Brooks’ First Ride in my Stearman
This past November, right at the end of my vacation time, I got to take the Stearman for one last ride. I flew nearly 10 hours during my couple weeks off, which doesn’t seem like much now that I write this but it sure felt like a lot of flying. At least a lot of time at the airport, which is automatically added to one’s life span, so I think I came out ahead on the whole deal.
Ready to Go
Part of stewarding this big yellow bird means sharing it with folks. Not because I have too, because I don’t, but because I want too. It’s so much fun! To share this airplane with someone makes it kinda new for me again, which I totally dig. When the plane taxis past people stop and take notice, just like I always did when I saw one. Now I’m in the cockpit and not observing from the ramp and it’s a neat place to be. Brooks had seen the Stearman from the cheap seats and like every normal, healthy person, he loved it. How could you not? Brooks is one of our airport kids. He’s a senior in high school and was spending this lovely November day polishing Matt’s Luscombe because he was taking his senior pictures with it. Brooks wanted it bad or Matt put something in the water because polishing a Luscombe is not a job anyone volunteers for.
Nate & Brook
I took the airplane up just to practice some landings. Why? Because, Stearman. Brooks was hard at work in the hangar with the polisher going and metal shining and rags everywhere and probably questioning his sanity and wondering why he thought this was a good idea. I had a hunch I could make his day. I taxied in after a half dozen landings and stopped in front of Matt’s hangar. As I shut down I holler, “You got a headset?” Of course he did, right there. What airport kid doesn’t travel without a headset? Brooks helps me turn the aircraft around and after a quick front hole checkout – stick, rudder, throttle, trim….uh that’s it, we start up and head to the runway.
I takeoff and turn downwind to depart the area and hand the plane over to Brooks. He’s a newly minted private pilot and just completed his tailwheel signoff too. We head northwest and circle a small town and subdivision and just fly. I can’t wait to fly with him again, he was good; like, really good. Great coordination with no instruction, the Stearman likes you to lead with rudder in the turns, kids a natural. I have him head back to the field after 15 minutes, perfect time for a first ride I’ve found. Turns out Brooks’ great-grandfather learned to fly in Stearmans in California before moving to the BT-13 and ultimately a B-24 over Europe. He participated in the bombings in advance of the amphibious landing at Normandy on D-Day and earned a Distinguished Flying Cross for his flying in the war. That his great-grandson could fly the same aircraft he learned how to fly in 1942 is a testament not only to the airplane but to this country and the community of people who keep ‘em flying.
Enjoying the View
I remember my first Stearman ride in 1994. Took me 21 years to do it again but I’ll never forget that ride. One line in the pilot’s logbook but one giant important memory in my whole lifetime. I hope it’s the same for Brooks, and I hope we don’t have to wait 21 years to do it again; eh, I’ll have him checked out by fall.
VISIT OUR SPONSOR for Training DVD's, affordable headsets, cable adapters, headset parts, LED strobes and lights, and more! They cover ALL EXPENSES for iFLYblog.com to keep it coming FREE to you FOREVER!
Subscribe to the iFlyBLOG Mailing List to get the latest blog posts and news to your E-Mail instantly! PLUS TWO FREE eBooks!