The oldest pilot was 87. The youngest pilot was 26.
And the pilots who came the greatest distance to the 45th National Stearman Fly-In flew 3,900 miles from Anchorage, AK, to Galesburg Municipal Airport.
The “tired butt” award was claimed by Tyson Whittock and co-pilot Ed Kornfield. They arrived Thursday, Sept. 8, in Whittock’s Stearman N5176N.
Whittock came to his first National Stearman Fly-In in 2014, and vowed then that he’d return with the airplane he was restoring at the time.
The 6-day trip included five pretty good flying days, Whittock said, and a day’s delay in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada, due to poor weather. Two days of the trip were above the snow line, not a particularly comfortable environment in an open cockpit biplane.
Mike Lowe, a Fly-In board member and contest chairman, said the distance flown was the longest in the annual Stearman gathering’s history.
“Old Bob” Siegfried of Downer’s Grove, IL, was the oldest pilot to fly his Stearman – N3977A – to the 2016 Fly-In. He’s 87, and an old hand at capturing the award.
Brett Anderson, 26, of Burnsville. MN, was the youngest pilot at this year’s Fly-In. He also won the “early bird” award, arriving in Galesburg on Sept. 1. The Fly-In started Monday, Sept. 5, and ended Saturday, Sept. 10. It was Anderson’s first time at the Fly-In.
A total of 74 Stearmans attended this year’s Fly-In, coming from 21 states and one Canadian province. Fly-In organizers said the number of airplanes was good considering poor weather in other parts of the country this year. The event drew visitors of many parts of the United States and The Netherlands, Germany, Venezuela and Great Britain.
Other highlights from the 45th National Stearman Fly-In:
- The best PT (Army Air Corps) Stearman was N713WW, owned by James “Sandy” Wilson, Chicago.
- The best N2S (Navy) Stearman was N53549, owned by Vanessa Jago, Oshkosh, WI.
- Three teams entered Saturday’s formation flying contest, but one team dropped out after one of its four planes developed engine trouble.
The winning team was Spartan Flight. Team members were Bob Pingston, Morrice, MI; Rick Lutes, Hampshire, IL; Chuck Marshall, Elkhart, IN, and Cal Tax, Cumming, GA.
- Thirty-three pilots participated in Friday’s short field takeoff, flour bomb and spot landing contests.
- Marilyn Stearman Carr, the daughter of aircraft designer Lloyd C. Stearman, and members of her family were special guests at this year’s Fly-In.
- Among speakers during the week were Jerry Yellin, Champions Gate, FL, and George Farnsworth, Hilton Head, SC, and Lake Geneva, WI. Both men learned to fly in Stearmans and served in the Army Air Corps during World War II.
- British pilot Tracey Curtis-Taylor spoke Friday night about her 8½-week, 10,000-mile flight from Cape Town, South Africa, to Goodwood, Great Britain, in her Stearman. A film crew accompanied Curtis-Taylor on the trip, resulting in a documentary movie, “The Aviatrix: The Lady Who Flew Africa.” It was shown Thursday night.
- A silent auction after Saturday night’s awards banquet raised $4,222 for the National Stearman Fly-In. The Fly-In does not charge a registration fee for participants and, except for food, all events are open to the public without charge.