Mary Ellen Thomson     (Pennsylvania)

Mary Ellen Thomson (Pennsylvania)

Mary Ellen Thomson is based at 07N, Bermudian Valley Airport, Kralltown, PA. Hello Ladies!! 20 years ago when my husband was just finishing up his ticket, I asked him one day; what is ALL the fuss about flying?? He said “why don’t you take a lesson”? Well the rest is history – I have been hooked ever since and I’m very passionate about anything that has to do with flying. I learned in a Chief and ten years ago we sold that to buy a Citabria (Girly Plane) which I have a blast in…We are based at a grass strip called Bermudian Valley Airpark and our “barn” (named by our granddaughter) our hangar is the central hub for the airport. Cold drinks, snacks and a healthy dose of airport etiquette (lol) are available. While I’m a die hard adventurous flyer – my hubby prefers to hang at the airport in his Stearman. We are truly blessed as we enjoy the same hobby, have a great group of friends and we spend all of our free time and then some at the ‘barn’….Please contact me and stop by or let’s set a date to fly somewhere….I would really enjoy meeting fellow aviatrix. Happy flying!! Mary Ellen Thomson Airport 07N – Bermudian Valley, PA Blog: FLYGIRLBVA...

Amal Ajmi and Sheefish on the Kobuk, Alaska

Amal Ajmi and Sheefish on the Kobuk, Alaska

From Amal Ajmi, “Biggest fish I have ever caught!!! No lying.” This is the highlight of my summer so far!!! I have been dreaming about Sheefish on the Kobuk for a couple of years now and only this year did I feel I had the experience and skill needed for the gravel bar landing and takeoff required. I flew with a friend of mine, me of course in my bird and he in his beautiful red Citabria on floats. Leaving Fairbanks late in the afternoon we flew to Ruby for a fuel top off, and then straight north to the Kobuk. I have never been in this area before and was so struck with the vast beauty. I guess I just can’t ever get enough of it….Alaska. Moose, beaver, swans….as we flew the sun began to sink lower and lower streaking the sky with red colored clouds…the lakes so still they reflected the fluffy lovelies and sometimes our birds as we flew over….after 5 hours of stunning flightseeing we got to our destination after midnight…I flew over and over the gravel bar, making sure of my landing spot and roll out distance…..making sure it was good to go, I know you all know what am talking about…..when you are tired, end of the day and excited about fishing, you can make mistakes……I didn’t want to start my trip with a broken bird because I didn’t fly over just one more time to make sure…….I flew feet above the river to land as close as possible to the shore line, giving myself enough room……and rolled out just fine. Tying down my bird, I have never been so happy to be a pilot, to be able to go to these places…and be so fortunate to have a bird that could take me there…. My friend and I made camp, made a small fire and relaxed trying to let the buzz-hum of a long flight sink out of our bones, a sip of whiskey always seems to help…Next couple of days were a dream of Sheefish after Sheefish, good gravy them guys are huge!!!! They fight nice and are so very beautiful, big silver scales, some tinted red above the lateral line. “Tarpon of the North” they are called. I always bring my fly rod, a Sage LL 5 weight. Who knows when you are going to find Grayling…and we did. Grayling are my favorite fish. They are also a long lived fish silvery blue, sometimes more golden purple…depending where you fish… My friend took me up in his bird to try out lake fishing up in the Brooks Range, only about 20 minutes from our camp site. He caught a nice pike, but the lake trout would not rise to our lures….ah well, we picked blue berries for a bit and returned to the gravel bar….. It rained a fair bit the last 2 days of our fishing and on the last night, I lost 200’ of my gravel bar. I have practiced short field take offs A LOT, I practice over and over for just such an event. My bird can take off in 200’, I know this. I still had plenty of room (about 600’). Still concerned, the next morning I walked the remaining distance over and over until I had every rock, every little pool stuck on my head. I also unloaded all my heavy gear so I would be light…..my friend took up my gear, leaving behind a load for later, and he waited for me to take off…..I gotta tell you, there are times you really don’t know….will the practice pay off…..I held her on the ground as long as she would let me and then effortlessly she sprang into the air with about 100’ to spare….keeping in ground effect over the river I “YIHA’ed” at the thrill of my birds ability!!!! My friend caught up with me and we flew to Bettles where I waited for him to go back for the last load. We had some early dinner and flew home to Fairbanks, bounced around by the last of the daily head winds and thermals…settling down as the day grew older, it was a smooth ride the last half hour……with the biggest grin on my face, I covered and tied down my awesome little bird. Blue Skies and Tight Lines!!!!...

Deb Nelson     (Arizona)

Deb Nelson (Arizona)

Deb Nelson is based at Casa Grande Municipal Airport, Casa Grande, Arizona and KEPM Eastport, Maine. Here’s a very cool email I received from Steve Trieber, the happy guy that’s married to Deb Nelson. I really want to meet them both! If you read through these updates, all sent by Steve, you’ll understand why I think husbands just don’t come any more supportive than him!  “It’s me, Deb’s husband Steve. I’m sending you another update on Deb’s adventures.” “Deb bought her dream plane last week. Pitot the dog, Broken the Cat, and I got to ride along on the re-position flight from KCGZ Casa Grande AZ to our home at KEPM Eastport, Maine.” “Not so sorry to say, but it won’t be a tail-dragger again until the lakes in Maine start to freeze.” “Girls and their toys” Ciao Maine Steve Trieber Eastport Municipal Airport Eastport, Maine ‘the easternmost airport in the USA’ ———- The following posted March 8, 2012 —————————– A very cool update about Deb Nelson from husband Steve Trieber. Congratulations Deb, on your Big News!! “Deb is now an official “Aeronaut “. She passed her balloon check ride with ‘flying colors’ a couple of days ago.” “Here’s our dog ‘Pitot’ thinking that all of his weight has helped with the post flight pack-up.” “Wintering, working & enjoy great flying weather in Arizona until it warms up a bit back east at ‘the easternmost airport in the USA’, KEMP, Eastport, Maine!” Best regards. —————-Following posted November 25, 2011—————- Here’s a surprise everyone can share in! Deb’s proud husband wanted to surprise her so he registered her on Ladies Love Taildraggers. Welcome Deb to our fun group of lady taildragger pilots! We’re anxious to hear more about your taildragger flying – and your hot air balloon flying too! Hi Judy, This is Steve, I filled out a registration application for my wife Deb Nelson. I’m signing her up as a surprise. I found your web-site in an aviation publication. I showed it to Deb and she loved it. She’ll find out soon. Deb loves to fly her Citabria 7GCBC. That’s her in the photo just about to land at KCGZ Casa Grande, Arizona. We’re based there in the winter and at the “Eastern most airport in the USA” KEPM Eastport Maine in the summer. We also have a hangar at KAST Astoria, Oregon. Her GCBC has flown back and forth between all of them. Our dog ‘Pitot Tube’ & cat ‘Broken’ also fly!! Thanks for including her in Ladies Love Taildraggers. I’m sure she’ll add more info & photos once she can log-in. Conventional gear is the best ! Best Regards, Steve Trieber...

Katie Mullins-Schultz     (Louisiana)

Katie Mullins-Schultz (Louisiana)

Katie Mullins-Schultz is based at St. Landry Parish Airport – Ahart Field, Opelousas, LA. My husband completed his private pilot’s license in December 2011, and took me up for a ride as his first passenger, which was only my 2nd time ever being in a small plane. I immediately started asking questions about what the different gauges did and what he was doing. After kindly answering several of my questions, he became aggravated with my incessant questioning and told me that if I was so interested, then I should go learn to fly. So, that’s exactly what I did!  Less than six months later, in June 2012, I was the one taking him for a ride! I am what you would call an “eternal student” – always with a thirst for knowledge and wanting to learn more. Even before completing my license, I had spotted my CFI’s Super Cub in the back of the hangar that needed some wing skin repair before being air-worthy again. I’m not exactly sure what it is about a taildragger that is so appealing, but she almost sings to you, drawing you in to her – like the sirens of Greek mythology that sang the sailors to them. And even before completing my license, I was begging my CFI to get the Super Cub repaired so that I could get my tail-wheel endorsement. It took a good bit of harassing, but he did get her fixed, and shortly after completing my license, we took her up! However, we only got in one lesson before life took over and the tail-wheel endorsement had to be put on hold for a while. In the meantime, my husband and I came across a Cherokee 180 that fit the bill for what we needed to travel to see family. I know, not a taildragger, but more economical and efficient for what we need right now. But we both still drool over all things with a wheel under the tail, and hope to add one to our “fleet” in the future. In the meantime, my most immediate goal is to get my tail-wheel endorsement finished up this spring and rent a taildragger to play in this summer. I also hope to obtain my instrument rating this year. My ultimate goal is to learn aerobatics. Being new to the aviation world, there is much to learn, but the most fun I have had so far was spin training. My private pilot examiner has participated in aerobatic competitions and took some time after my test to talk with me about aerobatic training and all the fun opportunities awaiting in that realm of aviation! So, my ultimate goal is to own an aerobatic taildragger! And maybe even participate in some competitions myself!  As the only active female pilot at my airport, I am very excited to be joining a group of ladies with so much energy and activity, and with so many opportunities to participate! I hope to meet many of you soon in person at a fly-in! Katie Mullins-Schultz...

Heather Jay     (California)

Heather Jay (California)

Heather Jay is based at KCIC, Chico Municipal Airport, Chico, California. I recently purchased a Citabria 7KCAB and love it! I want to work on my stick and rudder skills and begin working on basic aerobatics. I have my instrument rating, my single & multi engine commercial ratings and am now working towards my CFI rating.  I enjoy flying and love any ferrying opportunities that come my way....

Kelly McClure     (Kansas)

Kelly McClure (Kansas)

Kelly McClure is based at KICT, Wichita Mid-Continent Airport, Wichita, Kansas but still considers 5B6, Falmouth Airpark, Falmouth, Massachusetts her “home” field too. I am a born and raised taildragger girl, having gone by the airport immediately after being born to see my father’s Staggerwing, even before going home. The taildragger bug was bound to stick after exposure like that! All of my private pilot training was done in a Citabria, leaving me with only a little time in a nosewheel airplane. Anytime I go home to 5B6, I still fly my father’s (but really my) Citabria. I am currently employed by Textron on a 2 year rotational assignment in which I will work with two different business units. Right now I am positioned at Cessna in Wichita, so I have been flying the 172s over at the employees’ flying club. While here I have managed to finish my 172 checkout, but only because they don’t have any 140s, 170s, or 180s! Because I am a huge dog lover and adoption advocate, I hope to get involved with Pilots n Paws soon....

T. Determan     (Washington & Minnesota)

T. Determan (Washington & Minnesota)

T. Determan flies out of  KYKM, McAllister Field, Yakima, Washington. I first learned to fly taildraggers with Gus Pooler. He’d always ask me what the ball was doing… because I never had it centered. After many patient hours of his tutelage, I was ready to fly! Most of my taildragger experience is in Citabrias and Decathlons. My favorite flights are with my Mom, she has such an appreciation for the beautiful scenery around the Yakima Valley, and for cloud formations. I live in Minnesota, so I get to fly when I visit my Mom & Dad in YKM....

Hannah Elliott     (California)

Hannah Elliott (California)

Hannah Elliott is based at KRNM, Ramona Airport, Ramona, California. HI, my name is Hannah Elliott. I am 17 years old and I am learning to fly in a Citabria. I LOVE IT!!!! I should be able to solo hopefully this month. I am looking to make a career out of flying. I will be a senior in high school this fall. I live in a small town in the mountains outside of San Diego, CA. Thanks 🙂 Hanna Elliott  ...

Allison’s first solo cross country …….. was to the Lady Taildraggers Flyin!

Allison’s first solo cross country …….. was to the Lady Taildraggers Flyin!

This is the greatest story! 16 year old student pilot Allison Driver, instructed by her grandfather in his airplane, a Citabria, flies her first solo cross country 99 n.m. to our lady taildraggers fly-in in Savannah, TN. Pretty darn cool! Allison has been flying with her grandfather, CFI Ernest Betencourt, for some time and even registered on LadiesLoveTaildraggers at the ripe old age of 14. She has been working towards the goal of soloing on her 16th birthday and on Sunday, May 20, she met that goal soloing at the Murfreesboro, Tennessee Airport. Allison & Ernest fly out of KMBT, Murfreesboro Municipal Airport, Tennessee. Ernst writes, “Instructing Allison has been very rewarding and yes, occasionally challenging. Blending crotchety old man, grandfather and flight instructor is an imperfect process. You are right, I worry about all the things I haven’t had time to teach her, worry about all the things that can go wrong and then try to let her literally spread her wings while I keep my worries to myself. She has really been a fun student, has learned well so far, and is a very good “stick” in terms of her ability to handle the airplane. She can fly the Citabria as well as I can on all the basics, landings, T/Os etc. Probably better on the routine stuff because she pays more attention.” * The following article about Allison’s first solo was forwarded by Ernest Betencourt. Written by David Swindler, EAA Chapter 419, June 2012 News. What a wonderful day in the young life of Miss Allison Driver as she completed her solo flights in a most traditional and significant style creating a memorable moment at the Murfreesboro Airport on Sunday May 20, 2012. This Solo event was significant in a number of different ways. First of all her Solo was completed on her 16th birthday on the first day of her life when it was legal to do so. Not many pilots are able to brag about such a feat. It does take an early commitment with that goal well in mind. Secondly, her instructor was her Grandpa Ernest Betancourt one of our most respected Military and Commercial Instructor Pilots and EAA Chapter 419 Members. Most know Ernie by his Big Fire Engine Red Waco that captures our attention every time he flies. A third significant factor was the fact that Allison accomplished her Solo flights in a tail dragger- American Champion Citabria Explorer. As everyone knows, it takes additional skills to fly this type of aircraft. A fourth significant factor is that Grandpa Betancourt had significant confidence in the ability of Allison to invite all his friends and relatives to attend the occasion while Grandma Betancourt supplied cookies and soft drinks for all those attending the celebration. Grandma also prepared to hang a big sign on the airport fence after the Solo flights were completed. Another significant factor was the fact that Allison accomplished her Solo flights on a beautiful afternoon that was summer like with cumulous clouds and bright blue skies. Pilots know that such conditions produce rough turbulence that can make for uncomfortable flying. Most instructors like to do their solo flights early in the morning or evening when the air is smooth for easy flying. But Allison did a fantastic job looking like a professional pilot. I heard a comment from one of the fellows who said listening to her do her reports on the radio round the pattern that she was cool, collected, and sounded better than some of the best MTSU students. On Allison’s third and final landing, she planted the tail wheel on the ground somewhat ahead of the main wheels. During the social time while munching on a cookie, her Instructor Grandpa Betancourt commented that he liked to see people plant the tail wheel on the ground first because you know if that happens the aircraft is in a completely stable condition and will complete a safe landing every time. When one thinks about the physics and dynamics of the tail wheel aircraft, this is a scientifically true statement. Keeping with tradition someone, perhaps Grandpa, cut a big swath of cloth out of the back of Allison’s T Shirt to hang as a souvenir of the event. While enjoying her cookie and refreshment, I asked Allison a very general question about what she expected for her future. My jaw dropped to the ground when she told me what her aspirations were in life not expecting anything like she was about to say. Allison said that she wanted to have a Pink Cabin Waco on floats. I countered with “Oh, you want to live in Alaska?” The response was “No (stupid) in Florida!” A PINK CABIN WACO ON FLOATS IN FLORIDA!!!! David Swindler  ...

McKenzie Manning      (Tennessee)

McKenzie Manning (Tennessee)

McKenzie Manning is based at 2M8, Charles W. Baker Airport, Millington, Tennessee. I’m a 16 year old student pilot. I did my first solo on my birthday in December. Learning to fly my grandfather’s Citabria 7GCBC has been such an amazing bonding experience for us. He’s such a great instructor! I hope to get my license on my birthday in December!! – – – McKenzie Manning Tennessee...

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