DianaÂ LeSueur from Arizona is our second Tailwheel Endorsement scholarship winner. Here is a portion from Diana’s application, answering the question “What made you want to learn to fly?”
Twelve years ago, I was selected to develop an aviation themed program to introduce 5th grade students to S.T.E.M. After a lot of research, I custom designed a classroom that we call the Flight Center. It is equipped with flight training devices, mock cockpits, and other technology to allow students to apply their knowledge they learned in the classroom. I play the role of flight instructor and my students are pilots-in-training. We begin the day with â€œground schoolâ€ training and then experience: Computer flight simulators, Science Discovery Experiments, a Helicopter Trainer, and a 3-axis motion Airplane Simulator.
When I was selected to run the Flight Center, I took a few introductory flights and talked to several pilots to be more familiar with what I was teaching the students. At that time, it was not financially possible and I did not believe I had the time. When I was not teaching, I was with my children and their activities. Over the years at the Flight Center and running a Summer Aviation Camp, I realized how much the knowledge and experience of being a pilot would help me to improve my programs. Two lady pilots, members of our local Ninety-Nines, volunteered for the Flight Center program. They introduced me to the Ninety-Nines and encouraged me to get my pilot license. They gave me hope of getting my license knowing the support I would have and the awareness of scholarship possibilities.
I began my flight training last summer. Since that time, I have immersed myself in the aviation community even more than I already was. I became a member of the Commemorative Air Force – Airbase Arizona, the Ninety-Nines Women Pilot Organization, Women In Aviation, EAA, and AOPA. I participate in as many activities with the Ninety-Nines and the CAF as I possibly can. I have been trained as a CAF crew member on the C-47, B-25, and B-17. I have had the opportunity through these various activities, to meet a lot of people. This networking has provided access to these people who have been willing to help me with the educational programs in which I am involved. For example, I connected with the right people that made it possible to provide Young Eagles flights to my aviation camp students yesterday! The past four years, the contact I had was not willing to work with me to provide flights because of the heat.
I have learned so much over the past year and have been able to pass on this knowledge and passion to my students! I love learning, especially if it has to do with flying! I plan to further my experience and ratings as a pilot and continue to improve the Flight Center and Aviation Camp programs.Â
Many pilots that I have met over the past year, and I regard as very good and knowledgeable pilots, have encouraged me to get a tailwheel endorsement. They say that it will make me a better pilot. I do believe this is true. Patty Wagstaff told me that aerobatic training will help me to become a better pilot as well. That is another goal of mine.
I am asked many questions by my students about airplanes and flying. The more I learn and experience, the better I will be able to answer these questions and guide students. I have been fortunate enough to have been taken under the wing of an amazing pilot. Ed Newberg is a very experienced pilot who has flown just about every aircraft there is to fly; or so it seems! He has given me the opportunity to fly his Stearman A-75 with a 300 hp engine. This aircraft can be quite the beast yet so exciting to fly! I have come to respect the tailwheel aircraft and desire to become an excellent tailwheel pilot.