A trip to the Galesburg Municipal Airport this week features a trip back through time, as the community hosts the 42nd Annual National Stearman Fly-In.
“The main joy of these airplanes is the history and the veterans who flew them,” pilot Andy Porter told News 8 Tuesday. “We are just caretakers in the meantime. Everybody here has a wonderful airplane and a story to tell.”
The Wichita-based Stearman Aircraft Company started building the iconic biplanes back in 1934. They made more than 10,000 through 1945– the Army and Navy used them primarily for training purposes.
“We fly the airplanes almost every day,” said Texas native Nick Sager, “and sometimes we forget how unique they are. [If] you take someone up who flew the airplanes during the war, it’s just great and they love it.”
After the war, many pilots and private companies bought the planes to use for different reasons.
“They went into cropdusting and spraying with them,” Sager said, “and people started restoring them in the ’60’s– it’s kind of like a Harley Davidson– the noise, the sound, the antique-ness of the thing.”
For more on this week’s events, head to the National Stearman Fly-In website.