Birthday Flight!

Birthday Flight!

Ladies, keep sending in your flying updates. We love seeing what you’re up to! Jeanne MacPherson from Helena, Montana isn’t letting winter get her down. It may be January in Montana but it’s going to take a lot more than that stop her from doing what she loves. Thanks for the pictures and keep it up Jeanne! “Happy New year!  I am having fun flying with great people… pilots~ This is Caitlyn Symons, with a passion for adventure, on her first aerobatic flight for her birthday.” Jeanne Jeanne MacPherson Master CFI Aerobatic Mountain  Airdance llc Website: “What do you want to do with your one wild and precious life?” Mary Oliver  ··························· Pilots and wanna be pilots, don’t forget, Jeanne’s in Montana offering Flight Instruction at Helena in a Super Decathlon · and Aviation Seminars · and Tailwheel Endorsements · and Montana Backcountry Flying. “The mission of Mountain Airdance is to help pilots enjoy the freedom of flight more safely and skillfully.  To further this goal Mountain Airdance offers mountain and backcountry flying, Rich Stowell’s Stall/Spin training and EMT (Emergency Maneuver Training modules) and recreational aerobatics.”...

Time to take your pick!

Time to take your pick!

Here’s a link to a story about one of our lady taildragger pilots that is sure to inspire. Fighter pilot, Lt. Col. Jill Long learned to fly the civilian way, then went on to learn to fly “the Air Force way”. A Jill ‘nugget of wisdom’; never take “NO” for an answer. It’s January and the perfect time to watch videos about flying on skis. In this one, they’re not just flying on skis, they’re plowing through DEEP snow in Aeroncas and C140s, getting stuck, getting un-stuck and having one crazy, fun time! And finally, have you seen this IWC watch commercial staring John Malkovich? John’s most memorable line….”No, there are no “real” pilots anymore, just people in nifty uniforms who operate computers ….. “. After watching the video, the men may be lining up to buy IWC watches but I’m keeping my Timex! Come on, is the “woman pilot” actually flying with the yoke?! Kick back and be entertained by this 9 minute mini-movie. Then you decide how many watches you’re gonna buy!...

Mary Macdonald

Mary Macdonald

November 2011: Mary MacDonald, California. She’s been a busy busy girl! Recently featured in a documentary film by Michigan based production company Airspeed, she appears in Acro Camp 2, a  film that follows first time aerobatic pilots for one week as they learn the art of aerobatic flying. Mary’s also working on getting her Commercial right now! From the Santa Cruz Sentinel: While attending a local air show, Macdonald learned of the opportunity to participate in a film about first-time aerobatic pilots. After an application and interview process, she was cast by the Michigan-based production company Airspeed to appear in Acro Camp 2, the sequel to 2010’s Acro Camp, a film that similarly followed novice aerobatic pilots. When asked about any last minute jitters, the nearly six-foot Macdonald recalls “waking up every night for the last month and lying wide awake thinking about flying upside down. I felt both excited and scared.” Her fears are understandable – aside from the physical demands, complicated flight stunts and an accelerated gravitational pull often requires that pilots don a parachute. But for the risk-loving roller derby enthusiast, the real appeal of aerobatics is something closer to meditation. “When you’re pulling up Gs, and tensing your body up, you just don’t have time to think about the unimportant things. Other times, I’m just sitting at my computer. But when I go fly, that’s when I think ‘this is living!'” It’s not a free ride – since the film is made directly out of pocket, participants must pay their own way. Thanks in part to two-fold donations made through her website and private contributions, Macdonald, a single mother, was able to raise the money necessary to pursue her airborne adventures. If you ask her, it’s worth the price of admission – aside from an intensive four daylong flight lesson, Macdonald cited the film’s success and large following within the aviation community as contributing factors in her decision to put herself – and her nerves – to the test. Mary MacDonald, a.k.a., “Ruby Riptide”, a member of the Harbor Hellcats, one of the four teams that make up the amateur roller derby league the Santa Cruz Derby Girls. Roller derby time! Go Ruby Go! Check out Mary’s short video “First Hammerhead”! Click here for Mary’s blog where you can watch a video about Acro Camp II and make a donation: Ruby Riptide >————————— Posted Febuary 5, 2010 Mary Macdonald is based at  Angwin-Parrett Field (2O3)  in Calistoga, CA. I fly a Maule M7-235 taildragger and have a tailwheel and high performance.  I enjoy backcountry flying the very most! I hope to meet some more taildraggin’ ladies.  I sell Maules and Maule parts too; *...

Lise Lemeland     (New York)

Lise Lemeland (New York)

Lise Lemeland is based at Hornell Municipal Airport, Hornell, New York and flies a Super Decathlon. I’m an artist and an aerobatic pilot who LOVES to fly upside down. I finally bought my own Super Decathlon this year and have been competing in Northeast aerobatic contests for two years, this year at the Sportsman level. My artwork is all about aerobatics and is in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (perfect place for    me !:). * Check out this link to a story AOPA did on me recently: Aerobatic Pilot Honored by Smithsonian Lise Lemeland  ...

Casey Erickson    (California)

Casey Erickson (California)

Casey Erickson is based at Redlands Municipal Airport (KREI), Redlands, California. I’m Casey Erickson, by weekday a boring cargo pilot, but on the weekends when I get too play, My Pitts Special S1-S (Wolfpitts 360 deg roll rate) with its 230HP Lycon is what I can be found flying. Oh sure, its short coupled and is the hardest aircraft I have ever landed (a challenge I could not imagine being without), but it is just pure joy in the air. And it sure does look cool on the ramp. Biplanes just wouldn’t look right on tricycle gear. They would look like……well…just wrong. Oh yeah, I almost forgot… home away from home. The Reno Air Races. Come every September, you will find me up there racing in the Biplane Class. 2008 Rookie of the year was bestowed upon me, and I have never looked back. What a great bunch of pilots and fans up there. Stop by and see me in the Pitts if you make it up next time around. Any more I prefer to only teach flying in Taildraggers of any kind. I’ve got time in Champs, Citabrias, Decathlons, Pitts (S1 & S2)….and many more mundane aircraft Like Cessna C150, C152, C170, C172, C182, C208, C414, C421, Piper Pa-28’s all flavors , Beech BE23, 24 Schwiezer 2-33, Grob, Robinson R22. Currently Working on my Multi ATP rating. Video “Casey Erickson flies Pitts #8 in the Reno Air Races” BatGirl from Joe Messinger on Vimeo....

Colleen Keller     (California)

Colleen Keller (California)

Colleen M Keller is based at KSEE, Gillespie Field Airport, San Diego/El Cajon. I got my private pilot’s license in 1992 after several flights in Navy jets as a civilian analyst convinced me that I wanted to be a pilot. While I was “too old” to join the US Navy to fly, I quickly found that there is a lot of commonality in all types of flying and it was great fun. While still a student, I purchased a 1971 Cessna Cardinal RG (*nosedragger*) in which I got my instrument and commercial tickets. I also went to night school for my A&P mechanic’s rating to better understand what I flew. Shortly after graduating from A&P school, I bought a partially completed Steen Firebolt project with the hopes of building a fire-breathing biplane for aerobatic competitions. I also took tailwheel instruction in a little 100-hp Citabria on my home field, and flew my “graduation flight” in a 1947 Stearman owned by my instructor. I was so hooked after that…the project was not going along fast enough, so I sold it and bought a flying Steen Skybolt and flew it back from Tennessee in September 2009. I’ve put about 120 hours on the Skybolt to date and have been taking aerobatic instruction with the intent of competing in IAC contests. I’ve also completed an extensive rebuild of the aircraft, which I call the Red Tumbler, including a complete engine overhaul after a loss-of-oil-pressure incident which resulted in a dead-stick landing into a local airport. The engine work was done by me with Adult Oversight and is something I am particularly proud of. I enjoy every minute of every flight in the Red Tumbler, whether its going 5 minutes away to practice spins, pattern work, or a cross-country flight for lunch with friends. I’ve never felt such freedom as I experience when its a warm summer evening, marine layer moving in over the coast, and the setting sun just lights up the plane’s red starburst colors. I have the wind in my hair, I can smell the cut grass below me, and I am playing among the mountaintops. This must be heaven. Colleen Keller...

Lynn OJala     (Minnesota)

Lynn OJala (Minnesota)

Lynn OJala is based at Flying Cloud Airport (KFCM) Minneapolis, MN. My  husband and I built 2 Christen Eagle homebuilt biplanes together. He passed away in 1998 from cancer 10 days after we finished my airplane. I put my aircraft on display each year during the Oshkosh convention in the commercial area with the Aviat Aircraft Company. I have been flying about 30 years now. I am 57 years old have been a flight attendant for 32 years. I have the repairman certificate for my Eagle which allows me to maintain and do the annual inspections. I have 1600 hours flying my Eagle. This year will be my 20th consecutive year with Aviat at Oshkosh. Lynn OJala, Christen Eagle N13LD &  N23LD...

Liz Smith     (California)

Liz Smith (California)

Liz Smith is a private pilot based at Reid-Hillview Airport, San Jose, California. I just saw the website and would like to join. I’m a private pilot but only have a couple hours in a Decathlon – but I am HOOKED! I’m saving up to do my official tailwheel transition. I got my license in San Diego, but am now based in Mountain View, California. It looks like I’ll probably be learning out at Reid-Hillview – it would be really great to meet some ladies out here! Unfortunately, I haven’t flown since May. It’s been really hard to not fly, but I spent 3 months at sea working on a research vessel out in Montenengro, and now that I’m back, I can’t afford it at the moment. I’m applying for several scholarships to help get my tailwheel transition completed. I started in May doing some aerobatic lessons in a Decathlon, and I’m hoping to start up again in the spring by going back to basic and doing the transition first. I also made it out to the Reno Air races a few weekends ago. It was amazing! I got to meet one of the lady racers who flies in the biplane races. There were only four lady pilots flying at Reno! It made me want to set my eyes on biplane racing, but first I need to get up in the air again at all. 🙂 And… here’s the little aerobatic video I made. It’s kind of fun! I’m a member of the 99s and learned of your new site from Heather Gamble. It’s great! Thx, Liz Smith clear skies, Liz...

Jane Wicker    (Virginia)

Jane Wicker (Virginia)

Jane Wicker is based at Warrenton, Virginia and flies her newly restored, prized Stearman, “Aurora”. I have been flying since 1989.  I’m a commercial pilot with my multi-engine and instrument ratings, but my true love has been aerobatics and my tail draggers.  I used to fly competitions in a clipped wing Tayler Craft and a CAP-21.  Then I transitioned to the Stearman.  I am also a professional wing walker (since 1990).  I recently bought a freshly restored 450 HP Stearman that I’ve named Aurora.  I am the only female in North America that owns the airplane, walks the wings and flies it as well. My “new baby” just arrived last Friday.  This monster show Stearman is unlike any other on the airshow circuit.  Aside from her one of a kind paint design, it is her modifications that set her apart from any other airshow Stearman. Aurora is built with all new Douglas Fir spars and Stika Spruce wood.  She has a complete inverted fuel and oil system, an extra flying wire, all new bird cages, all new sheet metal, a stainless steel firewall, all new stainless steel cables, and all control bearings, pulleys, cables and hardware are new.  The wings have 4 equal span ailerons with servo tabs on the bottom.  The crowning jewel is the 450 Radial engine with steel cylinders instead of chrome, and it is equipped with an AirFlow Performance fuel injector and customized duel stack exhausts.  Aurora was restored by Jim Carlson and Ryan Dulas. You can visit Jane’s website at

Jill “Raggz” Long     (Pennsylvania)

Jill “Raggz” Long (Pennsylvania)

Jill “Raggz” Long was born in Michigan and raised in Oregon and has called many places home; Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan; Boise, Idaho; Portland, Oregon; the United Kingdom; South Korea; Tucson, Arizona; Columbia, SC, Wichita Falls, Texas, and Italy… she, husband Chuck, and faithful dog Jackson, recently returned from active duty in Vilseck, Germany.  Hi there, I’m an active duty Lt Col currently stationed in Germany and am the commander of the 2nd Air Support Operations Squadron. I learned to fly in an old, beat up, BEAUTIFUL Talyorcraft when I was 15 and have been soaring ever since! My husband Chuck and I started flying airshows in a Pitts S2B about 5-years ago…I fly, he does all the hard work, like smoke oil , fuel, keeping me on track 😉 We call our airshow business “Ragged Edge Aviation” and our mission is to inspire others to Dream Big! This year, because of our work in airshows and with Women Soar of EAA which takes place during Airventure, I received the NOAA Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Mentorship Award…an absolute honor! Judy, Thanks for putting together a great website that will surely help create more “real pilots” (said jokingly).  Let me know if there is anything I can do to help you promote it. Raggz...

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