Fly-In weather better for ducks than for open cockpit biplanes

It was a week better suited for ducks than open cockpit biplanes, but the 47th National Stearman Fly-In still was a success.

Despite more than 8.5 inches of rain during the week of Sept. 3-8, a total of 66 Stearmans from 22 states and Canada arrived in Galesburg, said Phillip Wolford, president of the Fly-In’s Board of Directors.

In addition, the event attracted more than 150 participants who arrived by other modes of transportation, Wolford said.

A total of 101 Stearmans were registered in 2017.

Although the poor weather forced cancellation of many events, “We were still able to do some flying and everyone had a great time socializing, Wolford said.

David Brown, Warrenton, VA, was the first pilot to arrive – on Aug. 30. Edward “Ted” Miller, Santa Rosa, CA, flew the most miles – 1,717 – to attend.

The oldest pilot attending was Bob Siegfried, 89, of Downers Grove, IL. The youngest was Brian Vallero, 23, of Galesburg.

George Madok, Evergreen, CO, worked 7½ years rebuilding Stearman N58219, and won the trophy for the newest restoration. Its first flight was Aug. 9, 2018.

Quentin Marty’s N46Y was declared this year’s Stearman Most in Need of Restoration. Marty lives in Hightstown, NJ.

Other major award winners included:

>> Lloyd Stearman Award, and Best PT Stearman: Bob Swint, Geneseo, IL, for PT-17 N63806. Swint worked 9½ years on his restoration.

>> Best N2S Stearman:  Blake Anderson, Burnsville, MN, Stearman N266N.

>> Best Custom Stearman: Dan and Diane Sokolowski, Clear Lake, IA, Stearman N69249, finished in cream and orange paint with scallops, 450-horsepower engine.

>> Best Military Custom: George Triche, Luling, LA, Stearman N49659 (restored by Larry Johnson).