Dec 2011 Barbara Kirmsse (California)
Barbara Kirmsse us based at KRIR, Flabob Airport,Â Riverside, California.
I am Barbara Kirmsse, 67 years young, live in Alta Loma, CA and learning to fly a tail dragger. Â Having never flown before it is a huge challenge to say the least. Â My first dreams of flying began with my father when I was just a little girl growing up on a farm in Iowa. Â My dad never became a certified pilot but he is a pilot at heart. Â He served as a flight mechanic in the United States Navy and has many stories to tellâ€¦…always with a sparkle in his eyes. Â As he was teaching me how to drive the tractor on our farm, Â he was also instilling in me the love of flying. Â One of my favorite stories is about a student pilot and his instructor. Â On the student pilotâ€™s first day behind the stick in the air, the instructor illustrated how to roll the plane overâ€¦.the instructor had forgotten to fasten his seat belt, fell out of the plane when it was invertedâ€¦luckily had his parachute on and escaped unscathedâ€¦.meanwhile the student found himself on his first flight upside down and no instructor in the plane! Â He managed to right the plane and land it! Â Keep in mind the trainers were not equipped with radios!!!
Twenty three years ago when I was 43 and happily married for 25 years my husband died suddenly of heart problems. Â Life must go on but I have never remarriedâ€¦..waiting for someone really special! Â My two beautiful children are both happily married and are living near me. Â I also have two fantastic granddaughters, 12 and 20. Â Six years ago I retired from 30 years with the Alta Loma School District and never looked back. Â During my years with the school district I also did runway and print modeling just to mix it up! Â I now take piano lessons, practice at playing golf, and I am learning to fly the Champ! Â Three years ago I reconnected with a high school friend at a reunion. Life is good!
Bill flies a Bonanza A36 and has been a private pilot since his 20â€™s when he purchased his first of two planes. Â Bill also has an endorsement for a tail wheel.
Â I love flying and just wanted to learn some basics to land the Bonanza in case of emergencyâ€¦.Bill said why donâ€™t you get your private pilotâ€™s license? Â I expressed to him that I didnâ€™t think I could do thatâ€¦..his response was â€œOf course you can, you just to have to say you are going to do it â€¦..and by the way why donâ€™t you learn in a tail draggerâ€! He is my greatest supporter and mentorâ€¦..without him I never would have dreamed that I could accomplish such a feat!
We have gone across country three times to the Bahamas, Sun n Fun, New Orleans, Key West, Albuquerque Balloon Festival and East Coast as well as many other flying adventures. Â We belong to three flying clubs. Â On our trip last August to Oshkosh and then, Maine to eat lobsterâ€¦.we had the great fortune of meeting President H.W. Bush (1941) in Kennebunkport. Â I am sending a picture taken by the Secret Service!
March 2011, I studied for my online, Private Pilot, Airplane ground school test using prepware.com and within two weeks I went to the Universal Air Academy in El Monte, California and passed my Private Pilot Airplane Airman Knowledge Test. I then took and passed my Third Class Medical and received my Student Pilot Certificate. It took two months to find an instructor with a tail wheel airplane for instruction. Finally we found a little airport in Riverside, CA called Flabob. They have an aero club with a Cub and a Champ available!
Flabobâ€™s existence dates from 1925, two years before the Lindbergh boom. Â It is the seventh oldest surviving airport in California. Â With runway 06/24 (3200â€™ X 50â€™) adorned by trees on one end and a mountain on the other, it is a little daunting sometimes. Â You may find out more about the colorful history of this little family airport online. Â Just Google â€œFlabob Airportâ€ â€œThe little airport that time forgotâ€. Â It is about forty minutes from my home but I was ready and willing. Â You really have to want to do this to make it happen.
I have 13 hours of training in the Cub and approximately 22 hours of training in the Champ. Â I am so close to soloingâ€¦.I can taste it! Â At the very beginning of my flight training, I told Walt Wasowski, my tail wheel instructor, that he would be a miracle worker if he could teach me to fly the Champ. Little did I know that getting it down the runway on the ground was the hardest part!!!! Â That tail just doesnâ€™t want to stay behind! Â We concentrated on fast taxis until my feet could dance the right tune and the light bulbs came on. Walt is so positive and is a great instructor, not to mention a very patient man!!! Â Guess what! Â He is a miracle worker, too, because I am learning to fly a tail dragger! Â At Waltâ€™s recommendation I had a check ride with another instructor, Jack, yesterday and he was impressed that when doing my 360 turns we experienced my propeller turbulence when I leveled out. Â Thatâ€™s a good thing! Â At the end of the ride he said a couple more consistent landings and I was ready to solo. Walt agrees!!!
I am so happy that flying is now a part of my life and that I have a very special man to share it with. Â We are now looking for a Luscombe to buy so we can fly side by side. Â Having a stick is a priority and we like the idea of both sitting together up front.
All of you tail dragging ladies are my heroines! Â I am in awe of your accomplishments and I love reading about themâ€¦.all of you are so inspiring!!!! Â You will be the first to hear as soon as I solo!!!!
Merry Christmas! Â You all know what I am wishing for. Â Even Santa chose to fly!!!!
JeaniePosted at 11:28h, 05 December
Congratulations! You are doing it!! I am so proud of your accomplishments. Keep flying high! You are terrific. Way to go girlfriend.
Barbara KirmssePosted at 12:45h, 05 December
Thanks for the encouragement and good wishes! Let’s do dinner again at the first of the year. Bill and I are flying to Hawaii for Christmas again this year! I’ll let you know as soon as I solo!!!!
Jeanne MacPhersonPosted at 22:36h, 03 December
Great story, Barbara, thank you for sharing it.
I have heard a lot about Flabob Airport. I hope to fly there one fine day~
Barbara KirmssePosted at 12:42h, 05 December
Thanks Jeanne! If you ever make it to Flabob be sure to let me know! I’ll be heading over there tomorrow if the winds aren’t too bad!!!
VictoriaPosted at 11:12h, 03 December
Please let us know when you solo! One of my best memories. Please remember to wear an old t shirt so they tear off a piece and hang it on the wall.
We hope to see you both in Idaho soon!
Barbara KirmssePosted at 12:39h, 05 December
Thanks Victoria! I’ll remember to wear an old shirt! If Bill and I make it to Idaho we will be sure to contact you!
Your suport means so much to me!!!!