The American Barnstormers Tour, a nostalgic salute to the barnstormers who ventured across America during the 1920s seeking fame and fortune in their biplanes, has made its first stop on a seven-city tour, with 20 restored vintage aircraft from the 1920s and 1930s landing at Mason City Airport (MCW) in Iowa. Sarah Wilson, who is participating in the tour in her Stearman, is filing reports on the action exclusively for General Aviation News. Here’s her first blog:
Wind. Each tour has one element that defines it before we arrive and I think for the 2010 Barnstormers Tour it might be wind. On the 2008 tour it was rain. The first stop that year was Iowa City and it had flooded so badly that we had to redirect 18 planes coming from all corners of the country to Ames, Iowa, three days early.
After seven hours flying the Stearman west, watching the ground speed crawl up from 55 to 63 kts, by the Iowa border I started to guess this year we would all remember the winds. After fueling in Illinois, we stopped at Brodhead to collect the Waco UPF-7, New Standard, and Fairchild 22, and headed off for the three-hour flight to Mason City. Two planes, the cabin Waco and the Fleet, are doing some maintenance, so they will be along later, we hope.
You forget how much you miss seeing everyone and the anticipation of who’s waiting on the ramp at Mason City makes the last leg seem shorter. We circle the town, scout out the lake and come across the airport to see eight planes waiting for us on the ramp: A Texaco Waco, Stinson, Travel Air 6000, four of the Travel Airs, a Bleriot, and a Waco are all lined up waiting. More importantly, the pilots and crew are too. Speed and Hambone, Pork Chop and Pops, Bert and Ernie are in Mason City safe — and the rest are on their way.
I don’t know what the first day of the tour will bring. Will the crowds come out? Will it storm all day and force the planes in the hangars? Will the winds really be gusting up to 40 kts as the local forecast says? What I’m thinking about on the day before the tour is how lucky I am I get to spend the next 18 days flying these beautiful planes with my good friends down low in the fields of Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Minnesota.
Wind — yes 2010 is going to be all about the wind. By 2 p.m. Thursday, winds were 25 gusting to 36 — not quite 40 kts but close enough. Wind.
Stops on the tour include:
- June 20-22: Marv Skie-Lincoln Airport (Y14) in Tea, S.D.;
- June 23: Watertown Regional Airport (ATY) in South Dakota;
- June 24-26: Aberdeen Regional Airport (ABR) in South Dakota;
- June 27-29: Bismarck Airport (BIS) in North Dakota;
- June 30-July 2: Jamestown Regional Airport (JMS) in North Dakota, and
- July 3-5: Chandler Field Airport (AXN) in Minnesota.
Each day the aircraft will take to the skies for the “Barnstormers Parade of Flight” with master of ceremonies, EAA Radio on-air personality Jeff Montgomery. Admission is free.
Spectators can experience the thrill of open cockpit flight for themselves and go barnstorming in a Travel Air, New Standard, or Stearman vintage biplane. Biplane rides will be available daily weather permitting. All barnstormers will participate in recreating the era with period costumes, aircraft signs, historical information, and vintage props.
The Tour aircraft will be on display from approximately 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (weather permitting). Biplane rides are available for $60 per passenger, no reservations, and Stearman ‘hands-on flights’ for $200, reservations accepted. For more information: AmericanBarnstormersTour.com