Tell Us Your Favorite Airplane to Fly or Fly In?

rk_speedmail I asked this on Twitter today, but thought it might be a nice question for the folks that read Arizona Keough too!

“What is your favorite airplane to fly or fly in… and what event did it for you?”

So now is your time to tell US a story by posting a comment here!  Just click on the comments link and tell us a story!

I find that this simple question draws so many different responses… and in many cases people sit back and think of a truly memorable experience and are reminded of the excitement and passion that brought us to flying in the first place.  In an era of hearing so much bad involving flying, (airline troubles, gas prices, ATC understaffing, etc.) I think it’s important we look back at the grassroots of our love for the community and the industry and remember why we love the allure of the sky like we do.

OK, so here is mine…

gen20087103408 Picture this… Geneseo, NY… July 2005.  It was the conclusion of the Saturday show on the “Greatest Show On Turf” at Geneseo Airport and I was searching for a friend to take me up… in anything!  Along comes Quentin Marty (photo at left of Quentin via Eric Dumigan, www.airic.ca), the owner and pilot of a beautiful PT-13 Stearman from Van Sant Airport, and he was looking for a bit of “weight” for the front cockpit for a dusk flight!  The Lycoming barked to life with a slightly different sound than the Continental 220 normally found on the front of a Stearman… but the sound was still the reassuring growl of a round motor, so I was fine!

We took off from the grass runway and headed due east for the best spot to mess around a little in low light of the day… Conesius Lake.  The smallest of the Finger Lakes, Conesius is only about 10 miles long, but a mile wide.  As we came over it, the radiant heat from the ground subsided to a cool, moist breeze.

Quentin crackled over the intercom, “are you up for some acro?” and of course I said yes!  We got some altitude and began a slow dive with a pull-up to a nice, big, lazy loop.  The wires hummed as we recovered and he took it into a barrel roll… lazy yet again.  We went through a series of nice maneuvers that made the Stearman perform like the perfect lady she is.  People below stopped their boats and took some time to enjoy the classic impromptu show over their heads.

Finally it was time we headed back… though I could have stayed out there forever.  Quentin kept the Stearman low on the flight back so we could wave at people on the ground.  More than a few times we did a 360 turn for appreciate kids on the ground waving at us!  With a waggle of the wings, we were off to return to the field… a steak dinner was awaiting us at the crew tent!

That event did it for me… I was infatuated with the Stearman and continue to be to this very day!  It was my favorite flying moment aboard my favorite plane!

Many of my favorite flying moments took place aboard Stearman products… including the photo above when I flew with Addison Pemberton (of Spokane, WA) in his Stearman 4DM Speedmail Senior… with Tom Lowe in his Stearman C3R and Ben Scott in his Stearman Speedmail Junior off our wings.  A flight of early square-tail Stearmans over Galesburg, IL — home of the National Stearman Fly-In!

So that’s my story!  Add yours below by clicking on the comment link!

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B-25H Mitchell "Barbie III" Comes to Denver!

B-25H Mitchell WWII Medium Bomber Comes to Centennial Airport for Display and Rides Through September

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DENVER, CO – The sound of history will soon be heard echoing through the Rocky Mountains as an authentic World War II vintage North American B-25H Mitchell arrives in Denver, Colorado on Friday, July 18th for a two-month visit offering local citizens to see living aviation history up-close and personal.

Operated by the non-profit Warbirds Unlimited Foundation of Mesa, AZ, the B-25H named “Barbie III” will be based at Denver Jet Center at Centennial Airport in Denver.  The famous medium bomber is fully-restored to 1943 standards and will be available for free viewing on the ground on Saturdays and Sundays through the second week of September and will be offering rides as well.

For those wishing to experience the ultimate trip back in time, the B-25 is available for 30-minute flights around Denver, allowing passengers to fly aboard the aircraft in the same positions our WWII veterans flew in more than 60 years ago. Flights are a $375 donation per person, per flight and up to six people may fly aboard for each flight.  100% of the donation goes into defraying the expense of operating the B-25 and helps pay for maintenance and upkeep of the rare bomber.

The B-25 Mitchell is best known for its role in the famous Doolittle raid on Japan in 1942.  The well-known mission where 16 B-25s flew from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet to make the first attack on Japan following the Pearl Harbor attack has been seen in countless movies, books, and articles and was one of the key events of the early days of the war.  Throughout WWII, the B-25 played a major role as a medium bomber and ground attack aircraft in both the Pacific and European Theater of operations.

Over 9,800 B-25’s were built from 1940 to 1945, but only around 30 remain in flying condition today, flown by private operators and museums.  Out of those remaining, our B-25, the “Barbie III”, is the last flying H-model of the B-25, noted for the installation of a 75mm cannon in the nose and its configuration as a ground attack aircraft.

The Warbirds Unlimited Foundation invites you to join the B-25H Mitchell "Barbie III" in Denver and become a part of our crew and our family; those who believe that history should come alive and be preserved for generations to come.  A symbol of the mighty power of the American Army Air Corps during World War II, the B-25 flies today in honor and remembrance of our WWII veterans of all branches and we are committed to keeping the aircraft alive to preserve their memory for our future generations.

For B-25 flight reservations and information, please call our local coordinator at 800-357-6561 or visit http://www.warbirdsunlimited.org

The Warbirds Unlimited Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit foundation established in Arizona for the preservation of aircraft honoring veterans from World War II. The foundation is staff by volunteers alone and all donations and fundraising supports the restoration and operation of the aircraft it supports.

Local Information

Location:
Centennial Airport (KAPA)
Denver Jet Center
7625 S. Peoria St.
Denver, CO 80112
Dates: Saturdays and Sundays from July 19 through September 7.
Information / Reservations: 800-357-6561
or http://www.warbirdsunlimited.org

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Top Ten Ways to Become an Airshow Insider

2035287760057782051nvZtLX_ph Well folks, it’s summer and the airshow season is in full swing. The oil crunch has been unkind to quite a few shows out there, causing cancellations for some and scale-backs for others — but thanks to loyal fans, airshows still stand as tip-top entertainment.

I was supposed to be at my hometown airshow this weekend in Geneseo, NY — appropriately named “The Geneseo Airshow – The Greatest Show on Turf.” It’s one of the few grass-field shows left out there, and is something like a field of dreams for many aviation enthusiasts. Unfortunately the gas crunch hit me hard and made the trek of 2600 miles from AZ to NY impossible, so I am here soothing my sorrow for not being there with a blog post.

I will admit, I am not a die hard airshow fan like some — I rarely go to large shows with multiple jet teams and huge crowds. I prefer smaller, more intimate venues. I like the kind of shows where you can do a little talking with the crews and pilots and get hooked up with some behind-the-scenes access that the public can’t get usually. I like being an airshow insider.

But being an airshow insider is way more than the exclusive access and whatnot — it’s about getting more out of the show than just what’s happening in the air.  It’s about finding new ways to enjoy the event, or even just survive the harsh environment that they sometimes present to allow yourself to enjoy a show without feeling pain.

So based on that, I came up with ten ways to become the “Airshow Insider” — or ways to get the most out of your airshow experience.

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