Tales of Fly Baby Pilots and Owners
One nice thing about the Internet is its immediacy. For
years, I've come home from flying my 'Baby and posted about the
fun, goofy, or improbable things that happened on the
just-completed flight. These usually aren't written all that
well, but I think they indicate just how much fun a Fly Baby is.
Most of the stories below are written by myself, but some
are written by other pilots who have caught the Fly Baby
bug. Click the buttons above for the general categories.
- Nouvelle Classique started life as
a posting to the newsgroup net.aviation back in 1988. After
posting it, I cleaned it up quite a bit and sent it to KITPLANES
magazine. It was my first sale.
- Here's Jerry David's account of the first flight of his Fly Baby Bipe.
- Chuck Davis' first flight
- Chris Eulberg's first flight in Punkin.
- Drew's first flight in the restored Stringbag.
- It's not a first flight, but here's a Fly
Baby and Pietenpol comparison.
- It's not a first flight, either, but here's the story behind a
record-breaking Fly Baby
These stories cover both the aircraft side and the
personal-equipment side of Fly Baby ownership
Ron Wanttaja's Stories
(Jump to latest stories)
- A Fly Baby TV Star? Check out Lights!
Camera! Fly Baby! (April 1991).
- Dogfight ! I get bounced by
an RV-3 and the fight is on! (November 1993)
- Rain Dance . Always wondered
what would happen when you flew an open-cockpit plane in the
rain. (December 1991)
- Two big do'ins in one day: The Fly
Baby gets a radio for the first time, and I end up taking
off and landing in a vicious crosswind. (May 1990)
- Bad judgment inexplicably fails to kill me during A Bad Day at Black Rock . Names and key
details have been changed
- I got asked, "What do you do during long
boring flights? " Here's my answer.... (September
- The Moonraker saga. Back in 1994, my flying was
brought to an abrupt halt when Fly Baby N500F was sold and the
club disbanded. Here's the articles that described getting
my new Fly Baby, which I subsequently dubbed "Moonraker":
- I say farewell to a Fly Baby friend in Goodbye,
John . May 1995.
- Need help keeping the airplanes on the taxiway? Call for The Furry Dispatcher ! (September 1996)
- What about Fly Babies in cold weather ?
Here's a net posting and a set of pictures from when I flew my
'Baby on a reasonably cold day. (December 1996)
- It wasn't the Doolittle raid, but Thirty
Seconds Over Elma catches the flavor of flour-bombing from
a Fly Baby. (Fall 1996)
- Some folks may like dragging their airplane-driving heinies
out of bed at O-Dark-Thirty, but me and a couple of Fly Baby
buddies prefer to sleep late. Here's both parts of my Noon Patrol postings from November, 1997.
- Too low, too slow, and I learn a little Humility (April 1998)
- I take Moonraker as far as I've ever gone, in The Long Trip (September 1998)
- I say goodbye to a nautical legend in Goodbye,
Mighty Mo (September 1998)
- After years, I finally get a hangar to myself in Alone Again (Unnaturally)
- Spooky doings at Auburn Airport, as documented in The Auburn Witch Project . Only
peripherally Fly Baby-related, but interesting nonetheless.
- Here's an April Fool's story I
posted in 1999. I normally fly a small wooden homebuilt,
but this is "PIREP" from when I took the controls of one of the
world's BIGGEST wooden "homebuilts." The three strangest
things about this story: First, it's totally true, second,
the "homebuilt" was the "USS Enterprise" in one of the Star Trek
movies, third...well, I had the controls as we took it into
- Astronomers have their own definition, but here's how I know
it's The First Day of Summer . This
day included a rather hairy takeoff from a remote strip,
too. (June, 2000)
- Sometimes all Sky Fever needs is a
Fly Baby fix. April 2001.
- A flight of one becomes Two, Impromptu
. June 2001.
- Where did the Fly Baby come from? Check out the Story Story . (August 2001)
- Kick up your heels and have a hot time at the Runway Dance ! (August 2001)
- A weekend with a lot of variety...The
Biker, the Babes, and the 'Baby . (December 2001).
- Fly Baby pilots don't have as many worries as the heavy
iron. But we do get Gauge Problems
the Big Guys Don't Have...
- Foxes have their dens, and birds have their nests.
Eventually, though, my wooden bird had to go through Changing Nests . (January 2002)
- Fly Baby Gathering Stories - 2002 was the 40th anniversary of
the Fly Baby design, and celebrations were held at Flabob California and Arlington Washington.
- The Dunderbirds Imprecision Flying
Team. Those Air Force guys have nothing to worry
about.... [July 2003]
- After posting a few Fly Baby photos and drawings that featured
some Photoshop magic or other imagination with drawing tools, I
got asked to put together a web page consisting solely of these
airplanes-that-might-have been. See the Altered States page.
- Cold-weather flying is more fun, when you include messing with the airport staff's minds.
- Keeping the Students Off-Balance
isn't a bad idea, either....
- Shooting Video with
- Nose art and watercolor Fly
- Whether it's the Super Bowl or the local aerodrome, a Wardrobe Malfunction is
- More messing with minds, and a glorious cloud-clip, on a New Years Flight.
- Eventually, the inspection torch is passed, in The Changing of the Guard
- A Poem for Old Tail Dragger
Pilots, by Wendell Davenport
- Hevle Classic Pilot
- Two pilots meet, and render Passing
- When the weather's questionable for flight, start out by Sniffin' the Wind.
- I finally get a new jacket, in The
Webmaster's New Clothes.
- On Scarves
- Do-si-do your compass, with the Hillbilly Swing
- (Whispers) - what it's *really*
like to fly a Fly Baby
- Carbon Monoxide problems in
an open cockpit? You're kidding, right?
- Doctor Frankentire. A
flat tire, a flat pocketbook, and flat-out of prospects of
finding a replacement tire for the last few miles to get to
Oshkosh. All Ross needed was a sharp knife, an old bit of
scrap tire, and a bit of safety wire....
- Sometimes you have to deal with varying Points
- Idle Threat
- A $40 Radio Control Fly Baby
- A little bit serious, a little bit tongue-in-cheek, about Wind-Driven Generators
- I go way cheap on equipping Moonraker with a new
radio, in Full Metal Velcro
- We've covered leather jackets and scarves, now let's tackle goggles.
- I must have pretty low tastes...I like Enjoying
- Proverbs? I like the one about Shoes
- Want to give rides in a Fly Baby?
You can! Sorta....
- Electrical system problems return...and are vanquished...in Spark, Redux.
Force pamphet on the basics of flight operations.
This dates from about 1941, and has a lot of cartoons showing
cute Fly-Baby-like airplanes.
- The original Russian helmet conversion
didn't stand the test of time, but converting
to use IPOD ear buds looks like a great solution.
- The Goodyear brakes start acting up again, so I replace them
with Grove wheels and brakes.
- It's either $2,000 for a new tach drive on the engine, or $50 for an electronic tach.
- When you're ten or fifty, "Messing with
Models" can have a different definition.
- Ron gets hit by a Ghost Gust
- Water going to get into the hangar? Check out Ron's Dam Solution.... (scroll down to the bottom)
- Tired, worn out? A Fly Baby makes a dandy Stimulus Package.
- Two years without an air show appearance, and it's time for a
- A little bit on Army Air Corps/Army
Air Force paint schemes
- After years of writing about slipping occasional flights in
among a killer work schedule, the Pressure's
- The Masked Marvel Rides Again
- The Songs They Sang. The
stories behind some of the most famous pilot songs.
- Sometimes, there's nothing worse than Car
- I find a frisky new Playmate.
- Leather Jackets for the Open-Cockpit
- I see an illustration of Situational
- Superstitious? Me?
Well, maybe a little....
- The weather looks weird, in Eye of the
- Sometimes even a Fly Baby can be Blending
- Bizarre Mod? Maybe, but a Fly Baby might make a cool Morane
- Cold again, time to show the Red Nose
- Meeting a long-ago friend, in Two
- Every wonder where my plane's name came from? Why "Moonraker"?, indeed....
- Time to discuss Leather Helmets
- Summer Breeze (makes me feel fine)
- A Piper pays proper respect to a
- Even 85 horsepower is enough to give one a Power Trip...at altitude, of
- Do Fly Babies frolic? Here's video,
making that claim....
- Video Games often have a Cheat Code.
Get worried if you think you found one for a Fly Baby....
- Weight lifting, Fly Baby driving. Doesn't seem like
there should be anything alike, but purposes come together when
one is Dropping the Bar.
- Aw, come on...who doesn't like Cat
and Baby Pictures?
- "Trumping the Oil" has nothing to
do with Presidential candidates, but there's still a bit about
- A gorgeous Fly Baby
painting by Leslie Allen.
- What might a Space Fly Baby look like? Better check Altered States!
- Building a new Fun Meter
- Gasp! Could it be? Could Ron actually have a flight where nothing weird, exotic, or
- Flying again with an Old Friend
- Take a look at Ron's Slightly
Bullens owns a Fly Baby biplane, and has been writing stories
about this own flying experiences.
The Stringbag Saga
A hangar fell on Drew Fidoe's Fly
Baby (!), and he spent about ten years restoring it. He gave
in a WWII RAF paint scheme, and has named it "Stringbag" in honour
of the Royal Navy's Swordfish torpedo biplane.
Matt Michaels (aka
John Hudson Tiner
There have been a couple of folks who have written poetry about Fly
Babies and/or their relationship to them.
- Wendell Davenport is a dedicated Fly Baby pilot. A
couple of years back, he figured age had finally caught up with
him and it was time to sell his beloved Fly Baby. But he
missed it so much that a year or so later, he bought another
one. A POEM FOR OLD TAIL
DRAGGER PILOTS helps to explain why....
- Robert Gellock's friend Lowell Holschwandner built himself a
Fly Baby over a four-year period, because HE WANTED TO FLY.
- "Brain" Kissenger only owned his Fly Baby for a few months
when he penned, "WHY I FLY"
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