Joshua Brehm, A guy’s perspective on taildraggers

I just got some very sad news about the death of a pilot I posted in April, I believe the only male pilot we’ve ever posted on Ladies Love Taildraggers. I featured it because his excitement, passion and enthusiasm for flying taildraggers was so genuine and contagious I thought we could all be inspired. Thank you to Shannon Gallagher, Chuck Avon and John Curry for forwarding the links. Our thoughts are with his family and friends. I’m including the email I received from John Curry, along with links to news reports, which I believe you’ll appreciate reading…

“Happened by your website while doing some research and found Joshua Brehm was featured in a past blog.  I thought you may want to know that Mr. Brehm was killed this week when his Taylorcraft BL65 crashed on landing.”

“I didn’t know Mr. Brehm and I don’t fly..ever, I just love and admire vintage planes and vehicles…but reading your blog and his love for flying, knowing what had happened two days ago,  gave me  insight into this man.  So often you hear of someone’s passing and never know who the person really was, but when I read the blog, I understood he died doing what he loved.  We should all be so lucky.”

“Anyway, I thought you may want to let your readers know of his passing.”


John W Curry
D&J’s Photography

————– Posted April 11, 2011 ——————

Just to prove that we ladies love not only our taildraggers but the men that love them too, guess it’s time we hear it from a man’s perspective! Josh Brehm from North Carolina sent in a few pictures and thoughts about flying – very interesting. If you’re flying an antique or vintage taildragger – heck, any taildragger, bet you’ll agree with Josh.  Beware – his excitement with taildraggers is contagious!!! 🙂

A happy Josh and wife, Laura Gantt

“I love to fly! I love to fly! I love to fly! Happiest when flying– just about anything is okay, but taildraggers are best. Challenging, humbling, fun, capable, humbling, flexible, good-looking (as an airplane should look!), humbling, fun to land in farm fields, hard to land well, and…uh….humbling.”

Josh's 1940 Taylorcraft BL-65

“There’s a mystique around conventionally-geared aircraft these days that needs to go. When pilots were trained to fly in a taildragger they were aware of wind direction and strength because they had to be. They knew how to correctly line up on a runway and do forward and side slips.”

Looks like he's out to win the spot landing contest!

“They were more connected with the airplane. Trikes led to the “Windows-ization,” the “Walmart-ification” of aviation. Point and click and instant gratification. Forget about the mechanics and the romance and the provenance of the airplane– get it done as cheaply and quickly as you can– who cares where it came from or who built it or what went into its development. Character-be-damned, we want milquetoast flying, benumbed, removed, disassociated from oil and fuel and fire and wind and wires and fabric. Give ’em metal shells and fiberglass skins and flat panel displays to get from point “A” to point “B” without getting ruffled hair.”


“I fly with friends who have never had to use their feet on the pedals once they quit taxiing. A long-winged, adverse yaw-prone, lightly loaded ship is an eye-opener to say the least. Some just don’t get it and are instantly frustrated. Others rise to the challenge and ask the right questions and are amply rewarded.”

Laura Gantt

“Need to get my CFI done so I can actually do some training.  We need to get folks reintroduced to aviating as it was done.”

“Not sure what I can offer to the group, but I really enjoy meeting folks interested in old airplanes.”

Josh Brehm

  • Jeanne MacPherson
    Posted at 07:20h, 02 August Reply

    Very sad~my prayers and thoughts are with his family and friends~

  • tina thomas
    Posted at 07:13h, 01 August Reply

    So sorry for Laura and the family…so enjoyed Josh’s comments that I copied them earlier when originally posted…blue skies Josh.

  • susan
    Posted at 21:52h, 31 July Reply

    The world has lost a truly wonderful person… We will miss you Josh…. fly well….with blue skies and tailwinds forever.


  • Anne Wright
    Posted at 20:10h, 31 July Reply

    I’m so sorry to hear about Josh, and my condolences to his wife Laura.

  • Josh Brehm
    Posted at 12:42h, 15 April Reply

    Shame on me! The lovely lady is my very tolerant and understanding wife, Laura Gantt. She’s an ex-flight nurse who really prefers helicopters but I don’t like to talk about that so much!!

    Good point, Lisa. We reward kids for participation and not achievement so that they can feel good about themselves. I’m not saying that feeling good about yourself is a bad thing, but it’s an empty reward if it isn’t earned.

    I’m based at NC47, just south of KPGV, about 100 miles East of Raleigh. Come visit!


  • Susan Theodorelos
    Posted at 05:31h, 14 April Reply

    Well said Josh!! You’ve nailed it!

  • tina thomas
    Posted at 11:42h, 13 April Reply


  • Gayle
    Posted at 19:03h, 12 April Reply

    Love that Tcraft! Where in NC are you from? I’m near Greensboro. I love hearing your take on taildraggers!

  • Lisa Martin
    Posted at 09:37h, 12 April Reply

    Great thoughts. After years of working in public schools, I feel the problem that we are facing is basically that we are/have been raising generations of people who do not like to do hard things…they don’t like challenges (of course there are exceptions…as we see in the ladies here on this site). That’s why The FAA keeps trying to come up with easier pilots licenses. I would sure like to know how to get back to that early American entreprenerial, adventurous spirit. We seemed to have settled into an easy, European apathy.

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