Lane Davis is based at (KPDK) DeKalb Peachtree Airport, Atlanta, Georgia and sent in this wonderful pilot update!

2 Years ago, learning to fly in a 1946 JR Piper Cub, with my dad as my instructor

It’s funny to think back to when I first signed up for Ladies Love Taildraggers: I made my page, wrote a blurb, and sent in a few pictures, and never wrote again. I had to remember to bring a camera out to the airport because I didn’t have any photos of myself with the plane – now I have more than I know what to do with. Back then I didn’t know where flying would take me – I still don’t, but I’m enjoying the ride.

Lane Davis at 16

My neglect of this page is a little embarrassing; I suppose I told myself I was too busy with school and, of course, flight training, to spend time reading and writing about flying. But now, as a senior in high school during fall semester I have less time than ever – what with school, college application, fall sports, and, of course, flying, – but find myself wanting to spend all my time reading flying magazines and writing about flying. So I’ve decided to take a break from my college essays to chronicle a few of my fun (and not so fun) flying experiences over the last 20 months.

Last fall, my dad began teaching me about cross-country flights – old school (paper maps, wind calculators, plotters, and compasses). Here I found a new favorite thing about flying: drawing a line across a map and following it! I love dead reckoning and pilotage, watching the little symbols on the map turn into mountains and buildings and rivers beneath me, following that line from one end to another, and exploring all the fun airports around Georgia. My dad and I took lots of trips in the Cubby together; one day we flew up to Suches in the mountains of Georgia and landed on a grass strip to visit some friends.

On May 28, 2011, I soloed for my fist time. I soloed at the same airport where I trained: Peachtree-Dekalb, the second busiest airport in the state. It was exhilarating! It was a busy morning at PDK and the tower controller asked me to extend my down wind twice and turn an early crosswind. Luckily, I was used to all the chatter and demands on pilots. One of our favorite photos shows me coming in to land on runway 20R while a King Air comes in to land on 20L (he looks like he’s going to eat me alive!):

My landings were all good, and, to my extreme pleasure, I had one squeaker:

And finally, my Dad cut my shirt tail!

The summer after my first solo (sophomore year of high school) I wasn’t at home. But when I returned in the fall, it was back to flying. In October, I soloed out of the pattern for the first time. It was a quick flight, and my dad had flown with me earlier that day, but when I came back to the airport alone the wind had picked up. I wasn’t used to how light the plane was without my dad in it and on the landing, I ground looped the cub. I was so upset and embarrassed. My dad and I had worked in the pattern for so long, but I was still defeated by that crosswind. After the ground loop, my dad and I spent many more weeks working in the pattern on crosswind technique with winds as strong as 25 knots before I soloed again. I lost a lot of time and a lot of confidence due to that ground loop – I’ll never forget it. Even after I could handle any crosswind the airplane could it took me months to regain confidence in my skills.

Last June (just a few months ago) I passed my check ride, receiving my sport pilots license. I’m so happy to finally have my license, and I’m so glad I earned it in the cub!

My dad and me after I passed the check ride

Finally, this morning I went out to the airport and arrived just as the sun was rising. It was a quiet weekend morning; few business jets leaving and it was too early for the usually general aviation crowd. I silently pulled the Cubby out of the hangar by her prop. The chilly early morning breeze stirred an excitement and anticipation of my flight in me (even though I was only working in the pattern). I felt a new type of freedom – different from the liberation that comes from getting your drivers license or turning eighteen; this freedom was about simply being and enjoying. I wasn’t flying to get anywhere or prove anything; I was just flying. I took this photo this morning; the airport is certainly a nice place to wait for the sunshine.

Thanks!

Lane Davis

 

17 Comments

  1. Lane Hardison
    December 31, 2012, 6:34 am   /  Reply

    Hi Lane,

    It is neat to met another Lane It is name that is not too common as you know.
    Congrats on the Certificate!

    I am an Airplane driver Too!

    Lane

    • lane
      January 2, 2013, 10:30 am   /  Reply

      How cool! You’re right – I haven’t met very many “Lanes” out there. So cool to meet another Lane pilot!

      • Lane Hardison
        January 3, 2013, 7:17 am   /  Reply

        you can find me at lane_h10 at the yahoodotcom

        I flew a J3 from ADS “Dallas” to Columbus Ohio. That was in 1984
        A friend bought it for $8000.00 every one said he was Crazy.
        we both worked at the company in Dallas flying Lear Jets and Falcon 20’s for a charter company
        We were both FO’s I had 1800 hours at the time and about 300 of that was in cubs back in Southern VA
        I checked him out in the CUB and I flew it up north to have it recovered. After some research was conducted on it’s Pedigree
        It turns out it has some real History. It was 1 of 48 cubs built that flew in Europe and the USA to generate funds for the World War one pilots wives benevolent fund.

        More on all that Latter I just drove a pick up truck from Abilene TX to Jackson TN I am dead tired.
        Thanks for the reply Lane.

        Lane

        • lane
          January 4, 2013, 5:01 pm   /  Reply

          Wow! That is an incredible story (both yours and the airplane’s!). I’ve always wanted to take a long Cub trip (have you read the book Flight of Passage?), and I still hope to at some point. I should look into the history of the Cub I fly! I got a book for Christmas on the history of Piper and Piper Cubs that I’m looking forward to reading. Thanks so much for sharing your story Lane! My email is lanedavis17@gmail.com
          Lane

  2. Jerry Griggs
    October 17, 2012, 3:27 pm   /  Reply

    Hi Lane. Any relationship to Randy Davis in the area? He flies Learjet’s among other things out of Cartersville and his daughter, Bethany, is rated in Learjet’s as well as 90HP Super Cub owner.

    • Lane
      October 19, 2012, 4:20 pm   /  Reply

      Indeed there is a relation! Randy is my uncle and Bethany is my cousin! We are a flying family. I visit Uncle Randy and my grandparents in Cartersville frequently (my first solo cross country wad from PDK to VPC). Bethany has been an amazing mentor to me throughout my flight training. She took me to the Women in Aviation International conference in Reno a couple of years ago. We have some great photos of our cub and her cub parked next to each other in a grass strip in Carersville. How are you acquainted with Randy and Bethany?

      • Jerry Griggs
        October 31, 2012, 8:43 am   /  Reply

        Hi Lane, I know Randy and Bethany because I was Randy’s simulator instructor when he was flying the Learjet 24 and 35. Now I think he is in the Gulfstream and Citation mostly. Bethany came through Learjet simulator probably around 2004 or 2005. While I wasn’t her instructor I did meet her the two weeks she was in Wichita for training. Randy will remember me as I actively did many of his recurrent simulator training flights during 1984 until about 2002. I still communicate with him a few times per year on business between Phoenix Air and FlightSafety. I only met Bethany during those two weeks of training but she reminded me somewhat of my younger daughter. Bethany met a lot of people during training so her memory of me will be sort of vague.

        Tailwinds,
        Jerry Griggs

  3. lane
    October 16, 2012, 6:23 pm   /  Reply

    Thank you for all the kind replies! I have been inspired pilots like you all!

  4. Dan
    October 14, 2012, 9:04 pm   /  Reply

    You mention taking a break from essay writing to chronicle some of your flying experiences. Colleges look for candidates that can make things happen, who can solve problems and who believe in themselves. Isn’t that what flying does for each of us? Give those colleges more than just a transcript and another “typical” essay. Let them know about you and your mentors, your dad and that little yellow cub. Inspire those admission counselors with the story of how a young lady learned about responsibility and wise decision making while looking at a beckoning airplane and a wind sock pointed directly across a runway.
    You are one of the lucky few. Learning to fly as a kid damn near makes you unique. Those lessons you have learned go way beyond controlling an aircraft. Mature high school seniors are becoming a rare commodity and colleges seek them out. You have might not know it yet, but you have matured beyond most through your flying.
    Write about flying in your college essays. Good luck.

    • lane
      October 15, 2012, 6:50 pm   /  Reply

      Thank you so much for the thought full comment! I have been looking at writing about flying for my college essays – now I’m just finding the right words to describe everything that flying has given to me.

  5. Adina Szewczyk
    October 14, 2012, 8:59 pm   /  Reply

    Hey there fly girl! I loved your stories! I too learned to fly from my Dad, and have so many fond memories of flying with him. I am so impressed with your courage and perseverance after that ground loop. I’ve had a couple of close calls myself and know it takes strength to pick up and keep going, never letting fear get the best of you. You’re a strong girl, you’re gonna go far in whatever you decide to do in life. Blue sky’s and tailwinds girlie!! So proud of you!!

  6. Natalie McHaffie
    October 14, 2012, 8:14 pm   /  Reply

    hi Lane,
    I’ve flown a Pitts special for 25 years and last October I ground looped it. Or at least I almost did and ran it off the runway to stay upright on a badly handled landing in a gusty right crosswind that had picked up while I was away from the airport for the day. Sound familiar? I too have taken a long time to regain my confidence and only recently have truly started to simply enjoy flying instead of it being something that I “must do” for myself. So thank you from the other end of the experience spectrum for showing me that I’m not alone in taking a while to regain the smile on my face when I fly.
    Natalie

  7. Carri Hoagland
    October 14, 2012, 6:38 pm   /  Reply

    Wow.
    Good for you Lane. You have now joined the wonderful club of women pilots. Not only that but a Lady Taildragger Pilot. Keep flying and tailwinds to you.

  8. John Murphy
    October 14, 2012, 4:26 pm   /  Reply

    What a wonderful description of the joy of learning to
    fly and the joy of just flying for its own sake.
    Wishing you many good years of taildragger flying.
    John Murphy
    Lewisburg, TN
    7AC Champ

  9. Olivia
    October 14, 2012, 2:00 pm   /  Reply

    Awesome story and photos Lane! Congratulations on getting your licence! There’s nothing greater than just flying somewhere for the fun of it 🙂

  10. Sharon Moncada
    January 16, 2012, 8:28 pm   /  Reply

    Hi Lane, I have been researching Super Cubs/cubs for my sons who have shown interest in aviation. One has attended the Aviation Challenge in Alabama this past summer and now wants to do a Discovery Flight, etc. I have been recommended by various forums and a few pilots that a Super Cub would be a perfect plane for him to learn to fly in. Do you know if there are more cubs at PDK airport that i can go an look at it before I make a commitment to visit Alaska to purchase one.. Thanks in advance for your assistance. Ms. Sharon Moncada, Cumming, GA mobile: 678.438.0997

  11. March 7, 2011, 9:10 pm   /  Reply

    Hey Lane!

    Welcome to LLT!!! How cool you are learning to fly with your dad! I never got to take my dad flying when I became a pilot — so you enjoy each and every moment! We can’t wait to see pictures of you and your little cub! YOU GO GIRL!!!

    Cheers!
    Susan

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