CLINTON — The circus had a two-day run in Clinton, but this spectacle did not have a ringleader or trapeze artists.
Inspired by the flying circus of the 1930s, three vintage biplanes from the American Barnstorming Tour arrived at the Clinton Municipal Airport on Wednesday for an extravaganza that offered rides to any and all willing passengers.
“Anyone from ages 4 to 104,” 1929 Travel Air 4000 Pilot Clay Adams said.
The three planes were active Wednesday, totaling out 18 rides for the day. But people were reluctant to come out because of hot temperatures.
“We were hoping for a few more but the heat has been keeping people away,” Gypsy Air Tours co-owner Kerryann DiLoreto said.
Although temperatures were cooler on Thursday, a low cloud ceiling delayed the day’s events for nearly an hour before the sun started to peak out and the clouds began to lift.
Once it became safe to fly, the 1929 WACO Taperwing and pilot Josh Brownell took off into the sky with two eager passengers on board for a once-in-a-lifetime tour of the city.
Tim Keister remembers his experience from last year when the American Barnstorming Tour made a stopover in Clinton and gave him an opportunity to fly in one of the vintage biplanes.
“I had never seen Clinton from the air before,” Keister said. “That was pretty neat.”
He, his wife, Casey, and their two children, Ben and Lila, enjoyed meeting the Barnstormers and exploring all the planes that were on display at the airport.
One of those Barnstormers, Ted Davis, pilots the 1929 New Standard D-25, and has been flying for 37 years.
Although he is a commercial pilot, Davis does not work for an airline but instead uses the New Standard for its intended purpose — giving rides.
“There were only 72 of these made and only seven left that all are flying,” Davis said.