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.
What a ride.