Fly-in celebration: German marks 60th birthday with family, Stearman cohorts

Webmaster’s Note: This story appeared in the Sept. 8, 2007, edition of The Register-Mail, Galesburg’s daily newspaper, and is posted here with the publication’s permission.

BY MATT HUTTON
of The Register-Mail

The big 6-0 is a special milestone, and what better way to celebrate than to go halfway around the world. It’s just most folks would probably travel would travel to Europe – not from Europe to Galesburg.

But not so for Arthur Scheid, who hails from the Munich area of Germany. Scheid, a devoted Stearman fan, has made the trek to Galesburg for the fifth time for the 36th annual Stearman Fly-In, with his wife in tow, as always. But this year, because he was turning 60, he decided he wanted the whole family to come over with him – all 11 of them.

“I had my 60th birthday on Sept. 5, so I had to celebrate first with my family then with my Stearman friends,” Scheid said.

So, along with himself and his wife, Scheid paid to fly his son and daughter, their spouses, a family friend and five grandchildren to the United States. Scheid has been flying since 1993 and a Stearman pilot since 1998. When visiting Florida he saw an advertisement for a Stearman and told his wife he wanted to do it.

“The Stearman wires caught me,” he said, smiling.

The family flew into Chicago Saturday and made their way to Galesburg Tuesday, with a stop in St. Louis Wednesday as well. But Galesburg, and the Stearman camaraderie, is “special.”

“What can I tell you, it’s my fifth time here, it’s just wonderful,” Scheid said. “They like it very much. Before, they thought, ‘Dad is crazy to go to the same place all the time.’ Now they know.”

The family might know about what draws Scheid here, but they don’t necessarily share his passion for flying.

“No, not so much,” he said. “They all became sick.”

His wife flies with him all the time, but most of his grandchildren are too young. Though his 17-year-old granddaughter, Tamara, went up with Scheid and said she would do it again.

“I think it’s great,” she said of the their time in Galesburg.

Scheid’s son, Arthur, 33, called it a “great adventure for the kids” and said he enjoyed the “small, little town” atmosphere.
“I think it’s a great idea, so we can all party together,” the younger Scheid said, adding he doesn’t like to fly because “it’s too bumpy.”

The family is planning to make a trip to the John Deere museum in Monmouth today and will be headed back to Germany Sunday. Asked if his family would make the trip again, Scheid said with a laugh, “If I pay for it.”