Catheline (Kate) Leoni a fixed-wing student at Hillsboro Aero Academy recreated a historic 1936 flight from England to New Zealand in a Douglas DC3 in 2012.
Her adventurous spirit has led her to become a candidate for yet another recreation of a historic flight, this time under the banner of Vintage Air Rally, where together with her partner Patrice Boucau, she plans to represent France. If selected the pair plan to fly an authentic vintage 1943 Piper Cub J3. This year the Vintage Air Rally will select 15 teams to fly from Argentina to the US covering some of the planet’s most scenic landscapes, including the wilds of the Amazon rainforest, the mountainous regions of Columbia, the Panama Canal, and the volcanoes of El Salvador. The penultimate stop in the trip, that will hug the western shore of South and Central America, will be Havana to celebrate the pilot’s endeavors before finishing in Florida where the trophy will be presented. The Vintage Air Rally will travel the 9200 miles from March 1 –April 14, 2018.
The brainchild of Sam Rutherford, a British Army helicopter pilot, the Vintage Air Rally was inspired by keeping the pioneering roots of aviation alive. Catheline (Kate) shares the distinction with Sam Rutherford, the founder of the Vintage Air Rally, of also being a helicopter pilot. Catheline’s aviation career began when she joined the French Army’s Light Aviation unit where she became a commercial helicopter pilot.
Catheline has attended and trained to become an airplane pilot at Hillsboro Aero Academy for the past eight months and has been admired by her colleagues and instructors for her determination and pioneering spirit. “We are so honored to have someone like Catheline here at our flight academy," stated Jon Hay, President of Hillsboro Aero Academy. “She personifies the culture we strive for---lots of grit, passion, drive and a multi-cultural perspective—we are so very proud of her.”
To support Catheline's efforts to participate in the Vintage Air Rally, please view her application video and comment or like the video on the Vintage Air Rally's Facebook page.