The siren name of Blakesburg as soon as once more stirred aviator’s hearts this Labor Day weekend, beckoning them to wing their method to the cornfields of Iowa throughout distant mountain ranges, the sweeping plains, and densely-populated city areas.
A few of the aviators who got here to Vintage Airfield from faraway locations for the annual Vintage Airplane Affiliation/Airpower Museum’s (AAA/APM) Invitational Fly-In included Hank Galpin and his 1928 Journey Air 6000 from Montana; Richard Zeiler and his two 1929 Journey Air D4Ds — Sky Siren and Solar Siren — from California; Fred Dexter and his 1929 Curtiss C-2 Robin from Florida; John Nance and his 1936 Stinson SR-8C from California; Plane House owners and Pilots Affiliation (AOPA) President Mark Baker and his 1944 Howard DGA-15P from Maryland; and Dan Lepkowski together with his 1948 Luscombe 8E from Pennsylvania. Glenn Peck flew a 1931 Curtiss-Wright Sedan 15D from Missouri, and Jim Younkin arrived in his duplicate Mister Mulligan Howard DGA-6 from Arkansas.
The slogan for the fly-in this yr was “Following the Dream, Preserving the Memories.” And memories are definitely plentiful, as a result of this “by the members, for the members” fly-in has been going robust since 1954.
Going Again to Blakesburg (BTB) has turn into a pilgrimage of types for some.
Take Russell Williams of Washington, who has flown the 2,800 nm spherical journey to Blakesburg yearly since 2002. He made it so far as Gillette, Wyoming, in his 1938 Ryan SWC when the Warner radial stopped producing energy.
Russell landed uneventfully on a freeway, and not using a scratch to the Ryan or himself. The native sheriff turned his “wingman” for the 20-mile tow to the Gillette-Campbell County Airport (KGCC).
Russell inadvertently turned an ideal ambassador for common aviation when he defined to the native press that pilots routinely follow emergency procedures and making a protected off-field touchdown is one thing that pilots are educated to do.
After securing his airplane and having the luck to make preparations to borrow a spare engine from a fellow antiquer throughout the week following Blakesburg, Russell made it the remainder of the method to Blakesburg by way of business airliner. His largest disappointment was not having an airplane at Blakesburg to fly rides in the evenings.
Whereas climate alongside quite a few flight paths to Blakesburg wasn’t optimum for a lot of who have been confronted with flying lengthy cross nations, the solar was certainly shining on Vintage Airfield (IA27) most of the time this yr. Late night and early morning rain showers didn’t appear to dampen spirits in any respect.
A preliminary post-fly-in rely totaled 194 plane, and that quantity was anticipated to extend when the remaining rely was confirmed. Basic Aviation of Pella bought 1,731 gallons of gasoline throughout the fly-in.
Airplane varieties in attendance this yr included many regulars, in addition to some first-timers: Stits Playboy, Howard, Tiger Moth, Pitcairn Tremendous-Mailwing, Meyers OTW, Aeronca, Cessna, Journey Air, Piper, Stinson, Waco, Taylorcraft, Fairchild, Hatz, Wittman Tailwind, Swift, and Stearman.
Throughout the invitational fly-in, “see and avoid” is the mandate for flying into and round the area, and pilots should obey the ever-vigilant volunteer flagmen who stand at the able to wave a purple “go around or no go” flag or inexperienced “clear to take off or land” flag.
Aviators shared quite a few buddy rides from daybreak to nightfall, and loved kibitzing and lounging round in garden chairs by the previous hangars on the area, regaling one another with tall tales and sharing experience about flying and sustaining classic, vintage, basic, and homebuilt airplanes.
AAA/APM Founder Bob Taylor (doing nicely at 94 years younger), was circulating by way of the crowd providing his private greetings to previous pals and newcomers alike.
A loyal and devoted group of volunteers assist maintain the fly-in going, the grounds spruced up, and even assist with constructing development and upkeep all through the yr.
“It was a safe, enjoyable event, with lots of flying,” stated Brent Taylor, Vintage Airplane Affiliation president and fly-in chairman. “We appreciate all our members that braved the weather and brought their airplanes from across the country to attend. Also, we give a tremendous thanks to all our volunteers. Without them, the AAA/APM Invitational Fly-in would not be possible.”
Attendees loved perusing the collections in the Air Energy Museum, Corridor of Memories, and the Mike Gretz Memorial APM Library of Flight.
Onsite occasions included the Parrakeet Pilot’s Membership assembly, the Texas and Wisconsin AAA Chapter conferences, a Luscombe discussion board, Airline/Airmail historical past presentation, a BasicMed program, and a gathering targeted on the Legacy Log of Homebuilt Airplanes publication.
The annual memorial service at the “Gone West” Memorial was held Sunday morning, adopted by a Lacking Man Formation fly-over.
Night leisure included gatherings at the Pilots Pub and an Ernie Gann Movie Pageant was featured at the Runway Cinema in the APM Restoration Middle. There was additionally a 15th anniversary gathering for pilots who participated in the 2003 Nationwide Air Tour.
The favored gathering place every morning was Dave Warren’s Espresso Home on the porch of the Floor Loop Inn (sponsored by the Michigan AAA Chapter). Onsite meals have been catered by the native Hy-Vee in the 24th Fighter Squadron Mess Corridor.
Beneficiant parts of selfmade pie (gooseberry, strawberry rhubarb, blackberry, apple crumb and extra) and vanilla ice cream have been out there once more this yr, because of the Blakesburg Historic Society. Actually, a minimum of one aviator was seen rigorously loading a whole pie into his open cockpit biplane to take house!
If all this whets your urge for food to for grassroots-style flying, tasty meals and desserts, and down-home camaraderie, be sure you put Blakesburg in your Labor Day calendar for 2019.