Photo Essay:The Blakesburg Fly-In
Antique airplanes—the cream of the crop—fluttered around corn country to celebrate an air mail birthday.
- By airspacemag.com
- AirSpaceMag.com, November 18, 2008
The Antique Airplane Association’s annual fly-in in Blakesburg, Iowa, last September paid homage to 90 years of airmail, and some of the visiting craft actually flew mail in the legendary early years. Some of the airplanes are family heirlooms. Some of them are one of a kind. All have a story to tell.
This 1930 Sikorsky S-39 amphibian, for example, is one of only three in existence today: one is at the New England Air Museum in Connecticut, another is at the bottom of Two Lakes in Alaska, and this one belongs to Dick Jackson of Rochester, New Hampshire, who began salvaging sunken S-39s in Alaska in 1964. Johnson spent 40 years rebuilding the S-39 with parts from five carcasses. In 1932, Osa and Martin Johnson bought a twin-engine S-38 BS and a single-engine S-39CS, painted one with zebra stripes and the other with giraffe spots, and shipped them to Cape Town, South Africa, for a 60,000-mile safari. Jackson copied the giraffe paint scheme in homage to the Johnson’s explorations. His airplane is the oldest airworthy Sikorsky in the world. The amphibian flew mail from Blakesburg to Ottumwa to Iowa City and back on August 29 and from Blakesburg to Ottumwa and back on August 30.
Click on the gallery at right for more photos from this year’s Blakesburg fly-in.