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Keep The Antiques Flying And The Oil Drippin'
By Dana Brejakova, Contributing Editor & Photographer

Blakesburg, Iowa - Bearings that are very well known to any antique airplane aviator, owner, and enthusiast were set on the compass needles of many flying gems that show every Labor Day weekend at one of the most genuine and laid-back Fly-Ins in the country. The destination is Antique Airfield, a rustic grass airport with no unicom or designated traffic frequency. Pilots navigate the traffic pattern just like it was done in the 1930's and 40's by using standard pattern procedures, constant visual, and paying attention to the ground team that uses red and green flags. The Antique Aircraft Association welcomes all who cherish the golden years of aviation and whose mornings are perfect only with the smell of the coffee and aircraft engine oil.

Boeing-Stearman N2S 4 model during take-off
Rustic wooden gate that has a lot of character welcoming the participants
Row of Bücker Jungmann and Jungmeister biplanes in front of Hangar 1
Closer look at the Bücker (A-21 Bücker 131 Jungmann) row with a Piper J4A Cub that suddenly became lonely after the majority of participants left for the pilot's briefing at 10:30
How do you know it is a briefing time? The call goes from this tower accompanied by a beacon
Very original "Coffee House" is a hot spot every morning on the Field. The rather cute system of shelves with the mugs on display offers a very original and warm surprise. You can buy one of those mugs and have your name written on it. That way, each morning you will be welcomed by friendly voice greeting "Morning Dana, cup of coffee?"

From August 28th to September 2nd participants had a fantastic opportunity to hop rides with fellow aviators to enjoy the marvel of a flight in a beautiful classic aircraft among the clouds. Once the action started, the Antique Field was buzzing. Some of the most charming and rare Wacos, Bückers, Stinsons, Stearmans, Luscombes, Pitacairns, Fairchilds, Travelairs, and Cubs, many that can only be seen at this Fly-In, were inviting attendees for a ride. One could walk the whole field admiring all these birds, attend pilot's briefings, or sit down with a coffee in one hand and a pie in other and watch the sky. A big smile would come naturally.

Look through the row of Bückers, the grey model Bücker Jungmeister experimental aircraft
Fixed Wing Single Engine Bücker with Olympic Circles
Bücker Formation getting ready for a morning flight. The Yellow A-21 Bücker 131 Jungmann rolling out last
Bücker formation on the roll, the last beauty A-21 Bücker 131 Jungmann
Bücker formation on the taxi out, the last two (Fixed Wing Single Engine Bücker with Olympic Circles and the red Bu-131 Jungmann, Aero C-10) in a red and white color swap were a perfect pose for a photo before they all disappeared behind the hill
Bücker formation getting ready. From the left: A-21 Bücker 131 Jungmann, fixed Wing Single Engine Bücker CASA 1. 131 with Olympic Circles, and a Bücker Jungmann CASA 1.131 E
Detail on a beautifully restored Bücker Jungmann CASA 1.131 E
The colorful squadron of Bückers in the air during the morning formations
White Bücker Jungmann with the red belly and fuselage during the formation flight
Detail on a beautiful Laird Aircraft
Just a few Luscombe birds from the long Luscombe row
Classic Piper row with the red beauty being Super Cub with 95 Horsepower
Rows of Classics . Which one looks the best?
Beautiful Black and Red 450hp Younkin Mullicoupe glowing in the Sun
Stunning light reflections on the gorgeous New Ryan SCW-145 back and cockpit
Elegant dark green Travel Air 3000
"It is not easy being green" Humorous pitot tube cover Kermit on the turquoise blue-green 1034 WACO YKC with a view of the panel
Lovely burgundy WACO ZKS-7 with golden details on the fuselage white stripes
Red and yellow cockpit in a beautiful red Howard DGA-15P
Absolutely stunning work in the cockpit of Cessna 170-A
Rather minimalistic panel in the very VERY rare Luscombe Model 4 (which is the only one remaining in the world of this type)

The whole concept of this unique Fly-In is simple. Just come, fly as often as you can, give rides or hop on rides, and enjoy the marvel. There are no huge crowds, no promo stands, no hundreds of vendors selling all kinds of merchandise. There are only a few hangars, a few volunteers, small museum, camaraderie, coffee, pie, lunch, maybe two tents that sell T-shirts and hats, and a very pleasant laid-back atmosphere.

The, the most awesome thing to do here is rather obvious - hopping on the rides. Flying up in the air in one of the rare antique aircraft can easily become one of the most memorable moments every aviation enthusiast could experience.

Beautiful Pitcairn PA-6 U.S. MAIL getting ready to take off right behind the formation of Bückers. This particular aircraft was giving a lot of rides and was in the air probably the most of all other aircrafts.
U.S. MAIL Pitcairn PA-6 rolling towards the runway to give one of the many rides
U.S. Mail Pitcairn PA-6 in the air
North American AT-6 Texan (2 seat) trainer aircraft warming up before the flight
North American AT-6 Texan (2 seat) trainer aircraft slowly disappearing behind the grass hill to the runway
North American AT-6 Texan (2 seat) trainer aircraft giving a ride to a small curious passenger. "Start them young!"
North American AT-6 Texan on approach to landing while a queue of other birds awaits their green flag
Laird aircraft during the evening flying performing low fly-over
Beautiful classic - Hatz biplane with 150 horsepower in the evening sun on the approach
Bright yellow Boeing-Stearman N2S-4 model during taking off
Absolute beauty in the air - WACO F-series on approach
Classy formation of two Travel Air 3000s performing a fly-by with the smoke effect

However, no matter how wonderful flying is, one also has to remember that it is as unforgiving as it is beautiful. Unfortunately, the landing of one bird ended in a crushed landing gear as pilot fatigue took a toll on the aviator and the airplane stalled right before the touchdown. Thank goodness it was a good landing and everyone walked away from it. With that being said, from time to time, these unfortunate reminders only indicate how mental fatigue can impact aviator's skills, especially on the approach and landing.

On a happier and final note, it was absolutely wonderful to see so many antique airplanes in such superb condition where their owners take excellent care of their birds to keep them in the air. As the big note on a hangar in the field says "Keep the Antiques flying", I might only add, "and the oil drippin".

Bücker Jungmeister caught in a morning flight
Charming Stearman PT-13 on a low fly-by stealing attention of the spectators
Curtiss-Wright Travel Air 12W on approach during the late afternoon flying
Hatz in the late afternoon flight
Light pastel color of the this beautiful WACO F-series stands out especially against the rich green vegetation in Blakesburg
Classy formation of two Travel Air 3000s with the smoke effect performing fly-by and greeting the crowd

By Dana Brejakova, Contributing Editor & Photographer
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