Where’s the pilot?!!

Girls, is it possible – really – a woman can fly an airplane?!!? Say it ain’t so!! When I saw this this morning I laughed out loud. Marilyn Dash, veteran Reno pilot, posts on Facebook today…….

“So… Daisy had her second engine failure today. I made the runway … all is well.”
“You should have seen the fire trucks, local, county and state cops.”
“And everyone kept asking me where the pilot was… LOL!!”

I believe she was flying her Cherokee 140/160 but she flies a Pitts S1 at Reno.


What year is this anyway??!! They’re standing there looking right at her, at her airplane but never crosses their minds it could be a woman flying it. Incredible!


Great job getting it down Marilyn – and on a runway no less. You’ve got our respect!


  • Faith
    Posted at 15:24h, 07 September Reply

    @Anne – I have the same thing with my husband! And I fly a Super Decathlon, which of course is flown from the front, so anyone not familiar with the SD assumes he’s the pilot in the back. He’s a really excellent sport about it!

    One thing does frustrate me though: most men are very happy to accept that I’m a pilot, but they are flabbergasted when they find out that my husband is not. They inevitably want to know how I got into flying if not through a man.

  • christina chapman
    Posted at 16:04h, 06 September Reply

    I’ve been out of touch lately and saw these fun comments. I have had encounters with just a few men who just cannot grasp the concept of women aviators let alone actually meet one. I flew into the Idaho backcountry for breakfast once with a girlfriend (then I owned a TU206). Two burly guys (hiking booths and red plaid shirts I swear) were preflighting their C185 to depart as we walked down to the lodge. They snickered and sneered and finally it happened…They opened their mouths and said in a sarcastic manner, “So, where’s the pilot?” To which I grabbed my friend’s hand with a wide eyed confused look and loudly said, “Oh My God, we forgot the pilot.” She and I high fived each other and walked into the lodge without another look back. Meanwhile, Burly Boys grumbled under their breath with a few choice words… Yes, it’s amazing that some don’t get it. Evolution is a slow process and not everyone is on the same page at the same time. Women pilots act as a northern star showing the way into the future of aviation, where I believe, women will rule the skies because we love that fun. Not out of control, not out of showing men up. Just because we’re smart, competent, have exceptional talents that blend with aviation well, and the source of our talent is PASSION. Some men may keep lying while we keep flying. Eventually, reality becomes more clear and those that refuse to accept it stand out as an oddity rather than the small percent of women who fly. And that percentage is going to increase. Just watch. Make it a point to encourage a women to start flying or keep flying. Do that everyday, reach out to other women aviators, and stay in the cockpit as much as you can. The rest will be…herstory. That is HER STORY. And we have amazing stories, each and everyone of us. FLY FLY FLY LADIES.

    • Helen
      Posted at 20:34h, 06 September Reply

      Couldn’t agree with you more, Christina! I saw a T-shirt once that had a large red arrow pointing to the right (toward the passenger side) that side “It’s not HIS airplane!”

  • susan
    Posted at 17:03h, 31 August Reply

    Every year we have the Aviation Hall of Fame Enshrinement Picnic at our airport — one year about four Apache Helicopters with the flying tiger paint came up to pay tribute to one of the enshrinees… All the Wacos came out and we were giving rides — my husband was standing next to a couple of the Apache pilots as I taxi up and took my helmet off — the pilot looked at Andy and said, “Holy cow that’s a woman flying that!” To which Andy replied… “Yup — that’s my wife!”

    You are so right Marilyn… ya gotta keep a sense of humor in this game! 😀 ROCK ON LADIES!!!

  • Marilyn Dash
    Posted at 16:55h, 31 August Reply

    Thanks for the great comments, ladies!

    1929—2011 – little has changed, but we will continue to fly!

    My first experience with this was @ Reno –
    I was attending the PRS (Pylon Racing Seminar – training to race in the biplane class). I’m wearing my flightsuit (mandatory) with my name on it and standing next to my Pitts, with my name on it.
    And this man asked me if that was my airplane. I responded, yes.
    He then asked, “Do you fly it”.
    I responded yes, wondering where this was headed.
    He said, “By yourself?”

    And I laughed out loud and said, “yes, chicks fly too, you know!”

    I’ve tried to always have a good sense of humor about it and educate rather than humiliate.

    Hope to meet some of you in the near future!

  • Anne Wright
    Posted at 08:29h, 31 August Reply

    That’s a great response, Lisa! But really, with our small numbers in aviation, we’re still an oddity. By the round numbers: 600,000 pilots (0.2% of the US population), and about 30,000 of those are women (0.01% of the US population). Even after all these years, we’re still unusual, and probably always will be. Not a bad thing, if you keep your sense of humor.

    Whenever my late husband Tim flew with me, he’d be self-conscious about not being a pilot. I’d tell him, you’re in the right seat, people will think you’re my instructor!

  • Lisa Martin
    Posted at 07:58h, 31 August Reply

    How annoying! It seems to me that it is almost always non-pilots or “weekend warriors” (that fly fearfully because of their own lack of skill) that have a ridiculous attitude like that. I’m so thankful that the male pilots I have been around recognize that there is no gender attribute necessary to fly. I was momentarily speechless a couple weeks ago though. In the pilots lounge in Worland I was telling stories about our Women Wise Airmanship Adventure at Smiley Creek (of course, I was the only woman in a group of about 6 pilots) and one of the corporate pilots said, “Two women in a Cub and there was no damage to the aircraft?” I was thinking about coming uncorked when I saw his smile. So I just said, “I heard there was men like you out there. I’ve just never met one before.”

  • Elaine Kauh
    Posted at 14:15h, 30 August Reply

    Hilarious! Even more so if you’ve read that that’s exactly what happened during the 1929 All-Woman Transcontinental Air Race (aka Power Puff Derby)! Whenever a racer had an engine problem and landed dead-stick in a field, everyone who showed up asked her, “where’s the pilot?” That was 1929…

  • Gail
    Posted at 22:36h, 29 August Reply

    In a similar, but much less exciting vane, while having a lunchtime pedicure (and a glass of wine–it was a good day) Marijke and I were discussing flying to the fascination of the salon staff. “Are you Flight Attendants?” we were asked.

    Change is a slow process.

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