Terry Carbonell, Pilot

My mantra for life is "Never let fear, alone, stop you." I started flying at the ripe ole' age of 44 at the request of my husband, a private pilot who passed away in 2008 from Alzheimer's Disease. 
I did not take to flying: the development of wings has been an evolutionary process Wild Mama & Wild Mama which has taken its' jolly old time. But after over 10 years, 2600+ hours, an instrument rating, a commercial rating, tail wheel rating, a sea plane rating, ground instructor certificates, CFI, CFI-I, multi-engine ATP and lots of help from other pilots, instructors and friends, my flight feathers are becoming fully developed, and I look forward to a long love affair with life above this earth.

This will be my ninth year flying the Air Race Classic; the first being in 2007. From the planning to the cross country trip out to Oklahoma City and through-out the race to Saint John and back home, I was pretty well hooked.  I liked the atmosphere, the excitement of the race, the planning and strategy, and the other ladies who were TWM1.jpgvolunteers and competitors but became friends. 

My friends tell me I suffer from "terra-firma phobia" as I would much rather be scuba diving or flying. I have traveled over a large part of the world as a passenger but now it is my turn to be PIC. Since getting my license in May 2005, I have flown across the US several times, claiming landings in all 50 states (Hawaii was a bit of a cheat). My "cross countries" are literally clear across the country. In 2006, we went from SW Florida to Las Vegas, Glacier National Park, Yellowstone National Park and Mount Rushmore. TWM6.jpg The 2007 trip included an overflight of the Grand Canyon, a visit to a fellow racer in southern California, Yosemite National Park, the many air museums in northern Oregon, Seattle, Teton National Park and the Ozark region of Arkansas. We have also flown Wild Mama to Niagara Falls, Cancun, Mexico and to the Bahamas, not to mention the 2007 ARC from Oklahoma City to Saint John, NB, Canada. Flights in 2010 included a trip to Alaska and through Canada that found Wild Mama flying about 60 hours through Alaska, Canada and all the way across the US and back. All and all, I have landed at over 150 different airports throughout the US, Canada, Bahamas and Mexico. In 2013 I had the thrill of piloting a DC-3. I have also participated 4 years in the Okie Derby proficiency race garnering 2nd, 3rd and 7th place finishes and in 2010 added a 1st place finish in the Sunshine Derby. Most importantly, I fulfilled my husbands' wish of spending all the time he could in an airplane during the time he had left on this earth as he accompanied618093.jpg me on the vast majority of my journies and logged over 1000 hours in 3 years as my most prized passenger and #1 fan.

I have developed a real passion for flying and I especially enjoy sharing that passion with the next generation of aviators.  My 2011 aviations goals were completing a successful youth and aviation program with the South Alabama Boys & Girls Club where over 70 young girls were introduced to aviation and the world of opportunity available to them. The "No Limits" Aviation Program took the national Honors Award for all Boys & Girls Clubs for education and career development. Additionally, the dream of winning the Air Race Classic became a reality with the help of the 2010 team with Ellen Herr and Laura Ying Gao. That was a moment that I will forever cherish.  Goals for 2017 include MEI training. The next few years will be filled with lots of work with the Ninety-Nines. We are on the second edition of the Adventure Guide and have more programs planned in more areas. We were very pleased with the ongoing program in Mobile, AL where the students are becoming the teachers - and a great job they do!!! Most of our original Team Leaders have now graduated high school and are college bound on their way to lead exciting productive lives.




Aviation affiliations include the Ninety-Nine's, Paradise Coast Chapter (Southeast Section Immediate Past Governor), Women in Aviation Int'l, EAA,  Assistant Director for Air Race Classic, Inc.. Aviation Adventures, Inc. (President)  and AOPA.

Ellen Herr, Co-Pilot


Raised in central Illinois, my first flight was with my father in his Piper Cub from a grass strip on our farm.ellen1.JPG  What a fun airplane to introduce flying to a child!  I earned my private pilot’s license in 1977, while attending the University of Illinois.  I added an instrument rating two years later whileSheriffTour/ellenfestivehat.jpg living in upstate New York.    After moving to New Jersey in the mid 1980’s, my flying hours decreased due to demands of work and financial constraints, but my interest never waned.  I belonged to the New York-New Jersey section of the Ninety-Nines, Inc, and participated in many of their activities. 

ellen2.JPGAfter moving to Florida several years ago, I joined a flying club based at Page Field, Fort Myers, FL.  The Cub Club, Inc. afforded me the opportunity to renew my skills and become an active pilot again.

Recently I have purchased my first aircraft, a Cirrus SR22.  I am really enjoying learning to fly a technically advanced aircraft. Accompanied by my husband, Ed Thurn, we will be doing some cross country flying to visit family in the Midwest.  We’re also looking forward to traveling to the west coast to Oregon and Washington.

Flying has been such a wonderful way to see the world and meet many fascinating people. I’ve recently begun flying with the Pilots N Paws program transporting dogs to new adoptive homes.

I continue to serve as secretary of the Cub Club and participate in the activities of the Paradise Coast Ninety-Nines, returning to the position of Chapter co-chair


This will be my seventh Air Race Classic flying with a veteran racer.  What a challenge!ellen3.JPG

  Ace mechanic and the keeper of Wild Mama, Vern has been with the team since inception. He leads the team with mechanical and performance advice and makes sure Wild Mama is always ship shape and ready for adventure. We appreciate his advice and counsel. Vern is an IA and 25 year pilot.


WxMan.jpgJim Reynolds
:  Team Wild Mama had our very own Weather guy. We welcome  Jim who promised us tailwinds when all others have headwinds, blue skies whereWxMan3.JPG others have rain and accurate forecasts. (No pressure there.) We have to say, Jim delivered on most of the promises in 2010. (He did allow others some tail winds and blue skies.) Jim is a retired airline Captain with a lifetime of aviation experience and a pilot on the B-25, Pacific Prowler. He is also restoring a Douglas A26 called "Special Kay".

WILDMAMAINFLIGHT.jpgOur pride and joy is a 1978 182RG.WM.jpg She has 260 h.p., a 3-blade MT prop and a completely tricked-out panel, including Sirius XM Satellite Radio and Weather  and Voice Flight.  Her engine/prop combination make her a true "one-of-a-kind" aircraft. There is no other like her in the world. The short version of the "Wild Mama" name is quite simple. When I bought the airplane I had a running "one-ups-manship" with another pilot, Rob Weber. Seems he said his 172 was faster than mine . . . and it was. I had to solve the problem so I bought the 182RG and was now  faster than Rob. When I called him to chide him about the WMFlightWeb.jpgfaster plane he asked me the tail number to which I replied: "November-6-1-4-Whisky-Mike." It was at that time he coined the phrase. He said: "More like 6-1-4-Wild Mama!". . . and the name stuck. Thus, she will be forever known as Wild Mama! Some argue, however, that the name applied equally to the pilot. Time will tell.