A few years ago she was contacted by a friend about a Challenge Air event to be held at Brown Field. She signed up and her first year was the only woman pilot there! She brought a Cessna 172 with 180 hp. This particular airplane was painted black and white, had a skull and crossbones on the vertical stabilizer, said "Bad Pirate" on the pilot's door, and was known around the club as the 'Pirate Ship'. She thought the kids would like it and it was indeed a hit.
Annette shares one of her favorite Challenge Air memories with us:
"One of my co-pilots for the day was a 17-year-old young lady by the name of Rebecca. Rebecca has pretty severe CP and is non-verbal. Her mother and, I believe her aunt, was there to join in the fun on our flight. My ground crew briefed them on the flight and Rebecca's mom briefed me on Rebecca so I would have a way to communicate with her with at least 'yes and no' responses and to advise that she often has "jerky" motions when using her arms and hands - which she would need on the yoke while flying.
Once in the air, I turned the Pirate Ship over to Rebecca - she was all smiles. Sure enough, a few minutes later, while holding the yoke and flying over San Diego Bay, Rebecca displayed that "jerky" motion her mother warned about. The Pirate Ship did a little 'hop" in the air sending everyone's stomachs up and down like a small whoop di doo on a rollercoaster. I laughed and Rebecca's mother told Rebecca to be more careful. I looked over at Rebecca. Mischief all over her face! I said, "Hey, Rebecca. Be careful I think you are making your passengers nervous." Rebecca smiled and did the "jerk" again and this time it was intentional! She was smiling, laughing, and truly enjoying herself. Rebecca and I were having [a blast]. Rebecca's mom took videos and a news crew was there (on the ground too). I was just truly thrilled to watch her smile and enjoy herself flying the Pirate Ship."