Grace Kohlert     (Illinois)

Grace Kohlert (Illinois)

Grace Kohlert is based at KDKB, DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport, DeKalb, Illinois. My name is Grace Kohlert and I am 19 years old. I grew up in aviation; my father owns an FBO out of DeKalb and is an IA and a corporate pilot, and really inspired me to get into it, so I got lucky. In between my freshman and sophomore year of high school, I decided to help out more at the airport (which mainly included a lot of filing, grilling lunches, and cleaning everything.) One day, a B-17G came into DeKalb, and one of the guys in charge of it saw me cleaning the leading edges of one of Fly America’s planes. He came by on a golf cart and asked me if I’d like to clean off the leading edges of the B-17G which was on the neighboring ramp. I was thrilled and said yes, and excitedly went there to clean. I got a few pictures taken and a tour of the plane. On the day the B-17 was supposed to depart the airport, the 4th of July 2016, it was taking people on rides. I watched all of its engines start, the taxi, and the takeoff pretty excitedly. One of the CFIs at Fly America saw me and convinced me to go up in a Cessna 152 with him. That was my first flight lesson. I had my first solo in that plane in November of that year, and continued cleaning and interacting with everyone at the airport. In late spring and early summer, my father decided that it was time for me to fly The Pumpkin, an orange 1947 Cessna 140 that my father did his flight training in and still owns today. I was really lucky to be given that opportunity. My first solo in that was in late June of 2017. I spent nearly every day that summer at the airport, and I would often solo it in the pattern in the earlier mornings or later at night. My father and I frequently took on adventures to other airports to drop off or pick up different airplane parts and paperwork, and he also taught me how to land on shorter, soft field runways in that plane. The Pumpkin went into its annual the beginning of December 2017, and my dad decided that he wanted to completely redo and modernize the cockpit. Unfortunately, given that he’s needed to focus on other customers and we’ve both been busy, this project is not yet finished, but is getting close. With him helping and watching and approving everything I was doing, of course, he let me help him by taking panels off the airplane, testing the ELT, and change some of the lights. During the summer of 2018, I had started to visit and look at some potential schools that offered aviation programs. In October of 2018, I became accepted into Lewis University, one of the few schools I had applied for that I could realistically go to, and after considering my other options, I had decided to enroll on Valentine’s Day of 2019. After graduating high school, I spent about two weeks preparing for the private pilot written test. When that was done I moved to a Piper Warrior II to complete my training. I was at the airport nearly every day. If I wasn’t flying, I was doing ground school. When I got home, I was studying the ground material I had learned, alongside working in a box office in my hometown. Despite getting my wisdom teeth out that summer, I still showed up regularly to study and to fly. I was able to advance in my training fairly quickly and complete all of my solo cross country flights in one day. The day of my checkride and oral, my flight examiner told me that I had some of the most complete responses she had had in awhile, and that she was happy to go up with me. I got my PPL that day (late August of 2019) and started at Lewis University the following Tuesday as a freshman. At Lewis, I am flying Cessna 172 S-models and working on obtaining my Instrument rating, and I am planning on staying there over the summer to get my Commercial license. In between semesters, I will also be studying and taking the written tests to get an AGI rating so I can help people at Fly America prepare for their written tests and orals. My goals relating to aviation include getting my ratings done quickly, becoming a gold seal CFI (or CFII), gaining hours, and then, hopefully, being put in the right seat of something and working my way up from there. I currently have 169.8 hours. I try to fly whenever I can, and I usually gain more hours every week. Aside from my life at the airport, I am a college student that enjoys cooking, exercising, and spending time with her family and friends. I am also learning how to knit and crochet. Aircraft I have flown: Cessna 152, Cessna 140, Piper Warrior II, Cessna 172S Dream taildragger: Either a Cessna 140, just because I’ve already flown it, or a Piper Cub, just because I’d love to try it. I can’t decide! I love flying taildraggers because they’re more fun to fly than nose wheel airplanes! I like the extra thrill, and it’s taught me how to be very precise with using the rudders, and I enjoy lifting the tail upon takeoff. Landing it is loads of fun, too! Also, I love how much (leg) room there is in there compared to the other Cessnas I have flown – too much for me! I’m 5’2″ and I used to have to fly it with five pillows before getting my own and thicker cushions. My nickname used to be 5 Pads, lol. Additional comments: I found out about this group because I met Judy. She flew into DeKalb when she was coming back from Oshkosh this year, I think. Also, I’ve chosen to include some of my favorite pictures taken in The Pumpkin, because that’s my favorite plane out of all the ones I have flown....

Chelsea Montgomery, Minnesota

Chelsea Montgomery, Minnesota

Chelsea is based at KMIC, Crystal Airport in Minneapolis, MN. She is from Bloomington, MN and just got her PPL with Club Cherokee! She is attending ATP Flight School in Mesa, AZ to further her flight training. Aircraft flown: Piper Archer, Piper Warrior Dream taildragger: J-3 Cub! Why I love taildraggers: I have heard that learning to land them is challenging but rewarding....

Mikaela Young, Alaska

Mikaela Young, Alaska

Mikaela is based at PAFA, Fairbanks International Airport, in Fairbanks, Alaska.  Straight out of high school, Mikaela started A&P school and worked as a mechanic’s helper at Everts Air Cargo working on DC-6’s and C-46’s. She graduated a year later and tested and received her license. Almost two years later, she completed all the requirements to become a Flight Engineer on the DC-6 but had to wait a month till her 21st birthday before she received her license. Shortly after turning 22 Mikaela started flight training for her PPL. Within the next year she tested and received her private, instrument, commercial and multi engine rating. She was then checked out as a FO part 125 in the DC-6. Within the last 5 months since that happened she has received her tailwheel endorsement, CFI and single engine sea rating. She is currently in the middle of ground school and completing her ATP written so she can start training and get typed in the C-46 and DC-6. Ratings: Commercial ASEL, ASES, AMEL, Instrument airplane, CFI, Flight Engineer (DC-6) Aircraft flown PA-18, C-182, C-172, C-150, DC-6, C-46, PA-28R, PA-23, PA-32, AT8A, PC12 Dream taildragger: PA-18 Why I love taildraggers: They give me the endless opportunity to explore this beautiful state!...

Alyssa Cobb, Maryland

Alyssa Cobb, Maryland

Alyssa is based at KFDK, Frederick Municipal Airport in Frederick, MD. She owns a Cessna 170B and loves to fly taildraggers and go to grass strips! She just had her first child in July, so she is not flying very much at the moment. Ratings: Commercial pilot single and multiengine; Seaplane (single); CFI, Tailwheel endorsement Aircraft flown: Cessna 150/152, 170A/B, 172, 182; Piper Super Cub, Archer, Arrow, Aztec; Citabria, Decathlon Dream taildragger: Cessna 170B! Why I love taildraggers: I started flying with my dad in taildraggers off a grass strip behind our house! Taildraggers are true aviation for me. My dad rebuilt the Cessna 170B that I bought from him, and I met my husband through the airplane — he came to preheat the engine for me one winter day. So, it has many special memories with it, and I look forward to making memories with my son in it!...

McKenzie Mitchell, Alaska

McKenzie Mitchell, Alaska

McKenzie is based at PAFA, Fairbanks International Airport, in Fairbanks, Alaska. She is a hunting and fishing guide in Alaska who is looking to incorporate off-airport flying into her current work 🙂 Aircraft flown: PA-12, Cherokee 140, Piper Arrow, Cessna 150, 152, 172 Ratings: Private, Instrument, Tailwheel, Instrument and Advanced Ground Instructor Dream taildragger: PA12 Why I love taildraggers: Access to the Alaska wilds!...

Raquel Labastida, Florida

Raquel Labastida, Florida

Raquel is based at FLL, Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She is currently a flight attendant but recently has become very interested in changing roles and becoming a pilot! She says she talks with the pilots that she works with all the time and they keep encouraging her to get her PPL. Once she did the introductory flight she fell in love with flying and now she is currently in the process of finding schools/CFIs and scholarships to help pay for it. Aircraft flown: Cessna 150 Dream taildragger: Bellanca 14-13 Raquel says, “I am excited to be a part of this women in aviation group and can’t wait to meet other women with the same passion!”...

Jodie Gawthrop, Indiana

Jodie Gawthrop, Indiana

Jodie is based at KUMP, Indianapolis Metropolitan Airport inIndianapolis, Indiana. She is a 19-year-old private pilot-turned-aircraft mechanic with an affinity for anything that flies. While she says she didn’t grow up in a flying family, she stumbled into aviation on her own after her first airplane ride at 13. She fell in love with the exhilarating freedom of flight, and it’s something she enjoys sharing with others. Through maintenance, she’s discovered that it’s all the more gratifying to fly when you can understand and appreciate how every component on the aircraft operates. Jodie says, “Flying is even more fun with friends from all walks of life, and the aviation community is incredibly supportive.” Jodie has a penchant for piston engines and a passion for warbirds. Roaring radial engines, mighty V12s, and the birds they power have always fascinated her; she hopes to do everything she can to keep ‘em flying. When not around airplanes, Jodie can be found flying and chasing hot air balloons around central Indiana. Aircraft flown: 7GCBC & 7KCAB Citabria, 7AC Champ, 8KCAB Decathlon, C-162, C-172, C-182, PA-24, PA-28, Extra 300 Dream taildragger: A polished Cessna 195, one of the classiest aircraft ever! Why I love taildraggers: I love taildraggers because there’s something particularly beautiful about flying a fabric-covered airplane from a grass strip. It’s a nod to aviation’s roots, and these aircraft never fail to make me smile....

Karina Skinner, Massachusetts

Karina Skinner, Massachusetts

Karina is based at IB9, Mansfield Municipal Airport in Mansfield, Massachusetts. She is a student pilot with a tailwheel endorsement. She began to learn about planes when she was 8 years old. After that, she would read and watch almost anything she could about WW2 planes (mostly the fighters and pursuit planes). Karina decided that she wanted to learn how to fly. Two years ago her older sister got a flying lesson. Karina says, “I asked my mom if I could also go up. Two years later, I’m still flying and learning.” Aircraft flown: Sport Cruiser (CRUZ) , Warrior PA28-151, Cherokee PA28-140, Cessna 172, Citabria 7GCBC Dream taildragger: A Republic P-47 Thunderbolt or maybe an F4U Corsair! Why I love taildraggers: They are such a joy to fly in! They are able to do different landings unlike nosewheel planes and it’s a different experience flying in a tailwheel! They are fun to take off in and learn about, especially when you are sitting in the pilot’s seat getting the first-hand experience....

Kimberly Jane Olsen, Australia

Kimberly Jane Olsen, Australia

Kimberly is based at YSCN, Camden Airport in Camden, New South Wales, Australia. She says she is mostly a glider pilot these days. In fact, she is an L2 Gliding Instructor (CFI). But Kimberly flew taildraggers long before you needed an endorsement! She flew a Mudry CAP10 for military selection. Aircraft flown: Mudry CAP10, CT4, C172, C152, PA28, Skyfox Gazelle, Quicksilver Dream taildragger: Stinson 108 Why I love taildraggers: They are real airplanes 🙂...

Elizabeth Hawley, Texas

Elizabeth Hawley, Texas

Elizabeth is based at Kickapoo Downtown Airport in Wichita Falls, TX. (Wouldn’t you love to say that airport name every time on final? It just makes me smile!) Elizabeth says, “The joy of flight came to me when I was almost fifty by way of my husband. He introduced me to it and I have not stopped flying. We live in North Texas where the weather is fair for most of the year, giving me the opportunity to fly year-round. My other passion is photography, and practicing both makes me feel like I’m in Heaven.” She holds an IFR rating. Aircraft flown: Cherokee 180, Cessna 150, Bonanza A36, Bonanza V35B, Citabria Bellanca, Luscombe 8F. Dream taildragger: Luscombe 8F Why I love taildraggers: Taildraggers engage every muscle in your body when you take off, cruise, and land. They make you tell them what to do, and in this way, it’s the closest I’ve been to flying an airplane....

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