The Magical History Tour
Why are so many Golden Age airplanes traveling the country together this fall?
- By Mary Collins
- Air & Space magazine, September 2003
NASM (SI Neg. #93-16120)
(Page 7 of 10)
Herrick’s right. Such details do help bring it all to mind. The Packard diesel motor roaring away, the pilot charging toward a chalk-lined grassy strip that’s supposed to pass for an airfield, the soft soil pulling on the wheels, the grass catching in the small tear in the fabric, the local people lining the field, just dying to rush in and touch what they see.
Sidebar: The 2003 National Air Tour
Thrills for Sale
Besides bringing rare vintage aircraft to 26 U.S. cities this fall, the National Air Tour will also bring a chance to experience airplanes as many did during aviation’s Golden Age. Rob and Bob Lock of Powell, Ohio, creators of the barnstorming act Waldo Wright’s Flying Service, are selling rides on impeccably restored New Standard D-25 and D-29 biplanes, finished in “Stinson maroon” and “Diana cream” Poly Tone paints. The New Standard was designed for the 1920s barnstormer Ivan Gates, whose Gates Flying Circus traveled the country selling airplane rides in the D-25’s roomy, open, four-passenger front cockpit. At six-foot-ten, Rob Lock is delighted with the room in the D-25. His flying service will offer rides at most overnight stops on the tour. (Check www.waldowrights.com.)
Clay Adams of Rosemount, Minnesota, will also join the tour. A pilot for a major airline, Adams has for the past six years been selling rides across the upper Midwest in the two-passenger open cockpit of his Travel Air E-4000. “It’s such a sweet-flying machine,” Adams says. Like the New Standard, it was perfect for flying to a farmer’s field, where it could scoop up paying passengers for joyrides. One of Adams’ favorite events takes him to Hastings, Minnesota, where the host of an antique tractor show mows a strip in his alfalfa field for the Travel Air.
A tour Web site (www.nationalairtour.org) will report the group’s progress and arrival times at airports on the route.
Includes refueling stops
Monday, Sept. 8
South Bend, IN
Tuesday, Sept. 9
Chicago over Meigs
Wednesday, Sept. 10