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Codename: Airliner
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Published on: Nov 8, 2009 Category: General Aviation, Aerobatics, Sailplanes,  

On a summer day in 1999, Andrew King and Frank Pavliga were flying their antique airplanes over the vast farmland of eastern Indiana. They were coming home from an airshow in small, vintage, single-engine planes, the type used by their heroes, the barnstormers. In the 1920s and 1930s, gypsy “barnstorming” pilots would simply put down in a field, advertise the chance to fly, and watch the customers line up. The barnstormers’ simple planes were nothing short of miracles to the farmers, townspeople and children who were lucky enough to experience the thrill of flying for the first time. In that spirit, Andrew and Frank steered their planes toward a dark green plot of alfalfa on a dairy farm and landed to take some pictures, just for the fun of it. Matt Dirksen, the farmer, thought he had just seen two planes crash in his field, and went over to investigate. Andrew and Frank quickly made up a story about engine trouble. Almost immediately, they heard the approaching shouts of excitement from two young boys, and a slightly suspicious Matt himself. The past was suddenly reborn. In the old tradition, the pilots treated the boys to their first flights. Matt and his wife invited the pilots to come back someday for a home-cooked meal. The pilots returned the next year bringing a few friends with their own airplanes, and a new tradition was born. Year after year more friends and neighbors drop by the farm to see the planes come. The home-cooked meal has become an annual event for the entire community. There are more kids, and each eagerly awaits their annual ride. And after a day of fun, flying, food, dancing, late night stories, and camping under the wings, it all ends until the next year.

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Barnstorming 1999

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