Jul 2011 Aileen Watkins (Texas)
Aileen Watkins is based at David Wayne Hooks Memorial Airport, (KDWH) Houston, Texas.
I am definitely a taildragger girl and made my living early in my flying career as a taildragger pilot. When it was difficult to find a full-time flying job, my experience in conventional gear aircraft allowed me to fill a need at a couple of local flight schools where this skill was needed but hard to come by. As my client base grew, so did my opportunities.
Having started my flying career flying aerobatics with my first competition at 83 hours total time, my passion for doing something out of the ordinary and that required stick-and-rudder skills allowed me to “make my bones” in the flying world. My enthusiasm for the sport, and for aviation, carried me through my financial shortcomings to keep me in the air.
I don’t have a favorite taildragger, as I love them all, but the DC3, Pitts, Decathlon and Cub have very special places in my heart, and in my hands. They truly represent the romance of flying, and the kinship of the “ladies” that carry my heart though the sky.
My first two instructors were ladies and mentors who were both very accomplished taildragger pilots. I thank them for instilling in me the qualities of safety, professionalism, and the want and need of striving for excellence in flying, and in delivering quality flight instruction. They truly believe in the “safety” attitude, and having fun doing what we love.
Some of the taildraggers I have flown: Cub, Pitts, Citabria, Decathlon, Taylorcraft, Extra, Sukhoi, Luscombe, Stearman, Bird, Great Lakes, Skybolt, Waco, Cessna 120/140/170/180/185/195, Maule, Husky, and the DC3.