye, I felt comfortable experimenting and stretching my limits and it’s helped to build my confidence. I cannot say enough great things about Brian and the folks at Sisters and their hospitality....

AirVenture 2019 LLT Events Sign-up

AirVenture 2019 LLT Events Sign-up

Is AirVenture/OSH on your July calendar? It’s the one single homage that’s fulfilled annually by aviation obsessed pilots – EAA’s AirVenture, Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Monday, Jul 22, 2019 – Sunday, Jul 28, 2019. I’ve made the pilgrimage for years with anticipation and excitement, always leaving inspired and motivated. You are guaranteed to have a GREAT time at OSH, meet more lady pilots and see more incredible taildraggers than anywhere else on earth. It’s also LadiesLoveTaildraggers’ next big gathering with 3 opportunities to meet and greet!! That’s right, this year we have 3 get-togethers at AirVenture that I would love you to be a part of. At the end of this post is a sign-up sheet for those who are likely to attend. No charge, so go ahead and sign up for one or all!  Lady taildragger pilots are few and far between, a rare breed in aviation. If you love flying a taildragger, you’re one of us and we need you! Our goal at AirVenture is to gather as many lady taildragger pilots together in one place as possible at each of our events. Please join us, support us and cheer us on this year at AirVenture 2019! Sign up Form:...

Tackling a plane you’ve never flown

Tackling a plane you’ve never flown

Am I the only pilot who thinks it’s a really big deal to solo a different airplane for the first time? For me, there’s the ‘yikes’ phenomenon floating through my brain every time I’ve done it. I’ve been known to do all kinds of crazy stuff mentally pumping myself up for an initial ‘first flight’ in a new airplane. The “really big deal” manifests itself in many ways and can include all the textbook stuff; rapid heart rate, shallow, rapid breathing and tense muscles. When you think about it, soloing is the original fight-or-flight scenario, ‘flight’ being the key word – and you’re the pilot of the flight! At this point in life I consider myself a seasoned pilot, yet soloing a different type aircraft for the first time can be akin to my first solo. (At least seriously close!) A different aircraft, i.e. different configuration and speed on take off and landing, stall speed, potential requirements for gear, flaps, and prop settings, all potentially foreign to me. If it’s your turn and you’re lucky, the owner will take you around the patch for a few landings or a CFI will check you out and get you signed off in the new bird. Of course, it’s possible your dream taildragger might be a single place aircraft and, other than ground instruction, you’ll be on your own; a RV3, Pitts S1, a Midget Mustang and more. They are all single seat birds and a departing pilot might be flying in new territory for the very first time. Their ability to successfully navigate around the patch or cross-country depends on the expertise they’ve gained as a pilot and their confidence to make the first approach, at the right airspeed, in a very different aircraft and land it successfully. It’s exciting stuff and a necessity for pilots determined to explore the endless world of aircraft that awaits, but outside the usual comfort zone for many pilots. Transitioning is something we can all do it, we just need to understand the basics – what’s required to safely fly our goal aircraft? Have I flown an airplane with similar characteristics and performance? How big is the jump from what I’ve been flying? Sometimes the answer is, go find a similar two-place and get checked out in it before making the transition to single place. Without a doubt, the answer also includes Stall Speed/Slow Flight. If there’s one single must, it’s taking the aircraft you’ve never flown before, climb to 3000′ and find its stall speed. Put the airplane in landing configuration, bring it to a full stall then use that speed times 1.3 and practice slow flight; to the left, to the right, without descending. Get comfortable. Spend some slow flight in landing configuration. While you practice landings, including the flair at 3000′ +agl, as you fly away, power it up and reconfigure as though it’s a go-around, just like you’d do on a botched approach. Retract the flaps, re-trim the aircraft, gear up and pretend you’re going around. You never know, a buffalo just might walk across the runway on your very first short final. Transitioning in a two-place or four-place aircraft might be more pilot-friendly but not necessarily easier, and at some point, you’ll be on your own. In my experience, those moments of truth are life highlights, define me, and will surely flicker through my consciousness when I depart this earth. Two place airplanes are a totally different genre and the ease in transitioning is obvious. A check-pilot by your side makes all the difference and eases the pilot into the comfort zone. I was thrilled the day I soloed Boyd’s RV7 for the first time. I’d love to year your experience transitioning from aircraft to aircraft; the good, bad and ugly. Tiny taildraggers to the big iron! Please post your comments....

New LadiesLoveTaildraggers’ Fly-in Tshirts Available!

New LadiesLoveTaildraggers’ Fly-in Tshirts Available!

Happy news! There’s a small group of LLT ladies at the helm, researching and fine tuning all the details of our upcoming October 3 – 6, 2019 Ladies Love Taildraggers Natchitoches Louisiana Fly-in. Researching? Oh yes, I’m talking local historical and plantation tours, fly-outs, restaurants, and a whole lot more. Looks like this could be our best yet fly-in, and that’s saying a lot! 🙂 If you’re not yet up to speed on our fly-in, check out the details here. Pre-registration required: https://www.ladieslovetaildraggers.com/blog/2019-ladieslovetaildraggers-natchitoches-fly-in/ Fly-in tshirts are pre-order only this year for the bargain price of $20, including shipping to your home. If you’d like to order, here’s the link: https://www.ladieslovetaildraggers.com/product/2019-flyin-tshirt-ladies-fit-white/ There are limited rooms available in downtown Natchitoches, (seriously, there are only 2 hotels!) so reserve your rooms now. September 1st our block of rooms is gone – even sooner if all rooms are booked before then. Hope to see you there! ‘...

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