Some of the Stearman woment pilots
I just received some nice photos and warm thank yous from Jeanne Conlon with the Stearman Fly-In. At this year's fly-in, a few girl scouts ventured onto the airport to learn about flying and to earn their aviation badges. It was a great reason to pull together all the Stearman women pilots.
Showing Sabrina how to work the controls
After telling our stories and sharing tidbits of wisdom (or warning), the girls climbed into the pilot's seat of 429 to learn the basics of flying (on the ground with the engine off, or course). I believe, girl scouts and aviatrixes alike, all had a great time together.
With a chill in the air, fall seems to be here. As I sit here recovering from remnants of a bug I brought home this weekend, Brian is working diligently in the hangar installing installation before winter blows its bitter chill. While I was laid up this weekend, I missed the four blackhawk helicoptors that settled down gently outside the hangar on Saturday before the ISU-Army game. Unfortunately, the camera was at home with me. I hope you are staying healthy and planning new airventures!
3 planes, 6 wings
With the last day of summer looming, we took advantage of the nice weather on Saturday to hook up with a couple other Stearmanites. You may recognize our 450 on the right and the Sokos' Yellow Peril at show center. On the left, we joined up with Bart's Army Kaydet for the first time at the Storm Lake airport, which he runs. We had fun doing some formation flying around the lake, and we're keeping our fingers crossed there will be many more nice days before winter hibernation.
For those of you in Iowa, you know today is the last day of fly-in breakfasts for 2009 (and we overslept). If you didn't make Knoxville or Osceola this morning, consider going to Marshalltown this afternoon - they're hosting an ice cream fly-in from 1-4 pm today (Saturday). Blue skies!
We're back from enjoying a vacation at the 'Burgs and now it's back to work (ho-hum). Here's some photos that best share what we did this past week at the National Stearman Fly-In in Galesburg, Illinois (if you want the Cliff's Notes version: it was awesome!).
Warmup at Travis's Hangar
Monday (Labor Day)
We spent the day in Brian's hometown, Aledo, Illinois, where his brother Travis and his family live. It was a nice day with Travis and Angie and their daughter Michelle (who's growing too darn fast). Highlights from the day include Michelle's first ride in the Red Baron Stearman, watching Travis crop dust (can you believe he needs the full runway, with only feet to spare with a full load?), and Brian giving us a personal airshow at the airport.
Flying to Galesburg with Brian at my Seven
This was a day I'll remember forever... Travis volunteered to be my safety pilot as I flew for the first time ever into Galesburg (Thanks so much Travis - I'll owe you one forever!). I still have a long ways to go before I'm comfortable flying alone in the Stock Stearman, but the trip was exhilirating! And, as a bonus, on the way to Galesburg, Brian joined up to fly formation. What a day!
Escorting a new 450 w/ Jim Martin & Claude Sonday
A less eventful day. We were fogged in until late afternoon, giving a chance to hangar-fly with the other fly-ins. By now, there were about 60 Stearmans at the field. The sun finally peeked out by ~6pm, and several ganders of Stearmans dotted the skies. We joined up with the other 450 Stearmans because, hey, it's fun to make noise.
The 450's backside
Another day of fog. Not too many new arrivals today. When the weather was upgraded to marginal VFR, Brian and I jumped in the 450 and shot through the clouds for lunch in Geneseo... only we didn't make it. About ten miles from the town, we popped down out of the clouds to come in behind a line of 4 Stearmans. Visibility was piss-poor to say the least , so we made the decision to climb and get the heck out of there. We spent the afternoon back at the field, drinking my favorite daytime beverage - the strawberry lemon shakeup (and yes I know that there's a full cup of sugar in each glass).
Brian and Tony back from a wild Mustang ride
Finally, a day of great weather, and the fly-ins climbed to 106 total. Plenty of flying, including a lunch at Wolford's Farm, aerobatics contest (Brian was a judge) and the flour bombing contests (sorry, I dropped too short of the target this year). But the highlight of the day had to be when Tony Buechler stopped by for a visit and took Brian flying to do some aerobatics... Tony has a gorgeous P-51 Mustang by the way. After a full day, the night gave me a memory I'll always cherish... Brian and Travis were the evening's guest speakers on "Red Baron Forever". They did so great (that's my boy!).
Sea of Stearmans
The day started off with dawn patrol (of course Brian and I slept through it - we believe it's important to also have a brunch patrol). Beautiful weather again meant lots of flying. The girl scouts stopped by to earn aviation badges where they learned the basics of flight in N429AB. Brian hopped several rides for friends, and before we knew it the sun was setting. Off to the annual awards banquet, where we were shocked to discover we won... no, not the flour bombing contest... well, actually the 450 Stearman won the Best Custom Stearman Award (see, having a man for nose art is a good thing!). So we celebrated - but at least we didn't get booted from the bar like the night before. 'nuff said.
Everyone headed home today. Brian was my safety pilot out of Galesburg, where we were joined by Jim Pippert in formation on the way back where I got my first kiss-off! After we landed, Travis showed up with the 450 Stearman (he said he's seeing a second career as a ferry pilot) with Bub & Dennis in the Mooney to bring him home to Aledo.
I'm sure I missed some good details, but you get the hint... you should go to Galesburg next year!
We're back home from Blakesburg for a quick change of clothes before we head out to Galesburg in the morning. If you couldn't make Blakesburg this year, I hope you put it on your calendar for next year because it was AWESOME! The weather was beautiful, the company was great, the night time music (and scotch) was delightful, and the airplanes were fantastic. After a bit of walking, I gave up adding planes and things to my wishlist in my little notepad - my list was just getting too long! I could go on and on, but it's better to just share some pictures from this weekend. For more pictures from the event, check out the Antique Airfield's site: http://www.antiqueairfield.com/
We'll be back next week. Blue Skies!
Well, it's that time of year again... Tomorrow we are flying down to Blakesburg IA for the annual Antique Airplane Association fly-in. Since this year is the year of corporate aircraft, we're taking the Red Baron Stearman. From there, we head to Galesburg IL for the entire week for the National Stearman Fly-In. Hope to see you at one or both! (I'll be back online in a little over a week)
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.