Barn Stormers


Flying after World War I was a rough business. Landing strips were mostly cow pastures and wind socks were the direction that cows tails were blowing, maps were the pilots instincts and knowing the weather was dependent on the pilots sense of smell. Barnstormers mostly were former military pilots who flew war- surplus aircraft like the DH-4 and Curtiss Jenny. These "Aerial Gypsies" traveled this country going from town to town putting on airshows at fairs and carnivals. They performed dare- devil feats such as: wing walking, stunt flying for movies, rum running and smuggling and stunt flying and parachute jumping to attract the attention of the American public to aviation. For a small fee, they also took people for short sight-seeing flights, and thousands of Americans flew for the first time. People soon learned that an airplane was not just a weapon of war, but a machine with a promising future.With the AirMail Act of 1926, the low altitude and daredevil acts by the barnstormers began to taper off. Toward the end of the barnstorming period many pilots began providing flight training, charter flights, opened up FBO's (Fixed Base Operations) and other services. This brought in the age of commercial aviation.When World War II started the Barnstormers provided a vital pool of experienced,able pilots.Many became famous aces, and more than few went on to become major figures in the development of aviation

  • You can experience the excitement of Barnstorming at airshows like the annual EAA Fly-in at Oshkosh, Wis or the Sun 'N Fun fly-in at Lakeland Fla.

    Harold Johnson

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