Located on the grass strip parallel to Sun ‘N Fun Runway 9-27, Olivers Flying Circus is offering biplane rides for four in one of only seven New Standard D-25s still flying, allowing patrons to experience the thrill of open-cockpit flight from the golden age of aviation.
In 1928, The New Standard Aircraft Company was founded in Paterson, New Jersey by famous barnstormer Ivan Gates of the Gates Flying Circus and aircraft designer Charles Day. The D-25 was purpose-built for Gates and resulted in a plane that could take aloft four paying passengers instead of the typical one or two.
The New Standard was easy to fly, capable of operating out of small fields due to its high-lift wings and 45-foot wingspan, and featured rugged, wide-stance landing gear ideally suited to coping with rough farm fields. Most importantly, the increased passenger capacity meant a pilot could carry as many as 40 passengers an hour. Reportedly in 1929 the Gates Flying Circus took over 100,000 passengers into the skies for the flight of a lifetime.
Aerobatic performer Steve Oliver and his wife, skywriter Suzanne Asbury-Oliver, purchased the 1929 plane in 1998 from the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome and embarked on an eight-year restoration, bringing the plane back to airworthy condition and returning it to it’s originally-intended purpose. “It’s doing what it was designed for — barnstorming! — and sharing the magic of flight with passengers,” says Steve Oliver. “The experience of flight is so dramatic in an open cockpit, experienced commercial pilots are just as excited as someone who has never flown before, because it’s comparable to going from traveling in an enclosed car to a convertible or a motorcycle. What a thrill! It’s all laughs, smiles and back-slapping among every group we’ve taken up in it.”
Other than its radio and transponder, the only modernizations on the plane are seat cushion upgrades. Ride-hoppers sit in comfort on leather-covered seating while cruising at 80 miles an hour, 1,000 feet above the earth for a truly authentic flight experience.
There are no age or weight restrictions for passengers. The plane boasts a 1,100-pound payload capacity, reports a stall speed of 35 mph, and lands at 40 mph, powered by its Wright Whirlwind J-6-7 engine. The biplane can be reserved for fly-ins, private jaunts, corporate outings, community events, and even for weddings and honeymoons. In addition to trips around the pattern, longer options can be reserved, including Champagne Sunset Cruises for four persons, by calling 303-478-4853. If you’re at Sun ‘N Fun, don’t miss it!