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A 1942 Stearman in the Vintage Air Rally

Short Flights


May 26, 2018

Photo provided

Diane Barney by her 1946 Piper J-3 Cub.

Living and working around Mojave Air & Spaceport is always exciting! We feel so fortunate to be surrounded by a community of aerospace design engineers and home-builders at our home field. There are two young engineers who work at Virgin Galactic's TSC (TheSpaceShipCompany) who were selected to participate in an extremely challenging air rally called The Vintage Air Rally Ushuaia2USA. Ushuaia is the capital of Tierra del Fuego, Antártida e Islas del Atlántico Sur Province, Argentina.

Tehachapi resident, Dustin Mosher and Mojave resident, Diane Barney were chosen as one of the four teams from the United States of America. They will be flying a 1942 Boeing (Stearman) powered with a 330 horsepower Lycoming R-680, nine cylinder, air-cooled radial engine.

Dustin and Diane picked the Stearman up in Houston, Texas and flew it home to Tehachapi in March 2018. It was another adventure for these two intrepid pilots. They flew Diane's Grumman Tiger to Houston and then took turns flying the Stearman and Tiger back home.

675 teams applied for the Vintage Air Rally from 73 countries: four teams from the USA were chosen; two from the UK; two from Australia; one from Brazil; one from France; one from Ireland; one from Norway; one from Poland and two from Italy. We are so proud that Dustin and Diane will be representing the USA.

The airplane has to be taken apart and shipped to the world's southernmost airport, then reassembled and readied for the incredible 9,200 mile journey that will cover 19 countries. The Vintage Air Rally Ushuaia2USA will take off from Ushuaia in November 2018 and will take six weeks to complete, ending in Florida. A rally such as this has never been done before in South America – and follows on from the successful 2016 VintageAirRally Crete2Cape.

The VintageAirRally is the brainchild of Sandhurst-trained British Army helicopter pilot Sam Rutherford. After years flying special missions, he decided to create the VintageAirRally.

The history of the Stearman is interesting. Designed by Lloyd Stearman, Boeing Aviation started building Stearmans in 1933. During World War II, the Stearman Kaydet (as it was officially named), was the only American aircraft used by both the Army Air Corps and the Navy. After the war, Stearmans were refitted with a Pratt & Whitney 450 h.p. engine. For added reliability, while doing aerobatics and wing walking, an injected fuel system and provisions for uninterrupted fuel and oil supply while inverted have also been added, making this plane at home right side up or upside down.

Diane is an amazing young woman and no stranger to adventures. She served in the U.S. Air Force for 10 years; graduated Perdue University with Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering degree. She worked at Scaled Composites as a Liaison Engineer and presently as a Flight Test Analyst Engineer (Consultant/Independent Contractor) at The Spaceship Company.

Last year she was in North Carolina with a family emergency, but when there was a complete recovery and everything seemed to be OK, she happened to look at a post on Barnstormers and found a 1946 Piper J-3 Cub for sale in South Carolina. Looking turned into buying and since this Air Force veteran doesn't really like to fly commercial, she decided to fly her new Cub home to Mojave!

Photo provided

Dustin Mosher's 1942 Boeing-Steaman in flight.

She took off on September 7 and arrived at Tehachapi Airport on September 13. She chose KTPI because her hand-held radio was giving some problems. She had to stay overnight in Apple Valley when she ran out of daylight. Arrived KTPI at 11 a.m. on the 13th! Seven days, 29 flights, 36.2 hours of flying, 2012 nautical miles at 80 mph! Wonderful adventure – and a real inspiration to all who love to fly.

Dustin also has a sweet little 1947 Cessna 120 with a Continental 85 engine. He studied Aerospace Engineering at Embry Riddle in Arizona, and he is from Yorba Linda, Calif. He is happiest in the air, but he also loves Bluegrass music and is pretty good on the fiddle and banjo!

He won the spot landing contest in his Cessna 120 at the recent Antelope Valley Ninety-Nines Poker Run barbeque that was held at William J. Fox Airfield in Lancaster.

Wishing the best of luck to Dustin and Diane and I promise to keep everyone posted on their flight progress in the VintageAirRally!

See you on our next flight!


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