Oh where Oh where are the best taildraggin’ airports?!?!

By Judy Birchler, host of LadiesLoveTaildraggers.com

The airport I learned to fly at years ago may very well be the best fly-in destination around for taildraggers of all assortments.   It’s grass, the pilots hanging out there have been there for years, most of them actually fly their airplanes, they enjoy new people visiting their airport, they’re ready to help if you need it and they’re even more ready to offer advice on any subject known to man – make that woman – if you want to hang around and hear it.   So that said, I’m on a mission to locate as many “best taildraggin” airstrips as I can and with luck, fly there to see why it’s so special.  Lady taildraggers are welcome to join me!!

Here are a few pictures from my #1:  Skylane Airport

If you have a favorite, let me know where it is and why I need to fly there.  I’m starting a list of best airports and hope to see it grow with your suggestions and comments.  You can post a comment below or send me an email at judy.birchler@gmail.com.  Suggestions so far……

#1  Skylane Airport, Evansville, IN 3EV (best hanging out spot)

#2 Napoleon, Michigan 3NP (best breakfast, pie & ice cream @ Chilly Willies)

#3  Broadhead, WI for the Midwest Antique Airplane Fly-in

#4  Red Stewart Airfield, great tailwheel, grass strip in Waynesville, OH


36 at Skylane Airport 3EV

Above is runway 36, Skylane Airport probably taken after one of the guys spent hours cutting all that grass.  Sure looks inviting!

#1  Skylane Airport, Evansville, IN

Nothing happens at Skylane without spending hours debating under “the tree”.   Corporations need a boardroom, families need a kitchen table and Skylane needs “the tree of knowledge”.

So, if you know a great place to land where the airport is the true destination – anywhere in the country – let me know.  Grass is good but doesn’t have to be.  It’s about the people and the planes – especially the taildraggers!  If  you want to help round out this list, let me know where it is and why I need to fly there.  I’ll be the one in the Champ!

Judy's favorite (and only) Champ N7569E

  • Susan
    Posted at 18:50h, 28 March Reply

    Judy — you simply must try Brodhead, WI — some of the most unusual taildraggers ever at that airport. The best time to go is in September (weekend after Labor Day) for the annual Midwest Antique Airplane Fly-in — “Grassroots.” Usually there are 300 – 400 antique planes that fly-in over the 4 day period. With the exception of the National Waco Club Fly-in (6G4) held in Mt. Vernon every year the last full weekend in June — Grassroots is the one fly-in I refuse to miss. We’ve driven up there when the weather between Ohio and Wisconsin hasn’t been suitable for flying. Membership to MAAC is a mere 10.00 per year. Every night there is a big campfire where every sits around telling tales. Showers on site and camping is the norm. Lots of people attend the fly-in at Ottumwa, IA and then just mosey on up to Grassroots. So plan ahead everyone and make this a “must attend” event. I hope to get the Waco up there this year.

    Of course — being the “Waco-phile” that I am… I have to expand a bit on the NWC fly-in at Mt. Vernon… as I said — held every year the last full weekend in June — Wacos from all over the country fly to this “perfect” grass strip for four days of absolutely blissful comraderie. The club celebrated its 50th Anniversary last year and we had 52 Wacos show up. It was spectacular. We expect another large gathering this year.

    Red Stewart Airfield is another great tailwheel airport. On any given weekend when the weather is nice – it looks like a fly-in for all the taildraggers lining the runway. They have a fabulous fly-in Labor Day weekend.

    No great restaurants at these airports — it’s just the airport worth seeing. So great to know there are grass strips like these being maintained.

    Good luck on your adventure. I look forward to checking back for updates!

    1930 Waco RNF NC663Y & NC863V

  • Posted at 11:44h, 05 March Reply

    Hi Judy, I usually don’t make it for breakfast either, but pie and/or ice cream in the afternoon is normal around here. When a few of us get together and don’t know where to go, we go to Chilly Willies. the grass strips in Michigan are closed until April 1 or 15, or whenever they dry out after that. Looking forward to treating you to some ice cream!

  • Judy Birchler
    Judy Birchler
    Posted at 16:23h, 03 March Reply

    Anne, I’m going to take you up on flying in for ice cream & pie! You’re a little too far north for me to make it for breakfast but I LOVE the pie idea. I don’t know about up there but grass strips around here are going to be pretty soggy for a while. We can meet up when it dries out. It’s really good to hear from you and want to remind you, you still owe me some pictures of you and your Super Cub! You gotta love a husband that surprises you with a Super Cub!! Wow

  • Posted at 11:09h, 03 March Reply

    Hi Judy, we have a great grass strip here in Michigan – Napoleon, 3NP, about 10 miles SE of JXN. It’s got two grass runways, and right next to it is a tack shop and two restaurants. Every Sat. morning the “100 mph club” gets together for breakfast at Chilly Willies. Many of us go there for their ice cream, pies, and other very good food. The owner takes pictures of the planes that fly in and posts them on the wall. If you come in for a visit, let me know & I’ll meet you there.

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