Born in 1987, Ariel comes from the 700 person town of Unalakleet, Alaska. A powerful wrestler and avid runner, Ariel leads an active life both behind and in front of the cameras. She journeyed down to Southern California to pursue her degree in communications at Chapman University and in between classes, she and a friend knocked on the doors of Hollywood to pitch a reality TV show about her family’s Alaskan airline, Era Alaska (now Ravn Alaska). Flying Wild Alaska became an instant hit and Ariel, the star. The show ran for three seasons where Abingdon Welch, CEO of The Abingdon Co. cameoed as Ariel’s flight instructor. Since it’s final episode in July 2012, Ariel has finished her degree, obtained her pilot’s certificate, and is continuing to focus her career in the film industry. She and Abingdon are still close friends.
Ariel’s choice: Amelia in Runway Black
BASEgirl, aka Clair Marie, was born and raised in a small mountain town outside Tahoe, California as the second eldest in a family of nine siblings. Her father introduced her to rock climbing at age 3, skiing at age 4, and snowboarding at age 13. Her love of the outdoors lead to her becoming one of the youngest BASE jumpers on record and she still holds the record for being the youngest female to BASE jump (She took that record at age 16). Today, she is a professional BASE jumper, skydiver, and extreme athlete with over 600 BASE jumps and over 5,000 skydives. In between adrenaline rushes, she holds a successful career as a model and stunt woman, appearing in commercials, print advertisements, and online media.
Clair’s choice: Jackie in Sunset Pink
Raised in the capital of Aerospace, Florida, “Captain” Judy has grown up with a passion for aviation and aerospace technology. Always on the quest for knowledge, she spent sixteen years as a teacher and special education specialist. Her skills in education and her passion in aviation abled her to create some of the best known children’s programs we have today, including KidVenture, the largest air show event in the nation for youth; and Think Global Flight, a non-profit created to promote STEM Education worldwide utilizing the excitement of an around-the-world flight. The proud owner of her all red Grumman Yankee airplane, “Chuck,” she has logged almost 3,000 hours of flight. Her goal is to share her passion for aviation and her extensive experience with youth and adults worldwide.
Judy’s choice: Elise in Tahitian Two-Tone
Melissa was born with aviation in her bones. A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, young Melissa was introduced to flying by her grandmother and was taught by her grandfather. In 2003, Melissa discovered a program started by famous aerobatic pilots, Sean Tucker and Mike Goulian, called “Stars of Tomorrow,” which mentors future air show pilots. Melissa began aerobatic training as soon as she returned home and within a year she was placing at the championship level. She currently travels the world performing at air shows and aerobatic competitions striving to be a positive role model and inspiration to young people in aviation and women worldwide and is known to be one of the best aerobatic pilots in the world.
Melissa’s choice: Jackie in Seaplane Green and Amelia in Runway Black
When most people approach their 50’s, they begin to think retirement and easy living. Instead, Jacquie B started her career as an air show performer and eleven years later, is still going strong. With the mindset that nothing is impossible, Jacquie B saved up for her pilot’s certificate and began flight lessons at 32 years old. Though many thought Jacquie would fade away from the youth and male dominated industry of aerobatics, Jacquie continues to break stereotypes everyday. In between airshows, Jacquie lives with her husband in Northern California and loves to play golf and ride her Harley-Davidson.
Jacquie’s choice: Jackie (of course) in Sunset Pink
CarolAnn is a former manager with a Fortune 500 company. She earned her private pilot license in 1978 and her instrument rating in 1980. After her mother suffered and died from ALS, she flew around the world in 2003 in her own aircraft to raise awareness and donations for ALS. To date, her speaking engagements and book about the flight, Upon Silver Wings, have raised $200,000 for ALS research. Not content to just fly, CarolAnn built her first plane in 2006. Today she owns and flies three different aircraft. She flies over 400 hours a year including flying students with the EAA Young Eagles program, the sick and needy with Angel Flights and instructing cadets with the Civil Air Patrol.
CarolAnn’s choice: Elise in Tahitian Two-Tone