Sunday, June 29, 2008

Whatever happened to the Barnstormers?

My family went to Jefferson City, MO today to visit the Barnstormers on their last stop. It was like seeing old friends although I had met many of them just 10 days previous.
The weather was cool, windy but felt good.
When the CAA introduced Licensing of Pilots and Planes in the late 1920's, it all but put an end to the barnstormers. But what did these pilots do over a winter? If they broke down and couldn't get parts? I bet many barnstormers did it a season and then had to find work, either in the mail service or settle down and get a "decent" job.
I was thrilled to be a part of the 2008 Tour. I hope to do it again.
Top-Chris Price does a TV interview.
Middle-Gary Lust with his Travel Air 4000
Bottom-Frank Flanagan and Clay Adams.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Flying the Zenith

Glenn Peck banks the 1929 Zenith Z6a during a photo-shoot Monday.

Curtiss JN-4C Canuck and De havilland Dh-4 fly together!

The Historic Aircraft Restoration Museum's Curtiss/Canadian JN-4C Canuck and their De havilland Dh-4 flew the first time together Saturday June 21st. This marks the first time since probably the late 1920's that both of these aircraft were in the air at the same time. Glenn Peck flew the Dh while Al Stix had the honors in the Canuck. Terry Chastain flew me in his Rawdon to take the picture.

Coming Home

The Barnstormers were heading out, west to Council Bluffs. I needed to get back home as I had to go to work on Saturday and the American Waco Club was having it's Fly-In at my home airport today thru saturday. Sky and I watched them all depart, that's Gary Lust taking off in his Travel Air 4000, and then headed home.
We saw more of the same flooding. Around Louisiana, we saw people gathered to fill sandbags for levees. We saw more flooded farms. It's really bad along the Mississippi.

Last Day

The last evening we were there we had a nice surprise. I was walking back on the ramp when Romi MacPherson came up to me. She's the wife of Stu MacPherson, the parachute jumper in Richard Bach's "Nothing by Chance". She said for me to get Sky and that Stu would take us for a ride. What a nice lady! We had a beautiful early-evening flight and helped Stu tie the airplane down. Sky got his autograph and a "I flew with Capt'n Mac" badge.

Sky couldn't decide on what airplane he wanted to ride in. After much changing of mind, he finaly decided he would ride in the D-25. He didn't have to wait very long before they had three other people who wanted to go and off he went. The top picture shows him with pilot Ted Davis.
Thanks to friend Gilles Auliard, we also snagged a ride in Hank Gilpin's Travel Air 6000 during the noon parade of flight. Sky got the best seat in the house, the co-pilot chair. That's Hank on the left. The highlight was after the "parade" when we went off to photograph Alan Lopez's Stearman.

First day with the Barnstormers

Jim Hammond and David Mars pose by their Antique Airplanes on the first day of the tour. Jim flies a Stinson Junior and David a Travel Air 4000.

Iowa Flooding

This is a typical scene of what we saw as we flew farther north into Iowa: flooded farms.

Gone Barnstormin'

Sunday, June 15th. Sky and I head north in the Fairchild to join the 2008 American Barnstorming Tour. It's not quite like running away to join the circus, but we had almost as much fun.
The weather was fine in Missouri. We stopped in Memphis, MO to let Sky get his feet under him as it was getting a little bumpy. After 15 minutes on the ground, we headed north towards Bloomfield, but nobody was there so we continued on to Ottumwa, IA. They were giving rides as it was Father's Day, had RC Planes on display and had vending on the field. We filled the tanks on the Fairchild and checked the weather. The forecasted storm had materialized and not wanting Sky to get sick (or to scare myself), we grabbed sandwiches and chips and ate them in the pilot's lounge. We fired up the Fairchild and took her into a hangar. Then I took a nap...
We left a couple hours later, flying straight up the flooded river. It wasn't as bad here as in Cedar Rapids or Iowa City.
We made Ames in exactly 3 hours flying time. They parked us with the Barnstormers and Sky spent the afternoon giving tours of the cockpit.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

It helps to have a little kid with small hands.

I couldn't have done it without him. My son Skyler slid his small hands behind the instrument panel to put the mike switch and the nuts for the screws that hold the intercom in place. His hands were the perfect size for the job.