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Up in a biplane

Last week, I received an assignment to cover the Hagerstown Flying Circus – a showcase of airplanes and antique cars. I thought this sounded pretty cool as is. Then I was told there would be biplane rides available. I was sold. I had to get a ride in a biplane.

Now I’m not a complete stranger to aerial photography. A few years ago, I mounted a remote camera on the outside of a Cessna. However, a biplane seems so much cooler.

Today, a reporter with my paper went to the show early in the afternoon. He didn’t have time to take a ride but did find out that they cost $60 per person for a 15 minute flight. Yikes. I was optimistic that they would let me on a flight for free since I was with the press.

My optimism paid off. There I was in the seat of a 1937 New Standard D-25 biplane. Behind me was the pilot. Next to me was a WWII vet. And in the front seat were a grandpa with his six-year-old grandson. We were all given goggles and ear protection.

We taxied down the grass runway and headed for the sky.

I was lucky. During my flight, the pilot decided to refuel his plane at a neighboring airport. Instead of the regular 15 minute flight, I was probably in the air for closer to 25-30 minutes.

With the wind blasting me in the open-air cockpit, I wrapped my camera strap around my wrist and started firing off some shots.

Ted Davis lets go of the stick on his 1937 New Standard D-25 biplane Tuesday afternoon during the Hagerstown Flying Circus. Davis was piloting 15-minute plane rides for $60 per person. (C-T photo Max Gersh) ©2010

Ted Davis lets go of the stick on his 1937 New Standard D-25 biplane Tuesday afternoon during the Hagerstown Flying Circus. Davis was piloting 15-minute plane rides for $60 per person. (C-T photo Max Gersh) ©2010

Ted Davis lines up his 1937 New Standard D-25 biplane with the Hagerstown airport Tuesday afternoon during the Hagerstown Flying Circus. Davis was piloting 15-minute plane rides for $60 per person. (C-T photo Max Gersh) ©2010

Ted Davis lines up his 1937 New Standard D-25 biplane with the Hagerstown airport Tuesday afternoon during the Hagerstown Flying Circus. Davis was piloting 15-minute plane rides for $60 per person. (C-T photo Max Gersh) ©2010

Logan Drook, 6, looks out at Henry County farm land Tuesday afternoon while taking a biplane ride with his grandpa, Roger Peckinpaugh. (C-T photo Max Gersh) ©2010

Logan Drook, 6, looks out at Henry County farm land Tuesday afternoon while taking a biplane ride with his grandpa, Roger Peckinpaugh. (C-T photo Max Gersh) ©2010

What a ride.

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3 Responses

  1. Great job Max! I think everyone should go up in a biplane as it is possible to see so much more than in a commercial plane at 30,000 feet. Being able to fly over your town and see it from a different perspective is priceless. The photo of the Grandpa and his Grandson sums it up.

    • Jim, thanks. I totally agree. Being able to fly so low (comparatively) with the wind in your face almost makes you feel like Superman. But alas, I need wings and a big engine to get off the ground.

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