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flying circusWho hasn’t heard or seen in the movies the crazy antics of the 1920’s barnstormers with their flying circus pilots and wing walkers.  But have you seen anything like them in person?  I hadn’t until a recent Sunday afternoon.

I first learned of the Flying Circus Airshow near Bealeton, Virginia last summer.  I wanted to visit and see their performance, but one thing leads to another and before we had a chance to make the trip their season was over  So this year I was determined not to miss it!

This Flying Circus has been thrilling crowds for 44 years, making it one of the nation’s longest running airshows.  Pilots of these beautiful old planes come out every Sunday afternoon from May through October to provide good clean family fun.

Just as in the days of old when barnstormers flew in and landed in farmers’ fields, these pilots land and take off from a grassy field.  The Master of Ceremonies is dressed in clothes that are memorable of those days as well; white pants and shoes, a red striped shirt and straw hat. flying circus

The music being played over speakers is from the 1920’s and 30’s.  All of these things put together add to the feeling of going back in time and feeling the excitement of seeing those planes fly in to perform.

The show begins with a parachutist floating to earth with an American Flag flowing in the wind as the National Anthem plays.

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Then the biplanes take to the air flying in formation and performing maneuvers they would have been trained to perform in the days these planes were used in World War I and II.  The acrobatics are beautiful when seen performed by these wonderfully painted flying machines!

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Gorgeous black and white plane performing acrobatics.

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Three planes in formation.

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Directly overhead.

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Upside down.  A little, no a lot too scary for me!

I thoroughly enjoyed the entire circus, but my favorite part had to be the wing walker.  He exits his seat in the plane while it’s in the air and climbs to the wing with no straps or harness; nothing to prevent him from falling.  Then he proceeded to walk the wing and perform skills such as the “human dart”.  Last, but not least, he climbed to the top wing where he strapped himself in by the ankles and rode the wing as the pilot performed acrobatic maneuvers.

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Wing walker performing the “human dart”.  Do you see him between the wings hanging on to the wires while his legs soar out behind him?

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Once again, the “human dart”.

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Wing walker riding the top wing.

If you’re feeling especially adventurous you can join in the fun by hopping in the front seat of one of these vintage planes while the pilot takes you to the sky.

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Pretty red biplane.

It was such a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon.  If you live nearby or are traveling through Virginia, I urge you to take the time to visit the Flying Circus.  To learn more about cost, hours, etc. check out their website at The Flying Circus Airshow.




P.S. Did you know that biplanes are still being manufactured?  The WACO Classic Aircraft Corporation of Battlecreek, Michigan has been manufacturing them since 1991.

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