April Gowen (Virginia)

April Gowen is based at Bealeton, Virginia and flies this 1946 L16 Champ.

I am 32 years old, married and I have a 3 year old little girl who is obsessed with planes too!!  I’m a Human Resources Manager by day and a student pilot as much as I can be.  I’ve been flying since August of 2009.  So far I have flown the 1946 L16 Aeronca Champ (that’s the main one that I fly) and a 1940 Piper Cub.

L16 Champ

I recently did my first solo flight. The guy in the next picture is my instructor.  His name is Chuck Tippett.  He is a CFI and a member of the Flying Circus in Bealeton, VA. That’s his Champ.  He is also a wing-walker.  He has helped over 40 students get their license (he teaches in his free time as he is a full time lineman for the local power company) and I was the first female he has ever soloed, so it was a big day for him too!

I decided to get into flying when I went to the flying circus to see the airshow and my husband bought me a ticket to go for a ride  in a Stearman that Chuck (now my current instructor) was flying.  I was scared to death because I had always been afraid of flying.  But there was something about the rumble of the engine and the smell of the fuel and the element of risk that was magnetizing to me. So he took me up and I remember it was such a wonderful and exhilarating feeling, that I actually cried tears of joy while we were in the air!  It was at that point that I was hooked.  I  now  eat, sleep, and breath flying.  And it’s the old fashion, “real” planes like you say, that excite me most.

Maybe sometime the group can check out the Flying Circus.  I know that the local chapter of Women in Aviation International has a fly-in there every year, but never a group of ladies who fly taildraggers!!!  Also, close to me is the National Air and Space Museum (Udvar Hazy) so maybe in the future it could be a cool weekend event for the girls to use as a get together.  I am posting links below for you to check out: http://www.flyingcircusairshow.com/ http://www.nasm.si.edu/udvarhazy/ If it’s something you would be interested in, I’m sure I could get it set up!  We are also trying to build a vintage plane museum there so it might be a good event for raising donations toward the museum!

Hope to get networking with others soon!

April Gowen

  • chuckie
    Posted at 18:48h, 19 March Reply

    good work looks funnnn

  • Guangning
    Posted at 22:40h, 09 December Reply

    Great Job, April!!! You are so cool!!! Congratulations! If I will have a chance to go to U.S. again, will definitely ask you for a ride… Cheers!!!

  • Haylee Furlong
    Posted at 12:16h, 18 November Reply


    Congrats on your TW Endorsement and solo! Isn’t Chuck the best?! I’m taking my 2nd lesson with him this Sunday and hope to solo soon!! Love to meet you sometime – always wanting to meet fellow female pilots with the same enthusiasm for all this flying stuff =) Again, congrats!

  • April
    Posted at 21:45h, 30 June Reply

    Tom – thank you so much! My Mom said she had a really great time with you and your wife and said she has lots to tell me. They were super excited to meet such interesting people. Thanks for the kind words!

    Susan – Yes, I know John, he is a good friend of my instructors! Boy, it’s a small world! Thank you for the encouraging words and the warm welcome!


  • Susan
    Posted at 20:24h, 28 June Reply

    April 🙂

    CONGRATS and WELCOME to the fantastic world of women tailwheel pilots! We all relive our solo whenever a new pilot solos…it’s great!!! I am very familiar with the Flying Circus — John and Maggie Corradi are great members of the National Waco Club and I’ve flown with John him is ZPF! You need to take a ride with him — he’s great!! Give them a hug from me the next time you are out there!! Keep wacking away at that ticket! We’re behind you all the way!!!

    Susan Theodorelos
    1930 Waco RNF NC663Y

  • tom bigbee
    Posted at 17:22h, 28 June Reply

    My wife and I had the great pleasure of meeting your mom and John on the cruise last week. She was bragging on you to say the least!
    I soloed May 20, 1984 and am a pilot for American Airlines.
    The sky’s the limit so take it as far as you want.
    Congrats, I know how proud you feel.

  • Donna Guerin
    Posted at 17:12h, 27 June Reply

    Congratulations April and welcome to the wonderful world of taildraggers. Low and Slow is the only way to go! Donna

  • April
    Posted at 13:05h, 26 June Reply

    Thanks Shannon. It’s funny, my daughter, Gabby thinks Mommy flying a plane is no big deal. Like it’s a normal everyday thing. I already told my instructor he needs to keep in good shape so he can teach her when she gets bigger! Take care!

  • Shannon Gallagher
    Posted at 10:53h, 26 June Reply

    Congrats April, Hope to meet you sometime.

    And keep your daughter interested as she will be the future generation to continue where we leave off.


  • Jerry
    Posted at 21:48h, 25 June Reply

    Great job! Always take the time to do what you dream as time will run out before your dreams……

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