Rachel Conklin (New York)

Rachel Conklin is based at 06N Randall Airport, Middletown, New York.

Pilot Update/August 2016

“Congratulations Rachel on your “sweet” purchase!”

Rachel Conklin May 2016

A happy Champ owner, Rachel Conklin

I recently became partial owner to a wonderful little Aeronca Champ. She’s a sweet little yellow thing and I can’t wait to get more time in her! I’m now a (very) proud owner to a taildragger. A literal dream come true. Hope all is well in your part of the sky!

June 2011

Rachel Conklin

Hello!! I am 19 years old. I started flying gliders in 2006 by joining the gliding club based in Middletown and soloed 2 months later in the Club owned Schweizer 2-33. In September 2008, both my Dad and I obtained our private glider licenses. My dad, a hangglider pilot, encouraged me to pursue aviation as far as I could go. So after winning a generous scholarship from the EAA Chapter 1280, I began training in an adorable Cessna 150. In December of 2009, after bad weather had passed, I added the SEL rating. I even had a lady examiner!

Since I ‘grew up’ flying gliders, I was around two taildraggers that towed us up every weekend of soaring. One of the airplanes was the SuperCub, and the other a Piper Pawnee. Once I was training in the C-150, I heard many power pilots talk about how difficult conventional gear airplanes could be. How flying those airplanes was ‘very challenging’. That was enough for me, I had to try it. I was up for the challenge. I began flying with one of the tow-pilots as he towed gliders. These scary conventional gear airplanes used just about as much rudder as a glider did! Getting used to the heel braking was interesting but once I had flown the SuperCub, I was hooked. I was endorsed for taildraggers just last year in December. Now I am a happy tow-pilot who gets to fly a Super Cub! As a new tow-pilot, I’ve only reached 26 tows so far but I plan on flying many, many more. Plus,  you just can’t beat getting all of that practice in take-offs and landings! Being a huge fan of WWII and pre-WWII airplanes, I’ve always loved taildraggers. Due to flying gliders, I know what those footrests are really for!

Rachel’s sister & Hank Nixon

I’d like to add a little bit about my sister. I’m not the only lady who loves taildraggers in my family. My sister saw the website and immediately remarked, “I love them too!” She is 16 years old and a student glider pilot. Although she isn’t a taildragger lady yet, she loves them just as much as I do. She will probably get her tailwheel endorsement as soon as she is able. For now, she is a HUGE fan. This is a picture of her getting to ride in the same SuperCub I fly with the owner Hank Nixon.

  • Mooney Bob
    Posted at 22:02h, 09 February Reply

    Just wanted to say… HEY Neighbor! and Congrats!!!!

    Mooney Bob / KPOU

  • Kevin
    Posted at 18:25h, 09 February Reply

    Rachel Conklin Wins 2011 SSA Kolstad Youth Scholarship Grant


    “One of the most inspiring moments during the 2012 SSA convention was the presentation of the 2011 Kolstad Youth Scholarship Grant by Ralph Kolstad to Ms. Rachel Conklin at the SSA Awards Banquet….

    …A number of well-known U. S. soaring pilots have been Kolstad award winners in their youth. Many now enjoy careers in aviation. Few, however, have written an essay as moving and inspiring as Rachel’s. During the award ceremony, Ralph read Rachel’s essay aloud and it clearly touched all of us.”

  • Kim Ewing
    Posted at 15:06h, 02 July Reply


    It was so great reading your story!! Im 22 years old and got my start in gliders back in 2006 with my private as well!! I now have a job flight instructing but I own a little Aeronca Champ that I’m obsessed with flying when I’m not working. It is so cool to hear of another young female pilot that got her start in gliders too!!!
    Blue skies and tailwinds,

  • Susan
    Posted at 21:42h, 26 June Reply

    Wonderful story Rachel! We welcome you and your sister to the “gang” of lady taildraggers!!! Look forward to meeting you some day soon!


  • Lisa Martin
    Posted at 08:47h, 22 June Reply

    What a great start you have already! And your sister too. I’d like to get a glider endorsement next. Sometimes I feel like my Cub is giving me some experience in that too…it sure rides the mountain waves with those high lift wings so that I really have to plan my flight paths (because I like to be low enough to see – even in the mountains). Air currents are pretty cool things and wonderfully useful tools!

  • Kevin
    Posted at 18:35h, 21 June Reply

    Way to go Rachel!!

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