My Texas Tailwheel Adventure!

I’m here to tell you, you MUST FLY A TAILDRAGGER across Texas at least once in your life. Having just returned from an amazing flying adventure across Texas, I’m still pumped and plotting my return. Our eight day exploration of the Lone Star state only scratched the surface of possibilities and left me wanting more. For me, the vastness of Texas was mind boggling and as we flew southwest the panorama was constantly changing. Think rolling pine covered hills, brushlands, prairies, yellow grasses, rugged stoney caverns, sandy rocky canyons, granite mountains, dry stream beds and more. We pilots are the lucky few with the tools to see Texas as it should be seen, from above, sitting in the saddle of a small taildragger.

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I’ve spent the last 8 days sitting left seat in my husband’s RV7, a two ship RV7 flight across Texas with friends Phil & Tess Jones. Eight days is all we had to fly from Indiana to Texas, explore what we could and fly home. We needed a month, we had 8 days. Waiting on slowly improving conditions, we departed KMQJ on a cold, ice pellet infused morning. The cloud layer stayed just above our canopies till the Illinois border when sunshine took over!

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Both our RV7s have Mattatuck Lycoming clone engines, constant speed props, climb at over 1000′ per minute, have 42 gallons usable fuel, and can cruise at 150 knots (172 mph) at 7 gallons per hour.

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Boyd face glistening in the compass as we head s.w. towards Texas.

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FINALLY, the sun shines on us as we hit Illinois.

Facebook turned out to be a wonderful resource and we loved visiting as many Facebook friends as we could fit in. Thanks to Ray Johnson for putting us in touch with Dianne Wieman and Pat Wegner, both in the San Antonio area, and to Bill Tracy for connecting us to Marti & Alex Whitmore in Terilugna. We wouldn’t have had a fraction of the fun without meeting up with all these awesome taildragger pilots.

After a fuel stop at KPBF, Pine Bluff, Arkansas, our first Texas landing was at San Antonio’s Stinson Field. Our goal was to visit the River Walk and Lady Taildragger pilot Pat Wegner at her Shooting Star Aviation Museum. We did them both!

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Shooting Star Museum, Devine, TX. The museum is located 12 miles west of San Antonio and 6 miles south of the historic city of Castroville, Texas.

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Judy Birchler & Pat Wegner posed pretty in front of the flag display. Red, white & blue lights illuminate the flag display at night at the museum, honoring our armed forces.

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Pat Wegner and her Stinson 108 at the museum.

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The Shooting Star Library occasionally receives donations from individuals and I was delighted to uncover a stash of WASP memorabilia.

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Wow, can’t believe what I’m finding so nonchalantly posed at this museum library. A treasure trove for WASP followers.

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This Stinson regularly flies out of Pat’s one-way 1500′ grass strip.

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Lucky for us, LLT pilot Dianne Wiemann, an Aeronca aficionado, and pilot Fred Wiemann met us for dinner our first night in Texas. Dianne, an A&P/IA, & CFII entertained us endlessly about maintaining, restoring and flying vintage airplanes. She instructed three flight students the afternoon we arrived. We talked a lot of taildraggers and a lot of politics and had a fantastic, long overdue visit.

So excited to be able to have dinner with Dianne & Fred Wieman during out quick visit to San Antonio.

So excited to be able to have dinner with Dianne & Fred Wiemann during our quick visit to San Antonio.

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Departing San Antonio, we flew west skirting the Mexico border just northwest of Del Rio. We continued west to Terrell 6R6 for refueling then on s.w. to 3TE8.

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Final to 31 @ 3TE8, C Fulcher Ranch Airport, Terlingua /Alpine, Texas

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Runway 13, gravel, 3TE8, C Fulcher Ranch Airport, Terlingua /Alpine, Texas

Slide Show:  There are 6 aircraft based at Fulcher Ranch Airport and Marti & Alex Whitmore own 5 of them – all great taildraggers!

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Our hostess, Marti Whitmore and Piper J-3 as we depart on Big Bend State Park Cub flight.

Our hostess, Marti Whitmore and her highly modified Piper J-3 as we depart on Big Bend State Park Cub flight.

Slide Show: My fantastic flight with Marti Whitmore. ‘Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.’

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If you’d like to see more, watch Alex Whitmore’s surreal video of the same.

Our last night with Marti & Alex they were doing what that love to do, singing and entertaining the crowds!

Our last night with Marti & Alex they were doing what that love to do, singing and entertaining the crowds!

After all the comments about Fredericksburg and the Hangar Hotel & Restaurant, I was thrilled to finally get there. Unfortunately for us, it was Thanksgiving morning and was slim pickins. Restaurant was closed and the hotel was booked.

After all the comments about Fredericksburg and the Hangar Hotel & Restaurant, I was thrilled to finally get there. Unfortunately for us, it was Thanksgiving morning and was slim pickins. Restaurant was closed, no cars available and the hotel was booked. On to Austin!

We landed at Austin, rented a car and visited the Texas Hill Country for one last day before heading home. There was wine tasting to be done there! Awesome airplanes. Awesome husband and friends. Awesome trip. Do your own thing in Texas if you get half a chance. If you’re like me, you’ll wonder what took you so long!

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