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WCW: Patty Wagstaff

A champion, teacher, sportsman, and performer, Patty Wagstaff is a modern day inspiration to pilots everywhere. With a family history involved in the skies, Wagstaff took to the air like a bird.

Photo of Patty Wagstaff by the National Air and Space Museum Archives, Smithsonian Institution Photo of Patty Wagstaff by the National Air and Space Museum Archives, Smithsonian Institution

Taking the controls of her father’s DC-6 at ten years old with him by her side, her eyes were opened to the incredible feeling of flying. Starting her affair with airplanes with bush flying, Wagstaff’s first airplane she was chartering crashed on take off. Determined to not let the experience get in her way to the skies, she hired friend and future husband, Bob, to travel with her in his Cessna 185 floatplane.

That was just the beginning. Learning and training to fly everything from WWII fighter planes to jets to helicopters, Wagstaff conquered any aircraft that came her way. Years of training, experience and determination led to earning a spot in the US Aerobatic Team by 1985.

A six-time recipient of the “First Lady of Aerobatics” Betty Skelton Award, a recipient of the “Sword of Excellence” Airshow Industry Award, and the “Bill Barber Award for Showmanship” are a few of Wagstaff’s proudest achievements. In 2004 she was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame and was recently awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Air Force Association.

When she is not training or flying in Airshows and competitions, Wagstaff works as a stunt pilot and aerial coordinator for TV and film. Never having enough of the sky, Patty decided to use her skills and training to help others in more ways than just entertainment. For over ten years, she has traveled to East Africa to train Kenya Wildlife Service pilots in bush, recurrency and aerobatic training. Those pilots go on to protect Kenya’s natural resources, elephants and rhinos. Dedicated to helping other, for three years she flew for the Cal Fire as an Air Attack pilot to help keep California safe from fires.

Continuing her passion for flying, Wagstaff has opened an aerobatic school in St. Augustine, Florida. At the “Patty Wagstaff Aerobatic School” she trains pilots to fly with safety and confidence. When she isn’t teaching others the joys of flight, she is off traveling around the world and enjoying the little things in life. Patty Wagstaff is a true pilot at heart and an American inspiration.

Photo of Patty Wagstaff from Patty Wagstaff Airshows, Inc. Photo of Patty Wagstaff from Patty Wagstaff Airshows, Inc.

For more information on Patty, visit her website: http://www.pattywagstaff.com/

The information for this blog post came from: www.pattywagstaff.com/ www.airspacemag.com/flight-today/patty-wagstaffs-second-act-27258964/ www.facebook.com/PWAS1