Couple Flying Fixer-Upper Plane Across U.S.
By Karen Hibdon, 'Ventura County Star'
Jack and Carol Vautin of Thousand Oaks, Calif., are fulfilling a longtime dream by flying their refurbished gold and black J-3 Piper Cub to the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh air show in Wisconsin, making several stops along the way. Both husband and wife are avid pilots -- Carol is, in fact, a member of a group of female pilots called the Ventura County Ninety-Nines -- and they have laid out a flight plan with stops at several airports for refueling of its 24-gallon modified fuel tank. According to Carol Vautin, the couple planned to make a stop every two to four hours, subject to weather conditions in the hot desert Southwest and stormy Midwest. The 70-year-old plane was rebuilt by the couple over the course of two years, and though it was not designed for cross-country flight, Carol expressed confidence in her husband's skill: "Aviation has always been Jack's passion. He's done such a beautiful job." A former employee of Piper Aircraft and Rocketdyne who has been married to Carol for 32 years, Jack Vautin has been flying since 1967, and his wife, who had no interest in aviation before meeting him and being influenced by his enthusiasm, got her pilot's license in 1996.
August 20, 2009