Charleen Beam     (California)

Charleen Beam (California)

Charleen Beam is based at E45, Pine Mountain Lake Airport, Groveland, California. I currently fly a 1946 Aeronca Champ. I got my first ride in a J-3 Cub when I had about 10 hours of lessons and was completely hooked. Immediately after obtaining my Private Pilot’s license I got my taildragger rating. I have logged exactly zero hours in any other type of airplane…LOVE my taildragger! I love going upside down with Wayne almost as much as I love flying my taildragger! Charleen Beam...

Lisa Leng     (Illinois)

Lisa Leng (Illinois)

Lisa Leng is based at C77, Poplar Grove Airport, Poplar Grove, Illinois. I am currently flying a J3 Cub. I have also flown a Champ. I got my seaplane rating in a J3 Cub at Jack Browns in Florida. My husband and I have built a couple airplanes together and I am currently recovering a J3 Cub. As you can tell I have a thing for cubs 🙂...

No Skis? Fly Anyway!

No Skis? Fly Anyway!

Taildragger 101  No skis? Fly anyway! by Dan Wilkins  This works for me. Maybe it will work for you.   The day was perfect for flying.  The only trouble was the field was covered with 2-3 inches of fresh snow. I knew the grass field was in good shape because I flew the day before the snowfall.    Upon arriving at the field I drove my car across the field and checked the tracks. It was easy cruising, the stuff skiers love. Be aware that I would not consider flying off of crusty snow.    Once the plane was ready to go I taxied around to get the feel. Take off was fine and that cool air is wonderful for lift.    Landing was my worry. Would the drag on the wheels push the nose down? No problem. I just floated the old girl in with a 3-point landing and just kept that stick full back. She slows down quickly. Need I mention the magic world that was beneath? By the way, bring plenty of towels and water to clean off your plane. ————————– If you would like to submit content for publication, the upload link is working again. This is your chance to mentor new and inexperienced tailwheel pilots by sharing your knowledge and experiences.  Upload Link...

Bailey Billen     (Tennessee)

Bailey Billen (Tennessee)

Bailey Billen is based at KMEM, Memphis International Airport, Memphis, Tennessee. I live in Memphis, TN and have been flying and skydiving since age 15. I fly the CRJ900 for Endeavor Air (Delta Connection) out of JFK. I got my tailwheel endorsement and solo in 2009 in a 1946 Champ, and that it still my favorite flight in my logbook! I love going back to the basics with GA flying when my work schedule permits. My husband and I hope to buy our own tailwheel in the near future. Blue skies y’all! —————————– Our incredible logo!! Team Pretty Woman – Air Race Classic 2013...

Jennifer Wenk     (North Carolina)

Jennifer Wenk (North Carolina)

Jennifer Wenk is based at KMRH, Michael J. Smith Field, Beaufort, North Carolina. Not only is the Champ’s new paint job beautiful, Jennifer looks pretty awesome in her LadiesLoveTaildraggers tshirt too! Jennifer’s pilot profile was first posted August 2014…………….. I’ve always walked around facing skyward but I didn’t actually get my pilot’s license until 13 years ago, well after my kids were well established in their own lives. With the encouragement of my husband I fulfilled my lifelong dream and am ever so happy that I did! I’ve owned a Grumman AA1B for 12 years but let my medical expire a year ago. Even though my husband is a wonderful right seat, I really missed flying by myself and so purchased a 1946 Champ 7AC earlier this summer (2014) so that I can fly under light sport rules. I currently have about 10 hours of tailwheel time and am still working on my transition with Charles Lewis at 05N in Winterville, NC. I have found the transition more challenging than I expected but the grin factor is huge! Each flight leaves me anxious to get back for more! Through Charles I have discovered a whole new and exciting world of flying to grass trips in my own backyard that I never knew existed before. I love flying taildraggers!          ...

Jill Manka     (Florida)

Jill Manka (Florida)

Jill Manka is based at KGIF, Winter Haven’s Gilbert Airport, Winter Haven, Florida. Greetings All! My name is Jill Manka. Before 2006, I thought the only use for an airplane was to take me from one meeting to another. Most of my life was spent in airports and on big airliners as a passenger. I grew up at Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul, IL. As a young girl, I remember the excitement of the annual airshow the base would put on and will never forget the first time I saw a C-5 at 9, stating…””We can fit the WHOLE TOWN in this airplane!”” Our community was blessed with the close proximity of the Frasca Family in Urbana, IL. That fateful day in 2006, the American Barnstormers were on their first 9 city, 5 state tour. Frasca Field was the third stop on the tour. I was working for a local convention and visitors bureau, and helped with some of the pre-stop marketing. That morning, July 19, 2006, 21 vintage biplanes flew in to Rudy Frasca’s grass field. One pilot in particular took an interest in me, and I in him. He shared with me my first open cockpit biplane ride as a thank you for my marketing efforts. That 10 minute ride changed my life. Six months later, I moved to Florida, and began what has become one of the most meaningful experiences of my life. That pilot was Rob Lock, with his company, Waldo Wright’s Flying Service. He has provided open cockpit biplane rides in his New Standard D-25s and Stearman at Fantasy of Flight, Sun N Fun, the Airzoo, and other venues nationwide for the past 15 years-the most recent 9 I have been fortunate enough to be by his side. My introduction to general aviation was through vintage aircraft. Working alongside Rob, and eventually meeting and being around Kermit Weeks’ collection, has been an aviatrix’s dream. When surrounded by such incredible aircraft and talent on a daily basis, how can one resist the urge to take flight? In 2007, I began my formal flight instruction. I soloed a Cessna 172 in December of 2007, but then a light bulb went off. I didn’t want to fly nosewheel, and I didn’t want to build time in an aircraft I wasn’t passionate about. After that solo, I decided I wanted to restore. Many of the pilots I had huge respect for told me they had their first experiences in the Champ. How could I argue with who I considered experts? So in 2009, Rob and I acquired my 1946 Aeronca Champ….frame up assembly required. Over the course of the past 5 years, you go through moments where you think you will never finish. “”Just do a little every day, and before you know it, you’re done.”” That was the motto for the project. Toward the end of restoration, dear friends Steve and Joanne Alcorn took an interest in my flying career. They helped me complete my private license in a Cessna 150. It wasn’t a tailwheel, but the lighter weight Cessna ended up being a great trainer for the Champ. May 3, 2015, my 1946 Aeronca Champ, affectionately named LUCY, NC83228, took her first flight in 6 years. She is a glorious Champ, with a C-85 and one wing tank, and she flies like a dream. I kept telling Rob that he was just dragging his feet through our restoration at times because he knew once the plane was finished he would never see me again. That may prove to be true, with such a nice flying aircraft! Along the way, I can thank SO many for my experience thus far. My experience with vintage aviation is one of community, support, loyalty, and passion....

AVWeb video “Cub vs. Champ” Shootout

AVWeb video “Cub vs. Champ” Shootout

Hot off the AVWeb press is lady taildragger pilot Elaine Kauh and co-presenter Paul Bertorelli comparing two great old taildraggers, the Aeronca Champ and the classic Piper J-3 Cub. It’s chocked full of nice flying video and commentary on the differences in how they fly. And for those thinking about purchasing a light sport aircraft, a few thoughts about flying a 60+ year old taildragger vs. a new light sport aircraft. Great little video that left me pondering only one unanswered question, “Elaine, would you buy the Champ or the Cub?!!”...

Patricia (Pat) Burke Johnson      (Montana)

Patricia (Pat) Burke Johnson (Montana)

Pat Johnson is based at the Helena Regional Airport (KHLN), Helena, Montana. I am so thrilled to see all you accomplished young women! I seldom encountered another woman flyer when I was most active in aviation and I am inspired by your achievements. Way to go, Ladies! I first rode in an airplane in autumn 1961, began flying lessons in January of 1962, and soloed on April 4, 1962. A private pilot certificate followed two years later. Since then my life work has been education while flying is my hobby. My first airplane was a 1948 7DC Aeronca Champion for which I paid $1400 in 1966 with the wings needing recover. It took me two years to pay off the plane and another year to recover the wings. I flew that great plane for the next 20 years until I finally got tired of hand-propping and sadly sold her. I have many memories of her, including going to the Grand Canyon. The other taildragger with whom I had an acquaintance was a friend’s 1976 Great Lakes Special in which we did aerobatics. In 1979, I bought a 1966 Cessna Skyhawk which I still have. The Skyhawk and I have been to the shores of the Canadian Arctic, to Alaska, and around Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho and Washington. He has given rides to many people, including more than 100 teachers. Over the years, I worked in aviation education directing aerospace education workshops for teachers along with teaching high school physics and earth science. I’ve held offices in many state aviation groups such as the Montana Pilots Association, the Montana Antique Airplane Association, and the Montana Ninety-Nines. Recently, arthritis has slowed me down but I am not yet ready to give up flying and I am still working full-time at my education career. The last 52 years in aviation have been an absorbing and continuous learning experience. In these years as a leisure pilot I have flown to some interesting places and have met some fascinating people. It has been a good life. Thanks for the site and for showing such accomplished women, Pat Johnson...

Rich Dugger: I’m no lady but I do fly a taildragger

Rich Dugger: I’m no lady but I do fly a taildragger

Author: Rich Dugger I got to know Judy from way back when she owned a Champ and first met her at the Marion, IN Fly-in Drive-in. Her little attempt to connect with other ladies that fly taildraggers has grown into quite an affair and I’m really proud of her. Congrats, Judy!! Rich Dugger Central TX....

Aeronca Champ Flying in the UK!!

Aeronca Champ Flying in the UK!!

I was happy to hear from one of our UK ladies this week. You may remember Nic Orchard who is based at Maypole (EGHB) United Kingdom and flies her much loved ’46 7BC Champ. This is the same Nic who temporarily outfitted herself with a Jodel to fly (named “Temporary Champ”) after an engine failure forced her to make a dead-stick landing in a cow-patch. Insurance totaled the aircraft. She bought it back, it was restored and has been flying ever since. I’d say ‘flying In style’ by the looks of this update! Nic reports… “Aeronca owners may have seen the original promotional film that shows the ‘gals’ flying their Champ to Middletown, Ohio to view the factory. It’s a super piece of history. My version…”  “Some time back, I suggested a fly-out to some people over here, with the theme of dressing to fit the aeroplane when new.  I was hoping to see dirndl skirts for the fifties Jodels and lots of 60s outfits, given the preponderance of Cessnas and the like, but the weather pushed the event back twice and by the third date, there weren’t many left.  So it’ll have to be resurrected in due course. Anyway, only slightly out of phase, my Rosie-the-Riveter look.” “My more talented sister made the outfits.” “In this picture, the lipstick on the spinner is telling…I am one of those who does that, but never normally wearing lipstick.” Best wishes, Nic “Dirndl skirt”? Google to the rescue. So that’s what they’re called. I’m way more impressed (horrified) by the tiny waists pictured than the dirndl skirts! I’d love to see the old Aeronca promotional video Nic mentions of the ladies flying to the factory. Somebody please send me the link if you find it!...

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