Summer Martell     (Washington)

Summer Martell (Washington)

Every so often a new pilot comes along & joins our merry band of lady taildragger pilots and her aircraft… its history… her story… are so remarkable that I can’t wait to share it with you all. This is one of those times. I hope you join me in welcoming Summer Martell to Ladies Love Taildraggers and enjoy her beautiful biplane and remarkable story! Summer is based at 0S9, Jefferson County International Airport, Port Townsend, Washington. One of 6 Student Princes ever built by the Aircraft Builders Corporation in Portland, Oregon, my father’s airplane N10686 s/n 103 was the third and last certificated airplane to roll out of the factory doors before the company folded due to the Depression.  Three incomplete Student Princes were donated to a local A&P school to be assembled by the students as “Experimental”.  There are currently 3 Student Princes flying. Two factory built and one Experimental. All 3 in Washington state.  What follows next is a love story…… I hadn’t spent much time with my father due to my parent’s divorce and my living in Alaska and he in Washington.  But that all changed when I began receiving enthusiastic letters from him describing his flying lessons and then, the purchase of a 1931 open cockpit biplane.  He even had an artist paint “Lady Summer” on its cowling for my 15th birthday.  Intrigued by his letters, pictures of his biplane, and books by Richard Bach, I asked him if I might come to stay with him and learn to fly. He sent me a postcard with a line drawing of a Waco ASO on which he’d written “Come on down!” And I did. I began flying lessons in the Student Prince, and soloed in August of 1985 at the age of 16.  Dad and I spent time together barnstorming on the Pacific coast. We’d land at small airports, hang a banner and start hopping rides.  We’d sleep under the wings at night.  It was a magical time….. Two weeks prior to my private checkride, my father died unexpectedly. I received support from our local airport community when everyone, even the fry cook at the airport cafe, donated and raised enough money for me to complete my training and earn my pilots license.  At age 17, I had become the unlikely owner of an extremely rare airplane.  Even though it was a struggle to support, I never once considered selling the Student Prince. I pumped avgas, I waited tables, and fished commercially in Alaska.  I lost count of how many times I was threatened with hangar eviction due to late payments, but I always managed to squeak by.  It astonishes me now to look back on it all.  Youthful bliss coupled with determination I suppose….At 19 I earned my commercial license and promptly put the Student Prince to work hopping rides as Dad and I once did.  So many strangers put their trust in my youthful hands and it was my privilege to introduce them to the thrill of open cockpit flight.  I met so many people, had so many adventures, and learned so much from the Student Prince. 25 years later, the Student Prince has recently emerged from a several years long complete restoration.  It is better than new, and I am rediscovering it again.  As with any first love, there is the exhilaration of reuniting, the ease of familiarity, and the reconnecting with a deep love gained over so much life that it is poignant beyond words. As always, when it comes the two of us, I am the student, and it is my Prince. I hope I didn’t overwhelm you with my story. And that’s the Readers Digest short version! At any rate, I also own a 1946 Cessna 120. I am an international corporate jet captain, qualified in 3 different jets.  And I am also a designated pilot examiner.  But really, I’m still just a messy haired, greasy jean wearing, biplane pilot!  Thank you all for such a fun organization, I look forward to meeting some new “sky sisters” soon! Tailwinds, Summer Martell...

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....

Amal Ajmi     (Alaska)

Amal Ajmi (Alaska)

Amal is based at AK28, Chena Marina Airport, Fairbanks, Alaska. Am an avid hunter and fly fisher. I love anything outdoors, especially if I can fly there. I have flown mostly tail “dragger” aircraft, my latest and most favorite being a PA-11. My whole summer revolves around where I can go exploring and fishing. Am working on my instrument and commercials at the moment, so am flying even more!!! –   Blue skies!!! Amal  ...

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...

Lisa Martin    (Wyoming)

Lisa Martin (Wyoming)

Lisa Martin is based at (KWRL), Worland Municipal Airport, Worland, Wyoming. I got my private license in 1989 while 7 1/2 months pregnant with my oldest child. The family priority slowed my flying some, although my husband and I owned and operated our own aviation business in Montana spraying and doing other surveys with airplanes and helicopters. In 2003, we moved to Wyoming and my husband went to work for Sky Aviation. As my boys grew up and I had some more time to fly, I added on an instrument rating in about 2006. We owned a C180 at that time (previously we owned a 7GCBC and an Aeronca Champ. When my boys both graduated and moved on, I poured myself into getting a commercial rating with a Piper Comanche. Soon as I got that rating we sold it to return to the fun and spot-on convenience of taildragger flying. Bought our 150 hp Super Cub in Oct of 2010 and are having so much fun just bee-boppin’ around! We’re are anxiously looking forward to some backcountry, fly-in camping trips this summer in surrounding states (Utah, Idaho and Montana). Schafer’s Meadow was our home away from home when we lived in Cut Bank, MT. You just can’t get in to many of those places with a Comanche!  ...

Wendy Frazer     (Idaho)

Wendy Frazer (Idaho)

Wendy Frazer is based at (KEUL) Caldwell Industrial Airport, Caldwell, Idaho. I have been flying since 2002. I own a 1952 Cessna 170B-completely restored by my father who passed away in 2000. Polished aluminum with orange-love it, but hate to polish it! Colorado Springs Got my instrument rating in 2004. Love to fly Idaho’s beautiful back country! * 8301A Lava Hot Spring N8301A Kelowna...

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...

Lisa Haag    (Texas)

Lisa Haag (Texas)

Lisa Haag is based at Covey Trails Airport (X09) Fulshear, Texas and flies a Stearman and Cessna 140. “I have my Commercial, Instrument, Multi, and Single Engine Land and a Commercial Single Engine Sea rating.” I got my taildragger sign-off 10 years ago in our Stearman N2S3, and I also have a Cessna 140. I have flow a little bit corporately, but mainly just fly for fun. I live at a grass runway airpark outside of Houston, and I love it. I also put on the ‘End of the Season’ Stearman fly-In in Jennings, LA, with the help of the city....

Cynthia Laddon Kaase    (California)

Cynthia Laddon Kaase (California)

Cynthia Laddon Kaase is based at KMYF Montgomery Field Airport, San Diego, California and flies a Decathlon CS. I am the proud owner of a wonderful little airplane, a Decathlon CS.  I am a dual rated instrument pilot in helicopter and fixed wing. I am a CFI in helicopter and am currently working on add-on ratings for my Commercial license and my CFI certificate * * I love flying both tailwheels and helicopters.  I am a fickle lover. Whichever I am flying at the moment is my FAVORITE !  :  )...

Jill Baker     (California)

Jill Baker (California)

Jill Anne Baker, CFI, MEI, lives in San Diego, California and sent in this new picture update.  Jill says “My good friend Buckels  and I flying his Cub!!” Although Jill is based at San Diego, she makes frequent trips to Indiana.  When I met Jill a year ago she was flying this GCAA 1970 Citabria out of Columbus Municipal Airport in Indiana.  Sadly, on a rental flight, it was forced to make an off-airport landing and although the 2 persons on board were fine, the Citabria did not fare so well. Jill works for the airlines, instructs and is a member of the San Diego Ninety-Niners....

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