In 1992 my husband and I decided to live on a remote island in the Abaco’s. As the cook in the house the hardest part was transporting eggs by boat to the house and hoping to have some that did not break! It was so frustrating that my husband and I decided the only alternative was to get it there by helicopter and that is why I became a pilot—because I like my eggs whole. I learned to fly a Robinson R-22 in 1994 but soon it was obvious that two seats were not enough for what this woman wanted to transport and so I learned how to fly fixed wing. My first plane was a Bonanza A-36 and that same year I traded in the R-22 for an R-44 with floats. The Bonanza was fantastic it would transport the meat and materials we would stock up on in Florida and then we would cart it to our home on the R-44 from the mainland.
As things progressed I transitioned to a JetRanger then an Agusta A109 helicopter. After a hurricane claimed our home we made the move to the Gulf coast of Texas. It was then that I transitioned to the Pilatus PC-12 and loved a prop jet! The PC-12 was like upgrading to a airliner compared to the Bonanza! I became a pilot for Angel Flight and started flying patients as a way to maintain currency and help out those in need. The Agusta gave way to the smaller Eurocopter that I fly today.
My interests became totally committed to my flying and anything involved with aviation. Today I cannot believe what a rewarding part of my life it is. I am the manager of the local airport, Calhoun County (PKV) and also run the local FBO and Cessna Pilot Center at Victoria (VCT) Texas. While not working on the school I get to fly some of the other little toys I have learned to love.
The PC-12 gave way to the Hawker Beechcraft Premier 1A that I currently fly. My first type rating!! I love the speed and higher altitude and try and fly whenever I can. In addition, I have restored my grandfather’s biplane, a 1942 Waco UPF-7 that I have learned to do a minimum amount of impressive aerobatics in.
Flying has truly made me a different person. There is a certain amount of aggressive behavior, attitude and need to share the love side of it that has become a new facet of my personality.
Born and raised in Morgantown, WV, college was a natural extension of High School for me. While working at Weirton Steel as an Industrial Audiologist, I became interested in firearms and hunting. My interest led me to competition handgun shooting which is how I met my husband.
We were living in Arkansas and my husband had always dreamed of a Texas ranch. When we found the perfect ranch in northeast Texas we drove back and forth several times a month. We have several friends who are pilots and I had wanted to learn to fly from a young age but never had the opportunity. One day, jokingly, I told my husband it would be much quicker if we flew and that I would be more than happy to get my license. He said ‘go for it’. That’s all I needed. I found an instructor and just 5 months later, in January 2007, I had my private pilot’s license. The following year I added my instrument rating.
Not being in the aviation industry, I don’t fly professionally nor do I get to fly as often as I’d like, but I’ve been fortunate to fly many places from California to Pennsylvania. I’ve also participated in the 2010-2013 Air Races. From my first introductory lesson at the age of 12, I never lost the wonder of flight nor the passion to learn.
Dianna and I flew last years race together. Erin is joined us and we ROCKED it. I’m thrilled to be flying now with two very accomplished pilots.