Saturday, April 05, 2008

The Flyboys of Liberty Landing

Just east of the intersection of highways 210 and 291, there is a small grass airstrip known as Liberty Landing. It consists of a couple of hangers and an airsock. There's no flight control tower, no radar, no radio.

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This is old school.

This is the home of a small group of primitive, minimalist, steely-eyed aviators that call themselves The Kansas City Dawn Patrol.

I'll let them describe themselves...

"The Young, Handsome, Lean, Mean, Firm-Jawed, Tough-as-nails, Slim-Hipped, Curly-Haired, Thin-Lipped, Clean Talking, Flat-Bellied, Hairy-Chested, Biceps-Bulging, Steely-Eyed, Sinewy-Muscled, Tight-Bunned, Lean-Shanked, Milk-Drinking, Apple-Pie-Eating, Chevrolet (and a few Fords) Driving, Red-Blooded, Pure-Thought-Filled, Hunk-A-Doodle-Doo, All-American Studmuffins (and Studmuffinettes) and Heroic Knights Of The Air of, The Kansas City Dawn Patrol"

They fly 7/8 scale replicas of WWI Warbirds (GROWL, when you say that!)

There is some great YouTube video of them in action here.

Primarily, in the Nieuport 11.

The basic design comes from Graham Lee's original concept. But as the local rebels freely admit,

"We've made so many changes to them that Graham Lee no longer considers them "Graham Lee" replicas. He also disagrees with some of our opinions on the building and flying of the birds. But, we stand by what we did and our observations and opinions on their flight characteristics."

Make no mistake, these guys don't build "Smithsonian Air & Space Museum", exact nuts and bolts, display quality replicas.

They build "almost exact", easy to build, affordable copies that are easy to maintain and FUN TO FLY.

I've been to the National Air and Space museum many times, and I'm pretty sure they don'y have any historic aircraft that use bungee cords in their landing gear assemblies.

But bungee cords are cheap, effective, easily avalible, and they work better than anything from 90 years ago.

Which is why these planes are powered by modern Volkswagon engines instead of ancient rotary motors and use aluminum tubes instead of wooden wing spars.

These guys just want to fly open cockpit warbirds and have fun! They aren't hamstringed by historical construnction details or devotion to museum quality detail.

The avionics aren't just more modern than the originals, they differ from pilot to pilot. Each plane is a handcrafted original.

There are also warning that most commercial travellers have never seen or heard...(click to embiggen)

They don't just build Nieuport 11's. They have a Fokker Triplane...

and another aircraft that I can only supply a crappy/blurry photo of...

These guys and gals just love to fly!

I've actually watched one of these aviators flying into a headwind and hovering...just standing in place in a hawk looking for prey.


Today there was a guest pilot flying a homebuilt amphibious bi-plane.

Here is what's way cool. Not only is it air's seaworthy! He can land it on water. How cool is that?

I love these guys.

They build their own planes from scratch and fly for the love of flying.

1 comment:

Spyder said...

First off: Holy Fuck! That clip was something!

Second: Don't tell Kanga!!! He may want to move up from plastic space ships to these. Damn!