Road Trip Highlight: Flying Circus Air Show

Sunday Flying Circus (259)

When I heard about the Flying Circus down at Bealeton, Virginia it sounded like a fun way to pass an afternoon. Little did I know that it would turn out to be a trip highlight.

This event has taken place every Sunday from May through October since 1970 and I can understand why. It’s an action packed air show filled with humor, excitement, danger and fun involving some fascinating aircraft.

FB18 Sunday Flying Circus (91)

They use a variety of biplanes to demonstrate old school barnstorming techniques and World War I era maneuvers. Think target practice using bags of pancake mix and the use of a hook to pick up a mailbag. I loved seeing them attempt to pop balloon with their propellers and the acrobatic flying is just incredible.

There’s a master of ceremonies who narrates the action and who tells stories about the planes and their pilots. On this particular day there were nine biplanes in the air and they had a couple of guests, including a sort of rock star pilot who flew the cutest little jet at a terrifying 300 miles per hour – upside down, sideways and straight up in the air. It was crazy.

Plus there was a wing walker – part artist, part athlete and all daredevil – who wowed the crowd by hanging off the wings and by doing other stunts that I couldn’t do on the ground, much less at 80 miles per hour in the sky.

They give plane rides before and after the show. You can even buy an acrobatic flight.

And no, I didn’t do that.

But I did get to see a bunch of volunteers work together to lift a wheelchair bound veteran from his chair into a biplane using a bucket truck and harness. He went up in one plane and his daughter in another. It was delightful to see them take off in tandem and then chase each other on the horizon. I chatted with him after his ride. He was still glowing and I was as excited for him as if he were my own grandfather.

The show is about ninety minutes but you’re welcome to come early to see the planes and take a ride. While they do sell concessions, they invite folks to bring a picnic and enjoy the day. I arrived a couple of hours early so I could photograph the planes and watch them fly. I packed a veggie sub, a book, a comfy chair and went prepared to do some people watching too.

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It was relaxing, interesting and fun – exactly what I needed on that day.

If you like airplanes and airshows, this is a terrific event. At $15 admission, it’s a real bargain. Unless you can make it this weekend, you’ve missed out for this season but it’s never too early to start planning next year’s adventures. Read all about the Flying Circus Air Show here! 

The road trip continues tomorrow! Check back to see where I go next!

 

Flying Like A Bird

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It isn’t every day that you have a chance to check something off your bucket list. So when the opportunity presents itself, you have to do it. Even if it’s something that scares you a little. Actually, especially if it’s something that scares you.

b3It has long been my goal to take a ride in a biplane. There’s just something  romantic about these open air planes and the barnstorming that has been done with them since the years following World War I.

I can’t describe it but my heart takes flight a little every time I see one in the air. 

There was an opportunity to take a ride a couple of weeks ago at a hot air balloon festival but I found every excuse in the book to not do it. So when I learned there would be rides given at an airport in a neighboring community, I simply had to go.

Incidentally, the James A. Rhodes Airport in Jackson County was celebrating their 50th anniversary yesterday with a big shindig – cool aircraft on display, some RC flyers, a Model A Club and rides with Dewey Davenport of Goodfolk and O’Tymes Biplane Rides of the Xenia area. 

This was a really fun blue sky day of celebration but it was a big day for me too. You see, part of the reason that excuses were made to not take a biplane ride is that I have a ridiculous fear of heights. I don’t do roller coasters and cringe at the thought of a glass elevator. But I’ve been up in aircraft before – commercial flights, small planes at my local airport and even a helicopter (sans door as I was taking pictures for a newspaper that day) and it’s ok.

But to glide through the air with the wind in your face and nothing between you and the sky? In a 1930 D-25 New Standard that looks like it belongs in a museum?

Never before.

And guys. Wow. It’s fabulous. 

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It probably helps that I had an experienced pilot who is so enthusiastic about his work that I had no choice but to trust him. He’s fantastic. Really. Dewey Davenport is his name and if you see that he’s coming to an event near you, go take a ride. You won’t regret it.  That’s him pictured with me above. And if you’re wondering what’s up with the sign, click here to read about the origins.   Long story short – I have a smart mouth and warped sense of humor.

But this story isn’t really about the plane ride, funny sign or pilot. Sure, the experience was amazing. But it’s really about you and whatever is holding you back.

There has to be something that you’ve always wanted to do, maybe even something that scares you. Please don’t let fear prevent you from doing something that you want to do.

Friends, life is worth living. Go do it. Have an adventure. Go far away. Stay close to home. Do what scares you. Embrace the thing you love most. Whatever it is, do something that will make you smile at the end of this day and every day.

Life IS worth living. Make it what you want. 

This is an area I’m still working on. Truth is, I don’t know what I want my life to look like so I’m just exploring the world as much as possible and doing the things that make me happy as well as the ones that scare me because they often are the same. We’ve discussed this topic here a couple of times before but we all could use a periodic refresher.

I imagine myself to be a kindred spirit of Amelia Earhart, Sheriff Maude Collins and other strong women from history. However, I’m probably a little more closely related to Snoopy versus the Red Barron and maybe Deputy Barney Fyffe! Regardless, I faced a fear and had such a fabulous time doing it that I’m already plotting to take another ride with Dewey someday.

And if you wonder what makes me an authority on this topic, just scroll up and look at that smile. It really was the best day. But this story is going to be a two parter! I checked something else off my bucket list but you’ll have to wait till Monday to read about it!

Want to know more about Dewey and biplanes? Check out his website and his YouTube vlog by searching his name.