It took us a little longer than expected to get to K57 due to being blocked by a wall of fog, where we landed briefly at Clarinda until the ceiling lifted, but fortunately we didn't miss a thing. After breaking through to K57, we parked next to a Stinson tri-motor and enjoyed a walking tour of a variety of vintage airplanes that would do Blakesburg proud. Everything from Mustangs to Cubs, from TBMs to Cessnas, and even a Super Stearman (600+ HP)... which made us shiver in awe at how that would compare to the Stearmans we know and love. Although, I'd have to admit that the highlight of our walking tour wasn't an airplane. It was a WW2 vet who had flown everything from Stearmans and T6s to B25s in the war. His stories brought tears to the eyes of both of us.
The announcer on the loud speaker interrupted our tour, and we headed over to Sam's new hangar where he hosted a town hall of - get this - the leaders of every major aviation acronym in the U.S. (Poberezny-EAA, Fuller-AOPA, Brown-CAF, Bolen-NBAA, Bunce-GAMA) and even a fellow Iowa aviator - U.S. Rep Leonard Boswell. Having all that experience and clout in one hangar was pretty darn impressive. And, when they each spoke - I realized that they earned their titles... they are very impressive men.
Moving along to the airshow, Sam must really have some good connections because the military rained an awesome display of firepower, including the B2 Stealth Bomber (yeah, it's OK to be jealous!). There were also several other acts, making the airshow a total aerial experience that attracted the locals in droves - of whom I was very impressed as I didn't have to once run toward anyone to exclaim "please don't climb on the fabric airplane!"
Another personal highlight of the day was when Mike Vallero (Greg's son) won the P-51 ride raffle drawing (now I'm jealous!). I think it's safe to say that next year Sam can count on us to attend his annual shindig.
After all that excitement, we climbed back into the Red Baron and headed over to Nash Field for a potluck, which of course we forgot to bring anything. Lucky for us, that crowd is as generous as they are fun to hang around, and we left very content in both our stomachs and spirits.
As if ALL that wasn't enough, we wrapped up a perfect day sharing a beer (or two) with Matthew Sawhill back at the Ames airport while pretending to be professional photographers on his Cessna 140. Whew!