We're back from a our latest aerial adventure: the 37th annual National Stearman Fly-In. Due to weather, only 71 Stearmans made it to Galesburg, Illinois, for the event - compared to nearly 130 in attendance last year. With a little more rain than usual, we still had a great time at the Stearman Mecca of the world. Below is our timeline from this year's fly-in.
And, if you want to see more photos from this event, check out Jerry Ryberg's great site: http://gburgflyin.shutterfly.com/.
Wednesday: It was a chilly 53 degrees went we took off from Ames, making the 2-hour open air flight a cold one. We landed and taxied to the front line where Jim had saved us a great spot. Clouds had already begun to roll in when we landed, so we tied down and covered the Stearman to prepare for the impending rain. Feeling assured we did what we could for the plane, we called it quits and headed downtown for pizza with Jim and the Valleros.
It rained from sunrise through sunset. We hung around the airport for awhile, but then spent most of the day at the hotel. Humbug... no flying today.
72 degrees and sunny! We started the morning with the flour bombing contest; we didn't win - must've had a wind gust :). And then it was off to the Wolford farm for their annual picnic. Here's our 429 taking in the sunshine there.
Paul Fries' 450 "Don't Fence Me In" Stearman looks right at home on the Wolford farm.
The Wolford picnic brought a sea of yellow wings. #343 is Jim's Stearman, and we enjoyed some formation flying back to Galesburg after a great lunch provided by the Wolfords - some of the nicest folks around.
Later in the afternoon, we went for a ride in Mark and Celia Godsil's AT11. Brian got some stick time in it, and we both got to enjoy the close-up view of the props out the bomb-sight compartment.
Another beautiful day! We overslept (like usual) and missed Dawn Patrol, but Chaurie Shekels snapped this beautiful photo of Stearmans in the early morning mist.
First flight of the day was back down to the Wolford farm for the aerobatic contest (Brian was a judge). The show was great, and I even tried to institute a Fan's Favorite award - maybe next year... Back from Wolfords, it was immediately time for Brian to head out for the Formation contest. His foursome - the Goofs - placed third, which is great considering they flew together for the first time the day before. Here's a photo of Brian and Les (in his Recall Stearman) taxiing out for the contest.
Brian didn't get much time to catch his breath because as soon as he landed, we were invited to join the 450 crew on an adventure in the Mississippi River area. Brian learned an exciting new maneuver from Rick, and I learned how to do a roll - thanks to Jim. The afternoon was a blast, and I'm looking forward to trying out plenty of new things...
Returning from our flight down the river, Brian hopped rides for Chaurie, Bri, and Stephanie Shekels (Poor Scott was odd man out this year). With her 16th birthday just one year away, we're keeping our fingers crossed that there may be another woman pilot in the fold. They're an awesome bunch, and we look forward to some Minnesota flying adventures with them this next year.
Sunday: It's a cold, cloudy morning. We woke early to beat any of the weather rumored to ruin the day. It's a little sad to fly away from the airport the last time for this year. Only 364 days until the next migration of the odd, large yellow and blue/yellow birds flock back into Galesburg!