Tuesday, June 25, 2024

The Emmy™Award-Winning Documentary Film

"Broadcast" version now airing on most public television stations.

"Uncensored" version now on DVD and in film festivals.

Synopsis: A charismatic figure featured in Tom Wolfe's book The Right Stuff, Florence "Pancho" Barnes was one of the most important women in 20th Century aviation. A tough and fearless aviatrix, Pancho was a rival of Amelia Earhart's who made a name for herself as Hollywood's first female stunt pilot. Just before WWII she opened a ranch near Edwards Air Force Base that became a famous -- some would say notorious -- hangout for test pilots and movie stars. Known as the "Happy Bottom Riding Club", it became the epicenter of the aviation world during the early jet age. Chuck Yeager celebrated breaking the sound barrier there in 1947, and Howard Hughes and Jimmy Doolittle caroused in the bar. The Club's destruction by fire in 1953 is seen by many to mark the end of a Golden Era in post-WWII aviation. In the same fashion Pancho herself has become something of a legend, a fascinating yet enigmatic icon whose swagger is often celebrated, but whose story has been largely unknown. Until now.

A documentary film produced and written by Nick Spark and directed by Amanda Pope. Featuring interviews with test pilots Bob Cardenas, Bob Hoover and Chuck Yeager, astronaut Buzz Aldrin, and biographers Barbara Schultz and Lauren Kessler. Narrated by Tom Skerritt with Kathy Bates as the voice of Pancho Barnes.

Information Sign up

Sign up to be on our mailing list for updates.


Women in Aviation
"Read Nick Spark's article about Pancho
from Women in Aviation magazine (.pdf)"
10 December 2009

Upcoming Screenings

Print Email



The Legend of Pancho Barnes and the Happy Bottom Riding Club

to benefit the KOCE-TV Foundation

When: Saturday, January 9th

Time: 7 p.m.-9 p.m.

Place: Norman P. Murray Senior Center, 24932 Veterans Way, Mission Viejo, CA, 92692

Cost: $10   Parking: Free

Refreshments will be served at this event.



WEBSITE CLICK HERE (then click on

"Activities" and use CODE 1846).


Tickets are now available for a special screening of The Legend of Pancho Barnes and the Happy Bottom Riding Club hosted by the City of Mission Viejo in support of the KOCE-TV Foundation.  Join director Amanda Pope, writer/producer Nick Spark and their special guests as they celebrate one of the 20th Century's most accomplished, and outspoken women pilots.

This event takes place at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 9 at the Norman P. Murray Community and Senior Center, 24932 Veterans Way, Mission Viejo,  92692.  A map is included below.

The event is expected to sell out so please show up early if you plan to buy at the door.

To Purchase Tickets:

You can purchase tickets at the door or from the City of Mission Viejo via their website: econnect.cityofmissionviejo.org (click on "Activities" and use code 1846)

IMPORTANT!  Please note: If you purchase tickets from the city of Mission Viejo, you will NOT be mailed tickets for this event.  Your name will appear on a list at "will call" at the event. You can confirm that we have received your reservation by contacting us (if you purchased via this site) or the City (if you purchased via their site).

For more information about this event contact Dru Maurer or Ashley Blair at  949 / 470-3062 or via email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
















Facebook Box

You Can Help

Your tax-deductible donation can help make "The Legend of Pancho Barnes!" a reality.


News Letter

The Legend of Pancho Barnes and the Happy Bottom Riding Club ©2008-2010 Nick Spark Productions, LLC.