Kristie’s Flying Adventure!

It may have taken 34 years, but hey, we got the job done right this time!!  The last time I took my friend Kristie Kirsch for a plane ride it didn’t go so well.  We had just taken off in my 1940 tandem 2 place Porterfield from a 2,600′ grass strip and were probably under 100′ agl when I heard her hollering from the back seat, “TAKE ME BACK TAKE ME BACK!!” Kristie’s reenactment! Guess I should say we did TWO takeoffs and the same thing happened both times!!  That was 34 years ago and I’ve been waiting patiently all these years to try it again and give her a happy flight to remember. So when Kristie was visiting over the weekend she wasn’t exactly thrilled at the thought of flying with me again, or with anyone else  for that matter.  But hey, I was going for a sunset flight and I invited her to come along so she had to decide if she was going to try it again after all these years or be a land lover and hang out in the hangar. “Kristie, it’s going to be nice and smooth up there tonight!” We took the obligatory preflight photo and I hoped for the best… Kristie & Judy Well, she went, we flew — and she LIKED it! A flight 34 years in the making The flight was short – but sweet – in smooth air with a beautiful sunset – just perfect!  Thanks, Kristie, I loved it and I know you LIKED it ….. at least a little! Sunset over Geist Lake...

Bette Bach Fineman  (Arizona)

Bette Bach Fineman (Arizona)

Bette Bach Fineman is based at Montezuma Airport (19AZ) Camp Verde, Arizona, and says she has owned a total of 14 airplanes, all but one a taildragger! I flew right seat in taildraggers from 1957 to 1968, when I finally soloed my first Aeronca Champ.  Got my license in 1970, graduated to a DeHavilland Tiger Moth in 1972 and have owned 14 airplanes (only one of which was not a taildragger),  but no more than three at any one time! Bette’s first Champ in 1968 – All six of my children flew before they were born.  Both husbands were/are flight instructors who encouraged my career which has included aerial photography, flying formation for other photographers, ferrying antiques and classics across the country, running a Vermont soaring school with another single mother, editing aviation books and doing some of my own writing. I published my book “Patterns: Tales of Flying and of Life” a couple of years ago.   We live at a residential airpark, with my third Champ in the hangar, and just sold a Cessna 180. Sadly, recently retired from solo flight due to limited eyesight. For more about Bette’s amazing life check out Winged Victory: Interview with Bette Bach Fineman...

Yes! A sunny day and no new snow!!

By Judy Birchler, host of LadiesLoveTaildraggers.com Finally, a great afternoon to fly in Indiana!  Check out the pictures Boyd shot as I departed Mt. Comfort Airport, refueled at Shelbyville  (thank you Darrell), flew around Geist Lake and shot touch and go’s at MQJ.  It was clear, smooth, beautiful and a mild 25 degrees. Departing MQJ. Cold outside but warm in the Champ, at least on my left foot. Southbound for the 18 mile hop to visit Sherry and Darrell at KGEZ I slicked it on,…. really!! Judy with  Darrell, who I had to convince to pose with me Hanging with the big boy Over Geist Lake Not wasting the sunshine at MQJ...

Jeanene Bishop (Minnesota)

Jeanene flies out of GPZ in Bovey, Minnesota.   Pictures pending. I have been a pilot since 1984. I learned in a tricycle gear but have flown only taildraggers since I got my license. I have my land/sea tickets and enjoy float flying very much. We fly skis in the Winter. I have two cute little Champs, NC 84976. Her name is Yellow Bird, and N249MM.  Her name is Minnie Mouse.   Both are down for restoration at this time. We are putting a seaplane door and float fittings on Yellow Bird. I am hoping that Yellow Bird will be in the air again by Spring. We hope to make it to Middletown for the flyin. We also have a PA-12 Super Cruiser, N61465. Her name is Fifi and she is airworthy. We also fly her on floats and skis. My husband, Hal, and I both love to fly and enjoy the low and slow experience that old airplanes give us. We have flown all over the United States. We enjoy going into small grass strips and talking with local people. We have met some very interesting people and heard some great flying stories in our travels....

Judy’s Fun Flying with Family & Friends

  Judy & Jessica (mom & kido) By Judy Birchler, host of LadiesLoveTaildraggers.com You just can’t get up on a beautiful and warm (for November 27) Saturday morning and not fly to breakfast.  No matter how many eggs you’ve got in your refrigerator or how many boxes of Jiffy pancake mix, you’ve just got to fly to breakfast!  So after taking a quick peek out the window and seeing a very blue, sunny sky we decided to call the kids and head for the airport.  Since we’re only lucky enough to have one taildragger in the family and a back up Mooney for the hubby to fly, we divided up and headed to Columbus Airport, Columbus, Indiana for that breakfast.  I don’t care how far you have to fly, if you’ve not been there it’s worth the trip for a hearty breakfast or home cooked lunch. Jessica ready for take off! Craig & Justin took some great shots of us in Champ N7569E …as they zoomed by and Boyd tried his best to hang close by You gotta love that blue sky! The whole family; Boyd, Craig, Judy & Jessica on the ramp at KGEZ Since Shelbyville Indiana’s airport prices their fuel about $1.00 less a gallon than where we’re based, it’s also a frequent local stop for refueling.  What luck to bump into Charlie Laird and his latest project, a 1943 Gull Wing Stinson. We finally get Justin in a picture instead of behind the camera! (far right) Two Champs, twice as much fun! Meet Charlie Laird’s 1943 Gull Wing Stinson Jessica & Judy happy to pose with Charlie and his gorgeous Stinson...

Who’s faster – a Rans or a Champ?

By Judy Birchler, host of LadiesLoveTaildraggers.com already knew the answer before heading out on this very loose formation flying weekend but who knew they would fly circles around us?!! Sure enough, the Rans S7-S LSA did just that – there they were, down low, up high, up front, way behind and all the while powering way back to stay with our Champ 7EC/FC. Now don’t get me wrong – I have no interest in giving up my beautiful blue and white, way fun, happy little Champ but I CAN see the attraction with all that airspeed! Our trip:  MQJ, GEZ, MQJ, KY8, 1M9, FRH & MQJ Boyd and I just spent a great flying weekend with Wayne & Kathy Norris of Norris Field, Liberty, Indiana.  We met up at the Ramp Rats Chili Fest in Shelbyville, IN and were ready to depart with full bellies until we realized “oh no, forgot the swim suits!”  A quick 18 mile flight back north, a 15 knot direct crosswind landing, a “please don’t let a cop catch me” fast drive home, a train (of course) over the track heading back, another crosswind departure and then finally – yes, we’re really on the way now!  We formed up with Rans N13NF near Columbus, IN and were happy to find we had a really nice tailwind pushing us along. Check out the pictures below but in a nutshell – coming from the north we flew south down Lake Barkley to the inlet where Barkley Lodge resides then to the Lake Barkley State Park Airport (1M9).  Beautiful lodge overlooking the lake, free transportation by the Park Service to the lodge, lots of good hiking trails, pool & hot tub, nice restaurant – it’s just got it all.  Day 2 was a flight back north up the lake, some fun flying over the Ohio River between Evansville & Owensboro and a stop at French Lick, Indiana.  Now this is an beautiful destination for anyone loving amazing architecture, history, historic hotels and shiny new casinos.  The resorts picks you up a the airport (free) delivers you to where ever you want to go.   They also run shuttles between the West Baden Inn, the Casino and the French Lick Resort but if its a nice day and you have time there’s a 1.25 mile paved trail that connects everything.  It’s a must see stop if you’re ever in southern Indiana.  I lost track of the time but roundtrip I’m thinking 6.5 hours logable time!...

Two sisters and a Champ

By Judy Birchler, host of LadiesLoveTaildraggers.com Champ N7569E pilot, Judy, and willing adventure seeker (& sister), Karen, want to share a few pictures we snapped. We spent  2 fun days together flying what seems like “all over” Indiana, Illinois and even a little Missouri .  We tallied up 10 hours 35 minutes of flight time visiting 7 airports,  zipping along at speeds as low as 63 mph all the way to a not too shabby 106 mph.  The goal was “don’t rush, just fly and have fun” and we sure did. FYI, we’ve got a ladies flyout coming up soon.  Check out the link and send an email if you’d like to join us – only requirement, you’re a lady with a taildragger!!...

Midwest Aeronca Festival, Kewanee, IL 2009

By Judy Birchler, host of LadiesLoveTaildraggers.com Champ N7569E flew from Indianapolis to Kewanee, IL Saturday morning against a strong headwind and over a broken layer a short part of the way.  I snapped a few pictures and thought I’d share with anyone interested in Aeroncas, slow flight and a good time. Flight time to Kewanee on Saturday was 3 hours 40 minutes which was slow, but fine with me because I love to fly her, even at 63 mph!  Luckily that headwind turned into a tailwind the next morning which got us home in 2 hours, 20 minutes.  My husband loved flying that leg of the trip because it’s not often you see 126 mph on the GPS. We met some nice folks at Kewanee including fun & helpful FBO owners Dale & Debra Lindstrom, pilots Sarah & Dave Allen, aviation photographer extraordinaire David Frye, and 7AC Champ pilot/owner Dave Griffith. Also got reacquainted with event organizer and brand new daddy, Jody Wittmeyer. Sorry to say the weather didn’t cooperate on Sunday morning.  With rain and thunderstorms moving in we decided to pass on the fly out breakfast and get on the way while we still could.  Thanks, Jody, for organizing your event, putting on a spread of food, providing cars and making it all possible!...

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