When most people turn 50, they figure it’s time to relax and settle into neutral while coasting toward retirement. Not Jacquie B! When Jacquie turned 50, she launched her solo aerobatic career with her one-of-a-kind Pitts Special biplane. During the centennial celebration of powered flight in 2003, Jacquie finally quit the humdrum of a white collar profession and realized her dream as an air show performer, becoming the first female pilot to enter this business at the age of 50.
Jacquie traces her love of flying her to her earliest days, when, as a newborn, her first outing was to the Los Angeles County Airport Air Show. Her pilot-father’s interest in airplanes and flying inspired Jacquie to want to ride the wind. Jacquie spent many years dreaming of flying but was unable to do much about it until years later after working and saving her money. By the time she was 32 years old, she decided she had waited long enough. She enrolled in ground school and the rest is history, as they say. She earned her Private Pilot certificate in 1986 and shortly thereafter was introduced to the world of aerobatics. A friend offered her a ride in a Pitts Special and she jumped at the chance to do a different kind of flying. With that first flight of loops, rolls, spins and a few other very scary maneuvers, she was instantly hooked on aerobatics. Once she discovered aerobatics, there was no question in her mind she was destined for aerobatic flying. It took a few years longer to save enough money to take aerobatic lessons, but save she did and took her first “formal” aerobatic lesson in July 1997. She joined the International Aerobatic Club in August 2000 and for the next 4 years she flew aerobatic competition. She raced her biplane at the Reno Air Races from 2001 through 2004 to learn a whole new kind of flying.
Jacquie is now flying an Extra 300 monoplane. She has made the switch from a biplane of many years to something new. Her beautiful red Extra is faster, more capable of gyroscopic maneuvers and has two seats! She can now give rides and share her love and passion of flying with others across the country. She holds a Commercial Certificate in land-based aircraft as well as a seaplane rating and holds a Level 1 ACE card which allows her to perform down to the surface.
Jacquie B has earned her wings. She no longer qualifies as a newcomer flying for gas-and-a-hot-dog, as the saying goes. Her time has come. With over 3,000 flight hours and more than 1000 coast-to-coast air show performances behind her, Jacquie has proven that she has the talent, stamina, discipline and guts to reach beyond the limits placed on her by naysayers. In fact, she broke even more stringent cultural boundaries when she became the first female solo pilot to perform at the 2010 Al Ain Aerobatic Show in the United Arab Emirates. Jacquie is a powerful inspiration to the millions of fans who realize that they too can accomplish great things in life.
Jacquie spends a large part of her time as a role model by way of speaking to schools, speaking to civic groups, private groups, and particularly groups of women and young girls. In March 2013, she organized a week-long program to offer airplane rides to young girls and women of all ages in a concerted effort to introduce them to the joys of flight and all things aviation. Jacquie flew 31 girls/women with the help of a couple other pilots (one woman) during that week and made some life-long friends! Most had never been in a small airplane before. And the first two riders – Mom and her high school aged daughter, both said at the conclusion of their ride that they “needed to buy an airplane”!! Poor Dad didn’t know what to do! But the result is these girls/women got to experience something they always wanted to do and may someday go on to do great things in aviation. “We must give back” says Warda. “Our real job is to educate and share our passion and make sure others learn about and experience what we love so much. We must help others get started down the path achieving their dreams by simply giving a ride in an airplane! It’s a small gesture but makes a HUGE impact on the lives of many”.
Jacquie sits on the Board of Directors of the Patriots Jet Team Foundation out of Byron, California. We are an all-volunteer non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring the youth of America with a love of aviation and aerospace. We promote STEM learning with our extensive “AeroSTEM” hands-on activities and courses. Visit pjtf.org for more information.
Find out more about Jacquie at jacquiebairshows.com