Thursday, May 23, 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.

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

"Pancho" Participates in a Celebration of Women's Aviation

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Celebration of Women AviationFilmmakers Nick Spark and Amanda Pope are proud to announce that The Legend of Pancho Barnes and the Happy Bottom Riding Club has been invited to participate in "A Celebration of Women's Aviation".  This inaugural event, which will serve as a fund raiser for the documentary, will be held at the Centennial Airport near Denver, Colorado, on June 21st.  The screening and other special events are sponsored by Air Mail Greetings Presents, and will coincide with the Air Race Classic.  This prestigious all-female race runs from Denver to Atlantic, Iowa from June 23-26th, and serves as a continuation of the historic "Powder Puff Derby" races that began in 1929.  One of the women who flew in the first Derby was none other than Florence "Pancho" Barnes!  For more information on the Celebration and to purchase tickets to the screening, visit    For more information on the Air Race Classic, click here

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