TUPELO, MISS. (WCBI) – It was called the Golden Age of Aviation, that time period between World War I and World War II, when pilots would barnstorm, or fly their open cockpit aircraft to towns, performing stunts and giving people rides in the new form of transportation.
Two pilots have made a stop in our area, giving the public a chance to see, and feel what it was like to ride in a vintage biplane.
Not long after he lands, Ted Davis is showing off his fully restored 1929 vintage airplane.
Davis, along with fellow aviator David Mars, are members of the American Barnstormers Tour.
“I’m part of a flying circus, we travel the country and we sell rides in vintage, open cockpit biplanes,” Mars said.
The pilots travel the country, educating the public about aviation history and how barnstorming came about.
“Right after World War One , when out of work aviators could buy an airplane for a couple of hundred bucks and started traveling the country and selling rides in it because aviation was in its infancy, and the term barnstorming was referred to what they did,” he said.
Mars’ plane is a 1929 Travel Air, it was the Cadillac of private planes back in the day. In these older models, the pilot gets in the back, while passengers are up front.
“It’s a center of gravity issue, the fuel is up front , the pilot is in the back, kind of balances things out,” Mars explained.
It is an unique experience, and helps keep aviation history alive.
“Most people see the planes from walking down a walkway, going aboard the airliner and they just see the inside of them, this would be comparable to riding down the highway in a convertible with the wind in your face and sound of the engine, there’s an awful lot of romance in flying these old planes,” he said.
Mars has flown all types of aircraft and says the vintage planes are his favorites.
“For back to basics flying you can’t beat this, I know some people are apprehensive about these old planes, I had a lady ask me recently, is this old plane safe,? My response was how do you think it got to be this old.”
These aircraft attract a crowd wherever they go . The biplanes and their pilots will be at the Tupelo Regional Airport through Thursday evening. For $70 a passenger you can take a ride and experience the Golden Days of Aviation.