Seventeen members of the Ladies Love Taildraggers flew into Mineola on Oct. 3 as part of their weeklong Haunted Flying Tour.
The female pilots arrived at historic Wisener Field in 16 small aircraft, a few of which were vintage beauties, such as a tiny Pitts SIT – a type of plane used for stunt flying – and a beautiful 1946 Swift.
While in Mineola, the Love Taildraggers toured a couple of Mineola’s reportedly haunted buildings, including the old Beckham Hotel. Legend has it that the hotel is haunted by a spirit named Elizabeth, who wears a long dress and carries a parasol.
The ladies also had lunch, which was described as “excellent,” at the Hogg Mansion in Mineola.
The mission of the Ladies Love Taildraggers is to connect all women who love to fly taildraggers. A taildragger is a plane with two larger wheels in front and a small wheel at the rear of the aircraft.
The Haunted Flying Tour began in Indiana and was to conclude at Avenger Field in Sweetwater, home of the WASP Museum. WASP stands for Women Air Force Service Pilots.
During its operation during World War II, WASP pilots freed male pilots to fly combat missions and perform other duties. WASP pilots flew over 60 million miles, transported military aircraft, towed targets for anti-aircraft practice, simulated strafing missions and ferried cargo. Thirty-eight WASP pilots lost their lives and another disappeared on a mission.
The Love Taildraggers who flew into Mineola hailed from Indiana, Canada, Florida, Tennessee, Mississippi, Idaho, California, Michigan, Illinois, New York, Texas, Colorado and Idaho.