After eight years of hosting a traditional fly-in to celebrate the women who fly conventional gear aircraft, the founder of Ladies Love Taildraggers has decided to try something new.
The 2018 Ladies Love Taildraggers get-together will be a fall “haunted flying tour” that crosses five states. The tour kicks off Sept. 30 in Indiana and concludes Oct. 6 in Texas.
Group founder Judy Birchler said she came up with the concept after coordinating annual weekend fly-ins in Tennessee, Illinois, Texas, Arkansas, and Ohio. While those events provided the attendees with a unique opportunity to celebrate the art of flying tailwheel aircraft, Birchler said she had one minor regret after each fly-in: Aside from traveling to the airports and some poker runs, “we flew our taildraggers very little,” she said.
The 2018 itinerary—still in what Birchler calls “beta version”—should put that concern to rest. After departing from Indianapolis, participants can fly all the way to Mineral Wells, Texas, if they wish. Activities include a lunch at Lambert’s Café in Sikeston, Missouri, home of “throwed rolls”; a visit to Avenger Field Airport in Sweetwater, Texas, which was a training base of the Women Airforce Service Pilots during World War II; a visit to the Ranger Airfield Fly-in and Airshow; and a haunted walking tour and rock climbing at Lake Mineral Wells State Park. Birchler said the itinerary could change depending on feedback from participants.
Pilots can join or leave the tour at any point. There is no cost to register or participate, but pilots are responsible for their own fuel, lodging, food, and any related admission fees. Camping will be available at some locations. The event is open to all women taildragger pilots and their friends.
For more information, see the website. Birchler is seeking volunteers to help coordinate ground support, transportation, and other aspects of the tour.