Pumps and props: Lady Taildraggers soar across South Dakota

RAPID CITY, S.D. – According to the Federal Aviation Administration, 7.9% of pilots are women as of the start of 2020. As they come together from across the country through a love of aviation and a unique type of plane, the “Ladies Love Taildraggers” are helping more women take flight.

For fliers in and out of RAP Monday and Tuesday, it was an uncommon sight on the ramp – high heels parked out next to airplanes.

“Anyone that flies airplanes would know, you don’t wear those kinds of shoes while flying but these are just to show that there are women who fly these planes,” said Kelly Jeffries, Vice President of LLT.

They go by “Ladies Love Taildraggers” and the name says it all. The group flies predominately planes with a conventional landing gear, meaning two main wheels underneath with a single wheel supporting the tail.

They’ve done 11 flyouts together, this time bringing them to South Dakota. All 51 people and their taildraggers.

“We are here because South Dakota is so welcoming and has remained open through everything, the mess that was 2020, and we appreciate that,” said Jeffries. “We wanted to let your state, and particularly your Governor know, that we are here and we appreciate the ability to travel here freely.”

They began in Mitchell, hopped over to Wall, made a quick stop in Rapid City, then on to Custer State Park and Spearfish and they all come in from across the country. This week’s fly-in consisting of participants from 15 different states.

“We have a diverse group of pilots that are involved in every aspect of aviation,” said Judy Birchler, President & Founder of LLT. “We meet new people and it’s just such a fun time.”

They say it’s about empowering women to live their dream.

“Just do it. If you have the desire to get out there and do it. That’s all you need to do it,” said Birchler.

The organization started in 2009 and has grown to over 2,000 members across the world. They offer scholarships for women looking to expand their own aviation goals.

For more information, head to ladieslovetaildraggers.com.

Categories: ConnectCenter1-Family, Local News, South Dakota News