It was another big birthday for Ben so I asked him if he would like a party or a surprise adventure. He chose the surprise, I may have given him some encouragement for that one. And surprised he was!
I sent him flying on a Stearman Biplane!
On the day of his surprise I had him get dressed in his khakis and boots. This started to give him a clue as to what he was going to do, but he still had no idea. Of course when the GPS told us to turn left and there was an airport right in front of us he began to know what was up! He still didn't know what type of plane though.
Before he could find out though, I made Ben open a gift. A good friend of ours is a WW2 reenactor so he loaned me a leather jacket, hat an goggles to give Ben the right look. Now Ben had figured out what era plane it was.
The pilot Mike was so great, he kept the hanger door closed and waited for the grand reveal! He opened the door up and Ben's face just beamed with excitement! It was a 1943 Stearman Biplane used for training Navy pilots. Mike had even hung a Happy Birthday banner on the plane!
The plane was sparkling in the sun, it was beautifully maintained! We could tell it is very well loved!
They took off out of Compton Woodley Airport and flew around Palos Verdes penisula and Long Beach. They saw the Queen Mary and USS Iowa. Normally Mike says he sees dolphins, but today was flipper-less.
They did a low pass over a R/C event at the airport with smoke on.
After their flyover of the airport they were off, flying down the CA coast. While they were over the ocean (out of camera range) they did all sorts of fun aerobatic maneuvers, Ben tried to remember them all: a loop, hammerhead (loop over the wing edge), aileron roll, humptydump (climb stall), and a barrel roll. Since I couldn't get pictures of these you'll have to enjoy our "doctored" photo! You can't really tell which way is up...
And he even gave Ben a little flying lesson and let him fly the plane! Dream come true!
After a 45 minute wait (while Carolyn ate her lunch) they were back!
Look at that big-ol' grin!
Ben said this on his facebook page, "Such an incredible time with a great pilot! Thanks for introducing me to the sky, Mike!"
Ben gave Carolyn a tour of the airplane and explained aeronautics to her. She listened intently to him and began saying "Up, up up!" while pointing up!
This post was not a sponsored post, but I highly recommend treating someone you love to such an amazing adventure! You can visit Mike's website Biplane Fun here.
Happy 35th Birthday Ben! I love you!