Fall color tour over New Jersey, a Champ Story   (Contest Entry #2)

Fall color tour over New Jersey, a Champ Story (Contest Entry #2)

Fall color tour over New Jersey, a Champ Story by Tony Buttacavoi It was 0800 and 38 degrees F, light winds, and CAVU skies as I preflighted N83559, a slightly ragged but good hearted 1946 7AC based at SMQ, Somerset, NJ. It was one of those wonderful Sundays when you get up early, throw on some clothes and head out to the airstrip right at sunrise. That first cup of FBO coffee goes down so well and you carry the second one with you while you inspect your ship of the morning . You wince at the faded and peeling paint, smile at the compact and faithful A65, lovingly touch, pull, and poke, at her parts then strap in. The lineman pulls your prop through, finally with a particularly good flip she comes to life, and in short order after all the obligatory checks are complete you are churning aloft, window open, engines song igniting one within your own heart, as you guide her gently, stick in the right hand, left one guarding the throttle, a little right rudder to keep the ball in its traces. What a view ! The sky a heavenly cobalt blue, stretches from the horizon upward to infinity, to the east 30 miles away etched in stark relief is the entire NYC skyline from the Bronx to the Bowery in all its Art Deco glory and beyond that visible even from our less than lofty perch is the shining sea Atlantic, dazzling in the pure light of the 8 a.m. sun. To the north and west are the rolling Appalachian foothills extending to NY, and PA, and ablaze this morning in a neon riot of yellow, golds, reds, and russets. Oh God, this is so beautiful, to fly this little yellow butterfly of an airplane, to feel the lift on the wings through the stick, to see nature showing its best, and to feel a part of it, window open, cold breeze on my cheek, the A65 blatting along, as we follow this valley to that ridge line, and look, a hawk ! Only the steady descent of the fuel float necessitates our return, the kiss of turf on tires a lovely punctuation to a truly beautiful flight, I love this airplane!!! We tailwheel, grass strip pilots are truly blessed !!! To vote for Tony, “Like” on Facebook!...

Sarah Rovner     (Texas)

Sarah Rovner (Texas)

Sarah Rovner is based at KDWH, David Wayne Hooks Memorial Airport, Houston, Texas. **Thanks for the pilot update Sarah!!** Since discovering the awesomeness surrounding conventional gear aircraft, I have made an effort to make most of my flying in these type of airplanes. After building time in a Champ to meet the insurance requirements, I began towing gliders at my local soaring club in a Piper Pawnee. I now fly that Champ, a Super Cub, Piper Pawnee, Taylorcraft, Super Decathlon and a Citabria on a regular basis. I have flown now 700 hours in a little over 2 years, with about 150 of those hours in tailwheel airplanes. I have even flown in a few aerobatic contests in the Super Decathlon! I still maintain my share in the Cessna nose-dragger, but hopefully will be getting into my own taildragger sometime soon. When I get my CFI rating (which should be next week), I hope to also help many others obtain their tailwheel endorsement in the club Citabria. It is very different learning to fly from the back set, but what better way to really refine your stick and rudder skills? Previously about Sarah Rovner...

Kimberly Ewing-Gill    (Georgia)

Kimberly Ewing-Gill (Georgia)

Pilot update from Kim Gill My 7GCA and I are now located and based out of GA04, Mallards Landing Airport in Locust Grove, Georgia. Fly in communities are the best! Also I now am employed as a First Officer on the Embraer 145 for ExpressJet Airlines (since 2011). The Champ definitely keeps me honest if I ever get too much of an airline pilot ego. 😉 haha! Here are some taildragger shots too, just because.  More about Kim...

Joan Garvey     (Nebraska)

Joan Garvey (Nebraska)

Joan Garvey is based at Plattsmouth Municipal Airport, Plattsmouth, Nebraska. I have always want to fly for as long as I can remember. When other little girls fantasized about proms and weddings, I dreamed about flying. However, back in the 60’s such things were not only not encouraged in girls but I often got reprimanded by counselors for wanting to do things that girls were not suppose to do. Add to that growing up poor, all dreams were limited and seemed to be only dreams with little chance of reality. So I did what girls born in the 50’s were supposed to do, got married and had kids, but being stubborn I did not give up on dreams. So after 2 kids and a divorce, I went to college. I looked into flying a couple times taking introduction flights and loving it, only to realize I could not afford it. I eventually remarried and then came 2 more kids. After the 4th baby, I told myself I needed to do something for me and started flying lessons. Working 50 hours a week, with 3 kids and a baby, the only time I could find was early Sunday mornings when I would sneak out of the house before everyone was awake. It however was a harsh winter as Nebraska can sometimes have. I did not get to fly more than a couple times a month, so progress was slow and I eventually gave up, at least for the moment. Fourteen years later after another divorce, my oldest daughter signed us up for a tandem skydive, saying “Mom you have always wanted to try this and need to do it before you are too old.” While waiting I looked at some gear ads and thought this might be cheaper than flying and perhaps may satisfy my need to fly. I was immediately addicted, but even on my second jump was asking if any of the pilots gave instruction. In this next picture I’m soaring like a bird over my home airport KPMV I broke my ankle on my third jump, and my daughter for Christmas gave me a certificate for an aerobatic flight in a T-6 Texan. The flight was heavenly. So now I was dealing with 2 addictions. I returned to skydiving before I even had my last appointment for the ankle, and have been jumping ever since gaining instructor ratings with over 1000 skydives, more than a third of which are wingsuit flights. This, however, only made my desire to fly the plane worse. After the 1st year skydiving I restarted flight instruction. This time I told myself I was not going to add up the cost and was going to stick to it no matter what. I achieved my private pilot license in 2002. I rented planes at first and enjoyed flying to different local airports on my own. Skydiving dominated some years, but a perfect day included both. I eventually joined a flying club hoping to work on an instrument rating. Most pilots want bigger and faster planes, and this club was the same looking to invest in bigger, faster planes. That was not what I wanted. I always flew by myself and had no need for more room or carrying more weight. Plus, after flying a wingsuit, the smaller planes seem closer to true flight. I found myself drawn to taildraggers but I never was able to find an opportunity to fly one. Above picture; 1st 250 nm cross country in the 172 while in my prior flying club. I spent the weekend in the tent waiting for weather to clear so I could go home. Career and family made demands but I kept my license current. Then while working, I met a colleague whose husband owned a share in a Champ. It sounded ideal and I told her to let me know if there was ever an opening. To my surprise about a year later she called me and said they had an opening. The plane they had was damaged in an accident and some members had left the group but they were looking for a new Champ and would have openings. I filled out the application that day. Well, it took a while for them to find the plane, a 1955 Champ. When I went for my 1st ride in it I knew it was what I had been searching for all this time. That was a year ago. The group included instructors, but I later found out they were frequently out of town and not really available. I eventually found a skydiver who was an instructor and willing to work with me. We started flying and I discovered how challenging a taildragger can be but also how much fun. Nothing seems to come easy and this was no different. Every time I was ready to solo in it something broke, the down side of older planes. Then Nebraska weather interfered. I kept coming back. Finally I got to solo a couple weeks ago and obtained my endorsement. I am finally able to take off into the beautiful blue sky in my little plane, even if I only own 1/8th of it. My long time dream is finally reality. The plane 48C was named by my grandson “Grandma’s Charlie Plane.”  ...

Christmas Presents for a Taildraggin’ Lady

Christmas Presents for a Taildraggin’ Lady

Greetings from one of our lady Champ pilots in the UK, Nic Orchard! “I hope everyone had the Christmas they wanted and wish all the ladies a great, flyable 2013.  It’s been so wet here that there are few grass runways usable, alas.  I cannot remember a winter in which I’ve flown so little.” I just thought I’d add to the Christmas presents theme:  my best beloved gave me a torque wrench, split pins, and all the associated tools to make a dedicated propeller care kit. It seems I’m to go solo on it….. ‘Course he does have a vested interest as he bought me the new propeller recently. Aviation presents don’t get a lot better than that, except for those like Dee’s, although many years ago I was given a beautiful ash skid for my glider, which was just as wonderful at the time. Marvelous! Nic Orchard Wish I was flying, aren’t we?...

Follow up to “What taildraggers do the ladies fly?”

Follow up to “What taildraggers do the ladies fly?”

re·cal·cu·late /rēˈkalkyəˌlāt/ Verb. To calculate again, especially in order to eliminate errors or to incorporate additional factors or data. Alrighty people, because of comments and emails about the “official” numbers posted regarding what taildraggers the ladies love to fly, I’m back with this update. As always, your comments are very much appreciated. I’ve recalculated, grouping similar taildraggers together… within reason. This time I’m reporting actual “numbers” vs. “percentages” but again, don’t take my numbers to the bank. As Natalie McHaffie wrote in her comment, “And here’s a good example of “you can’t keep up to date”. I sold my Pitts last weekend!”  My goal is to get as close as I can to reality and not shortchange any taildragger types! Starting with the third most popular group… Cessnas #3; 120, 140, 150TD, 170, 180 & 185 – Total 49 —- Aeroncas #2; Champ, Chief, Citabria & Decathlon – Total 54  — And at Number One Pipers #1; J3, J5, PA-11, PA-12 & PA-18 (only tandems) – Total 68. (Add in Cub clones & you’re up to 74) What I thought was the most interesting is that over 50% of our members fall into one of these groups.  And for the many onesie, twosies like a Warner Air Sportster, Whittman Tailwind and Summer Martell’s Student Prince – you’re in the rarer breeds that we love to read about. Keep flying and send in your updates ladies!!  mailto:ladytaildraggers@gmail.com...

Black Friday! What traffic??

Black Friday! What traffic??

Are you fed up with all the Christmas shopping, traffic and nonsense already? Me too!  This guy truly has the answer to keeping it all in perspective. (Sometimes you just have to take the advice of a man!) “I had no problem with traffic on Black Friday. I am taking one more trip around the pattern in my ’46 Champ.” Bethel, Pennsylvania Based at 8N1  ...

Thanksgiving Hospitality, Texas Style!

Thanksgiving Hospitality, Texas Style!

I’m finding out fast they do things right in Texas, including inviting the Northerners over for Thanksgiving – Texas taildragger style. While in San Antonio we’re the ultimate “tourists” but were tickled to take a break from the sightseeing to meet up with one of my favorite Champ ladies. At the invitation of Texan lady taildragger pilot, Dianne Wieman, Boyd and I spent a big part of the day celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday with Dianne and her family at Zuehl Field near San Antonio. Can it get any better than that! Dianne has a big hangar she built herself which houses TDA, her 85 hp Champ named by her husband ” TDA” (That Damn Airplane). I guess that’s what happens when you’re married to a lady who’d rather be at the airport working on her taildragger or better yet, flying it, than just about anywhere else! Dianne’s hangar is crammed full of flying airplanes and non-flying airplanes just waiting to be restored. We’re talking a friend’s Sonex, a 1940 Aeronca Chief (one of the few ever made with sticks), and a Cessna Airmaster waiting on its 1 piece wooden wing to be recovered and an engine. Oh, I’m sure there’s a lot more hidden in nooks and crannies but you get the idea. This lady’s got a lot going on. Dianne is an engineer by trade but somewhere along the line she picked up an A&P/IA license, CFI & CFII, and CFI-Glider. She’s qualified to tackle any project that suits her fancy and her biggest problem seems to be not having enough hours in the day to get them all done. * This airport was a real trip back in time with old aircraft and projects in the works all around the field. This DC6 flew into Zuehl’s 3000 foot grass strip and from touchdown to full stop used up 800′. Taking a quick peek around I got a kick out of finding a barley noticeable Supercub hidden amoung all the other treasures. 1TE4 Zuehl Airport is a private airstrip at Marion, TX and home to over 100 aircraft. Many thanks to the extended Wieman family for feeding us till we couldn’t hold any more and showing us some true Texas hospitality. It was a blast!...

Tanya Griffie     (Washington)

Tanya Griffie (Washington)

Tanya Griffie is based at KTUS, Tucson International Airport, Tucson, Arizona,  KPAE, Snohomish County Airport (Paine Field) and S43, Harvey Field Airport, Snohomish, Washington. I am originally from Lynbrook, NY but I currently split my time between Tucson, AZ and Seattle (Everett), WA. I have been flying for almost 5 years and am a flight instructor with my CSEL, CSES and CMEL ratings. I love to fly and find myself becoming grumpy when I do not fly enough! I always found taildraggers to be just incredible and beautiful aircraft. They were always the ones performing the mesmerizing loops and spins at the air shows I attended as a kid. Today, anything that improves my skills as a pilot appeals to me, and what better way to improve upon and gain even more respect for flying airplanes than to learn to fly a tailwheel? It has been incredibly fun to fly and land on grass (an actual soft field!), and really experience an aircraft that seriously requires the use of rudder pedals! My only regret is that I did not have the opportunity to do this sooner! I have only had the chance to fly an Aeronca Champ so far but plan to be climbing into a Cessna 185 soon – and am hoping there will be many more to come! Thanks so much for the warm welcome on Facebook! I look forward to hopefully meeting some of the ladies in this group sometime in the near future!! Blue Skies! Tanya Griffie...

Kristin Turner     (Florida)

Kristin Turner (Florida)

Kristin Turner is based at 94FL, Pine Shadows Airpark, Fort Myers, Florida. I fly a 1946 Aeronca Champ!  I soloed my Champ last year and love to fly low and slow. She is my baby with JT on the tail for my son, Jake Turner. *...

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