An Adventure In Flying

An Adventure In Flying

Man-oh-man, I always hear how hard LadiesLoveTaildraggers’ scholarship winners work while they’re at Tailwheel Town, Sisters Airport, Oregon. They leave home a little nervous about getting their tailwheel endorsement or improving their skills in a stick & rudder master class, and they come home confident, polished pilots. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but they always look like they’re having a blast! Take Kayleigh Bordner for instance. She’s from Bringhurst, Indiana and recently won the Sarah Wilson LadiesLoveTaildraggers Stick & Rudder Master Class Scholarship. All those smiles don’t fool me though. She just climbed out of this C140 and something was making her sweat. 🙂  Here’s the inside scoop from Brian Lansburgh at Tailwheel Town. I don’t know how you keep coming up with such winners! Kayleigh is great! We did her first flight today and really upped the ante, putting her into multiple landings and off to the dreaded irrigation pivot. Thursday she’ll make a Skydive with “Skydive Awesome”. Benny Benson, the owner of the airport, gave her his Jeep for a few days so she can do some exploring. We all had lunch today and had a great time at the Sisters Saloon!!! Another great day today. Kayleigh did slaloms, alternating sideslips at NOE, lots of spins and the Landing in a Turn. She also got to fly tight formation with a Turbine Thrush. I think tomorrow we’ll do the intro to Mountain Flying up in the Three Sisters. The day after that we’ll do The Dead Stick and formation flying with Jim Mateski’s PA12. Brian Lansburgh Tailwheel Town  ...

Beth King      (Kentucky)

Beth King (Kentucky)

Beth King is based at KLOU, Bowman Field Airport, Louisville, Kentucky.  Hello! I’m a new pilot and proud owner of a 1949 Cessna 140A named “Dottie”. I trained in a Cessna 172, but I knew I would be spending the rest of my days in a Taildragger because I am third generation tailwheel pilot and love vintage planes. 🙂 I need to officially introduce myself to your group and I proudly support any aviation, but especially women with taildraggers. I’m also looking for some flying buddies and adventure. I love camping, but hotels are fine with me. I’m flying to Oshkosh this year too, if anyone else from our area is interested in meeting up.  ...

Victoria Swartzendruber    (Kansas)

Victoria Swartzendruber (Kansas)

Victoria (Tory) Swartzendruber is based at 47K, Moundridge Municipal Airport, Moundridge, Kansas. My name is Tory. My husband is already a pilot and I am a pilot in training. We are currently building a hangar at 47K in Moundridge KS and we own a 1946 Cessna 140. What made me fall in love originally with this plane is my husband. He proposed to me in it and our daughter’s first flight was in this plane. He has been an enormous influence on my love of aviation and taildraggers. I joined the Army in 2006 right after my 18th birthday. I spent 2009-2010 in Iraq. I was a .50 Cal gunner in a security company. My contract was completed in June 2014. In the 8 years I was part of the Army I completed my Master’s in Healthcare Administration. Since I’ve been back my husband and I run a welding/metal fab shop, and in our spare time I am doing my flying lessons and we are working on our hangar.    ...

The Wonderful World of Obsession

The Wonderful World of Obsession

This is about the wonderful world of obsession as it relates to one lady taildragger pilot. And mind you, not just any obsession. By definition, obsession is a state in which someone thinks about something constantly or frequently in a way that is not normal. Seriously? A lady taildraggers pilot not normal? Well just maybe. Obsession is a crazy thing but lady taildragger pilots do not obsess about the usual run of the mill obsessions like… germs (heck no) cleanliness (no way) superstitions about lucky/unlucky numbers (better things are calling us) blurting out obscenities (ok, maybe this one) washing hands excessively (how else ya gonna get all that grease off) putting things in order…over…and over…and over (no – don’t think so) No, those are not our thing.We may be obsessed, but germs, cleanliness and order are probably not at the top of our list. We’ve got way more important, way more obsessive things to worry about. Taildraggers! As an example, I offer you one very obsessive, very dynamic, very taildragger obsessed lady, Terri Hull. Now that’s a fleet of taildraggers for sure! And if 3 taildraggers isn’t obsessive enough, Terri is type rated as captain and flies SIC on the Citation XL for NetJets as a day job. Talk about living and breathing airplanes, Terri is one of my favorite people that truly does it all. One more awesome lady taildragger pilot I’m happy to say is a member of our organization....

Jean Hickman     (Canada)

Jean Hickman (Canada)

Jean Hickman is based at CYSN, St Catharines/Niagara District Airport, St Catharines, Ontario, Canada. Hi! I love my taildraggers! My first aircraft was a Cessna 140. I had it only a short time. My second aircraft was a 90 hp J3 Cub. I had it for about 10 years and then I sold it. On my wedding day, my husband gave me another Cessna 140. Jean...

Victoria Swartzendruber     (Kansas)

Victoria Swartzendruber (Kansas)

Victoria Swartzendruber is based at 47K, Moundridge Municipal Airport, Moundridge, Kansas. I am 27, married, and have one child. My husband is the one who got me into flying all together. We own a Cessna 140 and that is how I have come to love taildraggers. I am beginning my training in the spring and all of my lessons will be in our 140. I am extremely excited to be part if this community! Victoria posted the following as a new member of the LadiesLoveTaildraggers Facebook group. Awesome story! Hello everyone, I was directed to this group to help find a “niche” that would fit me. Here’s my story. My husband and I were dating while he was working on his private pilot license. At the same time we were restoring a 1946 Cessna 140 we discovered in a barn. When he got his tail wheel endorsement we went flying for lunch. That day became a very special day in more ways than one.   We landed on a local grass strip belonging to a friend and my then boyfriend proposed to me! I, being a girl, screamed and cried and freaked out (smart of him to land first.. lol).   We continue to fly to our lunch destination. We land and one more surprise comes. Both mine and his closest family members come pouring out of the restaurant. Of course, I cry again.   This story along with many others now have lead me to develop a love of flying and a special love for taildraggers. This spring I will begin my lessons. I had to complete my graduate school before I started but I am done now and ready to begin in the spring. Now that I am at that point I would like to make connections with other women pilots. Especially, taildragger pilots. I am excited to get completely evolved in the aviation community. And not just as a pilots wife.   Thank you!    ...

Debbie Cheney     (California)

Debbie Cheney (California)

Debbie Cheney is based at KRIR, Flabob Airport, Riverside, California. First date with my now husband 35 years ago was watching him do touch and goes after getting his ticket. After buying our Cessna 180, I too fell in love with flying. I received my license in 2009 and bought the Cessna 140 as my training wheels for the 180. We now arm wrestle for the 140 because it is so much fun to fly. Love flying Young Eagles for the EAA program to inspire other young girls that “Girl Pilots Rock!!!” I look forward to hearing more about this site and inspire and get inspired from other women aviators!! Debbie Cheney...

“My time in Tailwheel Town” by Stirling Moore

“My time in Tailwheel Town” by Stirling Moore

This post by Stirling Moore, one of our two 2015 LadiesLoveTaildraggers Scholarship winners, is a glowing testimonial about her experiences at Tailwheel Town and appreciation for the scholarship. My time in Tailwheel Town by Stirling Moore I flew this morning. It was a gorgeous, bluebird day and I meandered over the county, checking livestock, water, fence lines, and tipping my wings at neighboring ranchers as they went about their morning tasks on the ground. I wandered until it was time to move cattle, then I landed and hustled to saddle my horse. Writing this post was on my mind the entire time. Every time I fly I’m reminded how fortunate we are to have that option to wake up and do what we love, to be part of a wonderful community characterized by the joy and passion for what we do! I had been looking forward to my time in Oregon since Judy called me in the spring and let me know I had won the LLT Tailwheel Endorsement Scholarship. I was driving to take my instrument written test at the time, and the great news prompted me to happy dance just as hard as my seatbelt would allow, take the test, then hurry home and get in touch with Brian Lansburgh. We decided on the first week of July, and back in April it seemed as if my time in Oregon was an eternity away. Luckily brandings, dockings, and online summer classes caused the time to pass much quicker than I had expected, and I was riding to town in the Sisters’ airport pickup with Brian before I knew it. I’ve always found the supportive, kind nature of the aviation world to be absolutely amazing, and from the minute I arrived in Sisters I knew I was in a special place with a truly fantastic community. This feeling was bolstered every day during my stay as I met and got to know those around me. Brian and I started our flight training early the next morning after my arrival. I was as nervous as I was excited to begin my taildragger experience, but Brian knew just what to do to put me at ease with his C140. We spent the first few hours “shaking hands” with the airplane: taxiing a tailwheel, takeoffs and landings, doing “skydoodles” and other basic coordination exercises, and my personal favorite– proximity flying around an irrigation pivot. This is the Tailwheel Town take on the “turns around a point” maneuver, and involves keeping up airspeed and a constant bank angle around a circular field while remaining several feet off of the ground. I thought this exercise was so wild, SO fun, and I realized then that training with Brian would be unlike anything I had experienced before in the very best way! The Sisters Eagle Airport was abuzz with activity throughout my stay, but especially so in preparation for and during the 4th of July Fly-In. The event team had a bevy of excellent activities that day that drew people with a wide variety of interests. The chicken drop (in which Brian and Julie Benson made a low pass in the 172, flinging rubber chickens on a game square with spaces associated with prizes as they went) proved especially popular, as did the runway drag races later in the afternoon. Best of all, most of the proceeds from the Fly-In went to the local high school Flight Science Program. I thought this was a fantastic way to increase interest in and promote aviation, and I had a great time helping with the fly-in! We resumed our flight training on the 5th, which happened to be my 22nd birthday. Brian and I flew to Madras to practice three point and wheel landings, performance take offs, the Tailwheel Town pattern, and my first dead stick landing! Brian really puts an emphasis on practicing emergency scenarios in a way that makes one comfortable, prepared, and in control if something was to actually happen. We landed in Madras, where I had the pleasure of receiving a birthday serenade and maple glazed donut from the “MadPort Bums,” an entertaining bunch of characters that meet at the airport every Sunday morning. We then strolled down the ramp to the Erickson Aircraft Collection for a neat tour of (still flying!) WWII aircraft. We returned to Sisters, and Brian taught me how to hand prop. Though initially apprehensive, I felt comfortable hand propping within minutes thanks to Brian. Later, we capped off a fantastic birthday with a lovely dinner with Julie and Benny Benson. Brian had another treat in store for me on the 6th. We flew to Prineville and had the opportunity to take Ed Elkins’ gorgeous Super Decathlon for a spin. I don’t think there is a word that properly conveys how fun that airplane was, so I’ll just leave it at this: WOW! I was supposed to depart Sisters early on the 7th, but I had decided that I was having too much fun to leave just yet. Instead, I found myself in the front seat of a J-5A Cub heading to Madras that morning for more landing practice (a big thanks to Jay & Adam Haldeman for letting me experience their Cub!). We returned to Sisters, hopped in the 140, and headed back to Madras that afternoon. While there, I got to do my second dead stick landing, and Brian introduced me to landing in a turn and slaloming down the runway. This reminded me of pole bending when I competed in high school rodeo and I really got a kick out of it. Unfortunately, my time in Tailwheel Town did have to come to an end, but not before a neighborhood barbecue at Brian’s hangar. I enjoyed wrapping up my stay by chatting with many of the wonderful people I had met! Tomorrow morning I will catch the sunrise from the hangar before my daily ranch check. I’ll wander over the ranch like I always do, looking for anything awry to report to my ground crew before landing and starting the day’s work. Since my time in Sisters something has changed, though. I no longer fly just to fly, instead; I strive to learn something every flight and have a fantastic time while doing so. In such a short time Brian’s phenomenal instruction has made me a more competent, confident pilot, one who is constantly looking to improve upon my base knowledge and experience whatever I can along the way. Brian has taught me skills that I will utilize throughout my life in aviation, and I cannot thank LadiesLoveTaildraggers enough for the kindness and generosity extended in awarding me this opportunity! In choosing me you all have brought something amazing and positive into my life. See you at the next fly-in!!!!!!...

LLT Scholarship winner Stirling Moore begins tailwheel training

LLT Scholarship winner Stirling Moore begins tailwheel training

Wyoming pilot Stirling Moore is our LadiesLoveTaildraggers 2015 Tailwheel Endorsement Scholarship winner. Her training has been scheduled for some time and Stirling’s been patiently waiting. I’m happy to report she’s now at Sister’s Airport in Oregon and has begun her training with Brian Lansburgh – and impressing the locals already! Here is question #1 on the LLT Scholarship Application and Stirling’s response: You are a pilot. What made you want to learn to fly? My answer to this question is more of a “who” than a “what”: My father. My dad has been a rancher his entire life, but had the opportunity to learn how to fly as a young man. He took it, and has since flown a variety of aircraft for a wide range of ranch applications over the past 50 years. He has used an old Cessna 182 for as long as I can remember and I spent my childhood tagging along on every flight with him that I could. We would take off by sunrise, then overfly our pastures to find where the livestock were located and get a sense of what all needed to be done that day. All the while I would pepper him with a barrage of questions about flying, which he would patiently answer and usually follow up with a wry story of his own. So it would go for the hour and a half that we flew, then we’d land and go saddle up for the day’s work with the rest of our family and friends. As I grew older I started to wonder why day after day, even after a lifetime in aviation, he was perfectly happy to do something as mundane as ferry an excited little girl around to count cows. It wasn’t mundane for him, though, and when I realized that I finally understood he was having just as much fun as I was. All of those early morning adventures around the ranch were my dad sharing with me his passion for aviation. I was utterly fascinated, absolutely hooked, and couldn’t wait until the day that I, too, would be a pilot. Brian and Stirling look like they’re having a great time already. Brian reports, “We had a good flight this morning and the gang at Sisters thinks that Stirling is the cat’s pajamas. She waded right in and helped with our Great Rubber Chicken Fling rehearsal and is now on the Chicken Flinging Team for our annual Fourth of July Fly-In.”  ...

Cindy Renea     (Texas)

Cindy Renea (Texas)

Cindy Renea is based at 3F9, Mineola Airport-Wisener Field, Mineola, Texas. I am based out of 3F9, the oldest privately owned airstrip in Texas! I got my PPL in 1992 and have never looked back. I have flown mostly Cessna’s 152 & 172, and owned a Piper PA24 Comanche for about 13 years. Currently I am flying a club 172. I love to travel and have flown to most all the lower 48 including Martha’s Vineyard and Catalina Island. After watching this website and the Facebook group for LLT’s I decided I needed to get my tailwheel endorsement. My main reason for wanting to fly a taildragger involves a gravel bar and Alaska, hopefully one day! I just recently visited our most gracious sponsor of the LLT scholarship, Brian Lansburgh, and took his Tailwheel Endorsement Instruction in Sisters, Oregon. Brian is a great instructor and during my time with him I learned a whole lot about taildraggers, hand propping, knot tying and flying in general!! I can’t say enough about his great course. I am also a member of the Sulphur Springs EAA Chapter and am looking forward to hosting the LLT’s 2015 flyin. Can’t wait to meet some of you great ladies in person! I will most likely be there in a 172, but my heart will be back in Brian’s Cessna 140!!...

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