The Grand Finale Biplane Expo

2009 Biplane Expo holds “The Final Curtain”. Photo by Rick Bryant, Bartlesville, Okla.

Charlie Harris, Chairman of the National Biplane Association submitted the following report from “The Grande Finale Biplane Expo” in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. After 23 successful years, the event is being retired. Below is a photo gallery from the show. Images from Rick Bryant of Bartlesville, Oklahoma.

Under three days of perfect blue skies and full moon cloudless evenings, “The Final Curtain” of The Biplane Expo’s extraordinarily successful run of 23 years of “Biplanes at Bartlesville” came to a standing ovation close on Saturday evening June 6, 2009.

The Grand Finale was easily one of the most outstanding of all the previous 22 Biplane Expos as the sport aviation community flew 115 biplanes, 241 other grassroots aircraft, and 10 high-profile flight demonstration Warbirds to Bartlesville to celebrate the historical significant and legacy of biplanes. Over 2,000 people were in attendance on Friday, June 5 and over 4,500 people were in attendance on Saturday, June 6.

The Biplane Expo has long recognized a very select number of America’s finest aviators and 2009 was no exception as Lt. Colonel Dick Rutan, 325 combat mission F-100 pilot in S.E. Asia, around the world non-stop, non-refueled absolute distance record holder Voyager pilot and Collier Trophy recipient, was the Expo’s Honored Guest.

The 23rd Annual Biplane Expo’s Early Bird Day of June 4 featured “An Evening with Dick Rutan” at Bartlesville’s Hillcrest Country Club at which over three hundred biplane fans attended; and the on field Friday evening event honoring Col. Rutan was likewise attended by more than 300 people.

The overwhelming turnout of biplanes and crews was generally attributable to the exceptionally fine weather, the presence of the Guest of Honor Dick Rutan and the desire of so many National Biplane Association members and fans to attend the final Biplane Expo of the last nearly quarter century. The large turnout of biplanes again created one of the most unique sights in all of aviation as the colorful sea of upper wings created a panorama of aviation. Many seasoned professional biplane pilots remarked the 115 biplanes on the field were the largest number of civilian biplanes they had ever seen in one place.

During the Awards Dinner on Saturday evening, which was attended by 297 people, the business and civic leaders of Bartlesville presented the National Biplane Association grateful remembrances for the 2,500 biplanes, the 7,500 non-biplane aircraft and the over 80,000 people who have come to Bartlesville to attend this long-running and highly-successful unique aviation event! It has been 23 years in a flash and it ended on a perfect high note!

Biplane Expo 2009 Award Winners

  • Open Cockpit Biplane – Grand Champion: 1940 UPF-7, N620AM, Ray and Mary Keasler, Jefferson, TX
  • Open Cockpit Biplane – Reserve Grand Champion: 1932 Waco UBA, NC13041, Phil and Ruthie Coulson, Lawton, MI
  • Cabin Biplane – Grand Champion: 1943 Beech D-17S Staggerwing, NC333E, Jack Miller, Fort Collins, CO
  • Cabin Biplane – Reserve Grand Champion: 1941 Waco SRE, N58785, Al Womack, Jackson, LA
  • Experimental Biplane – Grand Champion: 1931 Moss Lakes, N22ML, Jim Moss, Buckley, WA
  • Experimental Biplane – Reserve Grand Champion: 1973 Starduster II, N2369, Don Bates, Sunrise Beach, MO
  • Replica Biplane – Grand Champion: 1992 Fokker D-VII (1917-1918), N6880, Barney Peterson, Collinsville, OK
  • Replica Biplane – Reserve Grand Champion: 2004 Waco UMF-5, N14377, John Hudec, Collinsville, OK
  • Longest Distance in an Open Cockpit Biplane: 1931 Moss Lakes, N22ML, Flown from Buckley, WA approximately 2000 statute miles, Owned by Jim Moss and flown to the Expo by Jim Wiebe
  • Chairman’s Award (For a very deserving biplane which has not been properly recognized – or a very deserving individual who should be particularly recognized): 1942 Boeing E75 450 Stearman, N5000V, Randy Miller, Grand Junction, CO

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