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,, 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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6 Responses to “Tell Us Your Favorite Airplane to Fly or Fly In?”

  1. Dan

    Thanks so much for this more extensive post. I love your question because it causes me to remember so many great experiences. Like, my initial solo in a glider. Flying a 747 sim on the old “checkerboard” approach to HKG. Riding in a Stearman with Susan Dacy. Flying traffic reporters around IND in a beat up Cutlass.

    I guess my favorite flight is always the next one…..The anticipation can’t be beat!

  2. Brandon

    In these times of dramatically increasing fuel prices it makes me recall my logbook entry when I first got my Luscombe. I commented that I did 20 touch and goes for under $5 of fuel!

    Next would probably be flying a Stearman at dusk at the conclusion of a 100 degree Chino day. Finally cooling off, a little wind in the hair and a little flame out of the exhaust. Beats the heck out of motorcycles, that’s all I can say!

  3. Cindy

    Geez….this is a tough one. My favorite plane to fly – most already know – is the T6. It’s fun, forgiving and forces a pilot to keep their skills sharp.
    My favorite flight of all time would be my first warbird flight in 1988. I cut class to hang out at my local airport (Reid Hillview) because the Red Baron Stearman Squadron was there. At the end of the day I had the opportunity to fly with them! I’ve been hooked ever since.
    My most amusing………
    I don’t recall the year, but it was around ’96. It was the first POF Valle fly-in. I drove 18 hrs to get there and then worked the parking lot all day Saturday. I didn’t plan very well though – I was wearing shorts, a tank top and sandels! By the end of the day, I was dubbed ‘Rock Lobster’ by Steve Hinton. The next day, not being one to let on just how much pain I was in, I showed up in jeans and a t-shirt and real shoes. My ex and I were given the chance to fly in the Ford Tri-Motor. Steve told my ex that he’d signal him to close the door before take off. Now picture if you will……….
    Steve is on his take-off roll with no signal given. A 40ish man hanging out the door getting wind blasted to unhook and close it. And trust me….it’s a BIG door!!!! He gets the door unlatched and the wind catches it. Score: Door 1, ex husband 0
    He spent the entire flight half unconcious (at least he didn’t get air sick). Steve didn’t have a clue what happened until after the flight. In the years since, several of us have gotten a great laugh over that one.
    Okay….I’m EVIL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Carol Pilon

    Well I’m fortunate enough to be a wingwalker. I have had the pleasure of walking on some of the most reknowed aircraft out there. The Waco Mystery ship and Jet Waco with Jimmy Franklin, a fleet of incredible Stearmans with Vic Norman’s team, my own beautiful Royal Rhapsody with rob Holland, Kirk Wicker and lately Bryan Regan. The list of aircraft and pilots is a long one. Although I’ve had all these incredible experiences, the one little airplane that got me hoocked was a non descript homebuilt, Piel Emeraude. It was the first airplane that I owned and the only one that I have ever flown. Sometimes the simplest things hold the most inspiration and joy.

  5. Bob Dog

    The question creates a bubbling cauldron of memories. After my years (USAF) in some pretty neat stuff, I’d have to vote for my current ride, an Aviat Husky. Hands down the most FUN flying. Most memorable flight is probably the day Rob Holland and I flew back from lunch at Hampton, a small grass strip in coastal NH. Rob in his Ultimate 10-20 biplane, I in the “dog”. Rob was fresh from his 2nd place finish in the World Aerobatic Championships (in Radon, I believe). As we cruised homeward, Rob declared “I’m bored” and proceeded to execute an absolutely memorable demonstration. I can think of nothing more memorable than flying a fun aircraft with a private airshow at eye level on a CAFB day.

  6. Court

    Mine has to be the CRJ-700. Sounds hokey, I know, but that airplane was so well built, it was almost impossible not to form a connection. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy tooling around at 3,000 ft, but my favorite is to be in the thin air at FL390. And the CRJ-700 would get us there no problem. It was so great to be strapped into a jet with such performance, integrity, redundancy, and performance (yeah, it’s that great). I’ve spent many an occasion whispering “Thank You” to that airplane after a hairy flight.

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