Patti Collins     (Texas)

Patti Collins (Texas)

Patti Collins is based at KMAF, Midland International Airport & KODO, Odessa Airport-Schlemeyer Field, Odessa, Texas. I am married with 3 sons. I love animals. I fly a 1946 Luscombe 8 A/E. I fly a taildragger for the challenge. Through this experience, I am becoming a better pilot.  ...

Michelle Carter     (California)

Michelle Carter (California)

Michelle Carter is based at KSZP, Santa Paula Airport, Santa Paula, California. My name is Michelle Carter, 22, and I received my Private Pilots license two summers ago at Santa Barbara Airport. Now you can find me at Santa Paula Airport flying a Piper J-3 Cub with my boyfriend, Sammy Mason. Nothing’s better than doing touch and go’s in the grass with the door open and the slide-slip rush of air on your face. Recently I became a proud aircraft owner of a 1966 Cessna 150! We call it the Cremepuff around here. It has been slowly eating away in avgas expenses but I have been loving every penny of flying.  ...

Ila Moses-King     (Texas)

Ila Moses-King (Texas)

Ila Moses-King is based at KDAL, Dallas Love Field Airport, Dallas, Texas. Thank you Ila for sending the picture of your new plane. As far as I know, you are the only member of LadiesLoveTaildraggers who owns a Swift. Correct me ladies if I’m wrong! My new plane was my father’s but he is 89 and gave it to me as a gift. It is a project for sure but hopefully I can get it flying next year.   Ila Moses   The following post dated October 31, 2012: Hi! I love taildraggers and think that it makes you such a better pilot and is way more fun! My father started teaching me to fly when I was 13 in a …brand new A36 Bonanza…I know, right! Oh well, almost 500 hrs logged later, I soloed on my 16th birthday but still no time in a taildragger. I went on flying Cessnas and Pipers. One day a few months later my father showed up at the barn where I was riding my horse. Dad never came to the barn…he said come with me I have a gift for you! It was cold and there was snow on the ground. Across the road from the barn was a little airport that was rarely used…and there it was, a beat up, paint peeling off, 1947 Luscombe 8E! I was speechless…I had never even ridden in a taildragger. My Dad said to get in the left seat and he would tell me what to do. He gave me a briefing on what to do and when he got to pushing the nose forward …I was getting concerned. Being the SHCP ( sh_t hot cool pilot) I thought I was, I said “got it” and away we went…rolling down the runway with freezing air coming through the windows I was NOT impressed but the door opened..no big deal…I just pushed the window open and as Dad said “rotate” I slammed the door shut and the window smashed my ice cold hand. I was not impressed. I did like a stick instantly though! At this point, until we landed, I was excited and horrified but very grateful that Dad found me my 1st very own airplane. Then we landed…and landed and BOUNCED…OMG so much for my SHCP ego…it was now gone! I was in tears as now as I decided my Dad was tired of me and was turning me loose in this death trap. It would surely be the end of me! 2 years later, and still scared to death of the Luscombe, I still had not soloed it. I certainly understood how it could get beat up but I never put one dent in it…or me! I grew up at Love Field in Dallas and everyone knew me. It was so embarrassing every time Dad would force me to try to taxi really fast…I finally asked if we could go practice at another airport so we did. We took the Luscombe up to my Dad’s hangar up on a grass strip and left it. No building time for me. Dad was sad. I was mad…very normal for that age! It always bothered me that I never “got it”-  the taildragger thing – so one day I decided that little airplane was not going to beat me. I skipped school one day, went to the hangar by myself and taxied up and down that grass runway until I had it! I told Dad I was ready to solo the Luscombe and he couldn’t believe it. We went and I did it!!! The Luscombe and then Swift, Vagabond and Citabria have become my greatest passions. I LOVE TAILDRAGGERS!!!! I decided to take the airplane apart and make it my airplane…4 years later and buckets of money, sweat and tears it was done and beautiful! I flew it to Sun n Fun and then Oshkosh. It did perfect. That little Luscombe taught me so much …like recovering from a real stall…no mushing! Anyway, I am glad to know about this website and look forward to reading more. Thanks, Ila...

LOW AND SLOW ACROSS AMERICA SUMMER TOUR  (Contest Entry #1)

LOW AND SLOW ACROSS AMERICA SUMMER TOUR (Contest Entry #1)

LOW AND SLOW ACROSS AMERICA SUMMER TOUR by Andrea and Kevin Eldridge     8/26/2013 6:AM DEPARTING CABLE AIRPORT, CA (CCB) FOR BLAKESBURG, IOWA (IA27). Incidentally, both are private, family owned fields. Check out www.antiqueairfield.com and www.cableairport.com. Due to a line of weather out by Palm Springs we decide to delay our takeoff for two hours and instead have coffee with our friend Mike Polley at Maniac Mike’s, the airport café. 8:AM CCB – PSP We decide it’s time to get underway and officially depart on the longest trip we’ve ever taken in our small airplane. Unfortunately the GPS database won’t upload and we have to run home and reconnect it to our computer…really? 9:AM PSP – CGZ Off like a herd of turtles. After one hour of flying we land in Palm Springs. For the first time our little plane is sitting on the ramp outside in the rain—boo hoo! First time we try out our airplane canopy cover to keep the rain out. For the first of many times in the coming week we borrow a free airport car and drive to lunch. Finally at noon we are really on our way with a decent 3.5 hour leg. We are flying along munching on pistachios and listening to the Neil Diamond soundtrack to Jonathan Livingston Seagull generally feeling pretty good about ourselves. We notice a black wall in front of us and what appears to be smoke from a fire. Turns out it’s the dust storm in front of the lightning and rain storm that brought on the flooding in Arizona everyone across the country saw later on their nightly national six-o-clock news. We quick did a quick 180 and were concerned we would not be able to outrun the monsters. We backtracked to the nearest airport behind us 23 miles away. After landing we scoured the place to find an open hangar or even an open FBO of which there was none. It was past 4:30 pm and everyone had gone home for the day. We quickly tied the airplane and controls down under an overhang figuring whoever owned the spot was not going to use it in the near future and just tied the canopy cover on when the dust storm hit. The visibility sank to about 1 ½ mile and our bare legs in shorts were getting sand blasted with grit. It was almost a relief when the rain storm came but there was no place to hide. We were sopping wet rats when we called the hotel who informed us that we could not be picked up at the airport due to the storm. The taxi cab companies said the same thing, are you not aware there is a big storm? That’s when we noticed the taxiway was starting to flood. With no one coming to our rescue and nothing open we found a medivac helicopter building and the team in there took pity on us where we waited out the storm until they could pick us up. On the positive side, at least it was 80 degrees in the rain. I was never so happy to see a Best Western Hotel or a Dominos Pizza. What a way to begin the first day. 8/27 9:AM CGZ – DMN  After a rough first day we decided to give our next day some extra thought after our eye-opening and skin drenching experiences. We flew our first 3.5 hour leg to Demming, New Mexico, but decided it was too high and too hot to go over the mountains in the afternoon 100 degree heat of the day and with these late-in-the-day summer storms popping up called it an early day. The winds were distinctly not in our favor. At this point, we were now headed for the La Quinta Hotel in the airport car a full day behind schedule. The weather sure changes fast out here! I used to have these beautiful visions of New Mexican cities Albuquerque, Taos and Santa Fe but I’ve since changed my tune after seeing miles and miles of barren desert covered by oil derricks. 8/28 6:AM DMN – HOB – CSM – AAO  At this point we figured things had to improve and we had better shake a leg if we were going to get anywhere near Iowa this week. It was our longest flying day with a grand total of 7.5 hours. (Incidentally, we could have flown from LAX to Iowa and back two and a half times had we been in an airliner today.) We saw an unspectacular sunrise, flew through some sprinkles and over El Paso, Texas saw the Mexican border. We were grateful for an overcast layer that kept the sun out of our eyes as we flew Eastbound. We made fuel stops in Hobbes, New Mexico after a 3 hour leg, and Clinton, Oklahoma after another 2.5 hours. The airport manager who kindly dropped us off in town for lunch had a bumper sticker on his car that read, BEWARE: FARTAHOLIC – Enter at your own risk! Unfortunately, I didn’t see that one until after I got out—bummer. Finally we were catching a break and a tailwind for our final 2 hour leg that day. After landing near Wichita, Kansas at Jabara Field we were greeted by our dear friends, Paul and Gail Bowen who, recognizing our need for rejuvenation, took us under their wing for a wonderful dinner complete with dessert, drinks and great conversation. We stayed at their beautiful home on the lake. Thank goodness for hospitality on the road. 8/29 9:30AM AAO – IA27  A wonderfully quiet and cozy night brought us to breakfast at Stearman Field fortified for the last leg of our outbound trip. After a relatively short 3 hour leg we landed at Antique Airfield in Blakesburg, Iowa! And only a day late which was fine because we had actually given ourselves 4 days to get to destination thinking it would only take us 3. It was quite an interesting short final seeing that grass strip with a big dip followed by a crest on the other side at the beginning of the runway along with a gravel road cutting across midway down the field for the first time. But our landing was uneventful; thank goodness after seeing the grand number of people in observance from the peanut gallery! Having never been there we had no idea where to taxi but were directed to park. We didn’t know how lucky we were (and were so grateful later) we were right smack dab in front of the first line of airplanes on display in front of the Pilot’s Pub—choice digs for the next four days and prime viewing of the landing strip, beautiful grass and green hills. Walking distance to breakfast, lunch and dinner where “Walking Tacos” were a revelation and I heard they can also be made with Fritos. 8/29 – 9/1 ANTIQUE AIRFIELD – AAA FLY-IN 2013 – BLAKESBURG, IOWA Because we had no extra weight and room in our little Luscombe we decided camping was not an option. We would travel light, stay at the Hotel Ottumwa (where I looked for Radar every day while Kevin looked for Starbucks) and buy lawn chairs at the local Walmart. We drove the long way there and back just to see the fields, old barns and arm houses of middle America every day. We spent leisurely days meeting and talking with wonderfully sincere and fascinating aviators from all over the country including our gracious hosts the Taylors; from Washington State Mike and Karin Culver, phone and facebook friends like the hard-bargaining Harmon Dickerson and swimming daredevil Elroy Hilbert, and many members of Judy Birchler’s Ladies Love Taildraggers including Sharon Tinkler who flew her own Luscombe in from Tennessee. I especially enjoyed making a new friend in Elaine Huf whose “Bamboo Bomber” Cessna T-50 airplane was parked in the row across from ours forcing her to pass us every time she walked across the field. I discovered she had been a cop, raced in the women’s derby, lived on her own grass strip in Pennsylvania, mowed a lot of grass and owned her own tailwheel airplanes one of which was painted PINK—my kind of gal! At the Sunday dinner we came away with an award; quite an honor given all the fabulous airplanes in attendance. Given that we were all celebrating 75 years of the Luscombe 8 there were a record number of airplanes including around 70 Luscombes! What an unforgettable Fly-In experience! 9/2 8:30AM IA27 – TVK – MPR – BGD  On the way home we chatted over the radio for a couple of days with our California buddies, brothers John and Joe Pribbilo after a short fuel stop at Centerville, 3 hour leg to McPhereson, Kansas and stopped in Borger, Texas for the night after a 6 hour flying day.Incidentally, Borger is the home of the largest inland oil refinery in the country owned by Phillips 66. They had a brand new FBO at Hutchison County Airport with a planning room, pilot rest room, beautiful bathrooms, kitchen and waiting room with television that all still smelled of new leather not to mention their two free airport cars. 9/3 7:30 BGD – CNM – DMN  A short fuel stop at Carlsbad Cavern City Airport’s which contrary to the AOPA information has a beautifully paved runway next to Chandler Aviation’s FBO. This would make a great for cross-country flying destination. Another FBO with beautiful leather smelling facilities, free airport cars and it is 25 miles from the Caverns. We continue on to Demming again where we figured the Tex-Mex food was worth another try after 6 hours of flying. 9/4 7: AM DMN – BXK – CCB  Fuel stop in Buckeye, Arizona and a final 6 hour day. After skirting more rain around Palm Springs again—we’re home! What a trip of a lifetime together. The furthest we’ve ever flown our little Luscombe and without a mechanical hitch. Keep making memories and fly safe! (*NOTE* On a sad note, Elaine and her husband Tom Huf passed away in their airplane when it crashed during a storm 3 miles from their home airport returning from Blakesburg and will be sorely missed by many.)...

Hilary Kerkstra     (Michigan)

Hilary Kerkstra (Michigan)

Welcome to Hilary Kerkstra, a brand new taildragger pilot! Hilary Kerkstra is based at KAZO, Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport, Kalamazoo, Michigan. I decided to get my taildragger endorsement because I knew it would make me a better pilot. I hope to someday fly turboprops or corporate jets, or even cargo ops, fire or rescue patrol, cropdusting, pretty much anything that keeps me flying! I love taking nature pictures… I have tons of pictures of clouds, sun, and random stuff on the ground. 🙂...

Kelly Rinne     (Michigan)

Kelly Rinne (Michigan)

Kelly Rinne is based at ADG, Lenawee County Airport, Adrian, Michigan. I am a cancer survivor who used to be afraid of flying! I just became a private pilot in May 2013. Received my TW endorsement in a Luscombe in August. I have since flown a sea plane and most recently a glider. I live on a lake so I enjoy all water sports, aviation, Bikram hot yoga, and I recently took up kite-boarding. I am enjoying my new found friends in aviation and am having the time of my life!...

2013 Blakesburg Fly-in a big success!

2013 Blakesburg Fly-in a big success!

Last I heard, 412 aircraft flew to the Taylor family’s Antique Airfield fly-in this weekend. This year we celebrated the Antique Aircraft Association’s Diamond Jubilee and featured Luscombe Aircraft and the 75th anniversary of the Model 8. An astounding 80 Luscombes flew in for the celebration in Iowa. For those that might confuse, say, a Cessna 120 or Cessna 140 or a Taylorcraft with a Luscombe, here’s Luscombe 101. THREE things will help you identify a Luscombe; the front cowl cooling air inlets (nostrils), the “S” that stands for the model Silvaire, and the “pinched” rear trailing wing edge. For one hour last night many of us gathered outside an open hangar, hung out with friends and hooted and hollered at the “Gone Home” awards presentation. “Gone Home” is a tongue-in-cheek way of saying most people don’t stick around till the last night to see if they are winners or not. One couple that did hang around were Andrea & Kevin Eldridge from California who won one of the many ‘best airplane’ awards. I completely lost track of what all the trophies were for but I can tell you first hand, their 1947 Luscombe 8A is an award winning, show plane if I ever saw one! Sharon Tinkler’s 1948 8F Luscumbe from Tullahoma, TN was also a big award winner last night. Sorry about the 4 women blocking the view but when girls are ready to pose, you let them! But Luscombe’s were just the tip of the iceberg. Here’s an early Monocoupe leading a lineup. And of course, I was bumping into lady taildragger pilots all over the place. We picked this cool Funk for the picture but both of us were sad it didn’t belong to us. If you’re not lucky enough to be flying, without a doubt, the best part of this fantastic fly-in is sitting on the sidelines watching everybody that is. I was a side-liner much of the day but I was absolutely thrilled when my newest buddy, Tom Edmondson from Kansas City, told me he thought he could get us a ride in a beautiful, yellow Howard DGA-15. I had the thrill of sitting right seat in this Howard DGA-15P with its powerful 450 Pratt & Whitney, departing a 2350′ grass strip (with obstacles) in Iowa. Its strong as all get-out with a red-line airspeed of 270 mph and a normal cruise speed of 200 mph. The owner, Dave Bole from Seattle, WA was kind enough to give 3 of us the ride of our lives. Can you even image being able to fly this piece of history from Seattle to Blakesburg, Iowa?!! Thank you Dave! It was so cool to meet so many lady taildragger pilots at this special fly-in. Ladies, please take a few minutes and click on the “Registration” tab at the top. I’m looking forward to adding you to our growing group of ladies who love flying taildraggers! And my BEST picture from Blakesburg was forwarded by Gail Schipper. Gail gave me an aerobatic ride Saturday in her Bucker Jungmann, a high energy, exhilarating flight few people people get to experience . Photo by Jonathan Apfelbaum, What a GREAT weekend!  ...

Andrea Eldridge: Random things I love about my taildragger

Andrea Eldridge: Random things I love about my taildragger Andrea Eldridge owns a 1947 Luscombe and is based at KCNO, Chino Airport, Chino, California. Here are TEN random things she loves about her Luscombe! #2 I love the swoosh on the tail I adapted to go with the official Silvaire paint scheme–just a little non-standard. #4 I dig the B.A.S. 4-point inertia reel harness.   www.basinc-aeromod.com * #7 I love passenger-side heel brakes. #9 …and who among us doesn’t love a good SCOTT 2000 tailwheel?! ——— Andrea, this is great stuff and you’re right, there’s plenty to love about your beautiful Luscombe! What a great view out those observer doors! There’s lots more coming people. Thanks to everyone who’s sent pics and filled out the form. They’ll all be posted in the next few days.      ...

Lots of Ladies at the Luscombe Association Fly-in at Columbia Airport (022) California, 2012

Lots of Ladies at the Luscombe Association Fly-in at Columbia Airport (022) California, 2012

I’m forever in awe of how many women taildragger pilots live in California. I know it’s a big state but the number of women doing my kind of flying are impressive! One of those ladies is Andrea Eldridge from Chino, California who flew her Luscombe to Columbia, CA last month for the annual Gathering Of The Luscombes Fly-in. Andrea’s a great advocate for LadiesLoveTaildraggers and snapped these pictures – 4 women by their “tails” at the fly-in. Thanks Andrea! “Wanted to offer some portraits of lady taildragger pilots at the Continental Luscombe Association fly-in at Columbia Airport (022) CA!” Andrea Eldridge and my Luscombe camping off the grass strip under the wing. Shari Heitkotter flew her own Luscombe up to the fly-in and did her first landings on the grass strip! Student pilot Barbara Kirmsse flew her Luscombe up to the fly-in. Student pilot Jessie Fisher got engaged at the Luscombe fly-in. We liked her even though she arrived in her Cessna 140 J. It was encouraging to see both new and young taildragger pilots join our ranks. I am really enjoying your LLT facebook page. Thank you! Andrea Eldridge FAA Designated Pilot Examiner Chino, California...

Aileen Hummel     (Texas)

Aileen Hummel (Texas)

Aileen Hummel is based at T67, Hicks Airfield, Fort Worth, Texas. I do not own a taildragger but would like to have one of my own someday. However, I do have a Piper Cherokee Arrow which is hangared at Hicks Airfield (T67) Fort Worth, TX.  I started flying lessons in 1995 and now have my single and multi-engine commercial ratings with instrument privileges.  In December, 2010, I got my taildragger endorsement in a Maule and occasionally fly with Alex Whitmore (Marti’s husband) in his Super Cub.  My goal is to eventually fly the warbirds someday. The Ladies Love Taildragger Fly-In at KSNH was our first and did we have fun!!  Marti Whitmore and I flew in her Luscombe from Denton, TX and have enjoyed your wonderful Southern hospitality and friendship.  Thank you Judy, Montill, and all the ladies for welcoming us so warmly. We hope to attend more of your events in the future! Aileen Hummel Fort Worth, Texas    ...

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