It was no more than a coincidence, but this flight (kind of) completed a series.
Or at least it balanced some non-existing score sheets.
Back in 2009 I did a sightseeing flight from a small airfield near Berlin, named 'Bienenfarm'.
The flight was in a small biplane, a Stampe SV-4.
A month later, I took a sightseeing flight in another biplane, this time a Tiger Moth.
And, two years later, another biplane flight in a Boeing Stearman.
Later, in 2016 there was another biplane flight in a Stampe SV-4 and then, also in 2016, another flight in a Tiger Moth.
Over the years, I also had two sightseeing flights in an Antonow AN-2, another (large) biplane.
So surely the table was trying to tell me something. I did go in every type of biplane twice, except for the Boeing Stearman. Ergo, the sensible thing was to do another sightseeing flight in a Boeing Stearman to balance things out!
Except, of course, that this is all nonsense and made up after the fact.
I didn't notice the "I've been in every biplane twice, except for the Boeing Stearman" statistics until I started writing this web page.
It was pure coincidence that the flight was in a Boeing Stearman (and unlikely too, given the nature of the event). And I would have taken any flight in an open plane, regardless of type, maker or number of wings.
There's not much travel coming up this summer and there was an event at the Bienenfarm airfield. So I decided to go there.
They had on the previous year and I noticed that they offered sightseeing flights. But by the time I decided to book one, the next available slot was something like five or six hours later.
I didn't want to hang around that long.
But I remembered that they did sightseeing flights during events, so when there was another one in June 2022, I went there early and booked one.
The event was an "Ostblock Fly-In" (Eastern block fly-in), so most of the planes on display were of Russian, Polish or Czech origin, but none of them was an open two-seater. (I was interested in having an 'cabriolet flight' than in having a biplane flight.) But they also had the local Boeing Stearman (the plane is stationed at Bienenfarm) for sightseeing flights, so I booked a flight on that.
I didn't have to wait long - the flight was 45 minutes later. (The had two other Boeing Stearman planes available for sightseeing flights as well. That also helped to keep waiting times short.)
There's not much to tell about the flight itself. And although there was an almost continuous cloud cover, it was a warm day and there weren't any turbulences. So it was a relaxed and comfortable flight, even wearing simply a t-shirt.
As often with old planes, the wiring looks somewhat 'interesting', as they haven't been built to support modern navigation instruments and safety equipment. So everything 'modern' is essentially 'bolted on' the existing airframe.
The only (minor) regret I have about the flight was that I got into the plane in a hurry and didn't notice that I had put up the 'aviator glasses' a bit sideways and also trapped some hair in there. Nothing that discomforted me. I didn't even notice it during the flight or I would have fixed it. But it makes the 'selfies' look a bit strange and lopsided.
A rather nice 'problem' with the flight was that it was much longer than expected.
The short sightseeing flights (they also offer longer ones that fly over Berlin, but these are mostly done in larger planes like the AN-2, since they would be too expensive for a single passenger) are scheduled at roughly 15 minutes, so it's essentially a loop around the airfield and then landing again. (At around 150km/h travel speed and given that the 15 minutes include starting and landing, you can only fly a distance of around 35 km, so it's not like you can really go anywhere.)
But when we hit the 10-minute mark and were heading back to land, we were asked to hold for a bit, as there was a flight display over the airfield and landing wasn't permitted.
So we went for some left and right turns until the landing strip was 'open for business' again (about four or five minutes later).
But there were already planes 'lined up' for landing and we were still four minutes away from getting to the 'flight corridor' for landing. A formation flight over the runway was the next event on schedule and it was unlikely that we would be on the ground before that started.
So we did some more flying in circles.
At least we didn't need to worry about running out of fuel - the tank was still half full, so we could keep flying for quite a while.
During the first delay we had been flying somewhat wider loops, but during the second delay the pilot did fly a bit more erratic path.
So I did not only get a much longer flight than expected (about twice the flight time), but also more variety of flying (instead of a simple level loop, multiple tight left-right turns with the plane banked steeply).
But then the landing strip was open again, we did get in line behind an Antonow AN-2, another Stearman, and a Yak 11 plane and got back on the ground.
As it was to be expected from the delays due to the temporary closing of the landing strip, the flight path looks a bit erratic.
The flightpath is (mostly) clockwise, going first to the south-east and then going in a large curve towards the north-west.
We then started to head back towards Bienenfarm, when there was the first delay, so the next two loops were the first 'holding pattern' before heading out for the airfield again.
Then there was the second closure and we did the somewhat crinkly bit to the north of the airport before coming in to land.
Back to other travels