We founded Twin City Barnstormers for one reason - to Share the Miracle of Flight. By going aloft in an open cockpit biplane, viewing the lush landscape below framed by two bright yellow wings, our passengers gain a unique perspective of three dimensional movement through space. There are no TSA security lines here. No staring out a tiny porthole window at 30,000 feet. This is the Golden Age of Flight, exemplified by the historical significance of both the airplane we fly, the airport from which we operate.
Our PT-17 (Boeing Stearman) is the real thing - a beautifully restored 1941 training aircraft. Except for the electronic equipment required for flight under the Minneapolis Class B Airspace, this airplane is all stock - from its 220HP Continental 670 Radial Engine to the wood and fabric wings and tail section. Painted in Army Air Corps colors, our Stearman represents the thousands built in the early 1940s to serve as primary trainers for Army and Navy pilots. With its rugged airframe, simple design, and highly responsive dual controls, the Stearman proved itself as the perfect airplane for new pilots to hone their stick and rudder skills. It is a hero of sorts because it played a critical part in creating our nation's greatest generation of WWII Sky Warriors.
Our base of operations - Historic Stanton Airfield - also played a role in training up those pilots who went on to battle the enemy in both the European and Pacific theaters of war. Carleton College, along with other universities across the country, joined the war effort in the early 1940s to help the Army Air Corps train up thousands of pilots. The school bought the land, created an airport, and began teaching pilots in its classrooms and airplanes. Today, with the original 1940s hangar still standing, and its original grass landing strips, Carleton Airport (now Stanton Airfield) holds a spot on the National Register of Historic Places.
While not a WWII relic, Jeff Peterson can at least claim VFW status. He is a retired Air Force pilot who served over 20 years on active duty and in the reserves, including one year as an air advisor to the Afghan Air Force. As an Air Force instructor pilot, Jeff enjoyed taking countless students through the complex maze of pilot training. He would've been in his prime teaching WWII pilots in the Stearman. Today he continues to share his love of flying as an Instructor Pilot at Stanton Airfield, an Adjunct Professor of Aviation at Minnesota State University, Mankato, and, of course, as a barnstormer pilot for Twin City Barnstormers. He is also an FAA Certified Flight Instructor (CFI, CFII, MEI.)