|The 1927 Travel Air giving a ride during the 2018 Ranger Fly-In|
Unfortunately we didn’t get the requisite Oboz Adventure boot shot on this one, but rest-assured, they were there, comfortably getting us around one of the oldest airports in Texas while we looked at airplanes, talked with pilots, and just generally enjoyed the camaraderie that is aviation in general and fly-in’s in particular.
At first look, the Ranger airport is nothing special. In fact, to the untrained eye, it does not even look like and airport. There are no paved taxiways, no paved runways, no big Fixed Base Operator fueling business jets. No, there is nothing but a big field with two grass runways, a hangar, a small shack used as an office, and a lot of history.
The Ranger Airport dates back to 1911, when R. G. Fowler landed in his Wright B Flyer. People have been landing there ever since.
|Vintage photo of Wright Model B|
(photo from Wright-brothers.org)
Twenty years later, on June 16, 1931, Amelia Earhart landed her Pitcairn Autogiro at Ranger for fuel. Just a few years after her visit, on July 2, 1937, Amelia, disappeared with navigator Fred Noonan as she attempted to cross the Pacific in her Lockheed Electra.
|Amelia Earhart's Pitcairn Autogiro in Ranger, Texas|
(photo from http://www.angelfire.com/tx/rangerexes/ranger_history_3.htm)
Fast forward back to 2018. There were some fantastic airplanes, ranging from a 1927 Travel Air 4000 biplane, to a 1940’s era Beech Staggerwing--the Cadillac of personal airplanes back then, to modern Bellanca Scouts, Cessna 172’s, and Piper Cherokees. The festivities included a campfire in front of the hangar on Friday night and an airshow Saturday afternoon. The highlight for us was a ride in the Travel Air on Sunday morning. After nearly 40 years as a pilot, this was actually my first time in an open-cockpit biplane. It was a blast even if I didn’t get to fly it!
|A beautiful 1943 Beech D-17S Staggerwing|
|The Travel Air and an Aeronca Champ fly off into the sunset.|
|A Bucker Jungmeister performs during the airshow on Saturday|
|The Travel Air about to touch down after giving a ride.|
|A beautiful Fairchild 24|
|Sunday morning, all ready to go for a ride with Jared, aviator extraordinaire!|