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Weekend in the backcountryWeekend in the backcountry

Fly-in/Drive-in symposium reaches out to womenFly-in/Drive-in symposium reaches out to women

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.

Christina Tindle (center, in blue shirt) will host a weekend of backcountry flying designed for women in Idaho in July. This photo is from the 2016 WomenWise Airmanship Adventure in Smiley Creek, Idaho.

Tindle, of Hailey, Idaho, held the first Woman Wise Airmanship Adventure in 2011. She said she came up with the idea because 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 will 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. I get as much out of it as the women who come.”

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

Martin came to the first weekend adventure 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.

Jill W. Tallman

Jill W. Tallman

AOPA Technical Editor
AOPA Technical Editor Jill W. Tallman is an instrument-rated private pilot who owns a Piper Cherokee 140.
Topics: Backcountry

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