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Weekend in the backcountry

Fly-in/drive-in symposium reaches out to women

By Jill Tallman

Christina Tindle’s annual weekend programs for women pilots have proved so popular that in 2017 she’s opening them up to women who are involved in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) as well as women adventurers.

Tindle, of Haley, Idaho, held the first Woman-Wise Airmanship Adventure in 2011. She said she came up with the idea because she believes women are not getting their money’s worth out of flight training.

Flight training is based on a “quasi-military” model that doesn’t always fit women, Tindle said. “We learn differently. We are not going to be buzzing our neighbors. We have a different kind of parameter we work in,” she said. With a background in psychology, Tindle designed a program to address some traditional barriers to women in aviation. She created a long weekend filled with opportunities to try different types of flying, seminars to address fears or concerns, and some nonaviation diversions such as yoga, massage, and nutrition consultations.

Tindle said she doesn’t subscribe to the “no pain, no gain” model of flight instruction. Instead, participants learn through laughter, connection, awe, and managed risk taking, she said. Debriefings “are not the typical aviation debriefings,” she said. In addition to reviewing the skills learned, participants discuss the impact of the skills on their lives.

“It’s a really fun getaway for women and we’re about personal growth and bonding and networking,” Tindle said. “The people from the first group are still connected and communicating.

“It’s really inspiring for me,” Tindle added. “I get as much out of it as the women who come.”

The 2017 event will be held July 6 through 9 at Cascade Airport (U70) in Cascade, Idaho. The roster of instructors includes Rich Stowell, who will focus on aerobatics and spin training; Rich Bush, a backcountry flight instructor; Cammie Patch, who is bringing a gyrocopter; backcountry flight instructors Stacy Burdell and Christine Mortine; and Lisa Martin, who will offer floatplane instruction.

Martin came to the first Airmanship Weekend Adventures in 2011. She was so inspired that she earned a flight instructor certificate and has been teaching ever since, Tindle said. “Everyone loves flying with [Martin],” Tindle said. “She’s calm and inspiring and has good, crisp feedback.”

Participants can fly their own airplanes or use aircraft provided by the instructors, Tindle said. They can camp for free at the airport, or stay at the nearby Ashley Inn. Attendees don’t need to have pilot certificates to register. The fee is $399. For additional registration information, see the website (

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