Irene Van Deusen

Irene Van Deusen, from Tower, Minnesota, completed her accelerated multi-engine training under Linda. The training was done in four days, and during those four days Linda and Irene literally lived in the Piper Seminole that was used for the training.

Irene and her husband, Bud, own and operate Van Air in Tower, Minnesota. During the summer months they operate float planes, giving tours and flying charters to the many lakes in northern Minnesota.

The Tower News, her hometown newspaper, ran the following article about Irene. It is reprinted here with permission from the newspaper. It is from the April 2, 1999 issue of the newspaper.

Local aviatrix completes multi-engine flight training Irene Van Deusen

Irene Van Deusen of Van Air in Tower is "flying higher these days." Congratulations are in order for Tower's diminutive aviatrix, who just completed an accelerated multi-engine flight training course at the Anoka County Airport. She took the intense four-day training course from Friday through Monday, March 19-22, and successfully passed her check ride at Anoka on Tuesday, March 23. She now holds a commercial instrument single- and multi-engine land rating, in addition to her single engine sea rating, which qualifies her to fly float planes.

Irene and her husband, Bud, of Van Air, have a five-place Cessna 180, a six-place Cessna 206, and a four-place Cessna 172. Irene got her private pilot license in 1990 in New York state and the first plane she flew was the Cessna 172. "It is difficult to imagine this fragile-looking slight young lady, looking more like a teenager than a wife and mother, flying those huge planes," an observer said as he watched Irene take off in a float plane at the seaplane base at the Tower Airport.

Irene, whom one could definitely describe as "low key", seemed remarkably matter-of-fact about her unusual accomplishment. "What was really neat," she said, with a hint of enthusiasm, "was the fact that I had a female instructor and a female examiner, which is almost unheard of in this field."

Irene has logged eight hundred hours of flight time, which includes numerous hours on scenic air tours for Van Air. She also assists in the maintenance shop, which offers aircraft repairs and maintenance and float/wheel changes. The newest service offered by Van Air is the annual inspections of aircraft. Bud has just received his license as an inspector. He is a licensed airframe and power plant mechanic and holds a commercial instrument single-engine land and sea rating.

Irene also flies the fire patrol for the Department of Natural Resources through Taconite Aviation of Eveleth.

The third member of this "aircraft family" is the couple's daughter, Sarah, a seventh grader at Tower-Soudan Junior High School. Sarah will be involved in the operation of the business this summer, assisting in scheduling scenic air tours. Will Sarah become the third pilot in the family? "Right now," Irene explained, "it is hard to tell. Some days she is caught up in the excitement of flying, and other days she feels the conversation centers around airplanes too much."

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Linda Dowdy
Bethel, Minnesota

Copyright © 2003 Linda Dowdy, last revision 030227