When ten-year-old Patty Wagstaff sat with her father, a commercial pilot, and put her hands on the controls of a DC-6 for the first time, the world had no idea that it was about to be taken by aerobatic storm.
Born in St. Louis, Missouri on September 11, 1951, Patty seemed destined to leave her distinctive mark in the skies. Her father worked for Japan Airlines and moved his family to Japan when Patty was 9. She continued to live internationally in Southeast Asia, Europe and Australia.
Well known for setting and achieving challenging goals, Patty set her sights on the US Aerobatic Team which competes at the Olympic level. Five years after obtaining her pilot’s license in 1980, she was on the team. Snatching the gold, silver and bronze medals during her six-time participation was proof of her skill.
Patty Wagstaff – Accomplishments
Among her many accomplishments, Patty was inducted into the Arizona Aviation Hall of Fame and the Women in Aviation International Hall of Fame both in 1997, and more recently into the International Aerospace Hall of Fame in 2007. Patty was also awarded the coveted “Sword of Excellence” and “Bill Barber Award for Showmanship”.
As the first woman to win the title of US National Aerobatic Champion, she has broken the barrier for women in aerobatic competition. Patty’s airplane, the Goodrich Extra 260 is displayed in the Pioneer of Flight Gallery at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC.
Patty’s interests in the field of aviation are multi-faceted. She has worked in the film industry as a stunt pilot. She shares her vast aviation knowledge as a consultant and author. In California, flying an OV-10 Bronco, Patty gives air support to the fire fighters. Working with the Kenya Wildlife Service Airwing in Africa, her hands-on training has expanded the aerobatic skills of park wardens who combat the illegal poaching of elephants for their ivory.