Vanessa Jump Nelson flies a J-3 Cub and is based at Stark’s Twin Oaks (7S3) in Hillsboro, Oregon.

I had my first flight at 6 weeks old with my dad, who was licensed in 1947, and I grew up taking it for granted that we flew to Grandma’s in Central Washington on weekends, and up to the Puget Sound to get oysters in the seaplane.  I got my Private in 1979 and then didn’t fly for decades.  My kids are grown now, and when my dad died in 2004, I took a few A & P classes to better understand the process, and hired Evergreen Aviation & Restoration in Vancouver to help me restore my Dad’s J-3 that he and I had flown around Oregon, as it was filled with my memories of landing in farmer’s fields and on little sandbars.

They’d sold the wood wings & engine.  We had some metal spars and a few ribs, so the new wings were built up from there.  I bought an 0-200 Continental and did the STC for that, which required a new engine mount, special prop, and an additional 18 gallon wing tank.  While we were at it, we added float fittings….just in case we ever wanted to put her on floats.

“Tumbleweed” was based at Evergreen Field in Vancouver from when Dad bought it in 1969 till he took it apart and shelved it there in the hangar in the early 90’s.  It was a five year process, and I just got it flying in May and am almost ready to “second solo”.

At the 2010 Northwest Antique Airplane Club Fly-In it received awards for “Best Piper Long Wing” and “The Rod Stillinger Award for Best J-3 Cub”. Thanks to instructor Eldon Fitzgerald for helping me get her over there.

It’s hangared at Stark’s Twin Oaks, in Hillsboro Oregon.  At Twin Oaks I’ve taken a portion of my instruction from Emily Stark, a female taildragger specialist, who also grew up with a J-3 and happens to be the daughter of one of my late father’s flying buddies!

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Cool to see Julie Richardson (with Friskie the biplane) on here!  She lives across the street from where my parents lived at Evergreen, and gave me some advice in the beginning.  She saw T.W. in storage and she came to Pearson and talked to me there last weekend.

10 Comments

  1. June 2, 2011, 7:42 pm   /  Reply

    Vanessa,

    I’ve been to Scappouse! On way to Orcus Island. I live in McCall ID and fly a Scout. Come to my Woman Wise Airmanship Adventure in Smiley Creek Idaho, a lush green grassy airstrip. Affordable. Lots of learning and fun. EAA, AOPA, WIA plan to send writers to cover event. It will be a happening, that’s for sure. Camping is free. Lodging or teepees available but limited. Check it out on this site or my own http://www.mindelevations.com. Hope to see you there along with many other taildraggers ladies!!!

  2. Lisa Martin
    March 30, 2011, 8:11 am   /  Reply

    Special project! There must be a million memories wrapped up in every moment you spend with that cub.

  3. Julie Hartlaub
    March 29, 2011, 9:39 pm   /  Reply

    Hope you enjoyed your visit to the museum. Hope you fly your Cub into Airventure.

  4. Linda
    October 21, 2010, 11:25 am   /  Reply

    I noticed your J-3 Cub yesterday as you were taxiing as well. I just finished my first Owner-Assist annual and it was time well spent. I’m so happy Danny and Phil at Twin Oaks are willing to work with me. When I first asked Danny about doing one, I asked would he be willing to work with an owner even if the owner didn’t know how to do one. His appropriate reply was, “No problem, it’s just time she learns!” And learn I did while hopefully saving a couple of bucks. I look forward to catching up with you and love the idea of getting the NW LLTs together for breakfast sometime.

  5. Vanessa Nelson
    October 21, 2010, 12:28 am   /  Reply

    Thanks, Vickie! Linda – I was taxiing down to do my run-up and telling Emily about your post online here, and she said “She’s flying with my brother right now.” And then when I was doing my run-up, Emily pointed to a beautiful red & white Supercub and said “There she is!” After we went flying, I did stop by your hangar but you were already gone. I’ll try again next time. Thank you, Judy, for putting this blog together and helping us find each other! Yay, Judy!

  6. Linda
    October 18, 2010, 7:32 pm   /  Reply

    I’m also at Stark’s Twin Oaks and just learned about this website. I look forward to meeting you and doing some flying. My SuperCub is in the new row of hangars on the south side, second from the east end. Stop by sometime.

  7. Vickie
    August 31, 2010, 1:09 am   /  Reply

    Gosh, Vanessa, I was just at Pearson for the fly-in and remember seeing your airplane. Beautiful! I learned to fly at Evergreen in 1978, your story brought back lots of memories. Congratulations on bringing a family classic back to life. Vickie

  8. Vanessa Nelson
    August 29, 2010, 11:12 am   /  Reply

    Thanks, Susan & Anne! I just am so happy to see this great website that Judy has put together. There wasn’t anything near this cool for lady pilots when I was getting my initial license 30 years ago, and it never occurred to me that the taildragger group was a special cross-section until I started formal tailwheel training. I hope to make it to a gathering of this group eventually, and I’d love to see more women join – let’s spread the word!

  9. Anne Wright
    August 28, 2010, 10:41 am   /  Reply

    Wow, what a great story! The restored airplane looks super, and I bet you love flying it, too.

  10. August 28, 2010, 7:52 am   /  Reply

    Vanessa,

    What a COOL story!! How fabulous you are flying around in your dad’s plane! I love it!

    Welcome to LLT! So glad to have you here!!

    Cheers!
    Susan

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