The Ultimate Taildragger Checkout


Very cool news about one of my favorite lady taildragger pilots, Julie Thomas. With just one more hour required, she’s counting the days to a brand new type rating in a DC-3!

Photo courtesy Howard Thomas

Julie received training in this Douglas DC-3, N28AA, previously owned by Ron Alexander, now owned by Jim Sells. According to Julie’s proud husband, Howard Thomas, “It started out as a Christmas gift for Julie’s 80 yr old father-in-law who flew them in Vietnam, so he could get in a few landings. Julie got in the left seat and did some flying also. She had the taxi part mastered in 10 minutes. (It took me a month to get that good … a locking tailwheel on a windy day is definitely a challenge to be smooth.) She needed one more hour to finish her type rating and we just ran out of time. She’s going back on a warmer day to finish up.”

DC-3 N28AA. Ron Alexander photo/

“The plane is an awesome piece of history and Jim Sells is an excellent and patient instructor (just like Ron Alexander was).  And he gives type rides or will let you get some seat time if you want to get DC-3 time in your book.” (And who wouldn’t?!)

N28AA, serial number 2239, was formerly registered as NC25666, N25666, and N139PB. Photo by D Stevens Ebbett Productions, 2013.

If you’re a fan of DC-3s, and I know many are based on answers to the question “What’s your dream taildragger?”, this is an excellent link to THE 7 DECADE HISTORY OF DC-3 N28AA. And visit Exploring the History of commuter and regional airlines in Florida and Georgia, the airplanes they flew and the airports they served.

Happy times for Julie & Howard Thomas!

You fly ’em – you fuel ’em. 😉

And if that’s just enough to whet your appetite, N28AA can be booked for flight training through

If you’ve attended a LadiesLoveTaildraggers flyin, chances are you’ve met Julie, Howard and their two terrific teenage boys, Marshall & Ben.  This past summer the whole family spent time in Alaska getting instruction at a float plane flight school.

“I’ve seen more taildraggers in AK than the rest of my life! It’s AWESOME!!”

Julie Thomas, Captain, FedEx

Julie is from Memphis, Tennessee and has flown for FedEx for the past 17 years. She is an Airbus 300 Captain and jokes she flies a 6-seat twin (370,000+ gross take off weight)  Prior to that she flew C-141s in the USAF.

This family truly loves to fly —- taildraggers, especially Decathlon, Maule & Stearman’s!

Photos: Stearman formation flying over MEMPHIS.


No Comments

Post A Comment