Jacquie B

Jacquie “B” Warda doesn’t fit the mold of the typical female pilot.

The 51-year-old California resident is one of only a handful of female airshow pilots, which means she is at home flying upside down and close to the ground. “A lot of women fly, but not very many of them want to fly that low to the ground,” said Warda. “I really wasn’t sure I was going to like it either until I got started.”

She said her love of aerobatic flying began back in 1986 when she still was a student pilot and a friend took her up in a Pitts aerobatic plane and flew upside down. “I was just instantly hooked,” Warda said. “I had never had an aerobatic ride. I didn’t know anything about aerobatics. I just knew I wanted to fly.” After getting her pilot’s license, it took Warda 11 years to work her way up to the high-performance Pitts airplane that several airshow pilots fly.

In 2000, Warda was able to buy her own Pitts, a 1986 Pitts Special named “The Red Eagle.” Warda comes from a flying family. Her father, brother and two uncles are pilots, but none of them fly aerobatics. “My mother kind of watches me fly between fingers,” Warda said as she held her hand in front of her eyes. “It’s kind of hard for her to watch me fly. My dad thinks it’s great.”