Dee Bond is based at NZME, Mercer Airfield, an uncontrolled aerodrome in the Waikato region of New Zealand.

I learned to fly after buying a LA4-200 Lake Buccaneer in 1986 as it seemed like a good idea at the time. We lived on the North Island and our holiday home is accessed by water-only in the South Island of New Zealand. I went on to get my PPL, CPL, and Instructor ratings but didn’t get my first tail-dragger rating in a PA18 until I’d been flying for 8 yrs.

I had limited tail-dragger time until I entered the Air Race Classic in 2002 in a Citabria.

I still have less than 250 hrs total tail-dragger time but since rebuilding a C180 & C185 now have 100 hrs combined on these types, which is what prompted me to join this group. My total time is 4,750 hrs. with 1,780 instructing, and the biggest aircraft I fly is the PBY Catalina for the NZ Catalina Preservation Society Inc. I am also an International Director for the Ninety-Nines Inc. and a member of AOPA, EAA, WIAI, NZAWA, NZAOPA, NZ C180/185 Club, and my local Waikato Aero Club.

Ratings: CPL(A) ASEL ASES AMEL AMES CFI and IFR, Multi-engine

Tail-dragger ratings include ADV333, C180, C185, CH7A, CH7B, M5-235, PA18, and Webb Spyder Mono.  I have also logged dual time, but no formal rating, in the following tail-draggers; ACR2, C01A, DH82A, FR150, Giles, RV4, ST75, T6, and VJ22

Multi-engine:
BE76 Duchess, CAT PBY-5A Catalina, DA42 Diamond Twin Star, HU-16 Albatross, P2006T Twin Tecnam, P68B/C Partenavia, PA23 Piper Aztec, PA30B Twin Comanche, PA31-310 Navajo, PA31-350 Chieftain, PA44-180 Seminole

Single-engine:
AA1 Grumman, AA5 Grumman, ADV333 Adventurer, C150/FA150/FR150 Cessna, C152 Cessna, C172 Cessna, C172RG Cutlass, C177RG Cardinal, C180 Cessna, C182 Cessna, C185 Cessna, C208B Grand Caravan, CH7A Aeronca Champ, CH7B Citabria, DA20 Katana, DA40 Diamond Star, LA4-200 Lake Buccaneer, LNC360 Lancair 360, M5-235 Maule, M20P Mooney, P2008 Tecnam, PA18-150 Piper Cub, PA28A Piper, PA28R Piper Arrow, PA38 Tomahawk, R200 Alpha/Robin, SR22 Cirrus, T-41D C172, TB10 Tobago

Hands-on experiences:
A-22LS Aeroprakt Foxbat, ACR2 AcroSport, ASTAR helicopter, B77 Skipper, BE35 Bonanza, C01A Bird Dog, C162 Cessna, DH 82A TigerMoth, EGLE Eagle 150B, G103 Grob Twin Astir, Giles, K-13 AS, L4A J3 Cub, P2002S Tecnam, R22 Robinson, RV4 Vans, ST75 Stearman, T6 Harvard, VJ22 Volmer, Webb Spyder Mono, YAK

Dream taildragger: The P40. My father flew the P40 during WWII, and I have had the privilege to ride backseat in one but have no hands-on time, although watching the de Havilland Mosquito being rebuilt and test-flown has been magical.

Thoughts on taildragging: I’m not sure “love” is the word for me, rather “infatuation”, as I have a long way to go to master the art of tail-dragger flying. My C180 is a beautiful machine to fly, so light in the controls – a butterfly compared to my C185 beastie. I enjoyed the Citabria for its great view and fun aerobatics. I did love my Stearman flight experience, with the wind in my hair, it was so maneuverable and easy to fly. I could be tempted to do more open-cockpit flying in the future, and I’d like to fly a Stampe. The Waco and the Beechcraft Staggerwing are also on my wish-list to fly, along with the Twin Beech 18, the Lockheed Electra, and the Douglas DC-3. All beautiful romantic aircraft!

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