Dr. Kimberly L. Kanapeckas is based at KRBW, Lowcountry Regional Airport, Walterboro, South Carolina.
I grew up in rural South Carolina and moved to Africa for several years to work as a wildlife researcher, participating in aerial game capture, where I was first exposed to backcountry aviation in some of the most remote parts of the continent. I then completed a PhD in Genetics and flight training at Clemson University in SC. I met my fiancÃ©, JÃ©rÃ©my, a commercial pilot who came from France to fly airplanes, at my first home airport, KCEU (Clemson-Oconee County). We now own a 1947 Cessna 140 vintage taildragger and fly out of KRBW (Lowcountry Regional Airport in Walterboro, SC), where we have made many new taildragger pilot friendships (including Todd Givens of Ace Basin Aviation – check out his operation if you’re ever in the lowcountry!).
In 2016, I joined the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources as supervisory geneticist at the Marine Resources Research Institute in Charleston, SC. Additionally, as an FAA certificated remote pilot, I contribute to the agencyâ€™s Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) working group initiative, assisting staff in aeronautical decision making and pilotage skills for drone-assisted research.
I absolutely love the adrenaline rush and competent precision afforded by aerobatics and am part of the International Aerobatic Club, the Experimental Aircraft Association, Women In Aviation International, the Ninety-Nines, the Seaplane Pilots Association, the Association of Natural Resource Pilots, and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.
Ratings: Private Pilot Airplane Single Engine Land with Tailwheel Endorsement, Aerobatics and training for Instrument rating/Commercial Certificate and Single Engine Sea rating.
I have flown several aircraft, including the Cessna 172 Skyhawk, the French Robin DR30, 7GCAA American Champion Citabria, Luscombe Silvaire 8E, Cessna 120/140, Boeing Stearman PT-17, and 7EC Aeronca Champ on floats.
As far as my “dream taildragger,” I think I would have to say the Cessna 140 originally from Alaska that we own. Of course, any STOL or aerobatic capable taildragger would do!
I am a solid advocate of conventional gear aircraft. Flying tailwheel airplanes requires a much narrower envelope for operation and refines basic “stick and rudder” techniques, disallowing complacency and laziness. There have been times a keenly responsive taildragger has been very humbling to fly, and these challenges once conquered have served to make me an exponentially more confident pilot.