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Biplane Rides

Authentic 1920's Biplane Rides
     

In helmet and headset, one or two passengers sit in the front cockpit of a real 1920's airplane. Your pilot flies from the back cockpit. It's aviation like it used to be. Fly low and slow over beaches and the bays, inland over lakes, golf courses, vineyards and more. Or, make up your own route, and as long as it fits within the amount of time your purchase - we'll do it. Each flight can be more thrilling than a roller coaster, or as gentle as you like! You tell us what you want.

"This isn't really an airplane, it's a time machine" according to Sunset Magazine. One of our biplanes, NC3242, was originally built in May of 1927. That's the same month that Charles Lindbergh flew across the Atlantic. It was used to carry airmail. Another plane, NC674H, was built in November of 1929. It was owned by a detective agency in Chicago that used it to transport a gangster-sniffing bloodhound.We offer the following rides in lengths of 20 to 60 minutes:

  • Barnstormer Hop (20 min.)
  • Del Mar Run (30 min.)
  • Torrey Tour (40 min.)
  • Surf's Up (50 min.)
  • La Jolla Coaster (60 min.)
  • Special Fly/Dine Package
You choose the length you want. The longer you fly, the more you get to see and do.

The Special Fly/Dine Package includes a 60 minute flight followed by dinner at Island Prime on San Diego Bay. Flights times are the actual time in the air. Allow extra time for briefing, loading, taxiing and unloading.
Biplanes
Save $30 when you buy a 40 minute Biplane Ride!

Click here to buy now or check out our prices.

We have been serving Southern California since 1994. Over 100,000 delighted passengers have flown with us! Travel Channel #1 Pick. Groups welcome.


Reservations and Limitations

Reservations are required for all flights. We generally fly from 11:00 am until 5:00 pm Tuesday-Sunday except Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. It's best to call about a week in advance (sometimes more when it is very busy) to get the time you want. However, last minute scheduling is sometimes possible. Call 1-800-SKY-LOOP (1-800-759-5667) to reserve your flight.

Please call one hour before your flight to be sure the weather is cooperating. Plan on arriving 15 minutes before your scheduled departure. That will give you time to fill out a short waiver form that is required for all passengers. And, you'll have time for pictures before you takeoff.

We'll give you a gentle ride unless you specifically ask for some thrills. These aircraft are not aerobatic, but if you do want some thrills, we can make it better than any roller coaster you've ever ridden.

Size matters. If you're very tall or large (or both), give us a call at 1-800-759-5667. One big person may fit just fine in a biplane, but two big people might not. 400 pounds is about the most weight we can get in the passenger seat. Even that may be a problem if the two passengers are very wide.

Tickets are good for six months from date of purchase. We have a 14-day refund policy. All refunds are subject to a 10% service fee. Beyond 14 days of purchase, there are no refunds for any reason. Please call 24 hours in advance if you can not make your scheduled departure. There are no refunds or reschedules for "no shows" and for cancellations with less than the required 24 hours notice. We will reschedule your flight if there is a cancellation due to weather.


About Our Travel Air 4000 Biplanes

At the ripe old age of 23 Lloyd Stearman was already making a name for himself. For three years he'd built wings and fuselages at Swallow Aircraft, and then was promoted to chief engineer upon the departure of famed E. M. "Matty" Laird. No one thought there'd ever be another world war, or that his name would be memorialized as the moniker for the famed Boeing PT-17, the famous "Stearman."

Meanwhile, Walter Beech was impressing the folks at Swallow Aircraft with his salesmanship while he demonstrated their wood 'n fabric flivvers. He cleaned cosmolene from crated Curtis OX-5 engines when he wasn't flying.

Yet when buddies Stearman and Beech proposed a new design, with a fuselage constructed from welded steel tubing similar to the famed WWI Fokker D-VII, their boss refused. The Swallow looked good in wood, and that was that.

Determined to build and sell their new concept they approached Clyde Cessna, an aviation pioneer and aircraft builder since 1911. With $5000 each from Cessna and Beech, and $700 from Stearman, Travel Air Manufacturing Company was formed in Wichita, Kansas on December 18, 1924. By 1930, when the company was sold to Curtiss-Wright, almost 1400 Travel Air biplanes and monoplanes had been built (about half of the aircraft constructed in the U.S. during the period) including the famous "Wollaroc," the first non-military aircraft to fly to Hawaii.

Barnstorming Adventures, started business in 1992 in the Midwest (moving to California in 1994) with a Travel Air biplane registered in November 1929 as NC674H. She was built as a Model 2000 with a 90hp Curtiss OX-5 water-cooled V8 engine, no brakes, no lights, and no tail wheel - just a tailskid. The aircraft was purchased by a Chicago-area detective agency after the infamous St. Valentine's Day gangland massacre, and was used to transport a bloodhound. Picture Elliot Ness and the Untouchables, big black sedans, Tommy guns, flappers doing the Charleston, and a detective flying off to hound an escaping criminal with his trusty tracking dog.

The OX-5 was replaced by a Wright J5 air-cooled radial engine similar to the one used by Charles Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis. With this change, the aircraft became a Travel Air 4000. The first time the new engine was tested, however, the procedure was interrupted by a radio announcement that Pearl Harbor had been attacked. After the war the aircraft was used for crop dusting in Texas and Oklahoma. The J5 was replaced with an Army Continental W670 tank engine.

Completely restored in 1992, Travel Air NC674H is now literally better than new. It's updated with modern materials, and is painted in factory original blue and orange colors. A newly overhauled and chromed Continental W670 aircraft engine has also been installed, along with a new propeller. A modern 3-place intercom permits conversation among passengers and pilot. Dual controls allow this aircraft to be used for popular You-Fly-It rides for one passenger flights.

In 1995 Barnstorming Adventures acquired a second Travel Air biplane, NC3242. Built in 1927 as a Model 2000, the aircraft was first owned by Travel Airlines in Atlanta.  It was used, along with 4 other Travel Airs, to transport mail. The Tennessee Power and Light Company bought the aircraft in 1937. They operated it until 1941, when it was purchased by an aero club for $50.

After WWII, and through the '60s, NC3242 was also used for crop dusting in Texas. The 90hp OX-5 and wooden Falen propeller were replaced with a new powerplant, a whopping 300 HP Lycoming R-680 radial engine, and a Hamilton-Standard 2B-20 constant-speed propeller. In the early '70s the aircraft was moved to Idaho, restored, and used for joy rides as part of Captain Eddie's Flying Circus. Recently re-painted, NC3242 now sports the same factory original blue and orange paint scheme as her sister ship NC674H.

Of the 1400 Travel Air biplanes built between 1924 and 1930, when the company was sold to Curtiss-Wright, approximately 200 remain on the FAA registry. Roughly 50 are still in flyable condition, though most are seldom flown. Barnstorming Adventures' two Travel Airs are flown, and loved, more than any others in the world.