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women crush wednesday

  • 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

  • Harriet Quimby: First Female Pilot

    Harriet Quimby was the first woman to earn a pilot's license, in 1911. She began touring with the Moisant International Aviators and performing in air shows. Known for having a flare for drama, she designed her own signature flight suit, made of purple satin with a hood. In Leslie's Illustrated Weekly, Quimby chronicled her flights and the adventures she'd go on. On April 16, 1912, in just 59 minutes, she became the first woman to fly across the English Channel.

    Harriet Quimby in her purple flight suit. Harriet Quimby in her purple flight suit.

    During the Third Annual Boston Aviation Meet, on July 1st 1912, Harriet Quimby's plane suddenly pitched forward causing her and William Willard to fall to their deaths. Though she was only 37, Ms Quimby paved the way for women in aviation. From her purple flying suit to her dare devil attitude we admire this early aviator for all her hard work.

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