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91 year old pilot ready to fly again
You are about to meet a remarkable nonagenarian -- who is still going strong and looking for adventures.
At 91 years old -- Grace Watkins is enjoying her first helicopter ride. But it's not her inaugural flight by far.
"I flew a little old Piper Cub, soloed in five hours and 25 minutes."
That was back in 1945 when Watkins was just 21 years old.
She worked for the US Army during the week. On weekends, she flew war surplus planes to civilian pilots.
"Lot's of flying, lots of cross country out of Atlanta, Georgia.
My navigation, I used Gulf Oil Company road maps and I always said if they ever move Stone Mountain, I'd never find Georgia again."
Watkins says when road maps weren't enough, she'd just fly low enough to read road signs.
"We wore parachutes we sat on and they strapped them around our shoulders, thank goodness we didn't have to jump."
Watkins' husband went through Flight School in Pensacola. He was flying PBY's in the Pacific while Grace was piloting stateside.
She was signed up to serve in the WASPS -- the Women Air Force service pilots -- when she learned she was expecting her first child.
"It was one of the best parts of my life besides raising my family. My kids are my whole life, I enjoyed the flying when I did it."
Watkins and her husband did enjoy "Fun Flying" for years.
Their daughter Carole Jewett also became an accomplished and professional pilot. When Watkins was in her mid 80's, Jewett asked her mom to serve as her navigator for a series of air races.
Today they enjoy airshows and flyins. Watkins is eyeing her 92nd birthday and one of old favorites as a possible combo.
"Hard to believe this plane has been around so many years and such excellent condition. It's beautiful, I'd fly it again today if I got a chance."