Jan 2012 Ginger Davidson (Indiana)
Ginger Davidson lives atÂ 64I, Lee Bottom Airport, Hanover, Indiana.
Although not one person in my family flies, I acquired a sense of adventure from my parents since we had traveled as a family to every state except Hawaii (via car) by the time I had graduated from High School. Thatâ€™s just one of the stories that I tell when asked why I learned to fly. The others involve rebellion and are probably best told over a glass of wine after a long day in the sun at Oshkosh.
After receiving a nomination and appointment to the US Naval Academy (in the 80â€™s), I made a political statement by turning down this prestigious school because at this point in history they were not letting women fly fighters and I felt that the rules needed to be changed. I went on to study accounting and computer science and once established in my career, was able to finally explore my passion for flight.
Captivated with flying and the challenge of learning more, I expanded on my initial goal of only obtaining a private pilot certificate with additional ratings: glider, instrument, commercial multi-engine, commercial single-engine and CFI. I even went a step further by learning how a human can actually fly like a bird by obtaining a Class A Sky Diving certificate and can tell you that it is the most fun a person can have with their clothes on.
I bought my first airplane â€“ a Citabria â€“ to gain experience in tailwheel airplanes. I had heard that they have a special magic about them and had to find out what it was all about. Once checked out in my favorite bird, I went on a trip to Frankenmuth Michigan. Why? I donâ€™t know because Michigan is cold in November! But, I was determined to camp under the wing of my very own plane. The men at that little airport are probably still talking about that crazy girl that wouldn’t come inside that very cold night. But, I was living my own dream!
The little green airplane that was affectionately called â€œThe Grasshopperâ€ took me around the country and eventually led me to find â€œthe man of my dreamsâ€. This barnstormer of a pilot, Rich, owned an airport and was just as much in love with flying as meâ€“ probably more. Today, we own, operate, and manage the airport, have expanded the runway to be among the longest public use grass runways in the country, and are incorporating a museum to remember the airports of yesteryear. We host the largest fly-in event of its type, publish an online aviation publication that has over 7000 subscribers, and have many other dreams and plans for the airport known by most general aviation pilots in the country as Lee Bottom Flying Field.
Although enamored with the freedoms associated with flying, I feel most at home in the middle of the woods. I could spend hours watching nature and often wonder why everyone looks right past the small things in life. In my late 30’s, I took 3 months off from my career and hiked over 1000 miles of the Appalachian Trail from just north of Atlanta, Georgia to Harper’s Ferry just outside of Washington DC. This experience taught me a lot about myself and others.
Because of my countless hours spent backpacking and GPS experience gained from aviation, I was recently chosen from thousands of applicants to help Backpacker Magazine on a mapping project of the Continental Divide Trail. My love for the outdoors has also led me to have hobbies in gardening, beekeeping, maple syrup production, and I have recently started raising sheep which help me to mow the grass at the airport.
Today, I consider myself â€œsemi-retiredâ€ which means that Iâ€™m working harder than ever while being under-appreciated, under-utilized, and under-paid. I have been involved in the 99â€™s, served on the executive board for the Indianapolis Air Show, flown WWII trainers to airshows dressed as a WASP, ferried airplanes to Alaska, held the Wing Leader position for the Indiana Wing of the CAF, and been a member and leader of many other aviation clubs and organizations. I am also involved in Rotary, DAR, our local Chamber of Commerce, Indiana BeeKeeperâ€™s Association, Gun Ownerâ€™s of America, American Sheep Industry Association, our local Girl’s Inc affiliation, and the Jefferson County Republican Womenâ€™s Club. I have rebuilt car engines, worked in an aircraft restoration shop, rode motorcycles, and started my own business from scratch.
My duties at the airport have put me on a batwing mower instead of behind the stick of my Piper Cub, Champ, or RV-3. For the past 10 years, Iâ€™ve spent all my spare time ensuring that others have a place and a reason to go flying. My resolution for 2012 is to find others to take over some of these responsibilities so I can get back into the air. Iâ€™m hoping that by meeting more ladies who love taildraggers, I will be more motivated to accomplish this goal. I am excited that women are now flying fighter jets and I look forward to the next stage in my life which my husband lovingly dubs my â€˜silver foxâ€™ days.