Aerobatic artist honored by Smithsonian

September 19, 2011

Lemeland

Is she an up-and-coming aerobatic star or an up-and-coming artist? Lise Lemeland is both. The 300-hour pilot was chosen last year to exhibit three of her works, an oil painting and two mixed-media designs, in the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, a branch of the National Air and Space Museum, at Dulles International Airport.

As you might expect, the works all have an aviation theme, from airplanes performing aerobatics across a San Francisco terminal area chart to ghost aircraft in an aerobatic box. One depicts a gray-out she experienced while pulling Gs in her Super Decathlon. A gray-out occurs when the field of vision narrows as blood is drawn away from the brain.

The Alfred, N.Y., art instructor once did abstract art with no relation to aviation. Then she took an aerobatic ride in a Waco UPF-7 biplane one summer at Martha’s Vineyard, and was hooked. That led to flying lessons, during which she married her flight instructor. Her works of art began to show horizons—upside down, of course—and aeronautical charts.

During training, she became curious about aerodynamic stalls that can lead to spins. Before she had her private certificate, she had begun aerobatic lessons at Executive Flyers in Bedford, Mass., a school owned by famous airshow star Michael Goulian.

In 2010, her husband, Patrick Jessup, was conducting a charter flight for the U. S. Forest Service when the engine of his Cessna 210 had a catastrophic failure. He died in the accident, leaving her to care for their two boys and one girl. She left flying for several months. All but 17 hours of her hours were with him in the aircraft. She concentrated on her day job as an art instructor at Alfred University until the passion for flying returned. She plans to continue competing in aerobatics at the Sportsman level, and showing her passion for flying through her works of art.

Lemeland