Back in June of this year my flying buddy Roger increased his odds of winning the coveted “Grandpa of the year” award when he took his nine year old grandson Eston flying in his old Stearman biplane. Of course, being Roger he didn’t just take the young man for an exciting ride in an authentic open cockpit, wind in your face, bugs in your teeth, feel the thump of the big round engine in your kidneys type of biplane ride; that’s not Brownie’s style. No, what he did was take a commercial flight with the lad to the winter digs in Central Florida, then crank up the old Stearman and flog the air to a froth for over 650 Miles at about 95 MPH all the way back to the summer digs in SW Michigan with young Eston riding merrily along in the front seat.
As Brownie tells it, “Made Triple Tree Aerodrome (SC00) the first night. On Saturday we attended a youth aviation thing they had going on. Left after lunch and made Dayton, OH that night. Spent the next day at the Air Force Museum. Had enough daylight left to get to Lowell, but got weathered down at Byron, OH… just south of the Michigan line. Snooping around with the crew car that night, we stumbled on the Spangler Candy Co., with a sign for factory tours. The next morning was still scud right to the ground, so we took the tour. They make 12 million Dum-Dum suckers there every day. Incredible tour! High point of the nine-year-old’s trip. Weather lifted by lunch and we flew to 24C. (It was) Quite a trip.”
I’ll bet it was. When I was nine I was still lying in the grass at the edge of the strip watching the frey hoping someone would notice me and offer a ride in a Champ!
Roger has provided documentation of the trip should anyone doubt his obvious qualifications for the “Grandpa of the year” award. I provide that documentation here for your entertainment.
We hope you enjoy it. Thanks Brownie!
Author: Roger Brown
Retired Printer/Publisher. Private Pilot since 1987 SEL&S. I fly strictly for fun and recreation. Also, as a place to park money that could certainly serve a better purpose elsewhere. I have about 2,500 PIC hours… nearly all is tailwheel or floats. I’ve owned a ratty old stock Stearman since 1990. The Stearman and I have landed in all 48 contiguous United States. (Alaska and Hawaii became states after the Stearman and I came along.) With a lot of help, I restored a Howard DGA15P project, purchased in 2010. The Howard was judged at Oshkosh in 2013 and won a Bronze Lindy. I am a Michigan native, but currently a Florida resident… (Snowbird). I have been dubbed “Ayatollah” of the Old Farts Flying Club of South Florida. We have over 300 names on the mailing list and fly somewhere for lunch every Thursday, during season. We have topped fifty planes at these informal gatherings. Married 46 years, with two kids and four grand kids.