I noticed most of the volunteer pilots were little guys, like myself. 400 lbs does not leave much room for football lineman types. I could have chosen a flight in the Harvard instead, but the open cockpit in the Stearman was the deciding factor. The Stearman was the most widely used primary trainer for military pilots during WWII. Over 5000 were built, but only 300 were used here in Canada. Open cockpits in the winter did not go over well with neither the instructor nor the student.
Getting strapped in took a few minutes.
The view looking straight ahead.
Even I could understand the instrument panel, compass, RPM, altimeter, ground speed, oil pressure and bank & turn indicator. What more do you need?
Cruising at 80 mph makes this thing an awesome crop scouting machine. After the war many Stearmans were used as crop dusters with the pesticide tank sitting in the front cockpit.
It was a great ride, but a little loud. I had an intercom link with the pilot, but in the air it was useless. When we landed I commented to my pilot that the instructor pilots must have gone deaf after spending many hours training students. Funny you mentioned it, he said. The instructor that checked him out had to go get his hearing aids adjusted after the flight.
Happy Fathers' Day.
(You too can hitch a ride. Just show this blog to your family and maybe they will take the hint.)