I remember being in the backyard when I was a kid and watching the colorful biplanes start to migrate to Bartlesville. First there would be just one or two, then it would be like the sky had undergone some sort of time shift and modern aviation had not yet been invented. That meant that it was time for the annual Biplane Expo.
So when I happened to be in Bartlesville for the final Biplane Expo, we picked a cool, but sunny morning to go out to the little airport and see the planes land and take off on the grass runway.
I guess that most of the pilots are getting older and that is why 2009 was the final year for the Expo. But they couldn’t have picked a more perfect weekend to go out on. Every few minutes a plane would take off into the nearly cloudless sky and the announcer would identify it to the crowd of wandering pilots, aficionados, and visitors like me.
I imagine it would be amazing to fly in a biplane and have nothing above your head except air, to look all around you with no glass between you and the earth. Then again, I might get vertigo. Because of this, I probably shouldn’t be the pilot.
A pilot there had one of the best names I’ve ever heard: Joe Champagne. And he was flying a biplane apparently owned by Roy Clark. But there were more than just biplanes, and there were a few experimental and small planes there as well.
Most of the planes were from out of state, and it’s pretty cool that biplanes were flown from opposite coasts and corners of the country. Despite their age, they seemed to be in impeccable condition, probably better than most commercial planes.
In addition to the biplanes, there were also some classic cars being shown off that were in town for Sunfest that was taking place in the park. We went by the festival later for some fried green tomatoes (a guilty, once-every-few-years pleasure).
I have a few more Biplane Expo photos on my flickr if you want to check it out. I got a little carried away with my photography, but there were just so many colors against the sky that I couldn’t resist.