Wagstaff in 2004
|Born||Patricia Rosalie Kearns Combs
September 11, 1951
St. Louis, Missouri, United States
|Residence||St. Augustine, Florida|
|Known for||Aerobatic champion|
Wagstaff traveled all over the world as a child; her father was a pilot for Japan Airlines, allowing her to travel from Japan to Southeast Asia, Australia and Alaska to prepare for her own career as a pilot. Her first lesson was in 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 competitions for several years. In 1987 she earned the Rolly Cole Memorial Award for her contributions to the aerobatic sports, and in 1991, 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. The following year, 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. That year she also won the GAN & Flyer Magazine Reader's Choice Award as favorite female pilot, as well as the Charlie Hillard Trophy.
In 1997, Wagstaff received her first Hall of Fame inductions, becoming inducted into both the Arizona Aviation Hall of Fame followed by the International Women's Aviation Hall of Fame. In 1997 she was awarded the NAA Paul Tissandier Diploma, and won the Bill Barber Award for sportsmanship in 1998. In 2002 she won the Katherine and Marjorie Stinson Award, and in 2004 was elected into what is arguably aviation's most prestigious Hall, the National Aviation Hall of Fame. In December 2006 she was inducted into the International Council of Air Shows Foundation Hall of Fame.
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 writer. She is Emeritus Board Member of the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum and was on the Presidential Advisory Committee to the Centennial of Flight Commission. She flies airshows across North America in a variety of airplanes including an Extra 300S, T-6 Texan and a P-51 Mustang. In addition to airshows, she has flown OV-10 Broncos as a seasonal aerial firefighter in California.
Wagstaff has been featured numerous times in Microsoft's Flight Simulator series.
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