Display Status This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

In 1991, Patty Wagstaff became the first woman to win the title of US National Aerobatic Champion, a title she then successfully defended in 1992 and 1993. Wagstaff, now based in St. Augustine, Florida, was raised in Japan and worked as a model and a shipwreck diver in Australia before moving to Alaska in 1978. There she began flight instruction in a Cessna 185 on floats and earned her private pilot license in 1979. Wagstaff moved quickly to earn her commercial and instrument ratings for single and multiengine aircraft and seaplanes. She entered her first aerobatic competition in 1984 and moved to the Unlimited category (most proficient) in only two years. Wagstaff was a six-time member of the US Aerobatic Team, which competes in world competition every two years, until her retirement from competition in 1996. Today, Wagstaff is a premier aerobatic pilot in air shows throughout the United States, performing dynamic and precise routines in her Extra 300L. She is also a commercially rated helicopter pilot, a flight instructor for unlimited aerobatics, and she flies for motion pictures and television. Wagstaff is a four-time winner of the Betty Skelton First Lady of Aerobatics Trophy and was the 1995 recipient of the National Air and Space Museum Trophy for Current Achievement in Aviation. She has written, with Ann Cooper, her autobiography, Fire and Air: A Life on the Edge. The aircraft in which she became US National Aerobatic Champion is the Extra 260, a German-built aircraft which is on display in the Pioneers of Flight gallery of the National Air and Space Museum. In 2004, Wagstaff was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame.




Wagstaff, Patty.


bulk 1984 - 2004


Patty Wagstaff, Gift, 2005


10.2 Cubic feet ((34 box))


No restrictions on access.


Collection descriptions

Archival materials


Newspaper clippings



Scope and Contents

This collection consists of ten cubic feet of magazines, newspaper articles, flight sequences, photographs, correspondence and airshow programs chronicling the aerobatic career of Patty Wagstaff.



Newspaper clippings




Material is subject to Smithsonian Terms of Use. Should you wish to use NASM material in any medium, please submit an Application for Permission to Reproduce NASM Material, available at Permissions Requests

Topics Aeronautics -- Exhibitions
Aeronautics -- Competitions
Stunt flying
Extra 300L


Patty Wagstaff Papers, Accession number 2005-0053, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.

Archival Repository

National Air and Space Museum Archives

Finding Aid Online Finding Aid