Ten days after earning her private pilot’s certificate at Addison Airport, on June 14 Nancy Lockerman, with her sister and business partner, closed the doors on her two-seat Cessna 152 for a 12-hour, 1,100-mile flight to Smith Mountain Lake, just southeast of Roanoke, Virginia. There, Nancy and Liz Lockerman would spend Father’s Day with their dad, who inspired Nancy’s passion for flight.
A pilot for her entire life, her father’s Lake amphibian is an early memory. “We lived on a lake and he kept the plane in the front yard and flew to work everyday. When I was 8, he flew us to my great grandmother’s 100th birthday in New Bern, North Carolina. Coming back at night, looking down at all the lights, everything looked so calm and serene, I thought, I like this.”
As a teenager, Nancy started her flying lessons at Danville, Virginia. From her first flight she was eager to solo and began every lesson by asking her instructor if she was ready. With 6 hours in her logbook, she got the nod. “I was so excited that tears welled up in my eyes and I completely blew my landing because I could hardly see,” she said. Her next lap around the airport ended “with a picture perfect landing.”
School interrupted her flying lessons, and while becoming a pilot was always in her mind, pursuing her career in business took precedence. And that led her back to the sky in 2012, when she started flying with an independent flight instructor, Richard Klein, and in November, got her Cessna 152, which lives at Addison Airport. In it she earned her private pilot’s certificate.
As teenagers, Nancy and her sister decided that one day they would one day be in business together. That day came after 9/11, when the airline travel aspect of their successful careers at different corporations became increasingly arduous. They established ADIA Insurance (for A Dream is Answered), an agency built on an Internet-based business plan, “so we can live where we want.” Liz resides in Virginia, and she flew to Dallas for the Cessna adventure.
And then she met Bob Werra, “my significant other, a pilot with 6,000 hours and quite a few planes.” He owns properties around the country, “and flying with him rekindled my interest,” she said, adding that her being a pilot also increased the safety of their flights to Florida, Alabama, Utah, and Montana. Usually they fly Bob’s Columbia 400, a fast, high flying prop plane. Their dogs, a black lab and two bichon frises, often accompany them.
Her flight to Virginia took three fuel stops, said Nancy. It took two hours longer than she had planned because the wind changed, as it often does, during the flight. To assuage boredom, Nancy had her sister navigate, a skill both had mastered with “significant experience with boating” earlier in their lives. The flight’s real challenge came as they approached Virginia, where “we had to do a bit of cloud dodging over the mountains.”
After celebrating Father’s Day with their dad, Nancy flew back to Addison solo. She flies the Cessna regularly, both for pleasure and in training for her instrument rating. In addition, she’s transitioning into the Columbia 400, which is quite different from her Cessna, an all-metal two seater with a high wing, 110-hp engine and fixed-pitch propeller that cruises at 105 mph, give or take. The Columbia is a composite four-seater with a low wing and turbocharged 310-hp engine that cruises at 270 mph at 25,000 feet. Their only similarity? Both have fixed landing gear.