Photos of the Week: Flying the Stearman

Editor’s Note: These photos were submitted by Tally One’s resident Stearman expert Kaiser.  With several years and hundreds of hours at the controls of the old PT-17, Kaiser has seen a lot.  This series of photos and one video is but a small glimpse of the fun he had tearing up the skies in this old war trainer.

Photo Signed by the Governor of Missouri

Assistants to Governors say the darnest things.  One day I was giving rides in a PT-17 Stearman.  It happened to be father’s day, a busy one for bi-plane rides.  On this day I had my son helping me get the dads in and out of the front seat.  Just about the time one of the dads was cinched in, a gentlemen came up to me as I was in the back seat and said, “you will be careful, won’t you?”.  Of course I said yes thinking all the time, I’m not worried about the passenger, I just try and take care of myself and the passenger will be OK too.  At about the same time I could see my son pointing to the front seat and mouthing something to me.  He kept doing it over and over in response to the questioning look on my face.  I couldn’t figure out what he was saying until he came up to me just before I yelled, “clear”.  He said, “the governor”.  I looked at him again and once more he said, “you’ve got the governor”.  It was the governor of Missouri.  Well, governor or not, he still got the same wonderful, exciting, picture perfect ride.  In fact, that day we had two Stearmans flying, and we flew in formation.  Later I sent him a Stearman picture that he signed for me.  Something to the effect, “To a great Stearman pilot….,”  It’s so hard to be humble.

The tube you see here is the gas gauge. Yes, it is a cork float!