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American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

    Pioneer Profile

    Patty Wagstaff

    Patty-WagstaffPhoto courtesy of Patty Wagstaff Airshows Inc.
    Patty Wagstaff flies one of the most thrilling, low-level aerobatic routines in the world today. Flying before millions of air show spectators each year, her breathtaking performances give spectators a front-row seat view of the precision and complexity of modern, unlimited hard-core aerobatics. Her aggressive smooth style sets the standard for performers the world over.

    Born 11 September 1951, in St. Louis, Missouri, Patty moved to Japan when she was nine years old where her father was a captain for Japan Air Lines. Her cross-cultural academic career began in Japan, took her to Southeast Asia and Europe and then a six-year work-study program in Australia. She moved to Alaska in 1979 where she began her now-legendary career in aviation. Patty's first flying lesson was in a Cessna 185 floatplane and since then she has earned her Commercial, Instrument, Seaplane and Commercial Helicopter Ratings. She is a Flight and Instrument Instructor and is rated and qualified to fly many airplanes, from World War II warbirds to jets. Her sister, Toni, is also a pilot and a captain for Continental Airlines based in Guam.

    Patty's skill is based on experience. She is a six-time member of the U.S. Aerobatic Team that competes in Olympic-level international competition, and the highest-placing American with gold, silver and bronze medals, a three-time U.S. National Aerobatic Champion, an IAC Champion, and a six-time recipient of the "First Lady of Aerobatics" Betty Skelton Award. The first woman to win the title of U.S. National Aerobatic Champion, Patty has won the gold, silver and bronze medals in National as well as International Competition. She has trained with the Russian Aerobatic Team and has flown air shows and competitions in such exotic places as Russia, South America and Europe.

    In March, 1994, her airplane, the Goodrich Extra 260, went on display in the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum in Washington DC. You can see Patty's airplane and exhibit in the Pioneers of Flight Gallery right next to Amelia Earhart's Lockheed Vega.

    Patty has won many awards for her flying and is particularly proud of receiving the air show industry's most prestigious award, the "Sword of Excellence," as well as the "Bill Barber Award for Showmanship" and is the 1996 recipient of the "Charlie Hillard Award."

    Patty Wagstaff Airshows, Inc. is based in St. Augustine, Florida. During the off-season Patty engages in such diverse projects as stunt flying and coordination for the movie and television industry, and is a member of the Screen Actors Guild, the Motion Picture Pilots Association and the United Stuntwomen's Association. She has "demoed" airplanes for companies such as Raytheon flying their new military trainer, the T-6A Texan II in airshows, and recently has been in Africa working with the Kenya Wildlife Service giving recurrency and bush training to their pilots in Kenya.

    Her latest venture, Patty Wagstaff Airshows, is the premier site for aerobatic enthusiasts.

    1998 Bill Barber Award for Showmanship
    1997 Inductee, Arizona Aviation Hall of Fame
    1997 Recipient, NAA Paul Tissiander Diploma
    1997 Inductee, Women in Aviation International Hall of Fame
    1996 Recipient, Charlie Hillard Trophy
    1996 GAN & Flyers Readers Choice Award, Favorite Female Performer
    1996 Top Scoring US Pilot at World Aerobatic Championships
    1995 Recipient, ICAS Sword of Excellence Award
    1994 National Air and Space Museum Award for Current Achievement
    1994 NAA Certificate of Honor
    1994/1992/1990 Top US Medal Winner, World Aerobatic

    1993 International Aerobatic Club Champion
    US National Aerobatic Champion - 1993, 1992, 1991 US National Aerobatic Championships
    1991 Voted Western Flyer Reader's Choice Favorite Airshow Performer
    1988-1994 Winner Betty Skelton "First Lady of Aerobatics" Trophy
    1987 Rolly Cole Memorial Award for Contributions to Sport Aerobatics
    1985-1996 Member, U.S. Aerobatic Team

    Visit the United States Profile for more information on American pioneers.

    Biography Courtesy of Patty Wagstaff Airshows, Inc.