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"We are the protagonists of our stories called life, and there is no limit to how high we can fly."


Type rated on A330, B747-400, B747, B757, B767, B737, B727. International Airline Pilot / Author / Speaker. Dedicated to giving the gift of wings to anyone following their dreams. Supporting Aviation Safety through training, writing, and inspiration.

Friday, June 7, 2013

ARC: Friday's Fabulous Flyers

Friday's Fabulous Flyers 
are flying in the Air Race Classic

So many women so little time. Yes... the race is but two weeks away, and we have flyers to shout about. Today... meet more of the teams. All write-ups are compliments of Air Race Classic. Remember to sign up for the BBQ or Banquet on the weekend Prior by clicking HERE. I'll be there on Saturday. Hope to see you too!

Claudette DeCourley and Mary McMahon

Claudette DeCourley and Mary McMahon

San Diego, CA – Claudette

Claudette is a flight instructor with single-engine land, instrument instructor and tailwheel credentials. She has 2,750 hours in the air, teaches six days a week and is a volunteer pilot for LightHawk. “The air race,” she said, “symbolizes the achievements of women who pushed limits and followed dreams. I desire to participate in sustaining and promoting the legacy of female air racers, adding my name to the roster. I relish the adventure and what better challenge than the race to test my mettle.”

Before becoming a Chief Flight Instructor (CFI), DeCourley worked in the fields of psychology, education, real estate, science, and marine recreation. When not flying, she enjoys ballroom dancing, bridge, tennis, hiking, diving, sailing, the beach and being outdoors. “In the blue or on the blue,” she said, “I am happy.”

Claudette is a member of the San Diego chapter of the Ninety-Nines, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), Lady Taildraggers, Plus One Flyers Club and National Association of Fire Investigators (NAFI).

Temecula, CA Mary McMahon

Mary is an Instrument-Rated Private pilot with 435 hours in her logbook. A former engineer in medical device manufacturing, she worked as a consultant before retiring in 2011 to spend more time in the air. “Every few years, I find the need to shake things up or challenge myself to do something adventurous and a little scary,” she said. “I've always admired the ladies who have flown in this race.” Now, Mary is one of them!

McMahon also enjoys golfing and cooking. She lived briefly in Ireland after she retired and took the opportunity to fly the beautiful, green terrain. Mary is a member of the Coyote Country chapter of the Ninety-Nines, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) and Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA).

Tookie Hensley and Pamela Bird

Tookie Hensley and Pamela Bird


Mohave Valley, AZ – Tookie Hensley

Tookie Hensley is back for her 21st Air Race Classic. She is an Instrument-rated Commercial pilot with single and multi-engine land certificate, as well as instrument flight instructor, ground instructor and tailwheel credentials, with 1,500 hours logged. A Chief Flight Instructor (CFI) since 1985 and owner of a flight school since 1990, Tookie is a member of the Rio Colorado 99s and Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA).

The ARC carries on the long tradition of women’s air racing that dates back to 1929. Air racing became popular in the 1920’s, but women pilots were forbidden to race against the men in that era, so the ladies started their own. This year’s ARC will have forty-seven teams and over one hundred female pilots compete for the championship title.

Hensley races “to introduce my friends and students to a wonderful experience. I was my co- pilot’s examiner, so now I want to have her take part in the fun of the ARC.” One year, she said, she could not keep track of her co-pilot on the ground – but navigating in the air worked out fine.

Tookie’s husband, Don, is also a pilot. Her joys in life, other than flying, are, “grandkids (five), great-grandkids (13) and, of course, racing!”



Amy Warbalow and Katrina Kugler

Amy Warbalow and Katrina Kugler

Grand Forks, ND – Amy Warbalow


Amy is an Instrument-Rated Commercial pilot with single and multi-engine certificates and 280 hours in the air. A student at the University of North Dakota (UND), Amy comes from a family of aviators and grew up flying with her dad. She hopes to join the family business after graduation, get a job with a regional airline and then bump up to the majors.


The ARC carries on the long tradition of women’s air racing that dates back to 1929. Air racing became popular in the 1920’s, but women pilots were forbidden to race against the men in that era, so the ladies started their own. This year’s ARC will have forty-seven teams and over one hundred female pilots compete for the championship title.


Warbalow is racing because she feels it will help her be a better pilot. “I am excited to be a part of the first UND team to compete in this race,” she said, “and hope Katrina and I can start this as a tradition for other UND females.” When she’s not flying, Amy enjoys running, swimming and playing hockey. She is a member of the UND chapter of Women in Aviation International (WIA).

Grand Forks, ND - Katrina Kugler

Katrina holds a Commercial certificate with single and multi-engine and instrument flight instructor credentials, an instrument rating and 756 hours logged. She is a flight instructor and flight supervisor at the University of North Dakota (UND), where she majored in flight education.

“I have flown many, long cross-countries in my personal flying,” she said, “but they have always been for fun and never for perfection. I will enjoy flying this year to learn what racing is all about and to create a path for future UND teams.”

Aviation is all in the family for Katrina – she started flying at fifteen because of her father, and her husband, Andrew, is also a pilot. Katrina and Andrew like to take road trips with their cocker Spaniel, Honey, fly remote-controlled airplanes and enjoy the outdoors when the North Dakota winter allows it. Kugler also enjoys watching baseball and hockey. She is a member of the UND chapter of Women in Aviation International and Alpha Ace.

JoAnne Alcorn and K. Kaye Tucker


JoAnne Alcorn and K. Kaye Tucker

Winter Haven, FL – JoAnne Alcorn

JoAnne Alcorn returns for her sixth Air Race Classic. She is an Instrument-Rated Commercial pilot with 1,506 hours logged. She is rated for single-engine land and sea, multi-engine land, advanced and instrument ground instructor and tailwheel certifications. She is a member of the South Florida chapter of the Ninety-Nines, Women in Aviation International (WIA) and an ARC director. 
When asked why she races, Jo explained, “I often fly long cross-countries, but there is nothing comparable to the challenge of the ARC. The adventure of new places and new flight conditions is exciting and fun. The camaraderie with like-minded women is wonderful. These are

friendships for life. It's great to meet up along the race route with other racers and hear their hilarious stories.”

Since retiring as an IT manager in 2001, Jo has worked with her husband, Steve, in aircraft sales and services as president of Bachman Aviation, Winter Haven, Florida. They have been documented in AOPA Pilot magazine which featured an amazing flight in a J3 Cub.

Besides flying, Jo loves to do research on her family tree. Flying allows her to explore family homesteads and meet distant cousins. She loves to travel, read and cook – pecan pie is her specialty.

The Villages, FL – Pilot, K. Kaye Tucker

This year will be K. Kaye Tucker’s first year to compete in the ARC. She is a Private pilot with 943 hours in her logbook. Tucker is flying the race because she wanted the experience and fun of meeting new female pilots. “This year was especially interesting to me because most of my flying experience has been east of the Mississippi,” she said.

Kaye is a retired City of Bloomington Minnesota employee. She also owned a computerized embroidery business. Her interests include sewing, especially custom embroidery, knitting – and anything aviation-related.

Tucker is a member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), Ninety-Nines, Women Pilots, Women in Aviation International (WIA), G.I.F.T. Academy (Girls In Flight Training), Young Eagles EAA Volunteer Pilot, Pilots ‘N’ Paws and The Villages Aviation Club.


Debi Dreyfuss and Linda Knowles


Debi Dreyfuss and Linda Knowles

Potomac, MD – Debi Dreyfuss

Debbie Dreyfuss returns to the ARC for the fourth time. With 1,420 hours under her belt, Debbie is an instrument-rated Commercial pilot and has single-engine land and sea, multi-engine land, flight instructor and tailwheel credentials. She is a member of the Washington DC chapters of the Ninety-Nines and Women in Aviation International (WIA).

Debbie had wanted to fly since the age of six when her uncle took her for a ride in his Cessna 172. “I race for fun, camaraderie and the competition,” she said. “Team DC3 had our fastest time yet in the 2012 race, placing 12th, with a handicap three knots higher than 2011. We are looking forward to ‘Lucky 13’!”
On leg seven of last year’s race, “Our team was poised to take advantage of the terrific tailwind from South Dakota to Ashland to Sault Ste Marie, but teammate Carol became ill from the heat and bumps in the back seat so we had to stop,” Dreyfuss said. “Because of the wait, we missed the thunderstorm, got the tailwind and won the leg – all by accident!”

Founder and owner of Designs Unlimited Architectural Graphics/Commercial Signage for twenty years, Debbie sold the business in 1998 then had a second career selling advertising until she retired in 2007.

She funds the "Debi Dreyfuss Dare to be Different" Award for local Ninety-Nines chapters, owns a Texas taildragger, a newer Cessna 182 and a fractional interest in an Avanti Piaggio 180. Debi is currently teaching her grandson to fly.

Her team, Team DC3, has raised over $6000 for aviation education awards. Through the Washington DC Chapter of the International Ninety-Nines, they fund training for women who want to follow their dreams of flying career, a field where only six percent are female.


Good Luck Ladies
I'm looking forward to meeting you all in two weeks. And for Amy and Katrina, I'm looking forward to flying with you one day.
Please leave the racers your best wishes, and feel free to ask them any questions. I know they will appreciate the support. 

Enjoy the Journey!
XOX Karlene 

Remember... Today is another exciting day in the Most Memorable Flight Adventure. Check out Dan Pimentel's post. He goes live today!

Most Memorable Flight Schedule:


June 4, 2013 Flight to Success - Karlene Petitt 
June 5, 2013  Adventures of Cap’n Aux - Eric Auxier
June 6, 2013 House of Rapp - Ron Rapp
June 7, 2013 Airplanista - Dan Pimentel
June 8, 2013 Smart Flight Training - Andrew Hartley
June 9, 2013 iFLYblog - Brent Owens

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