Ginger Davidson     (Indiana)

Ginger Davidson (Indiana)

Ginger Davidson lives at 64I, Lee Bottom Airport, Hanover, Indiana. Although not one person in my family flies, I acquired a sense of adventure from my parents since we had traveled as a family to every state except Hawaii (via car) by the time I had graduated from High School. That’s just one of the stories that I tell when asked why I learned to fly. The others involve rebellion and are probably best told over a glass of wine after a long day in the sun at Oshkosh. –   While at Blakesburg a couple years ago, Rich went flying in some neat airplane and I got to ride on a motorcycle with Paul Poberezny. After receiving a nomination and appointment to the US Naval Academy (in the 80’s), I made a political statement by turning down this prestigious school because at this point in history they were not letting women fly fighters and I felt that the rules needed to be changed. I went on to study accounting and computer science and once established in my career, was able to finally explore my passion for flight. Captivated with flying and the challenge of learning more, I expanded on my initial goal of only obtaining a private pilot certificate with additional ratings: glider, instrument, commercial multi-engine, commercial single-engine and CFI. I even went a step further by learning how a human can actually fly like a bird by obtaining a Class A Sky Diving certificate and can tell you that it is the most fun a person can have with their clothes on. I bought my first airplane – a Citabria – to gain experience in tailwheel airplanes. I had heard that they have a special magic about them and had to find out what it was all about. Once checked out in my favorite bird, I went on a trip to Frankenmuth Michigan. Why? I don’t know because Michigan is cold in November! But, I was determined to camp under the wing of my very own plane. The men at that little airport are probably still talking about that crazy girl that wouldn’t come inside that very cold night. But, I was living my own dream! The little green airplane that was affectionately called “The Grasshopper” took me around the country and eventually led me to find “the man of my dreams”. This barnstormer of a pilot, Rich, owned an airport and was just as much in love with flying as me– probably more. Today, we own, operate, and manage the airport, have expanded the runway to be among the longest public use grass runways in the country, and are incorporating a museum to remember the airports of yesteryear. We host the largest fly-in event of its type, publish an online aviation publication that has over 7000 subscribers, and have many other dreams and plans for the airport known by most general aviation pilots in the country as Lee Bottom Flying Field. Although enamored with the freedoms associated with flying, I feel most at home in the middle of the woods. I could spend hours watching nature and often wonder why everyone looks right past the small things in life. In my late 30’s, I took 3 months off from my career and hiked over 1000 miles of the Appalachian Trail from just north of Atlanta, Georgia to Harper’s Ferry just outside of Washington DC. This experience taught me a lot about myself and others. Because of my countless hours spent backpacking and GPS experience gained from aviation, I was recently chosen from thousands of applicants to help Backpacker Magazine on a mapping project of the Continental Divide Trail. My love for the outdoors has also led me to have hobbies in gardening, beekeeping, maple syrup production, and I have recently started raising sheep which help me to mow the grass at the airport. Today, I consider myself “semi-retired” which means that I’m working harder than ever while being under-appreciated, under-utilized, and under-paid. I have been involved in the 99’s, served on the executive board for the Indianapolis Air Show, flown WWII trainers to airshows dressed as a WASP, ferried airplanes to Alaska, held the Wing Leader position for the Indiana Wing of the CAF, and been a member and leader of many other aviation clubs and organizations. I am also involved in Rotary, DAR, our local Chamber of Commerce, Indiana BeeKeeper’s Association, Gun Owner’s of America, American Sheep Industry Association, our local Girl’s Inc affiliation, and the Jefferson County Republican Women’s Club. I have rebuilt car engines, worked in an aircraft restoration shop, rode motorcycles, and started my own business from scratch. My duties at the airport have put me on a batwing mower instead of behind the stick of my Piper Cub, Champ, or RV-3. For the past 10 years, I’ve spent all my spare time ensuring that others have a place and a reason to go flying. My resolution for 2012 is to find others to take over some of these responsibilities so I can get back into the air. I’m hoping that by meeting more ladies who love taildraggers, I will be more motivated to accomplish this goal. I am excited that women are now flying fighter jets and I look forward to the next stage in my life which my husband lovingly dubs my ‘silver fox’ days. – Thanks! Ginger Davidson www.LeeBottom.com  ...

Meredith Tcherniavsky     (Maryland)

Meredith Tcherniavsky (Maryland)

Meredith Tcherniavsky is based at Fallston Airport, W42, Fallston, Maryland. My husband and I just bought a 1938 J-3 Cub. We’re both flight instructors, but now I’m the student as he teaches me how to fly the Cub! I’ve been following your site for a while and am looking forward to being part of your community. Thanks! Meredith Tcherniavsky, CFI-IA...

Pat Ohlsson     (Florida)

Pat Ohlsson (Florida)

Pat Ohlsson is based at 7FL6, Spruce Creek Airport, Dayton, Florida. I started flying in 1974 at Islip Airport, Long Island, New York. Since that time I have had a great time flying and over the years earned Commercial SEL, SES, (Instrument) MEL, (Instrument) Glider, Instructors license and ground instructor. Also ground school for DC8 flight engineer. Passed with a 98%, higher than a friend of mine who worked for Pan American World Airlines for years, and always a personal joke between us, getting a score 11 more than him. I am a Life Member of the 99s International Organization of Women Pilots since 1976 and was awarded the Amelia Earhart Scholarship for my Multi Engine rating in 1983. Recently purchased a 1940 J-3 Cub and my friend Lynn O’Donnell signed me off on my tailwheel endorsement in N30937. Lynn taught in J-3’s at Williamsport, Pa where the Cubs were manufactured and recently retired from United Airlines as a 767 Captain. I’ve owned a 1976 Grumman Tiger, N74359, since February 9,1979 (only owned by a woman). – Currently I am in real estate sales at the Premier Residential Airpark, Spruce Creek Fly-In, Daytona Beach, Florida (east coast of Florida) with Spruce Creek Fly-In Realty. Would love to share information about where we are or just take a look at http://www.fly-in.com/ for the fun of it. Where can you sit or show property as airplanes taxi by your window as you work. I would love to share experiences with other Lady Taildragger Pilots. We are so fortunate to be able to fly. The very best to all. Pat Ohlsson...

Jean O’Cuilinn     (Texas)

Jean O’Cuilinn (Texas)

Jean O’Cuilinn is based at E38, Alpine-Casparis Municipal Airport, Alpine, Texas. When I had about 30 hrs or so as a student pilot I went to take some aerobatics at Debbie Rihn-Harvey’s place in La Porte, TX in 2004. We flew a Super Decathlon and from that point on I decided that one day I wanted to get one of my own. In the meantime I bought a Cessna 152 and finished my ratings up through CFI (just this past January) and still have that plane and am using it to now train my students. Just soloed my first student last Thursday evening! I took more acro lessons off and on in a Pitts and Super Decathlon and eventually flew w/ a CFI out near El Paso in the plane that you see posted here – 102GD. He needed to sell it and my husband encouraged me to go for it so we bought it! I’m now in the process of learning to fly her and LAND her (without screeching inside each time) and am having a great time. Frankly, I’m still working on wheel landings in Rosy (the SD).  I’m just jeeky about it – afraid of a prop strike mostly.  But, it’s getting better.  I’m fine in the middle of the air 🙂 ! A friend of mine told me about this web site and when I checked it out last night I thought I’d better register and join in the fun. My planes both have names. The C152 is Julie and the 8KCAB is Rosy- short for LaRosa which stands for “loops and rolls on Sunday afternoon”. I like acro but I don’t think I’ll ever compete. Might go help with a competition as a volunteer some day though. My friend Jeff is the Pres. for the chapter in Austin and they host the Llano Hammerfest each year. The picture  was taken when he came out to Alpine and I got to go fly with him in the Sukhoi. Just added that in because I don’t have a picture of me w/ Rosy and well, the Suk is a tailwheel aircraft and I flew it- sure haven’t landed it though. HA. I’m seriously considering flying Rosy up to McCall Idaho next summer to take the Mountain Canyon Flying seminar. Doubt I’ll use her for the backcountry strips – I’ll probably fly the Super Cub and that will mean that I’ve gotten to fly another tailwheel plane.” Jean O’Cuilinn...

Helen Brennan     (Ohio)

Helen Brennan (Ohio)

Helen Brennan is based at OH15 , Minerva Airport, Minerva, Ohio. I have been flying since 1993, progressing through the customary 152’s, 172’s and Cherokees.  Back in those days (has it really been 18 years already?), ground schools were always full of student pilots and the flight school planes were booked weeks in advance.  That led to the first airplane purchase, a Piper Cherokee, which was a kind, gentle airplane.  There were many great flights exploring the region, supporting every eatery within walking distance of any airport and taking friends and relatives for rides.  But there was more to flying, more purpose and more benefit which led to a satisfying several years of being a Search and Rescue pilot and DEA pilot for the Civil Air Patrol.  Those years honed the skill of flying low and slow in all kinds of VFR weather over frequnetly inhospitable terrain, often never in the same aircraft twice and with many different faces on board.  Even as the hours mounted in my logbook, the experiences became invaluable. These experiences led to wanting to hone more skills, try new things, and what better way to do that than to get a tailwheel endorsement!  After searching as many sources as I could, I finally accepted the fact that I could get the training and ultimately the endorsement, but would not be allowed to solo the airplane – insurance stipulations I was told. Determined not to be discouraged, in 1997 I bought N43759, a 1946 Taylorcraft BC12-D.  She had a recent fabric job but was all white, except for the oil streaks on her belly from the engine and the fuel stains down over her cowling.  So while the A-65 engine was being overhauled, I designed some color graphics for her.  She got a new interior, new tires, new paint on all metal parts, new tailwheel and a new pilot – me!  I was fortunate to have a great tailwheel instructor who made sure that I was as comfortable on concrete as on grass. Since then, the little white plane and I have had many adventures together, seen many places, met many new friends, and continue to share the skies and chase clouds when we choose.  I took a break in 2007 to get my IFR license and another in 2008 to get my Commercial license and am now studying for my CFI written exam. I am looking forward to meeting all of you lady taildragger pilots and hope to see you at Moraine in August! Helen Brennan...

Lynn O’Donnell     (Florida)

Lynn O’Donnell (Florida)

Lynn O’Donnell is based at (7FL6) Spruce Creek Airport, Daytona Beach, Florida. I first flew Cubs as an employee of Piper, then DC-3s in charter and skydiving operations. Years later I bought a Stinson 108-3 Flying Station Wagon which I still have and love. I’ve flown it up and down the east coast, from NJ out to Denver and to Memphis. I’m now hanging out in central FL finding all kinds of grass strips and open fields to land in. Now that I’ve retired from the airlines, I keep current as a CFI giving tailwheel checkouts....

Kim Ewing    (Georgia)

Kim Ewing (Georgia)

Kim Ewing is based at Gwinnett County Airport (KLZU) Lawrenceville, Georgia. I began flying in 2006, right after I graduated from high school. My aunt and uncle own and operate Bermuda High Soaring School in Lancaster, South Carolina and I learned how to fly in gliders with my uncle as my CFIG. After that, I was definitely “bitten by the bug”. At the time, I was attending college in SC, but I transferred to Embry Riddle Aeronautical University down in Florida to pursue flying as a career! In the summer of 2008, my aunt and uncle purchased a 1965 Aeronca Champ (7GCA). Its 150 hp and a blast to fly. I earned my taildragger endorsement and have been in love with that little airplane ever since, flying it every chance I get. I am a CFI and MEI and a commercial pilot w/ single engine land, multi engine land, single engine sea and instrument airplane ratings. I also have my private in gliders, and hope to earn my CFIG soon. My eventual goal is to fly the big jets for the airlines, but my roots will ALWAYS be in “real” flying, tailwheel flying!! 🙂 My fiance occasionally does photo flights in the 210 and if my schedule permits I am lucky enough to tag along and grab some photos of my own! This shoot was in November 2010 down at Homestead ARB in Florida with the Geico Skytypers and the Blue Angels!! Definitely an amazing opportunity to be there for that! I just can’t say enough how happy I was to find your site!! Please include me on it, I can’t wait to meet more like minded lady pilots!! Also, I flew the 2010 Air Race Classic representing Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, and am dying to do it again in my Champ if at all possible!! Now if I could just find a partner…..!! 🙂 Blue Skies, Kim...

Susan Upchurch     (Florida)

Susan Upchurch (Florida)

Susan Upchurch is based at (KSGJ) St. Augustine Airport, St Augustine, Florida. I started flying in 1965 and by 1968 was lucky enough to fly taildraggers (Champ, Cub, PA12, Bird Dog, etc.) and gliders.  I currently own a Super Decathlon and an R-22 helicopter. Through the years, I’ve been a flight instructor, corporate, and charter pilot flying all types of airplanes. Susan and her Super Decathalon By far, the taildragger is the most fun.  Doing aerobatics makes it even more fun. I love to do tailwheel endorsements because it’s great to see pilots learn what the rudder pedals are for and become better pilots.  Their eyes light up when they finally learn crosswind and wheel landings. I’ve just learned about your organization, and I’m looking forward to being involved and meeting as many of you taildragger pilots as possible. Susan Upchurch...

What’s up with Sneha Harish? (South Africa)

What’s up with Sneha Harish? (South Africa)

Hope all is well on your end of the world and hope you are flying loads! I am enclosing pictures of recent ‘first solo’ celebrations of a few of my students. I love photography and try my best to capture it all for the students because they tend to remember the day they flew solo for the first ever time in an aircraft much more vividly than any other achievement. (I remember mine like it happened yesterday and have looked at my first solo album several times ever since! ) I think the instructor is just as elated as the student is to watch him/her fly that one solo circuit!  * * * * * Happy flying! Sending lots of cheer and sunshine your way!  Sneha...

Amy Hoover    (Washington)

Amy Hoover (Washington)

Amy Hoover is based at (KELN) Bowers Field Airport, Ellensburg, Washington. My journey into taildragger flying started in the early 1980’s when my work as a geologist and white water river guide entailed flights into the remote river canyons in central Idaho, and I have been hooked ever since. I obtained my private license in 1988 in Salmon, Idaho and later that year bought a 1947 Cessna 120. I loved flying it all over the Idaho back country and it taught me many things about flying a little airplane in big mountains. For some reason I don’t now completely remember, in January 1991 I flew it to Florida (maybe it was due to the -20 temperatures in Idaho and the sunny skies in Florida). On the way back I stopped over for the winter in South Carolina and completed my instrument rating, commercial license and CFI. In 1992 I landed my first job as a backcountry Air Taxi pilot for SP Aircraft in Boise, Idaho and taught mountain flying seminars for the FAA out of Challis, Idaho. After flying rafters, hunters, supplies, and various other cargo for a few years I decided to combine my love of flying with that of teaching and in 1995 began work as a full-time CFI for BobKat Aviation in Boise. A year later my good friend Lyn Clark asked me and Lori MacNichol, another CFI from McCall, to join her in starting the “McCall Mountain/Canyon Flying Seminars” to promote safety in the Idaho back country. We built the seminar concept around instruction Lyn had been conducting for decades and ran our first classes in July, 1997. Sadly, Lyn was killed in an accident later that summer, but we decided there was a great need to keep the seminars going as more and more pilots were coming to Idaho to enjoy back country flying. For the next five years I developed the company’s training curriculum, wrote many articles on mountain and canyon flying for “Pilot Getaways” magazine, and authored the company’s training manual, “Mountain and Canyon Flying” which is still in use today. However, I still wished to reach out to a broader spectrum in aviation training so accepted the position as Director of Aviation at Mt. Hood Community College in Oregon, where I taught for 5 years while I completed my Ph.D. in Education at Oregon State University. I left the 120 in good hands and in 1999 hooked up with my 1955 Cessna 180 (Charles) that I flew on many adventures around the NW and BC. Yet another opportunity came along and in 2003 I joined the faculty at Central Washington University where I am currently an Associate Professor and Chair of the Aviation Department. I have published approximately 20 articles and manuals on Mountain and Canyon Flying and have given more than 75 presentations to various organizations and forums throughout the U.S. I have the privilege of having logged over 5000 flight hours, half of them as a CFI, and have given over 1000 hours of instruction in flight simulators. My current research interests are in single pilot concurrent task management and multi-crew cockpit operations. My real love is still flying the rugged terrain of central Idaho. After spending more than two decades studying the rocks and landforms, navigating the rivers, and flying the canyons, I have developed a great awe and deep respect for the Idaho wilderness. I love sharing the wonder of the area with other pilots and realize that a certain responsibility must accompany the privileges we enjoy when flying the backcountry. My focus for backcountry instruction includes not only safe and courteous operations but emphasis on the fragility of the area and how we, as pilots, have obligations in preserving the resource for future generations. I said goodbye to Charles and in 2009 bought the “Canyon Goddess” – a new American Champion Citabria Explorer, and am happily giving tailwheel instruction and mountain flying classes with her in Idaho and Washington. I have owned 4 taildraggers (Cessna 120, Cessna 140, Cessna 180 and Citabria 7GCBC – current one) and I have flown, as near as I can count, over 40 different taildragger aircraft. You can see more on my web site at www.canyonflying.com Visit Facebook page “Canyon Flying”...

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