Monday, September 06, 1999

Hundreds soar to annual fly-in

'Taildraggers' fascinate all ages

The Cincinnati Enquirer

[sholle] Russ Sholle examines the engine of a Navy Stearman N2S, similiar to the one he flew as a flight instructor during WWII.
(Saed Hindash photos)
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        WAYNESVILLE — Russ Sholle attributes his interest in aviation to timing. The 75-year-old Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, man was an impressionable child when Charles Lindbergh's historic trans-Atlantic flight mesmerized the nation in 1927.

        He left his modern ultralight at home.

        Engine problems, he said.

        Jim Hammond of Yellow Springs never shook off a childhood fascination with model airplanes. He arrived in his 1931 Stinson Detroiter.

        Jeff Puls, who pilots a police helicopter in Columbus, loves his work too much to leave it at the office and brought the fixed-wing plane he built at home.

        The Experimental Aircraft Association's annual Taildragger Airplane Fly-In drew hundreds of people who are passionate about aviation to the Waynesville Airport on Sunday.

[young] In the shade of an airplane wing, Michaela Young and her father, Bob, watch planes take off and land.
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        Association members also pursued their goal of seducing the next generation into flying by taking youngsters up in their historic aircraft Sunday.

        Their goal is 1 million children into the air by 2003 to celebrate the centennial of Orville and Wilbur Wright's first flight.

        The air show showcased about 130 aircraft. Some showgoers wandered among gleaming, parked planes, while others stared rapt as aircraft buzzed overhead.

        Many were restored planes, such as Stearman biplanes, which were used to train military pilots in the 1940s. Others were experimental aircraft, made by hand instead of machine.

        “Taildragger” refers to the tail wheel that tips a plane's nose toward the sky. Most old-time planes were built that way. Most contemporary planes still have wheels under the wings, but the third wheel is under the nose, called “tricycle” landing gear.

        Some pilots likened flying taildraggers to riding a tricycle backward.

        “Today, they pack people into jetliners like cattle cars with crummy food,” said show organizer Steve Hanshew of the Experimental Aircraft Association's Chapter 284 of Waynesville. “Today is all about old-time aviation. It was romantic, it was flying for fun instead of transportation — low and slow so you could see everything.”

        Nick Hurm, 19, of Spring Valley, agreed: “Some people are afraid of the old airplanes, but they don't realize how they got so old. They're a lot simpler, and that can make flying a lot easier. It's just you and the engine, and you don't have all these modern little gadgets beeping at you.”



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