Light Flight Hot Air Balloons, Inc. & Barnstormer Aero
Barnstormer Aero - Open Cockpit Biplane Rides
Now hear this - Flight Quarters, Flight Quarters
All Hands Man Your Flight Quarters Stations
The year is 1942 and the world is at war. You step out of the jeep as it pulls to a stop on the flight line. With helmet and goggles in hand, you climb onto the wing of the aircraft that will teach you the skills necessary to fly the Naval aircraft of the day. You are one of 193,000 Cadets that will be trained as a pilot from 1939 to 1945.
While cadets looked forward to earning their wings, we offer you the opportunity to step back in time and experience a bygone era of flight. Biplanes bring to mind images of dogfights, barnstorming, aerial daring, and names such as the Red Baron and the Flying Circus.
Climb into the front cockpit of our 1941 U.S. Navy N2S-3 Stearman primary flight trainer and feel what it was like to have the wind in your face and nothing but blue-sky overhead. Let the deep rumble of its radial engine and the wind whistling in the wires transport you back in time. Whether you imagine yourself a World War Ace attacking out of the sun or a barnstormer landing in a wheat field outside of town, there is nothing quite like the thrill of open cockpit flight.
If the romance and adventure of vintage aeroplane flight appeals to you, allow us to introduce ourselves. We are Barnstormer Aero, a division of Light Flight Hot Air Balloons, Inc., a full time, and full service charter flight company.
Your enjoyment and the safety of the flight are our first priorities. Accordingly, our aircraft are certified, licensed, and inspected as required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Your flight will piloted by an experienced and professional FAA licensed Commercial Pilot. Read our safety briefing.
Learn what it was like to be a Naval Air or Army Air Corps Cadet in Primary Training During WWII
Prices do not include tax. Read our Terms and Conditions page for complete details. Last Revised January 2015.
We accept checks, cash, money orders and all major credit cards.
How - by redeeming a gift certificate or by calling to book and schedule a flight
When - May thru October, by reservation, 7 days a week, weather permitting
Where - all flights depart Harford County Airport (Aldino, 0W3) in Churchville, MD(Directions)
Our aircraft is an excellent platform for taking aerial photographs because there is nothing to interfere with your shot - no window, no glass - just open air! Our rates are the same as for our rides; it will be based on the amount of time required to get you there, get your photographs, and get you back. We are happy to review your plan and to provide a proposal.
For more information, to obtain a gift certificate, and to schedule a flight
History of the Stearman & Airplane Data
The airplane is called a Stearman after its designer Mr. Lloyd Stearman. The original design was intended for civilian use however; the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Army adopted the rugged and reliable biplane for use as a primary trainer (PT) to teach cadets to fly. The United States did not have an air force at the beginning of WW2, it was called the U.S. Army Air Corps. The military called the plane the "Kaydet" and it wore various designations as different variants. The Army called them PT 13's, 17's, 18's, and 27's while the Navy designations were N2S-1 thru N2S-5.
Originally manufactured by the Stearman Aircraft Co. in Wichita, Kansas in 1934, the Stearman Company became the Stearman Aircraft Division of the Boeing Aircraft Company in 1936. Boeing Model 75's, as the aircraft was then known, were manufactured thru 1945 with 10,346 Kaydet trainers having been built, including spares.
The young cadets learning to fly had other names for their trainer: the "Washing Machine" for its ability to "wash" candidates out of flight training and "Yellow Peril" for the bright yellow colors of the plane and the inevitable mishaps at the hands of student pilots. After the war, many of the planes survived to fly in civilian roles because: they had little metal scrap value (wood and fabric design), they could be purchased inexpensively, and they were sought after as crop dusters and air show performers.
This picture is an Army PT-17 version owned by Mr. Rick Conn. The phota was taken by Cheryl Williams, a passenger in one of our balloons.
Specifics about our Stearman
"Ole Yeller" as she is affectionately called, is a Boeing B75N1 or N2S-3 which when deciphered means: N=Navy, 2=Second Model, S=Stearman and the dash 3 indicates that it has the Continental R-670 engine. The R-670 is a seven cylinder air cooled radial engine developing 220 horsepower. She was built in 1941 and sold after the war as surplus for $700! The cost for a new propeller today is close to $8,000.00! It was given the civilian registration N9215H and was used as a crop duster in New England.
The date that 15H was taken out of service is unknown. The aircraft was found in a barn in upstate New York along with 8 other aircraft, disassembled and stacked up in a state of disrepair. The airplane has been restored to a stock Navy trainer configuration. It is dual control, meaning that all flight instruments and controls are duplicated in both the front and rear cockpits. Passengers sit up front, where the instructors used to sit, and have the opportunity to fly the plane. Only one passenger and the pilot may fly at a time.
The red bands on the wings and fuselage, as opposed to green, indicate that it is a non-instrument trainer. The U.S. insignia on the top of our wing does not have the red circle in the middle of the white star as seen in the insignia to the right. This is because after Dec. 7th 1941 (the attack on Pearl Harbor) the red circle was removed to avoid mistaking it for the Japanese rising sun or "meatball" insignia. The airplane is just as it would have been in 1941 except that we have been told by our passengers who actually flew them in the 40's, that "the Navy never kept 'em this clean!"
had the rare opportunity to fly a
formation photo shoot with a very historic airplane (aside from our own of
course). We joined up with a 1939 Piper Cub powered with a Lenape Papoose three
cylinder radial engine. The significance is that there are only a handful of
these aircraft in existence with this unusual radial engine configuration. The
airplane was restored by Gorge Air Service at Harford County Airport. After an
initial test flight, we took off together; a 1941 Stearman with a seven cylinder
220 hp radial engine and the little 3 cylinder 50 hp powered Cub. For a look at
some great photos of the Lenape Cub, Barnstormer Aero's Stearman, and the
flight, you may go to SMBRJ
Photography The aerial photographs were taken by Mr. Mike Malat in a Citabria flown by Ben
Anderson. There is nothing quite like two yellow birds in the air together over
the beautiful Fall foliage to make a photographers dream come true. It was also
fun to fly alongside such a unique airplane. The Cub's airspeed was about 70 mph
so both the Citabria and the Stearman had to slow up some for the event. It was
a memorable flight on a crisp Fall day.
Call to schedule your adventure today or see our FAQ page for more details
P.O. Box 837, Bel Air, Maryland 21014
This page last revised January 2015