Here's one more fun pic to share from cousin Sheryl Gaston. Brian's getting ready to win the war on Zeroes. Enjoy your weekend!
Brian and I had a chance to hook up with his cousins - Sheryl Gaston and Daryl Gaston - this weekend at the Stearman Field fly-in. They are great folks and both the best senses of humor. Anyway, Sheryl comes up with the funniest images. Evah! She's the one who did my Facebook profile pick (of me flying the Stearman and getting chased by Snoopy) and Brian's Facebook banner (of him valiantly fighting off an onslaught of Japanese Zeroes). Here's her latest image, showing the real story behind the TV series, Lost. Sad to see that happen to a Grumman Albatross. Wait... that pilot looks familiar!
Heading to Stearman Field
Whew! What a weekend! We cleaned up the Red Baron Stearman and headed to Benton, Kansas (NE of Wichita) with Matthew & Amy Sawhill in their RV-4 for the annual Stearman Field fly-in on Saturday.
Stearman Field is a (really nice) airpark that was called Benton airpark until they decided to change the name in commemoration of the Stearman aircraft built in Wichita. There are now 10 Stearmans based at the airpark, along with any other plane imaginable.
We touched down Friday morning, landing just a few minutes after Dan & Diane Sokolowski in their Navy Stearman "Blondie".
Amy checking out the swings at the Stearman Field bar.
There weren't many folks around, we lounged around the Stearman Field bar for a bit before Alex gave us a tour of the airpark and his insanely cool hangar home (and he's doing much of the work himself, making it even cooler).
From there, we fit in a bit more flying to check out the Kansas countryside, then it time to tuck in the airplanes for the night (hangar courtesy of Alex!), and off to the hotel.
the company at breakfast.
Saturday morning brought high winds and a heat wave. After breakfast (and feeding of the hotel ducks, which we named each one "Grumman"), we headed back to the airpark for the fly-in.
The fly-in is open to the public, although it looks like most of the attendees are local. With winds gusting in the 30s, there wasn't much flying, but several planes still came in, including a rare Grumman Wildcat.
With our wings clipped, we visited with the locals, and met several nice folks. We spent most of the day at the Stearman Field bar because of the horrid heat and discovered their trademark drink, the Stearman Tailspin, does its job well.
A classic golf cart. Not sure what it is!
As daylight faded, the fly-in wrapped up, and the golf carts, old Jeeps, and class cars emerged. Near the bar, they had a band called Lucky People play throughout the night, and I'm in complete awe of the vocal range the lead singer has.
We made it until the band wrapped up, then it was back to the hotel as a very sweaty, smelly crew.
Unfortunately, once the sun set, our pictures were too dark to share. Then again, that's probably a good thing.
Parking across the street from Beaumont Hotel.
Somehow, we managed to get up at sunrise for the flight home Sunday morning. With talks of winds in Nebraska, the Sokolowskis headed home, and we and the Sawhills headed to the Beaumont Hotel for breakfast. They have a 2600' grass strip, and we plan to head back for a longer visit next time. After you land, you taxi down the road to hotel, going past a stop sign, and watching out for traffic because this isn't a taxi way... it's a road. We taxied past quite a few bikes, as Beaumont is also known as a good bike rally place. We parked near the old wooden water tower, which is still in use. As we strolled to the hotel, we saw a twin Beech sitting in their yard.
After a delightful breakfast, we hopped in the planes for the trip back home.
Flying in formation with the RV on the trip home.
Fortunately, we had tailwinds and smooth flying back home, although we had 2 more fuel stops than planned. Eureka (13K) had the 3 cutest, furry airport greeters, but unfortunately we were a bit too early for the two-legged kind, and so we continued onto Coffey County (UKL) for our first fuel stop.
We made it to Creston, IA (CSQ) for our next fuel stop, but fuel was a no-go, so then we headed to Greenfield (GFZ) for our final fuel stop, and chatted with a couple of the museum visitors, including a fellow Stearman pilot. From there, we touched down at Ames airport (AMW) around 3pm, craving air conditioning. And that wrapped up a fun-filled weekend in Kansas!
To wrap things up, here's a rough video (I have no editing software) of the RV doing a fly-by and breakaway from the Red Baron on the trip back home. Enjoy!
This weekend we're checking out the Stearman Field (1K1) Fly-In on the NE side of Wichita, KS (facebook page). It's exactly 300 nm from the Ames airport, so we cleaned up the Red Baron Stearman to make the flight under 3 hours vs. nearly 4 hours in the stock Stearman, and 5 hours in the tri-champ.
While we're down there, we may even check out the Beaumont Hotel for lunch, where you can taxi right through town and into the parking lot. This weekend will be especially fun in Beaumont as they are hosting their biker weekend, so we'd get to taxi past rows of bikes.
Pictures to come on Monday. Tail winds!
Dan "Uno Mas" Sokolowski is working with the famous R.T. Foster to design the Half Fast Flying Adventures pin-up girl who will grace our shirts, posters, and more. She's a work-in-progress (she doesn't even have a name yet), but we thought you'd like a sneak peek at how she's coming together. Thoughts? Do you think she accurately portrays the Half Fast spirit? :-)
Despite 400 ft. ceilings, over a dozen Van's RVs made it to Boone on Saturday for their annual day to celebrate the experimental aircraft. In addition to a tasty lunch of pulled pork and rhubarb pie, there was a missing man formation in honor of Bob Woolery, co-founder of W&C Aircraft Works, which is based at BNW. Brian had the privilege to fly Bob's RV (right) and do the missing man breakaway. The formation was absolutely perfect and pulled at the heart strings. Bob was both highly respected and well liked, evidenced by all the folks who came to the airport in remembrance.
After the fly-in, we waited out some weather and then squeezed in a bit of flying fun. Even if the weather wasn't cooperative, we had fun!
Father's Day is a reminder to be thankful for the men who helped shape each of us. May you have a great day honoring your father...
Matthew & Amy Sawhill's freshly built RV-4
Van's RVs are fast and sleek experimental aircraft, and if you want to see a bountiful variety (weather permitting), then be sure to stop by Boone, IA, (BNW) this Saturday (June 16) for their annual RV day. W.C. Aircraft Works hosts the day with coffee & donuts at 8 am and lunch at 11 am. There's a planned missing man formation mid-morning in honor of Bob Woolery, a beloved local icon who's recently taken to the skies forever.
Fly-ins and drive-ins are welcome. Plenty of parking for cars, and BNW has both paved and grass runaways (and both are in great shape). Keep your fingers crossed the weather behaves, and hope to see you there!
We just got some birds' eye view photos from Mike Vogt from Memorial Day's flyover at Camp Dodge. Enjoy!
For those in the Iowa area, there are 3 fly-ins this weekend. On Saturday, New Hampton is hosting their 2nd annual fun-fly-in from 10am-2pm. On Sunday, both Spencer and Clarinda are having fly-in breakfasts (and both are in conjunction with town festivals). It looks a touch windy but otherwise all clear for some flying. Chances are, we aren't making any fly-ins due to other commitments, but we sure as heck hope to log some flight hours. Have a great weekend!.
Brian and Rachel Aukes are aviation nuts based in Iowa. They love to fly, and when the weather keeps them on the ground, they love to talk about flying. When they aren't in the air, Brian keeps the airplanes running while Rachel cleans them and keeps this website running.