Young Eagle “Girl Scout” Flights

Young Eagle flights are always a great thing – great for the kids who get to fly and great for the pilots who get to experience their adventure with them.  But tonight I found the secret of trumping the average (however fun) run of the mill Young Eagle flight. You take 4 lady pilots, 4 airplanes, 9 Girl Scouts and turn ’em loose in the sky! Girl Scout, Megan and Judy  just before our Young Eagle flight So here we are all ready to go. Now who do you think all the girls are gonna want to fly with? I’m guessing Kassie wearing the nifty blue “United Airlines” first officer uniform (she’s got a really cool hat too). Well, they may have really wanted to fly with Kassie but they were all very sweet & polite and happily jumped into whichever airplane they were assigned to. The 4 pilots, Susan Zellers, Kassie Schaefer, Judy Birchler & Ester Wyandt The pilot briefing’s done and the girls are ready to go – the little ones and the big ones! One last pose What…. I’m the only taildragger participating! There just must not be enough taildraggers to go around, what other possible explanation?! 3 trikes and 1 taildragger heading out * Ester and her young “crew” I’ve spent 5 minutes before explaining to a 50 year old how to climb into a Champ. A 4th grader can hop in one before the door is fully open! I think Megan liked her snazzy headset! Lovely evening. We had a beautiful view heading back to the airport * Too cute – a 4th grade taildragger pilot in the the making! The Goodyear blimp occasionally stops by MQJ but visits are very infrequent. Lucky tonight for the girls to see it arrive. The perfect ending to a Young Eagle flight – watching the approach of the Goodyear Blimp to our airport! Thank you to Jack Morton for organizing the event and being determined to find 4 available lady pilots. Thanks to the gals flying – I loved hearing us all taking over the airwaves. And thanks to the Girl Scouts for flying with us and working so hard to get your Aviation Badges....

Susan & Andy’s flying adventure to Brodhead 2010!

Susan Theodorelos and Andy Heins flew the Waco to Brodhead, WI for the big fly-in Sept. 9 – 12.  Thanks for sharing your fun trip with us, Susan! “We flew a 1935 Waco YKC-S NC14620 –  My hubby’s plane … although I’m not checked out in the plane — I do a lot of the flying from point A to point B!  It is a great old bird — and it’s pretty much — “”if you can get it through the door you can take it with you!””  She is a lot of fun to fly — big old steering wheels and windows that roll down – which we affectionately call our “”Thermostats””.  She’s powered with a 275 Jacobs engine and carries 70 gallons of gas and 5 gallons of oil!  The FBO’s LOVE to see us taxi in for gas!  We flight plan a fuel burn of 16 g/ph… ugh!  But the “”fun factor”” really out weighs the fuel cost!” Susan loaded up and ready to go! “We pushed the Cabin out of the hangar about 8 am on Thursday morning to skies so blue and air so nice and crisp, it was unbelievable!  Normally, riding in the Waco cabin in summer weather can be like a sweat lodge experience…but today was going to be just lovely!  After filling up with fuel, we rumbled down 26 and were on our way! We left from  Moraine Airpark (I73) VFR direct to Koerner’s Aviation (3KK) just across the Indiana border in Illinois.  Stopping there is like taking a step back in time.  N/S & E/W grass runways and a big old hangar straight out of the late 20’s! Beautiful colors We popped up to about 4500 MSL to stay clear of Muncie airspace, and I looked down at the GPS and we both cringed…. 88mph GS??  Oh boy — this is gonna be a while! No Land-Speed Records! What I did next was probably hateful to some but — I pulled out my iPhone and checked the winds and we decided that after we cleared Muncie we would drop back down to 2500-3000 MSL to see if we could make a bit more speed there.   Ran that one dry! I was sitting with my head on my hand, elbow propped on the window sill of the cabin just enjoying the view and kaleidoscope of colors when the engine coughed… I’M AWAKE!  Someone forgot to add in a couple notches of mixture before we descended back down! That always gets your attention!  Oddly enough, we picked up a good 20mph GS at the lower altitude … ahhh…much better… at least the cars weren’t passing us at this point!   Wabash River   The skies were clear as a bell and you could see forever.  We passed over the Wabash River and acres and acres of fields that splashed all sorts of colors from deep green to bright yellows.  I was at the controls, air was smooth as glass, just a couple fingers holding the wheel… and you sometimes have to pinch yourself — “”Am I REALLY this lucky??”” Kankakee River It wasn’t long before we could make out Greater Kankakee Airport (KIKK) in the distance…and just beyond — the familiar old hangar of Koerners!   Koerner’s Hangar Andy took over for landing the big, old beast and I snapped a few more photos before landing. Home of Koerner Aviation After visiting with Steve and Roger for a bit — catching up on the “”goins on”” for the past several months, we topped off with fuel and rumbled down 26 again.  Andy climbed up and turned right and pointed the nose of the old girl back around for a “”So Long”” pass down the runway… We climbed back up to 3000 MSL and toddled along… it was hard to imagine we hadn’t seen another plane during the 2 hours to Koerner’s…it was too beautiful NOT to fly! Just as we got skirted around the Class B airspace of Chicago and started the turn north to Poplar Grove we passed over a corn field which we originally though was  a maze…but a closer look showed this was a tribute to the Armed Forces with a soldier holding a rifle with “”America”” written next to his right shoulder — just below in another field was a P-51 carved out of the corn!  Just beautiful and worth a turn back for a photo! Corn Maze As we turned back north again, the sky was looking rather ominous and dark to the Northwest…””Hmmm…wonder what that is?””  So I did it again, I fished out the iPhone and pulled up the radar… “”Oh…THAT is what that is…”” Seems a line of storms was brewing and building north of our ultimate destination, so we kept a wary eye on it as we toddled north and dropped down in to Poplar Grove!   Fuzzy welcome from Carson at Poplar Grove! If you’ve never been to Poplar Grove, you owe yourself  a trip to see Steve and Tina Thomas — two of the nicest people you would ever want to meet.  You know Tina from this website – -she’s a fantastic pilot logging oodles of hours in her Bird Biplane, the Waco SRE, and a Beech 18!  I am in awe of her talent!  Anyway – we land and have a great time catching up with them since it had only been about 3 or 4 weeks since we were all at the LLT fly-in!  We hopped into town for a quick bit of lunch and decided we should motor on to C37 to secure our favorite spot to camp. So we climbed into the Waco and off we went for the short 20 min flight to Brodhead!  It is always exciting to see the airport come into view.  This is truly one of the best antique fly-ins out there! Another great airport with a long, lighted E/W grass runway and two crossing runways!  The entire airport is hugely devoted to antique airplanes and you never know what treat you will find peeking in the hangars there!” Parked at Brodhead and ready for the fun! On a good weather weekend, you’ll see 300-400 airplanes on the field…and not your normal stuff either!  And the best part, everyone flies from sun up to sun down!  Then the bonfire and lie swapping starts!  Great food and hot showers on the field.  And the one last chance to see all our old flying buddies before the doldrums of winter sets in! The Waco line-up! We pushed the Cabin into her old familiar spot next to the Lockheed, Beech 18, Cessna Airmaster, Stinson Detroiter and a gaggle of 195’s!  We hadn’t been there very long before we saw the Waco 10 with an OX5 engine take to the skies hopping rides… “”Ahhhh… welcome to Brodhead!”” Stay tuned for the next installment … don’t want to make this too long… Judy will never get this loaded on the website!”...

Greetings from the Gulf Coast from Sheila Mabbitt

Sheila Mabbitt has been working in the gulf coast area full-time with the clean up efforts pertaining to the oil spill. She will most likely be demobilized  later this week, however, before heading home she sent us these amazing pictures to post on Ladies Love Taildraggers.  These are incredible pictures – thanks Sheila for forwarding these and the information about your experience. After much thought and consideration and many prayers, I called them Wednesday morning June 30, and accepted their offer and informed my current (now previous) employer that I would be leaving effective the next day. I spent the next day organizing things at home getting ready for this new endeavor and packing my car with bare necessities and headed for Louisiana on Friday, July 2. Photo Op It took me 9 hours to drive down with only 2 fuel/facility stops and I arrived at the airport at 16:00 fully intending on my first day on the job being Saturday, July 3, but ended up being wheels up (on a flight mission) just 20 minutes after my arrival. We have been on duty 7 days a week and when not flying spray missions are doing training sessions, training flights, or computer training for incident command systems & emergency response, etc. Recon Emulsifying * Early Recon Slick * * DC3T tank * Photo Op * Spotter DC-3 Spray It’s no secret these are the same planes used in the BP commercial that’s been playing over the last month or so across the nation. * Turbine Spray If we get released before the weekend, I may try to get up there still for at least part of the weekend to meet you and the rest of these amazing women, so perhaps I will see you then.  Have a great time either way, and thanks again for all your efforts. Blue Skies, Sheila Mabbitt...

What summer’s really about!

Diana Votaw’s having a great day giving rides in her Cubcrafters Sport Cub S2, N110CV.  Talk about pictures telling a story – no descriptions needed! * * * * * * * * Diana, teach this gal to fly, will ya!!  She’s a future taildragger pilot if I ever saw one!! Pictured above are pilot Diana Votaw with Jenna on the left, CeCe, Diana’s daughter Emily & coach Nick.  ...

Oshkosh Wedding, Kelly McDonald Lucente

Dave & Kelly A beautiful evening for a wedding! Dave and I made the EAA Facebook wall! In the midst of our seaplane and biplane Honeymoon around Lake Michigan…photos to follow soon! Ya gotta love it!  This just came across my Facebook wall. Anybody know our lady taildragger Kelly McDonald Lucente and wedding details?  She looks fabulous and soooo happy.  I just don’t have the heart to email her on her honeymoon!!...

Susan Harper’s 2 weeks and 35 flight hours, Cessna 180 adventure!

I decided to take “Skydancer” (my Cessna 180) on a tour since I was invited to a birthday celebration in Key West, Florida. Susan Harper and Sarah – my wingwoman and shutter bug On June 20th I left Boulder City, Nevada and I headed East. After picking up a girlfriend in Huntsville, Alabama, we arrived in Key West on June 23rd. My friend, Sarah, who is not a pilot, took a picture of every final approach, including this one at Key West. Final into Key West! * Headed towards Key West, passing over Everglades of Florida * Headed north from Key West – stay in Gulf – less clouds * Tapas at the Nine One Five resturant in Key West After our visit, and dropping Sarah off in Alabama, I headed westward. I got as far as Shawnee, Okla. The residual weather of Hurricane Alex strung a line of rain and embedded thunderstorms all along Texas and Oklahoma. I sat in Shawnee for four days, including July 4th, until the weather was VFR enough that I could scoot south and behind the line of storms. Sitting in Shawnee, OK while IFR and MVFR passed over wasn’t so bad. The FBO gave me a courtesy car while I was there, the line boy’s full time job was Deputy Sheriff of Potawatomi County, and I rode patrol with him one night. Yep, quite the experience. Eastern weather is very hazy and thick with humidity, clouds, and fog. Quite a departure from my usual condition of severely clear. Round trip flight was 35 hours in just over 2 weeks. Great trip with hundreds of pictures to remind me of all the adventures. I stuck to small, mostly non-towered  airports for fuel and overnight stays. All those I met were so friendly and welcoming. Field maintenance at Cullman, Alabama (north of Birmingham) I had only one minor on-field repair event and thank goodness, I had the tools and parts I needed. It’s really too hot to enjoy flying for the next few weeks, but I’m looking forward to flying to Idaho in Sept for the NW Section meeting of the 99s. Key West beach Susan Harper...

Vickie Domke’s Summer Flying update from Alaska!

Vickie Domke sent in this update on her summer flying in Alaska.  Thank you, Vickie,  for letting us all share a little bit of Alaska with you.  I LOVE getting picture updates from our taildragging gals.  Since we all can’t be everywhere, flying all the great taildraggers, this is the next best thing! **** Attached are a few photos of my summer.  In May I flew the Tern down to Anchorage for the Alaska Airmen’s Convention.  In spite of the weather I was able to get to 3000’ msl where my Cheetos bag plumped out of my lunch sack, so that was the first course for lunch. “In Flight Meal” Another flight in the Tern was down into the Alaska Range to fix the magneto on a customer’s aircraft.  I had a tailwind both ways! Flying the Tern a 113 mph, AK Range And this final picture is in the Cub flying a friend out to our cabin.  Heather is sitting in the seat my dog usually occupies.  Della (an Austrialian Shepherd) was not happy and chewed up her mutt muffs. Vickie, Heather &  Della the doggie, June flight to cabin For more on Vickie.. Pilot Profile; Vickie Domke...

Diane Wieman’s San Antonio to Middletown, Ohio Flight to the National Aeronca Association’s Fly-in

Flying a Champ from San Antonio Texas to Middletown Ohio!   If the Champ had a memory it would not have a problem finding its way on this trip as it has made the trip 5 times so far!  Most folks would think this would be a daunting task, but a friend of mine said——“just think of it as a group of cross country flights put into a somewhat of a straight line”. Before Shreeveport LA and in East Tx. Our guess was it appears to be “pads” for drilling rigs. * Warren Arkansas—— a nice site when running from the Thunderstorms (this is AFTER we spent the night!) Next comment always heard:  “what about the weather?”  Of course the weather would be the most difficult part of either direction of travel.  The trip usually takes two days, it can take one day and it has also taken three days. Looks like an antler sculpture in green (obviously a farming need to stop erosion!) Just one of the wider river shots—– barges on both sides (not sure whether this is the Mississippi or the Ohio river) Weather helped in the one day trip with a push from the North and the three day was due to a stalled front draped across the path.  When you fly a Champ you know that you are in trouble with head winds when the eighteen wheelers are going faster than you are.  Average speed on the way to Middletown this year was 88 knots and on the way back home 78 knots.   The weather folks called for “pop up” thunderstorms through Arkansas although they forgot to tell mother nature they were not suppose to form a line.  One mad dash to Warren Arkansas found us waiting under the wings in an empty  hanger for the rains to go away!  Being flexible in your travel plans is absolutely necessary. A mine cut out of the side of a hill——- takes a second look to see what this was! The best part of the trip cannot be explained nor do any one of the many pictures I have taken do the views justice.   Views include such things as: miles of pine trees, heartland fields, drilling pads, strip mines, wide rivers, natural and not so natural ground patterns. Henderson, KY put out a red carpet for even the Champ—- nice ‘go fast’ twin behind her! * On the way home——- low flying FOG in the valleys– we are 3000 feet and watching carefully! Traveling less than 1500 feet above the Mississippi river will make you hope and pray the engine does not quit until you get to the other side.  Of course you had to have survived the trip over all of the tall pine trees of East Texas and part of Arkansas.  Logging roads and a few cut spots in an ocean of trees would be the only place to land when looking at this number of trees. Glad that thuderstorm is far far away——— we are on the north side of Sam Raybourn Lake in East Texas—– there was a line of weather towards Beaumont and Houston! * Think we were fighting a headwind?  Looks like a coal fired plant just Southwest of Evansville, Indiana If you have gone to very many safety meetings you have heard the comment, “set your personal minimums and stick with them”.  The trip in 2006 took three days and my personal minimums were challenged several times.  Knowing weather in probably the most important part of a trip of this kind! Diane  & Judy finally meeting up at Middletown on Saturday, after Diana arrived!...

Susan & Judy go flying!

Hope all of your Memorial Weekends were as filled with flying fun as mine! Susan Theodorelos invited us to meet her and husband, Andy, along with a few other friends, for lunch at Grimes Field, Urbana, Ohio.  Its a one hour, plus, flight in my Champ, and I’ve been there enough to know it has a great restaurant on the airport (that serves delicious homemade pies) and makes it a good spot to meet other hungry aviators & aviatrixes.  Andy took a few pictures for us. The lineup; Pete Heins’ Cub, Andy Heins’ Cabin Waco, Susan Theodorelos’ RNF Waco & Judy’s Champ Departing Grimes Field for a formation flight to Moraine meant flying down a narrow chute of uncontrolled airspace between Wright-Patterson AFB and Springfield-Beckley Airport and Susan lead the way. Susan leading in her RNF Waco trailed by Judy in the Champ The slowest plane in the group, I got to be right wing man in the Champ while the Cub amazed the heck out of me and zipped around while the Cabin Waco circled us all taking pictures.  That’s the fastest Cub I’ve seen. Formation Urbana to Moraine flight At Moraine, since you can only hangar fly so long on a beautiful but hot day, and with the mother radial fan offering to cool us both off, Susan and I headed off for my 1st Waco ride. Hold on baby, its Judy’s 1st flight with Susan! Helmets and headsets on, Susan fired up the radial and with the air blowing and the engine roaring (compared to the Champ at least) full throttle and we took off! Beautiful departure shot in the RNF I loved every minute of that flight – especially the part when I took the controls for a few minutes!  If you’re not one of the lucky few that own one of these beautiful old birds (or somehow gets to fly somebody else’s)  jump at any chance you get to hop in one and go around the patch.  I feel extremely lucky to say that not only did I get to fly with another passionate lady taildragger, but that I got to fly in HER 1930 RNF Waco!! 95 degrees out there but very COOL flight! Thanks Susan & Andy!...

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...

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