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Cactus Fly-In is the premier event for antique airplanes in Arizona. Come check out a host of unique aircraft, learn something new during forum presentations, and mingle with folks who enjoy history and the machines that flew us to the present!

2016 Fly-In

The 58th Cactus Fly-In Banquet will be held Saturday, March 5th at 5:00 PM.

Ann Pellegreno Lockheed 10 Electra
Ann Pellegreno in the Lockheed 10 Electra, 1967

This year, we are proud to feature Ann Pellegreno, the first to fly a Lockheed 10 Electra around the world on the Earhart Trail and drop a wreath on Howland Island in memory of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan!

Ann Dearing Holtgren was born in Chicago, Illinois, to Aba Dearing and Clifford C. Holtgren. Ann and her sister Lois, two years younger, attended grade schools in Riverdale and Thornton Township High School in Harvey. She graduated from there in 1954 and the University of Michigan in 1958. She married Don Pellegreno while living in Michigan. The couple moved to Iowa in 1969.

World Flight, The Earhart Trail  1971Ann’s first book, World Flight, the Earhart Trail, was published by Iowa State University Press in 1971 and received the Nonfiction Book Award from the Aviation/Space Writers Association (ASWA) in 1972. That volume tells of Ann’s 1967 flight around the world in a restored 1937 twin-engine Lockheed 10 Electra, the same type as flown by Amelia Earhart. Ann followed Earhart’s 1937 flight path as closely as possible. The author’s second book, Volume One of Iowa Takes to the Air (1845-1918) was published by Aerodrome Press in 1980 followed by Volume Two (1918-1941) in 1986. Both volumes received an award in the Technical and Reference category from the ASWA The third and final volume of Iowa Takes to the Air (1941-2003) was published in 2003.

Ann served on the Iowa Aeronautics Commission from 1974 to 1975 and from 1974 to 1976 on the Iowa Department of Transportation Commission, the first woman so appointed to a state DOT commission in the nation.

Her memberships include the Experimental Aircraft Association, the Antique Airplane Association, the American Aviation Historical Society, the Plymouth Owners Club, and the Thornton Alumni Legacy Fund.

IowaTakes to the Air, 2003The author’s articles have appeared in McCall’s, Air Progress (Contributing Editor, 1966-1968) Air Trails (Midwest Correspondent, 1968-1970), Sport Aviation, Antique Airplane News, The Annals of Iowa, General Aviation News, FlyLow, and the Plymouth Owners Club Bulletin. She has a commercial flying license with instrument, multi-engine, and flight instructor ratings.

Her honors include being inducted into the Forest of Friendship at Atchison, Kansas, (1987), the Iowa (1990) and Michigan (1991) Aviation Halls of Fame, the EAA Hall of Fame Antique-Classic Division (1997), and the Iowa Women’s Hall of Fame (2001). At Atchison, Kansas, in 2004, she received the Amelia Earhart Pioneering Aviation Achievement Award from the Cloud L. Cray Foundation. From the Iowa Department of Transportation, Aviation Division, she received the 2010 Outstanding Involvement in Aviation Award. She was inducted into the Hall of Heroes at the Iowa Transportation Museum in Grinnell, Iowa, in September 2010 and into the Thornton Township High School Hall of Fame the following May.

Ann continues to write about aeronautical topics, fly her Piper Cub, and help with aircraft restorations.

Pictured left to right: Bill Polhemus (Navigator), Bill Payne (Co-Pilot), Ann Pellegreno (Pilot), Lee Koepke (Restorer and Own of Lockheed N79237)
Pictured left to right: Bill Polhemus (Navigator), Bill Payne (Co-Pilot), Ann Pellegreno (Pilot), Lee Koepke (Restorer and Own of Lockheed N79237) on return to Oakland July 7, 1967.