FAA Waivers may keep you flying!

ALL our LadiesLoveTaildraggers pilots are AWESOME and each has her own unique story. In fact, that’s the heart of what LadiesLoveTaildraggers is about – our pilots and their personal stories. Ladies, when you register on Ladies Love Taildraggers, tell us your story and send us your pictures. Rest assured, on this website we are not about the number of ratings you have, the $$value$$ of the taildragger you fly or the number of hours in your logbook. What we are about is getting YOU in the air…. in any taildragger you can get your hands on….. and making sure you’re equipped to fly the taildragger of your dreams.

As the founder of LadiesLoveTaildraggers, Judy Birchler, here’s my personal story. Fast forward if you know me. There are far more interesting women on this website!

There’s nothing out of the ordinary about me other than REALLY wanting to fly taildragger airplanes —– and finding myself in the unique position of being excluded by the FAA. I was an aircraft owner, a pilot with a third class medical, and woke up one day … overnight really…. with a case of Type I Diabetes. What??!! Me??!! Diabetes! Really? Nobody in my family was diabetic so how could I be? Yes, my vision was suddenly blurred and I couldn’t even read the giant road signs, I was thirsty all the time and oh so tired. What the heck was wrong with me?!! I find myself in a hospital 1,000 miles from home and discover my life is changed forever. I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes – Juvenile Diabetes, one of the few diseases the FAA says “NO FLYING”  to ever… again. NO!!! Just shoot me!!

BUT it turns out “forever” really isn’t forever! Years passed and I wasn’t able to fly as PIC but regulations changed, perceptions changed and one day I find I CAN fly again, with restrictions, with waivers.

Judy's first airplane, a 1940 Porterfield!

Judy’s first airplane, a 1940 Porterfield! Non- Diabetic

Judy's 2nd airplane, a Cessna 140

Judy’s 2nd airplane, a Cessna 140. Non-diabetic.

Judy's 3rd airplane, Gruman N6219L

Judy’s 3rd airplane, Grumman N6219L. Non-diabetic

That’s it. I had time to fly, to have fun in the sky and to own 3 airplanes before life changed. The good news is, I’m back and have been for a number of years. The FAA reqs were finally changed and 3rd class medicals were again available to diabetic pilots. I’m flying again!

Jessie & Judy flying Chanp

Daughter Jessie & Judy flying my Chanp N75689E

Me and my brand spanking spinner on my Rans S7!

Me and my brand spanking new spinner on my Rans S7!

So here I am, four years later, flying my awesome light sport Rans S7. I could fly with a wavier but I’ve chosen to fly light sport and not take any chance on the 3rd class medical. I want to fly SO many taildraggers but I’m trying to be patient. Life is good and you will hear no complaints from me. I may be able to get a 3rd class medical but I’m not willing to have the yearly months of down time waiting on the FAA’s decision for continuance of my waiver after re-submission of my medical records. Light Sport is making me plenty happy right now and I’m keeping my fingers crossed medical reform will pass the Senate and the House in time for me to benefit! There’s a RV7, a Stinson 108, a Cessna 195, a Stearman, a Waco UPF7 and so many more taildraggers on my dance card. My message to the U.S. House and Senate, please pass the 3rd Class Medical Reform!







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