The weather was so delightful this year that there were a record number of airplanes — close to 400 — that flew to Antique Airfield at Blakesburg, Iowa.
Aircraft from 37 states were in attendance, and Classic Aviation of Pella, Iowa, stayed busy pumping fuel from its fuel truck, selling more than 3,000 gallons.
The fly-in started on Wednesday, Aug. 31, and the “Gone Home” Award Ceremony was held Sunday, Sept. 4. The event officially concluded on Monday afternoon, Sept. 5.
The 46th Annual Antique Airplane Association/Airpower Museum’s (AAA/APM) Invitational Fly-In was themed “BTB Days — Back to Blakesburg & Back to Basics.”
BTB Days celebrated the burgeoning generations of families who have been AAA members during the last 45 years. These “Antique Airfield Kids” are described as those who attended the fly-in at some point since 1971, and were 18 or younger at that time.
Among the “kids” who flew in was fourth generation, 16-year-old pilot Cameron Womack of Jackson, Louisiana, who flew his Continental A40-powered Taylor J-2 Cub (NC16997), which he just finished restoring.
Hayden Newhouse, a 20-year-old, fourth-generation pilot flew his Continental A40-powered Heath Super Parasol (N2768P).
Trent Davis of Brodhead, Wisconsin, is the second generation to learn to fly in the Davis family, and flew his Ford Model A-powered Pietenpol Aircamper.
“JR” Banes, who grew up visiting Antique Airfield with his father, John, is a second-generation pilot/homebuilder, and he flew the Stits Flut-R-Bug (N5479Y) built by his father.
Buddy rides and fly-bys were bountiful, and photographers had ample opportunities to capture images of airplanes, the names just as varied and colorful as the aircraft themselves: Porterfields, Tiger Moths, Fairchilds, Stearmans, Stinsons, Swifts, Cessnas, Bellancas, Pipers, Wacos, Howards, Travel Airs, Navions, Aeroncas, Rose Parrakeets, Taylorcrafts, Luscombes, a New Standard, a Culver Cadet, a Mooney Mite, and a 1932 Curtiss Wright B-14-B Travel Air Speedwing, just to name a few.
Then there were the Skyote and Hatz biplanes, an Emeraude, a Flut-R-Bug, a Heath Parasol, Pietenpols, a Mong Sport, Boredom Fighter, and even a Legal Eagle.
That’s not a comprehensive listing, but these names alone should conjure up a kaleidoscopic mental image worthy of a sensory overload.
Of the 397 total aircraft on the field, there were 342 display aircraft, 59 biplanes, and 52 homebuilts.
Various activities (including required daily pilot briefings for those who fly during the event) and hearty meals, desserts, and coffee were available onsite as in years past.
Major renovation projects completed on the grounds this past year included remodeling of the APM’s Powell Hall, as well as structural repairs and a new red steel roof for the Pilot’s Pub and main museum hangar (which make the buildings a bold landmark against a backdrop of cornfields and trees).
“This event would simply not happen if it were not for the dedication and efforts of a cadre of about 100 volunteers who travel from all over to give of their time, talents, resources and expertise to make our annual fly-in possible, and we offer them our deep and humble ‘thanks!’ for a job well done,” shares Brent Taylor, Antique Airplane Association President and Fly-in Chairman.
Perhaps the best part about going “Back to Blakesburg” is enjoying the opportunity to visit with old friends, swap flying stories, and meet new acquaintances — and, of course, to behold the virtually-endless aerial “parade” of eclectic flying machines.