Wagstaff in 2004
|Born||Patricia Rosalie Kearns Combs
September 11, 1951
St. Louis, Missouri
|Known for||Aerobatic Champion|
Wagstaff traveled all over the world as a child; her father was a pilot for Japan Airlines, and Wagstaff would travel to Southeast Asia, Australia and Alaska to prepare for her own career as a pilot. Her first lesson was on a Cessna 185; since then, she has earned certificates to fly multiple classes of aircraft, including helicopters. Her sister, Toni, is a pilot for Continental Airlines.
In 1985 Wagstaff qualified for the US Aerobatic Team and competed until 1996. She was the top U.S. medal winner, winning gold, silver and bronze medals in international competition for several years. In 1987 she earned the Rolly Cole memorial award for her contributions to the aerobatic sports, and in 1991, she won her first of three US National Aerobatic Championships, the first woman to win that competition. In 1991, Western Flyer's Magazine readers chose her as their favorite pilot. She was the International Aerobatic Club champion in 1993. In 1994, her Goodrich-sponsored Extra 260 airplane was put on display next to Amelia Earhart's Lockheed Vega at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum.
From 1988 to 1994, she won the Betty Skelton First Lady of Aerobatics award six times in a row.
In 1996 Wagstaff was the top-scoring US pilot at the World Aerobatics Championship. In 1996 she also won the GAN & Flyer Magazine Reader's Choice award as favorite female pilot, as well as the Charlie Hillard trophy.
Wagstaff's honors were not limited to awards and championships, and in 1997, she received her first Hall of Fame induction, being inducted into the Arizona Aviation Hall of Fame as well as the International Women's Aviation Hall of Fame. In 1997 she was awarded the NAA Paul Tissandier diploma, and she won the Bill Barber award for sportsmanship in 1998. In 2002 she won the Katherine and Marjorie Stinson award, and in 2004, she was elected into what is arguably aviation's most prestigious Hall of Fame, the National Aviation Hall of Fame. In December 2006 Wagstaff was inducted into the International Council of Air Shows Foundation Hall of Fame. In March 2013 she was named the recipient of the Outstanding Aviator Award, presented by The Wings Club of New York.
On July 31, 2008, during the EAA AirVenture convention in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Wagstaff was arrested for driving drunk on a runway at Wittman Regional Airport after the airport had closed. She pleaded no contest to first-offense drunk driving and a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest. She was fined $500, ordered to pay court costs and banned from driving for eight months. Wagstaff later issued an apology for the incident.
Based in St. Augustine, Florida, Wagstaff continues working in the aviation field as an airshow pilot, stunt pilot for films, consultant, flight instructor and author. She is Emeritus Board Member of the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum. She was on the Presidential Advisory Committee to the Centennial of Flight commission. She flies airshows across North America in a variety of airplanes including the Extra, T-6 and P-51 Mustang. In addition to airshows, Wagstaff has flown OV-10 Broncos as a seasonal firefighter in California.
Patty Wagstaff has been featured numerous times in Microsoft's Flight Simulator series.
Wagstaff is an instrument-rated pilot who flies herself to her airshow performances. She has owned a Beechcraft Baron and a Cirrus SR22, and currently flies a V-Tailed Beechcraft K-35 with her two dogs and parrot.