When a Staggerwing casts its spell, it can surprise even Olive Ann Beech.
- By James Wynbrandt
- Air & Space magazine, November 2009
(Page 3 of 3)
Early one morning he and I prepare for a flight. “I grew up in the back seat of this airplane,” he tells me, “and now my wife and three kids fly all over the country in this.”
After making a preflight inspection and then priming the engine, Parish engages the starter. The prop begins turning, and the radial engine catches with a belch of smoke. I’m reminded of something Michael Greenblatt said: “When you get in the cockpit and you fire it up, and you smell the smoke and the oil, and it’s rattling and popping and screaming while the mist is hanging out over the runway, and finally things warm up as the sun breaks across the horizon, and you light off into the sky…it is just nostalgic beyond belief.”
On the last morning of the 2008 fly-in, the Parish clan gathers for a photo, squeezed together around the tail of N44G. The youngsters are impatient at the imposed moment of inactivity.
Someone shouts: “Who wants to fly a Staggerwing when they grow up?’
Eight-year-old John Parish III’s hand shoots up to the sky.
James Wynbrandt is a multi-engine instrument-rated pilot who flies a Mooney M20K.