Posts Tagged ‘North Dakota’

Barnstormers storming to the Midwest this year

Friday, April 13th, 2012

If you can get to North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, or Illinois this summer, you’ll have a chance to drink in some mighty nice antique aircraft and hang out with the folks who fly them. The American Barnstormers Old-Fashioned Tour is making its every-other-year appearance in August. Weather permitting, you’ll see 14 aircraft and their costumed pilots, and even purchase a ride.

The airplanes will swoop into five cities this year. Pilot and PR coordinator Sarah Wilson says the tour has been scaled back just a bit from previous years (when it debuted in 2006, there were 15 biplanes and they toured nine cities).

“We just weren’t sure we could do it this year,” she says. Pilots come from all over the nation–in airplanes that average speeds 100 mph or less–to form the tour. But the “core group”–those pilots who have participated from the beginning–said, “Please, let’s do another one,” Wilson says. The pilots will remain three days at each stop, giving them more time between legs.

Here’s the schedule:

New to the tour this year are Wilson’s 1929 Stearman Model 4E; a 1937 Waco YKS-7, and a Curtiss Pusher.

My colleagues Al Marsh and Mike Fizer joined the group for their inaugural tour in 2006. (You can see the article, video, and photos here.) Al recalls without the least bit of nostalgia the heat wave that ensnared Michigan that July. With temps reaching 105, he wondered how the tour pilots handled it in their heavy costumes.

Still. Flying with biplane pilots on a tour of the heartland? Steven Tyler, you can keep your Rock ‘n’ Roll fantasy camp. This one’s more my speed.

Could you put it down for $10,000?

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

I’ve heard of spot landing contests before, but this one must surely take the proverbial cake.

Grand Forks International Airport will host a spot landing contest on Saturday, July 28. Each entrant gets just one shot. The one who puts it down closest to the target line takes home bragging rights–and $10,000. 

“No catch and no obligation,” says the website. You must be at least a sport pilot or higher to enter (too bad, Jacob Barson of Allentown, Pa., else my money would be on you), and the competition won’t be held if visibility is less than two miles and the ceiling is lower than 1,800 feet.

Brian Siefert, president of GFK Flight Support, says the event is being held to promote general aviation and encourage people “to visit our great airport.”

So how about it, hotshot? Are you in? Even in today’s economy, $10,000 buys a heckuva lot of avgas. See the website for more information.

Thanks and a tip of the aviator’s cap to Judy Birchler at, who came across this contest first.