Skip to main content

Bradfordville Bugle

Finding Her Wings

Aug 10, 2022 02:43PM ● By De'Amber Lowe

Many people live in fear, no matter their age - but there is one 77-year-old individual that will laugh in the face of her fears.

As a little girl, Janette Haller, a resident of Leon County, made a commitment to herself to not live in fear, which is one of the reasons why she decided to get involved with the local Flight Club chapter.

Haller grew up watching planes fly by in the sky.

Growing up in a small town in Texas, watching planes take off and land was the thing to do on the weekends with her parents.

With her father being a traveling geologist, Haller was able to experience different planes in different places.

As Haller became older, she kept that same commitment to not live with any type of fear when she enlisted in service with the United States military.

For 27 years, Haller served her country in the Navy Reserves.

Haller also knew that her love of planes and flying was always present - and when she began to age, the love of aerial travel reignited.

Years went by and it was a love that stayed in the back of her mind.

At the age of 71, Haller took a vacation to visit her son in Washington, D.C.

Janette Haller is a 77-year-old local woman who is in the process of obtaining her pilot’s license after a lifetime of admiring aircraft.


While on that visit, she visited many of the nation’s most-beloved museums; the one thing that caught her attention in the museums were the planes.

She was so used to seeing huge planes flying around her, but she saw one plane that caught her attention and caused her to do more research on everything she knew and understood about modern aircraft.

The plane that caught her attention was a Rutan VariEze - the two-seater, homebuilt aircraft was much smaller than the massive jets Haller was used to seeing.

The Rutan VariEze, which performed its first flight in 1975 and has since had over 400 additional aircrafts built in its style, was the perfect size for a new pilot - for a pilot like Janette Haller.

Haller said it was at that moment that she decided, at age 71 she was going to become a pilot.

“I sat and thought, ‘I have never lived in fear, I can’t start living in fear now’,” Janette Haller said.

Haller told her family of her plans to obtain a pilot’s license, and within no time, she was on the hypothetical runway with a ticket to her dreams.

With the support of her family, Haller visited the Rose City Soaring Club in Quitman, Georgia, and it was there that Haller was able to view and test out a Glider plane for the first time.

“The Glider was easy, it had no motor, which meant it was quiet,” Haller said. “That was when an amazing idea hit me.”

The amazing idea that came to Haller’s mind was to bring a Flight Club to her area for the North Florida counties of the Big Bend area.

Haller knew she was not the only person in the area that had a love for planes, and she wanted to assemble a group of people who both loved planes and wanted to work together to construct a homebuilt aircraft of their own.

With the help of retired Flight Club member Percy Wood, the local Tallahassee area Flight Club was established in 2019, and immediately the members began to collect pieces to build a plane.

The purpose for the Flight Club is to bring people together in the area around Tallahassee who share the same passion, which is, of course, planes and aircrafts.

The club’s members consist of military veterans and individuals who have no previous experience with planes or flying.

The Flight Club is a part of the Experimental Aircraft Association, which was founded in 1953 by Paul H. Poberezny with the purpose to help smaller groups throughout the United States operate their own clubs, as well as to give guidance for preparing to build and fly personal aircrafts.

Wood says the club is growing steadily each month, with new members joining.

“I love working with Janette [Haller],” said Randy Robinson, another member of the local Flight Club. “Any person can see her true passion for this club and, of course, planes.”

The process of getting her wings has not been as easy for Haller, as she had some obstacles with her health.

When she first started to put the Flight Club together, she was affected with an inner ear infection that seemed to take most of her energy.

After recovering from the ear infection, Haller newly determined that she was not going to let her health stand in the way of her dreams - nothing was going to stop her.

Haller continued with the dream of the Flight Club, and started to pursue getting her pilot’s license.

While on training in April 2021, she fell and broke her knee cap; it only took Haller three months to heal, but after returning, Haller found out that favorite flight instructor had gone to serve in the United States Air Force.

Haller says she is now waiting on her instructor to return in order to continue getting her license, but she is staying busy with organizing the Flight Club in the meantime.

“Janette always makes newbies feel welcome here and you will always leave here with a great new perspective of life,” said Tom Weller, another member of the local Flight Club.

Haller is also currently working on her first book, and looking to interview different individuals to give her book the perfect effect she is looking for.

Haller says the planned title of her book will be ‘I’ll be Damned if I live in Fear’.

She wants to focus on how she always had trust in God, so it was not hard to live her life without fear.

Janette Haller wanted to leave off with this quote: “When you get a dream, follow it. You will become alive, and you will stay alive.”

For more information on joining the local Flight Club or to attend a meeting, contact the chapter via email [email protected] or by phone (181) 350-3926.