There is nothing like heading out to a country airfield on a sunny day, smelling the mown grass on the runway, and hearing the resonant sound of an old radial engine being fired up. There’s a biplane out there, and rides are being offered on it!
The Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome in Red Hook offers these 15-minute rides from June to October, before and after their weekend airshows.
Three or four swashbuckling passengers at a time pull on fabric caps and goggles, get a safety briefing, and walk toward the 1929 New Standard open-cockpit biplane.
The vintage smell of engine oil and fabric stretched over the wings harks right back to the barnstormer era. Passengers climb in, buckle up, and the plane taxis out to the runway. With a roar, the 235-horsepower Wright Whirlwind radial takes them down the bouncy runway and up into the blue skies above.
The wind and prop wash at 80 mph roar past everyone’s ears and sing loudly in the wires and struts between the wings. The bucolic Dutchess County countryside stretches out below as the plane climbs to about 1,000 feet and approaches the long silvery line of the Hudson, with the bluish Catskills rising beyond. The pilot banks back over the Hudson and, approaching Red Hook, he puts the plane into some climbs and dives and some steeply banked turns. This is real flying!
All too soon, the plane lands back at the Aerodrome and the passengers step out. What a lifetime experience!
Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome, 9 Norton Rd, Red Hook, https://oldrhinebeck.org, 845.752.3200
Weekends, June–October, 10 a.m.–dusk; weekdays by reservation, depending on pilot availability. Two passengers per flight minimum.