Your connection with the sky

Glad To Be On Board

Hello, pilots and those who are exploring flying! I’m delighted to play a part in AOPA’s Lets Go Flying program. In this Blog I want to share the lessons I’ve learned through flying. I especially want to encourage you to “live out loud” — to push your boundaries, and explore new possibilities … to soar even if you never leave the ground.

A bit about me: I’ve been flying ultralights and Experimental Light Sport Aircraft for twenty years. I soloed in a Sunburst ultralight in May, 1989. That sweet bird had a five gallon gas tank, 40 foot wings with spoilerons, a 28 hp Cuyuna engine, and a cruise speed of 32 mph. I flew it happily, often pushing it to its 40 mph limit since everyone I flew with flew much faster than I could. They were the “big boys” flying CGS Hawks, Flightstars, Quicksilvers, and other ultralight types.

Even though I was the only woman ultralight pilot in the area, (I’m based in Sandy, Oregon, which is in the northwestern part of the state, in the foothills of Mt. Hood,) I never felt excluded. I was welcomed as a new pilot and treated to all the jokes and teasing that are a rite of passage in our flying community. Since then, I’ve flown ultralights and Light Sport Aircraft in many different states and several other countries, and I’ve found the generous welcome of other pilots to be the same everywhere.

In 1991 I bought my Maxair Drifter, (a registered Experimental Light Sport Aircraft,) and have been flying it ever since. This past spring (2009) I flew it from Sandy, Oregon to Sun n Fun in Florida, and back to Oregon. It was seven weeks and 7100 miles. A life changing experience!

My husband and I live on an “Old McDonalds” farm, raising most of our own meat: beef, lamb, and goat. We also have two Great Danes, a llama, a horse, and two barn cats. Neither Norm (my husband,) nor my son Mark are pilots or have any interest in flying.

Fortunately, Norm is incredibly supportive of my flying addiction, or it would have been really difficult to do most of the long cross-country flights that I’ve done.

When I’m not flying, I’m a management consultant who works throughout the U.S. In speaking engagements and workshops, I use my ultralight flying as a metaphor to urge people to spread their wings and do more than they think is possible. You can find out more at

In this Blog I want to share the joy you can have in any type of aviation, and encourage you to stretch your own wings.

I hope you enjoy reading my Blog and I especially hope we’ll have a dialogue as you respond with your own experiences.

Wishing you blue skies and calm air -

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