Courtney Smith     (Arizona)

Courtney Smith (Arizona)

Courtney Smith is based at KCHD, Chandler Municipal Airport, Chandler, Arizona. I earned my tailwheel endorsement in a Citabria, and it made me a better pilot!...

Dana J. Martin     (Texas)

Dana J. Martin (Texas)

Dana J. Martin is based at 88R, Spicewood Airport, Spicewood, Texas. 99 Citabria GCBC I have about 1600 hours of Cessna 172/182 IFR rating…but only had 10 hours of tailwheel. Flew a Decathalon and loved it and got the bug for fun flying. I have around 50 hours and still learning… What a blast! Keeps you on your toes! Literally....

Emily Carpenter     (Ohio)

Emily Carpenter (Ohio)

Emily Carpenter is based at 57D, Ray Community Airport, Ray, Michigan. My name is Emily Carpenter, a.k.a. Miss Maverick. I am a student pilot and I am training in a Pitts S2B in my pink heels (so I can reach the rudders). I started flying because I was, and still am, terrified of flying commercially. I love flying because even though it frightens me, the fear has been my driving force. I was absolutely petrified of stalls in a Diamond DA-20 so I Googled places to do spin training and found an airport 2 hours away with a great instructor, Berz Flight Training.  I made that long trek, all the while sweating profusely, thinking about spins, but I didn’t want to be afraid anymore. I arrived and met my instructor. We were going to do spin training in a Citabria. We went up and just did a stall. It was the worst feeling. My instructor then proceeded to explain a spin. We went into a stall and barely went into a spin entry. My hands went flying and I screamed. My instructor could not stop laughing so we landed. I wanted a break before going up again. My instructor had another student come for their spin training in the Pitts. I was going to calm down while they flew then try again. Upon his arrival my instructor realized with full fuel in the Pitts they would be over weight and asked if I wanted to burn off some fuel in the Pitts. I thought ‘absolutely not happening’. It did though! We began putting the parachutes on and I’m thinking, this is not right. Not to be dramatic but I honestly thought I was a goner. We took off and I would not do anything aside from straight and level flight. Upon major encouragement, my instructor convinced me to let him do an aileron roll. I remember grabbing anything and everything in sight holding on for dear life and yelling “I’m going to throw up” repeatedly. LOL. I just wanted him to stop. After the maneuver I realized it wasn’t that bad and I asked him to do it again and again. I was hooked. It was very difficult in the beginning since I could not reach the rudders. My instructor and I brainstormed and I figured high heels. It’s such a challenge, not only learning to fly, but flying a tailwheel, high performance aircraft in heels – very difficult. Now I am training to compete. I have a Facebook fan page called Miss Maverick so people can see what it’s like to start flying from the bottom and work up. I want to share my experience and the hardships along with the laughs, in hopes of inspiring people to use their fear as a driving force. Emily Carpenter...

Beech’s everywhere!

Beech’s everywhere!

You bet Beech’s are everywhere, we’re at Beech Party 2014. Staggerwings, Beech 18s, Travel Airs, and more V-tails, Dukes and Debonairs than you’ve ever seen in one spot. It’s not all about the planes though, it’s about meeting new people – new pilots. Thank you to whoever suggested photographing all the lady pilots. We got a kick out of posing in front of Staggerwing #1 for a quick ladies’ shot. Today I met Esther Mahoney who is one of 10 children (6 sisters and 3 brothers!) and is volunteering at Beech Party. Look out for this future aviatrix, a member of the Civil Air Patrol and avid reader of aviation non-fiction, especially about women. She’s pictured in front of Julie Clark’s T-34 Mentor but I’m guessing she’ll be posing from the inside of a hot little flying machine one of these days. There’s a tremendous connection to Louise Thaden at Beechcraft. If you come to the museum, plan on spending some time in the Louise Thaden exhibit which highlights her award winning flying career. Christine St. Onge from Pennsylvania owns this gorgeous Staggerwing Beech, not currently flying. She logged 1,700 hours in it before deciding it was time for a full restoration. Work currently in progress. Christine will be joining LadiesLoveTaildraggers soon so check back for her story. What inspires a woman to own, fly, maintain ….. and even give instruction in her amazing 1936 C17B? Beech 18 lover? You really should be here! Beech Party may be about Beech aircraft but we managed to find ladies with additional loves as well. We met lady taildragger pilot Konnie Sasser who sold her Citabira 2 years ago but told me she has a sister, Joy, in Texas who instructs exclusively in taildraggers. Joy, where are you?!! Beech Party is NOT your average airplane flyin. When the Dukes fly in and line up on the closed taxiway to tie down, you know there’s some high rollers hopping out of ’em. It’s a whole different world than Super Cubs, Cessna 120s and Champs. But aviation is NOT a one stop shop and some people just live a different version of it. There may be huge differences in the equipment on display here but the passion for flying is unquestionably the same. Aviation is aviation. Big Bucks, Small Bucks, No Bucks. So glad I came!...

Lori Olson     (Wyoming)

Lori Olson (Wyoming)

Lori Olson is based at Gillette-Campbell County Airport, Gillette, Wyoming. I spent many hours of my childhood in the backseat of a Cessna 180 and a PA-11 with my father as PIC. My earliest memories include landing on the dirt road close to my house, or the field behind our shelter belt. It wasn’t unusual for me to stare at my father’s profile from the backseat and think he was magic. Nothing else could explain his ability to take me soaring above the clouds. As the years passed, my brother got his license and became a CFI, and three of my brothers-in-law earned their pilot’s licenses. At one time we had five pilots in my family. Twenty-some years later, after losing my father and lamenting the fact that no one in my family was flying any more, I decided it was time to move to the front seat. While earning my private pilot’s certificate in a C172, my instructor treated me to a tail wheel lesson in an Aviat Husky. I loved it! After a few more lessons in his Champ, I knew I wanted to fly a tail wheel plane. I finished my license in the 172 (October, 2013) and then rented a 7GCBC Citabria until I bought my 7GCBC High Country Explorer (March, 2014). Earning my tail wheel endorsement is one of my happiest memories and one of my greatest accomplishments. I miss flying with my dad, but I’m creating some beautiful memories of my own. It is with great pride that I can say I found my way back home to the sky!...

Lucia Galgano     (California)

Lucia Galgano (California)

Lucia Galgano is based at KCMA, Camarillo Airport, Camarillo, California. Even though I own a Bonanza, my favorite airplane is a Citabria. Nothing like the visibility of the high wing tandem Citabria. Currently, I am a new CFI who is transitioning to the back seat — what a challenge! Lucia Galgano Ventura, CA...

Sandra Proulx     (Canada)

Sandra Proulx (Canada)

Sandra Proulx is based at CYAV, St. Andrews Airport, Manitoba, Canada. I am a Class 1 Flight Instructor (highest rating of instructor in Canada) at Harv’s Air, at St Andrews Airport in Manitoba, Canada. I’ve been flying for 13 years, and been flying taildraggers for most of that time as well. I learned how to fly a Citabria shortly after completing my Private Pilot Licence, and did my aerobatic rating as well. I’ve had experience flying in Citabrias, Pawnee, Cessna 140 and 170, and a Taylorcraft. I towed gliders for a couple of summers once a week with both a Citabria and a Pawnee, and did power line patrol in a Citabria for about 2 years. I started instructing students in Harv’s Air Citabrias after about a year of instructing (in 2005) and enjoy sharing my love of flying taildraggers with my students–and teaching them to “dance” on the rudder. I fly taildraggers because I find it to be freeing in a way that’s different than tricycle gear. I think about the only thing I don’t like about a Citabria is when it’s -25 Celsius because it’s very cold in the back seat.  🙂   Once you have tasted flight, you will walk forever with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been and there you long to return–Leonardo DaVinci Thanks Sandra...

Ginger Davidson     (Contest Entry #10)

Ginger Davidson (Contest Entry #10)

The Grasshopper and I . . . by Ginger Davidson It was a cold December day when I found myself alone for the first time in my own airplane. The insurance requirements for dual in type had finally been met and I was set free. That could only mean one thing; me and The Grasshopper, a lime green 1974 Citabria, were going on an adventure. Like everyone else, I had read the stories about barnstormers who flew into farm fields to hop rides. They flew all day and at night slept under the wing of their plane. It seemed so magical I couldn’t wait for the experience and that’s what I set out to do. “Wait a minute, it’s going to be 20 degrees” I said to myself as I flew north.  “Why are you heading North instead of South?”  I still have no idea why Frankenmuth, Michigan was circled on my sectional but it was so off into the wild blue yonder I charged. My tent, sleeping bag, small backpacking stove, some coffee, a couple red bulls, extra clothes, and a few granola bars were packed into the baggage compartment.  I was leaving behind a world of aircraft rentals, scheduling flights days in advance, flight instructors in tow, and nose wheel aircraft. It was finally time to experience the joys of aircraft ownership. I would have to fuel my own plane, change the oil, wash the windshield, and become one with it. We were quite a duo, the bright green airplane and I.  Every nut and bolt worked its way into my head as our mutual comfort level developed.  Together we even passed the maneuver portion of the commercial single engine pilot certificate in a 30mph direct crosswind. Sadly though, she was sold later that evening. On the day of this story though, it was time for a new beginning. We were starting our relationship and a new chapter of friendships was heading our way. The 115 horsepower Lycoming engine roared to life on that cool December morning and took us away from the asphalt. We were destined to find some soft, forgiving grass for the steel spring gear and to live out a dream only two hours away but years in the making. The flight is a blur but what remains engrained in my memory is the coldness. Pitching my 3 season Mountain Hardware tent under the right wing was an easy task as I had done it many times before during my recent 3 month backpacking trip. As the winter sun set deeper into the western skyline, the temperature dropped as if it were racing the sun for the title of lowest. Across the way, a little airport building stood only a few hundred feet from my plane. I couldn’t help but look around. That’s where I ran into some locals who helped me arrange a ride into town for food. They also insisted I look into getting a room for the night. I think one even made a call to see if rooms were available in case I changed my mind. I didn’t, but I did take them up on the food. When you’ve been flying and you’re planning to camp out in the cold, a place like the famous Bavarian Inn is very inviting. The big warm plate full of golden fried chicken teamed with other German delicacies like grandma used to make made me feel right at home.  Ahhhh, comfort food. Afterward, since I was in the spirit, I had to take a trip through Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland. I don’t remember buying anything but I do remember the shuttle driver doing his best to tell me how cold it was going to get and that I should stay at one of the local accommodations.  But as always, my answer was “no thanks”. I needed to sleep in my tent under the wing of my plane. The books about barnstormers never had them staying in comfy accommodations at lodges or inns and all the effort to get to this point would be mute if I succumbed to the warmth of a heated room, cozy bed, and other amenities. The next morning as I crawled from the confines of my down sleeping bag and made the very brisk walk across the frozen, crunchy blades of grass to the little airport building. Like a cat in a window, I did my best to absorb all its warmth while sipping on the days’ first cup of coffee.   There, with a warm mug in hand, I looked out across the field. Sitting alone in the grass was a frost covered Citabria with a tent under the wing and a lone set of footsteps leading in my direction. I might have been born in the wrong era but I was doing my best to live the right one and quietly I felt rather proud. As the sun rose higher into the morning sky, followed slowly by the warmth that had chased it all night long, I quickly packed my belongings.  Next I turned the wings into the sun to help melt the frost and retreated once again to the building for more warm coffee.  That’s when it occurred to me I had never started this plane in such cool temperatures. Would it start?  My mind wandered back to the stories of barnstormers and bush pilots. Often they would drain the oil at night and slept with it to keep it warm.  But I hadn’t done that. What would I do if it wouldn’t start?  And should I even try to start it without preheating? At that very moment, as if he had been reading my mind, a local pilot stumbled into the office and offered to let me warm my plane in his hangar. Then, as the crowd grew, it seemed as if a mass text alert had been sent to the entire Frankenmuth pilot association.  Apparently there was quite the oddity on display at the airport and everyone was coming out to see. It was a girl, flying a taildragger, by herself, sleeping in her tent in freezing temperatures, and she seemed to be having the time of her life. With the plane warmed and ready for departure, the first page of the story ‘The Grasshopper and I’ was complete. Looking back on that memory, and those from our other trips around the country the friends I met along the way stand out. They were there with me for all the best of times including the introduction to my wonderful, wayward, barnstorming husband. This December 31st we will have been married 10 years and I still vividly remember our first date. ‘The Grasshopper and I’ flew him to my favorite eating spot in Elwood, Indiana. Since that day, together we have created a place where others can fulfill their own ‘grasshopping’ dreams. But I have to admit, I’m looking back on those days and realizing the time has come for us to once again fulfill our own. Ginger Davidson Lee Bottom Flying Field  www.LeeBottom.com Geez Beez   www.GeezBeezHoney.com Sheep Happens...

Laura Easton     (Massachusetts)

Laura Easton (Massachusetts)

Laura Easton is based at KASH, Boire Field Airport, Nashua, New Hampshire and lives in Massachusetts. Hi! My name’s Laura and I’m 20 years old, studying Information Systems at McGill University, and I love Taildraggers! I have been flying with my dad since I was young but only became seriously interested in flying when I saw my first SuperCub. After my first flight in a Cub with the doors open, cruising over Hampton Beach at just a few thousand feet, I knew taildraggers were for me. A few calls later, I began flying lessons in a yellow Champ in a small grass field. A few months later, my family invested in a beautiful Citabria in which I continued to train. I am so happy to say that I got my private pilots license and tailwheel endorsement on August 25th of this year! Flying is empowering because I know that I am in complete control, how the airplane flies is a direct result of my actions. Getting my license has been a huge confidence builder and I hope to encourage other women to take flight! I have motivated my brother and father to get their tailwheel endorsements! 🙂 Before flying, I was a synchronized ice skater of seven years. I also love hiking, rollerblading, kiteboarding, and exploring. Laura Easton...

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...

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