Above you see Ami Eckard-Lee after her solo flight in a Curtiss Wright Junior. I wonder how many years since a first solo was completed in a Junior. I met Ami a couple of years ago on a trip I made to the Kelch Aviation Museum in Brodhead, Wisconsin where she is Creative Development Director. At that time she was taking dual in the Junior. The announcement of her solo was first published on the Kelch Aviation Facebook page. Below are her thoughts as copied from the Facebook page.
“Yesterday, August 5th 2023, I flew solo for the first time!
I did the majority of my training and my solo in an outrageous, adorable airplane, the 1931 Curtiss-Wright Junior. Although these planes were commonly used for instruction in the 1930s & 40s, I’m pretty sure I’m the only person in the world training in “The Dr Seuss Plane” today. We’ve been using a WWI-era speaking tube flying helmet to communicate, too, and no radio at all. When I do historic, I do it all the way!
It was the perfect day to fly: A blue sky padded with pillowy cumulus clouds, and the luscious full-summer green of the Midwest countryside below. The Junior is a strange, slow, wonderful little airplane, with a parasol wing, the wind in your hair, and a pusher propeller. Once you’re in the sky, it’s just as if you’ve gone back in time. I LOVE it and I am so lucky!
My flight training has been a special journey full of unique antique airplanes, unbelievably fortuitous opportunities, and many supportive, encouraging, WONDERFUL people. I am so grateful. I’m on top of the world today!”