The pilots of STOL Drag: Nat Esser

The pilots of STOL Drag: Nat Esser

Aircraft: Kitfox Model VII – Rotax EP912STI

Nat Esser, from Edmonton, Canada may be a newcomer to STOL Drag racing, but she has been working to perfect her aggressive forward slip ever since she first learned to fly gliders with the Royal Canadian Air Cadets at the age of 16. It came as no surprise to her husband Josh when Nat was chomping at the bit to try her hands and feet at STOL Drag racing when they flew their homebuilt Kitfox Model 7 to High Sierra Fly In 2019. Nat was able to qualify with the 16th fastest time which also qualified her to race in the Reno Air Races.

Nat has been a professional pilot for over ten years and has flown for multiple Charter/Air Ambulance companies before being hired by a major Canadian airline in 2017. Nat has flown multiple types throughout her career, including the Piper Meridian, Pilatus Pc-12, Cessna Conquest (441), Learjet 35, Metro 23, Dash-8 Q400, and most recently the Airbus A320. When Nat isn’t working or flying her Kitfox, you’re likely to find her stand-up paddle boarding, hanging with her two dogs, mixing up a mean cocktail, or living out of her converted ambulance somewhere far from civilization.

What is the FO product you can’t go without?
Definitely my STOL Drag bush pilot jacket! It has accompanied me on every flying trip since I’ve owned it and it is the perfect jacket for keeping warm while adventuring in the backcountry!

How did you get into aviation?
I grew up near Trenton Ontario, which is the largest Air Force base in Canada. Our house was below the downwind to base turn for one of the runways there, so I was always watching the airplanes fly overhead from a very young age. My grandfather was in the Royal Canadian Air Force and was a warbird enthusiast so instead of reading children’s books together, we would sit and read books about warbirds, their construction and different specifications. He was also my biggest influence to join the Royal Canadian Air Cadets, where I first learned to fly gliders at the age of 16 and earned my Private Pilot License when I was 17. One of my most memorable flights was the first time I was able to take him flying in a C172 after I had just earned my license.

What does “Pilot Your Own Adventure” mean to you?
To me, “Pilot Your Own Adventure” is a dream my husband Josh and I have been striving for since we first got together 10 years ago. So far, we have built one plane, and have plans to build a second. We recently bought our dream property where we have a 900’ grass strip and a 1300’ gravel bar where we hope to one day host fly-ins for all our aviation friends. We’ve been piloting our own adventure for a few years now, and are so excited for all the adventures yet to come!

To follow along with Nat’s race practice, see her cute dogs or whatever else she might be up to, check out @nat_esser on Instagram.

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