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Speaker Biography

Patty Wagstaff

Aerobatic, Inspiration,

Patty Wagstaff flies one of the most thrilling, low-level aerobatic routines in the world today. Flying before millions of airshow 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 in the USA, 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 flown airshows and competitions on five continents and in such exotic places as Russia, Argentina, Iceland and Kenya.

   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."

   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.

   Patty is proud to be sponsored by Textron Lycoming Textron Lycoming who makes her engine, Barrett Performance Aircraft who modifies it, and Shell Oil, Champion Aerospace, MT Propeller who provides the propeller for it. Additionally she is supported by, Tempest, Bose Headsets, Michelin Aircraft Tires, National Parachutes and FlightAdventures f


  • 2004 Inductee, National Aviation Hall of Fame

  • 2002 Katherine and Marjorie Stinson Award

  • 1998 Bill Barber Award for Showmanship

  • 1997 Recipient, NAA Paul Tissiander Diploma

  • 1997 Inductee, Women in Aviation International Hall of Fame

  • 1997 Inductee, Arizona Aviation 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

  • 1985-1996 Member, U.S. Aerobatic Team

  • 1995 Recipient, ICAS Sword of Excellence Award

  • 1988-1994 Winner Betty Skelton "First Lady of Aerobatics" Trophy

  • 1994 National Air and Space Museum Award for Current Achievement

  • 1994 NAA Certificate of Honor

  • 1993 International Aerobatic Club Champion

  • US National Aerobatic Champion 1991, 1992, 1993 US National Aerobatic Championships

  • 1990/1992/1994 Top US Medal Winner, World Aerobatic Championships

  • 1991 Voted Western Flyer Reader's Choice Favorite Airshow Performer

  • 1987 Rolly Cole Memorial Award for Contributions to Sport Aerobatics

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