Peggy Fry     (Illinois)

Peggy Fry (Illinois)

Peggy Fry is based at C77, Poplar Grove Airport, Poplar Grove, Illinois. I’ve been flying since 1992 when I was introduced to the world of aviation through a sightseeing flight in a Cessna 152. My husband Bob and I both got our licenses and bought a 1966 Cessna 206 so we could travel with our 3 children. I bought my 1946 Taylorcraft so I could escape the bonds of earth and enjoy flying in a simpler, less encumbered experience. I absolutely love having a hand prop, no radio, 65 horse power bird that lets me sky dance! We fly the 206 to reach a destination – I fly my little taildragger to maintain my sanity! We live in the airpark Bel Air Estates at C77 Poplar Grove Airport in IL – an amazing neighborhood which includes pilots of all walks of life from commercial, military and your regular “joes”, but best of all over 40 women pilots! Besides being a pilot, I’m an artist, writer, and an event planner and fundraiser for non-profits. Our family has a beautiful remote cabin on Lake Vermilion in MN....

Ellen Northam     (Illinois)

Ellen Northam (Illinois)

Ellen Northam is based at KARR, Aurora Municipal Airport, Chicago/Aurora, Illinois.  Ran into Judy at Urbana, OH while flying a Taylorcraft over from Moraine, OH with friends for breakfast. Have been wanting to get my taildragger endorsement for a bit now, think this may be my year to get it! I fly a 1947 Bonanza on a regular basis and have enjoyed antique / classic aircraft for ages! Some of the most enjoyable airplane noise comes from older taildraggers 😉 Ellen Northam I was so excited to fly into Grimes Field, Urbana, Ohio yesterday and immediately see a gal taxi by in a classic taildragger, a BC12-D Taylorcraft. She hardly shut it down before I was there asking questions and talking LadiesLoveTaildraggers. Turns out she’s been wanting to get her TW endorsement and her friend Matthew VanDervort was showing her how it’s done in his Tcraft. Very cool and something all taildragger pilots can do to increase the taildragger pilot population.  Judy Birchler...

Pilot update from Carri Hoagland (Wisconsin)

Pilot update from Carri Hoagland (Wisconsin)

Thanks to Carri Hoagland for sending in this update. GREAT tcraft tail up shot by Geoff Sobering! Carri Hoagland is based at Y77, Bayfield County Airport, Iron River, Wisconsin. I fly a Taylorcraft, a Piel Emeraude and a Pitts. It requires you to be a better pilot with good stick and rudder skills....

Heidi Stoeppler, “Flying my Taylorcraft”

Heidi Stoeppler, “Flying my Taylorcraft”

Thanks to Heidi Stoeppler for sending in some great summer flying shots and a description of the fun she’s having in her Taylorcraft. Keep it up Heidi, you’re an inspiration! I flew out to Hot Springs, SD from Fort Benton, MT to start my shift loading SEATs for the summer. That was an adventure in itself. It got too hot so I stopped in Colstrip, MT for the night. Met some good people and got to check out the area. It’s pretty interesting with the coal mine right there and there was also a wildfire about 9 miles South of the airport so I got to visit with the helitack crew and watch the helicopters operate. Since I arrived in Hot Springs, I’ve gotten to fly by Mt Rushmore and  the Badlands. I discovered an old ammo storage place from WW2 which was miles of abandoned bunkers half buried. I flew out to Madison, SD to check out the flight school I’m planning on getting my instrument and commercial ratings at this winter. The people there are really nice and Madison is a great little town. It was also nice flying from one end of the state to the other on just 18 gallons of gas! I’ve visited Wall, SD a couple times. It’s a great little touristy town on the edge of the Badlands. I’ve also ventured into Nebraska a bit. They’ve got some really nice grass strips out here. I’ve gotten to take a couple people for rides so far. One is Bailey, a SEAT manager trainee who works with us. It was her second time in an airplane ever and she was super excited. She’s planning to get her pilots license some day. And she’s going flying again with me next week. We’re planning to go to the Devils Tower....

Laurie Probst     (Wisconsin)

Laurie Probst (Wisconsin)

Laurie Probst flies out of both KMWC, Lawrence J Timmerman Airport, Milwaukee, Wisconsin and 57C East Troy Municipal Airport, East Troy, Wisconsin. I have my tailwheel endorsement (Maule Scholarship recipient Ninety-Nine in 2006). Wished I owned one, but currently fly my boyfriend’s Taylorcraft from the right seat. Otherwise, I have my Commercial ASEL, AGI, IR, and have been flying since 2004. I don’t own, but rent/borrow when I can. I love flying kids and have flown over 125 through EAA’s Young Eagle Program. I have run aviation camps for girls in the past and speak to groups about aviation. I love bringing the passion for flight to children-I’m an elementary teacher and it’s always great to hear a student say, “My teacher took me flying!”...

Heidi Stoeppler: Flying the Taylorcraft over the Missouri River

Heidi Stoeppler: Flying the Taylorcraft over the Missouri River

Author:  Heidi Stoeppler This lovely little Taylorcraft will soon be mine! I’m super excited! Looking forward to all the adventures we’re going to have!...

Heidi Stoeppler     (Montana)

Heidi Stoeppler (Montana)

Heidi Stoeppler is based at 79S, Fort Benton Airport, Fort Benton, Montana. I absolutely LOVE flying! I am working on buying a small taildragger to fly around in. Mostly to get hours (I want to be a crop duster some day) but also so I can explore the country and go to all the fly-ins! I am working on getting my tailwheel endorsement, so I don’t have it yet, but SOON. I’m also a member of the 99s. I am excited to meet other lady pilots and make new friends. The Taylorcraft is the airplane I’m getting my tailwheel endorsement in, and I’m working on buying. The Super Decathlon is the airplane I took a lesson in before I moved. I’ve also flown an RV4 quite a bit with a friend of mine (I never took off or landed, but have lots of cross country time in it!) I’m working for a private company that does firefighting for the government. I drive the truck and load the single engine air tankers. I’m based in South Dakota quite a bit (where I am now), but our home base is in Fort Benton, MT. Looking forward to meeting you all! Heidi Stoeppler...

Nudist Camp   (Contest Entry #5)

Nudist Camp (Contest Entry #5)

Nudist Camp by Gayle Crowder I’m in my thirties. Over the past few years, since I began flying, some of my best pals have become folks in their sixties. Other than my parents, I’d never really talked to people in that age group. I’m so lucky that my venture into aviation has delivered me these gifts of friendship. Otherwise, I’d have missed out on all sorts of crazy things! I’ve laughed more since these people accepted me into their flying circles than I have in my entire life. Here are two examples: Shortly after I met David we went flying together for the first time. Now, I didn’t know David at all. I’d met him at the store where I work and somehow he’d let it slip that he had an airplane. I’d always been fascinated by airplanes, so I was at full attention. I don’t recall how, but I managed to wangle from him the promise of a ride. He said we’d go once the weather cooled down. I never expected to hear from him again. A couple of months later he called and asked if I remembered him. “I’m the guy with the airplane,” he said. Of course I remembered him! We made plans to meet at his little airport a few days later. I’d never heard of this airport, though it was in the same county where I live. I’d soon find out there were some other things I didn’t know about in my county. After a few phone calls back and forth with him, I finally found the driveway to the airport. The airfield was not visible from the road. There were rows of really old hangars containing really old airplanes. I wondered for a minute if this was going to be safe. David seemed nice enough, near sixty, and his plane was gorgeous. He explained that it was a 1941 Taylorcraft. 1941? I wondered again if it was safe. He walked me through the preflight inspection, explaining in great detail everything he was doing. I was intensely interested. I still remember every word he said. That day turned my life upside down. We crawled into the tiny cockpit and took off. My jaw was on the floor before we were a hundred feet up. I loved it! We’d barely cleared the trees at the end of the runway when he started a little turn. He said, “Now look down there on your right, that’s the nudist camp.” I almost choked. What have I gotten myself into? I thought. I don’t know this guy at all and he’s showing me a nudist camp? I didn’t even know we had a nudist camp! “Yeah, the old guy that runs it gets all mad when we fly over this low. He comes running out and shakes his fist at us. It’s not like you can see anything but old, flabby people anyway!” he explained. Well, that cracked me up. I was beginning to enjoy this fellow. We tooled around for a while, then I took the controls of an airplane for the very first time. It was amazing! I was still flying even after we’d landed. While he put the plane away he told me about the customary beer you drink after a safe landing in a taildragger. I  thought he was full of baloney, but we sat outside his hangar for a while with a couple of other pilots who’d also been flying. I had my first customary taildragger beer, and was hooked on aviation from that moment forward. I hung around David and those other guys at the airport from then on. I learned all about telling tall tales and hangar flying. “Bull*!$ting,” as they’d say. I didn’t learn how to do that until I had my own flying stories, but…. ….fast forward a little. My flight instructor, Don, was in his sixties. He and I were on perhaps our second flight together. I’d only met him a couple of times. I didn’t know him, either. We’d done some pattern work and decided to just go fly around a little so I could get the feel of the airplane. We were meandering about, enjoying the nice weather and smooth flight, when suddenly he tapped my shoulder. “Look down there to your left. There’s the nudist camp.” I just about fell out of the airplane. What was it about strange men I didn’t know, pointing out that place to me? “Yeah, sometimes you fly over on a hot day in the summer and they’ll be out there on those metal boats on the lake. Looks like they’d have to put a towel down or something to keep from burning their asses,” he said, and laughed. “It’s not like you can see anything down there except old, flabby people!” That’s when I knew Don and I were going to get along just fine. We landed, put the plane away, then shared that customary taildragger safe-landing beer. These days, David is my best buddy. Don is one of my favorite people. I would never have believed it if you’d told me a few years ago that there isn’t really a “generation gap” at all. All you have to do is fly over a nudist camp with a total stranger and suddenly, you’re friends for life....

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...

Shannon Gallagher is a PILOT!!

I have always been interested in flying since I was young but the timing just wasn’t right. Then about 4 years ago I met my other half, Chuck, who just happened to have a 1940 Taylorcraft. Soon after I started to take instruction at our local airport. After almost a year and a half of time my instructor backed out because of airport politics. At this point my student pilot cert was getting ready to expire. I didn’t fly for almost 2 years, when we found Donnie my new instructor. He was really great.  I was scheduled after only 3 weeks with him for my check-ride. Then the day before the exam the weather went to heck, and stayed that way for over a month. By this time Donnie had taken on a permanent job flying a twin for some guy in Nashville. Once again I was left without an instructor and no ticket. By accident we happen to find Buzz. Unlike the other instructors I had he was a full time instructor, so I gave it a shot. We flew together once and the winds got a bit out of line for the airplane so we continued on the next Tuesday. Then flew again on Thursday. Thursday night he said to pack a bag and meet him by 7 AM the next morning, We were going to West Memphis, Arkansas for my Check Ride. Needless to say my nerves jumped, wondering if I was really ready for this that soon. Friday morning arrived and Buzz and I flew to West Memphis Airport. The flight was absolutely great it was really great weather so I was pleased. Because we were flying into Class B airspace we had to radio the tower at Memphis center one mile out, and asked to be tracked thru the airspace. Once thru their airspace and being rerouted once because of air traffic we finally reached the West Memphis Airport. We spent the rest of the day running thru all the maneuvers and getting me familiar with the area by air, then spent all late afternoon and evening studying and going over everything for the Oral part of the Exam. We finally called it quits at about 11:30 that night. At 7:30 Saturday morning my check-ride began. Needless to say I had a real case of nerves but Buddy Made me feel really comfortable. I went thru all the oral and next thing I knew we were out to the plane. Once all procedures had been gone thru we were in the air and started our flight. Everything went well but as examiners go he never let on how I was doing. Once back on the ground he looked over at my instructor and smiled and said I’m cutting her loose. Then he took my hand and said congratulations you’ve passed your check-ride. Those were the best few words I ever heard. My first reaction was grab my phone and call home to let Chuck know I passed. I feel absolutely like I’m floating. Probably will for a while. Now I’m going to enjoy just flying the plane and having fun. Shannon...

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