Some of you might remember my story back in 2003 of how I used my Stearman to mow down trees and power lines in Eagle, Alaska. A couple of years ago I moved the Stearman to Eagle permanently. Interior Alaska is a dry, desert-like climate, a perfect place to store an old wood and fabric plane. Not having to fight the wind, rain and fog (not to mention crossing 80 miles of ocean getting in and out of Kodiak, my home) was another incentive.
So now, FK108 starts the Fourth of July parade every year. I built a hangar right in downtown Eagle (population 103) one 100 mile one lane gravel road in the summer (no road in the winter).So when it’s time to fly, I fire up, taxi down Second Avenue, turn right at the library, then left on First Avenue. Two blocks west and I’m at the airstrip. It’s a leftover from the Army fort there during the Klondike Gold Rush of 1898.
On the 4th down the airstrip and hide behind the mountain just down the Yukon River from town until it looks like the calliope has finished playing its tunes. Then I head down Main Street, just a little above windmill height (also left over from the Gold Rush). I’m followed by a parade of old cars, fire engine, horses, kids on bikes and anyone else who wants to join in. After a few more passes and sometimes a loop or two, it’s back to land and Stearman rides for anybody who wants one. A special treat for me this year was a Stearman ride for my friend Squeaky in trade for letting me drive his Model T Ford. Maybe someone else can help me make it a Two-plane Fly-in sometime.