Amy Hoover (Washington)

Amy Hoover is based at (KELN) Bowers Field Airport, Ellensburg, Washington.

My journey into taildragger flying started in the early 1980’s when my work as a geologist and white water river guide entailed flights into the remote river canyons in central Idaho, and I have been hooked ever since. I obtained my private license in 1988 in Salmon, Idaho and later that year bought a 1947 Cessna 120. I loved flying it all over the Idaho back country and it taught me many things about flying a little airplane in big mountains.

For some reason I don’t now completely remember, in January 1991 I flew it to Florida (maybe it was due to the -20 temperatures in Idaho and the sunny skies in Florida). On the way back I stopped over for the winter in South Carolina and completed my instrument rating, commercial license and CFI. In 1992 I landed my first job as a backcountry Air Taxi pilot for SP Aircraft in Boise, Idaho and taught mountain flying seminars for the FAA out of Challis, Idaho.

After flying rafters, hunters, supplies, and various other cargo for a few years I decided to combine my love of flying with that of teaching and in 1995 began work as a full-time CFI for BobKat Aviation in Boise. A year later my good friend Lyn Clark asked me and Lori MacNichol, another CFI from McCall, to join her in starting the “McCall Mountain/Canyon Flying Seminars” to promote safety in the Idaho back country. We built the seminar concept around instruction Lyn had been conducting for decades and ran our first classes in July, 1997. Sadly, Lyn was killed in an accident later that summer, but we decided there was a great need to keep the seminars going as more and more pilots were coming to Idaho to enjoy back country flying.

For the next five years I developed the company’s training curriculum, wrote many articles on mountain and canyon flying for “Pilot Getaways” magazine, and authored the company’s training manual, “Mountain and Canyon Flying” which is still in use today. However, I still wished to reach out to a broader spectrum in aviation training so accepted the position as Director of Aviation at Mt. Hood Community College in Oregon, where I taught for 5 years while I completed my Ph.D. in Education at Oregon State University. I left the 120 in good hands and in 1999 hooked up with my 1955 Cessna 180 (Charles) that I flew on many adventures around the NW and BC.

Yet another opportunity came along and in 2003 I joined the faculty at Central Washington University where I am currently an Associate Professor and Chair of the Aviation Department.

I have published approximately 20 articles and manuals on Mountain and Canyon Flying and have given more than 75 presentations to various organizations and forums throughout the U.S. I have the privilege of having logged over 5000 flight hours, half of them as a CFI, and have given over 1000 hours of instruction in flight simulators. My current research interests are in single pilot concurrent task management and multi-crew cockpit operations.

My real love is still flying the rugged terrain of central Idaho. After spending more than two decades studying the rocks and landforms, navigating the rivers, and flying the canyons, I have developed a great awe and deep respect for the Idaho wilderness. I love sharing the wonder of the area with other pilots and realize that a certain responsibility must accompany the privileges we enjoy when flying the backcountry. My focus for backcountry instruction includes not only safe and courteous operations but emphasis on the fragility of the area and how we, as pilots, have obligations in preserving the resource for future generations.

I said goodbye to Charles and in 2009 bought the “Canyon Goddess” – a new American Champion Citabria Explorer, and am happily giving tailwheel instruction and mountain flying classes with her in Idaho and Washington.

I have owned 4 taildraggers (Cessna 120, Cessna 140, Cessna 180 and Citabria 7GCBC - current one) and I have flown, as near as I can count, over 40 different taildragger aircraft.

You can see more on my web site at

Visit Facebook page “Canyon Flying”

  • Kurt MacKenzie
    Posted at 17:50h, 16 February Reply

    Hello Amy, I had the privilege of a couple days of one on one instruction from you in ’04 in my M4-210 which was an absolute eye opener for me. It was without a doubt, the best instruction I had ever received. At the time I was a new (Sub 300 hours) pilot. Your instruction style and communication was spot on for someone like me and to this day, I still find myself asking “Where’s my out”. I moved to Alaska in ’05 and log about 180 hours a year, still have the Maule with over 3,000 hours in it now and another on floats. Thank you for the time you spent with me back then, your words still ride with me.

  • Victoria
    Posted at 15:31h, 12 June Reply

    Hi Amy

    I met you at Thomas creek. Hope to see you in Idaho this summer


  • Donna Svoboda
    Posted at 17:57h, 21 April Reply

    Hi Amy, you might not remember me, but I’m sure you remember Wilbur and his big bright orange Aeronca Sedan. We saw you at Sulphur Creek last summer. We were camping at Johnson Creek and Wilbur and his wife flew over from OR. with us. Just wanted to say how great it was to finally meet you, as Wilbur has told us several times in the past what a wonderful pilot and person you were. I am so envious of your Citabria as my little yellow bird and it’s o-235 does the job, but we both know how much better things could be!! Maybe we will see you again in the back country, as we are planning several trips to the area this next summer. Till then, D.

  • Amy
    Posted at 23:09h, 24 February Reply

    Charlie is a good name; mine was “Charles” for whatever reason – just seemed like it fit him.

    Looking forward to some fun flying!

  • Jeanne MacPherson
    Posted at 13:44h, 20 February Reply

    Hi Amy~

    I think we are naming our new , to us, Cessna 180 “Charlie”
    Both Bill and I are looking forward to flying with you this summer!


  • Susan
    Posted at 18:33h, 15 February Reply

    HA! I’d rather be lucky than good! 🙂

  • Amy
    Posted at 00:16h, 15 February Reply

    Pure dumb luck!! 🙂

  • Judy
    Posted at 16:58h, 14 February Reply

    Amy, I love the picture of you jumping for joy the day you picked up your Citabria. Talk about a picture being worth a thousand words! I’ve tried, mostly unsuccessfully, having someone snap my picture while jumping as high as I could get. No great pictures to show for it – I must be dead weight!!

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