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Who else still alive has ever flown in a commercially-operated biplane?

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Who else still alive has ever flown in a commercially-operated biplane?

Old 11th Nov 2017, 19:26
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Who else still alive has ever flown in a commercially-operated biplane?

I have. Have any of you? Or do any of you know anyone still alive now who has? Or have a y of you ever been a pilot in a commercially-operated biplane?

And the reason for the flight cannot have been only to fly in a biplane (as might be done at a museum), but either for transportation or for an aerial tour -- "flightseeing".

My one flight in a commercially-operated biplane was out of the Beirut airport in 1950 with my family, and was only for "flightseeing", touring the area by air.

I realized some time ago that what my family and I got to do back then was rather unusual, even back then, and that it is probably quite rare nowadays for anyone still alive now to have ever flown in a commercially-operated biplane -- not one that people fly in only because it is a biplane.

Thanks in advance for any replies!

Last edited by ConnieLover; 11th Nov 2017 at 19:45. Reason: Clarifying what I am asking
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Old 11th Nov 2017, 19:38
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If a pleasure flight in a DH-84 around Blackpool Tower counts, then I have.
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Old 11th Nov 2017, 20:19
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A ride up to Docklands and back in Mike Hood's pleasure flight Rapide from Biggin Hill and one of Air Atlantique's Rapides for a sightseeing tour of Brighton out of Shoreham.

Also had a tour of Key West in a Waco UPF-7 flown by Fred Cabanas - that was a commercial operation.
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Old 11th Nov 2017, 20:30
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Rapide out of Lands End around the Longships lighthouse, mid '60s. Cost me 17/6. A lot of pocket money!
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Old 11th Nov 2017, 20:32
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Thanks for the very speedy replies!

That is wonderful! When were those flights?

Hmmmmm..... methinks there may be a gray area in my question. One could have -- as yhou did -- flown in a commercially-operated biplane both to "flightsee" and because the aircraft used was a biplane.

OK, then -- has anyone still alive ever flown in or been a pilot for a commercially-operated biplane operated purely for transportation?

Thanks for any replies!

Last edited by ConnieLover; 11th Nov 2017 at 20:36. Reason: Replying to all posts, and asking a more specific question
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Old 11th Nov 2017, 20:35
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A first flight ever in a Rapide at Croydon in 1947; lasted 15 minutes and cost 10/6d. I later flew Tiger Moths there myself 10 years later.
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Old 11th Nov 2017, 21:06
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Originally Posted by Buster11 View Post
A first flight ever in a Rapide at Croydon in 1947; lasted 15 minutes and cost 10/6d. I later flew Tiger Moths there myself 10 years later.
Thanks, Buster11! That was a very speedy reply! Wow..... Your experiences are incredible and wonderful! What did you think of the Tiger Moth as far as bow easy she was to fly? (SLF here, so do not know anything about that, other than what I read on the web.)

I asked my question because I had no way of knowing how unusual what I had gotten to do was, and because I like to read stories of what others have gotten to do.
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Old 11th Nov 2017, 21:11
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In 1960 I flew on several normal scheduled Rapide flights of Sierra Leone Airways. They had 2 Rapides used for all internal services operating from Hastings (Freetown) to Bo and Kenema. I worked for Shell Ghana and these were business visits (I was responsible for finding sites for new petrol stations).
Refuelling at Kenema by our Aviation Service was by hand pump from 44 ig drums through a large funnel with a beautiful big chamois leather as water filter.
I remember chatting to one pilot who was ex RAF Polish.
When I was posted to Shell Sierra Leone in 1963 I was disappointed to find the Rapides had been replaced by Twin Pins. I was told they had found white ant in the Rapides' wooden wing frames, and I was shown the pile of ashes in the corner of Hastings Airport where they had been burnt.

PS in 1952 I lived in Jersey and tried .but failed to save up the fare to fly on the Jersey Airways Rapides to Guernsey, but my wife did fly about that time with her mother from Gibraltar to Tangier on Gibraltar Airways Rapides (her father was working in Gibraltar).
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Old 11th Nov 2017, 21:38
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In the former USSR, Aeroflot has operated the An-2 on short commuter runs until not that long ago. If this fits your requirements, there may well be several 1000 of those passengers around today.
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Old 11th Nov 2017, 21:51
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A company called Tigerfly used to operate a Tiger Moth commercially from Booker until half a dozen years ago.

I think that there's still a Dragon Rapide being thus operated at Duxford.

I did some work about a decade ago to get an N3N-3 being operated commercially for tourist flights from Sandown, and I believe it was for several years.

Aren't there still AN2s being used for crop spraying in Russia?

G
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Old 11th Nov 2017, 22:43
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DH.83 Fox Moth off Southport beach, probably 1970. Open cockpit, closed passenger cabin.

An-2 (Slovak reg, UK base) operating in the UK as a skydiving aircraft in the 1990s, which it was perfect for with a 45 knot run in speed. That was real transport, to get me up there. Took for ever to get up to altitude though. More takeoffs than landings . Quite a recent build, 1980s, they were built in Poland by then. The "fabric" on the wings is actually a plastic.

DH.89 Dragon Rapide out of Duxford.

Here by London City the Duxford DH.89 is a regular weekend overhead performer. Some years more than others, but this year, 2017, they seem to have notably picked up. That distinctive tinkling engine sound always has me out into the back garden to watch it make it's stately way overhead.
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Old 12th Nov 2017, 01:08
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I've been a passenger in a civilianised DH.89B Dominie which was being used to operate commercial passenger services.


And I've been a passenger in a DH.83 Fox Moth and a DH.90 Dragonfly (both on the same day) on scenic flights while being operated commercially.


The Dominie flight was last century, but the Fox Moth and Dragonfly flights were both this century.
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Old 12th Nov 2017, 01:41
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Oh, my! Thank you, each and every one of you, for the fascinating replies! I had no idea any De Havillands were still around and flying!

FourWings --
That poor biplane -- her wings got eaten by ants? I guess burning her up was the only certain way to get rid of those awful ants. A pile os ashes......

WHBM --
Thanks so much for the description of the Dragon Rapide's typical sounds -- "tinkling". And they are stately when they fly? That is wonderful. I have no memory at all of what that biplane I flew in sounded like, only a faint memory of flying in it. I do have a photograph my father took of it just before we got on. There are a lot of people in that picture, so her tail number is partly obscured.

Last edited by ConnieLover; 12th Nov 2017 at 02:04.
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Old 12th Nov 2017, 04:06
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I flew in DH 84 Dragon G-ADDI from Luton on a sightseeing trip on 8 Dec 1964. The flight lasted about 20 min and we 'surveyed' Hatfield and Radlett(it was a weekend so they were both closed)
The flight represented several 'firsts; for me:-
First in a biplane.
First in a civil registered aircraft (only flown in RAF aircraft as an ATC cadet prior to that)
First with a female pilot - Claire Roberts; wife of the owner/operator of tha aircraft.
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Old 12th Nov 2017, 04:08
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Originally Posted by WHBM View Post
DH.89 Dragon Rapide out of Duxford.

Here by London City the Duxford DH.89 is a regular weekend overhead performer. Some years more than others, but this year, 2017, they seem to have notably picked up. That distinctive tinkling engine sound always has me out into the back garden to watch it make it's stately way overhead.[/LEFT]

Is that the one which 'bookworm' flies?
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Old 12th Nov 2017, 06:57
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There are at least two Dragon Rapides and two Tiger Moths doing pleasure flights from Duxford daily from March until October.
They've been there for over 25 years so that's going to add up to a lot of passengers.
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Old 12th Nov 2017, 07:03
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Originally Posted by ConnieLover View Post
That poor biplane -- her wings got eaten by ants? I guess burning her up was the only certain way to get rid of those awful ants. A pile os ashes......
.
By no means unknown in the tropics with timber-framed aircraft. A number of DH.89 with various colonial operators were eaten beyond repair by termites.
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Old 12th Nov 2017, 07:11
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As mentioned

Classic Wings ? Classic vintage flights and flying lessons at IWM Duxford

Dragon Rapide Flights ? Classic Wings
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Old 12th Nov 2017, 08:15
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Flew in a AN2 based at Popham earlier this year.
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Old 12th Nov 2017, 08:16
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Flight from Heathrow over London in a Rapide of ‘Aggie’s Airways’ in the early ‘50’s.Hard to believe now, but we walked through a wooden fence to get onto the airfield and the area was still fairly rural as I remember.
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