05/21/04 — Vintage airplanes visit Wayne

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Vintage airplanes visit Wayne

By Sam Atkins
Published in News on May 21, 2004 2:02 PM

PIKEVILLE -- The bright skies of Wayne County were a haven Thursday for nine vintage aircraft. Aviation enthusiasts of all ages anxiously awaited their arrival.

Around 9:30 a.m., a Waco ZPF-7 airplane made a fly-by and landed at the Goldsboro-Wayne County Airport near Pikeville.

It was followed by eight others flying at an average height of 1,500 feet and average speed of 80 miles per hour.

Randy Smith's Stearman A-75

Bobby Williams

This Stearman A-75, owned and piloted by Randy Smith of Durham, is one of nine vintage aircraft that landed Thursday at the Goldsboro-Wayne Airport.

"It is great to see all of the types and styles and what they used to look like," said April Aycock, who was watching the event with her 5-year-old son, Evan.

Evan smiled and pointed.

"Wow!" he said as each one landed.

The North Carolina Vintage Air Tour made its first stop in Goldsboro during a five-day, 800-mile journey across the state in a celebration of the history of flight. Visitors could look at the planes and meet the pilots and crews for a couple of hours. The award-winning aircraft were from the 1920s, '30s and '40s.

The tour is making several stops. The planes arrived in Sanford on Wednesday. After coming through Goldsboro, the stops include Manteo, Kill Devil Hills, Beaufort, Salisbury, Asheville and then back to Sanford. The tour ends Sunday.

The planes included a New Standard D-25, a Fairchild 22, a Cessna 120, a Stearman A-75, a Douglas DC-3, a Ryan Navion A, a Great Lakes 2T-1A and a Piper Vagabond.

They were grouped by speed and refueled before heading to their next destination, Manteo.

There were also two support planes, one carrying the sound equipment and the other that trailed behind to make sure everything went smoothly.

Many of the planes have their original engines. The pilots are paying for their own fuel, room and board for the trip. They did manage to get a free meal during their stop in Wayne County.

Jim and Betty Mack watched the show with their dog "T.J."

Mack, 69, is a retired major in the U.S. Air Force and was stationed at Seymour Johnson for four years. He was a navigator in the KC-135 and logged approximately 5,000 hours while refueling other planes.

"I'm just excited to see them all," he said about the vintage airplanes.

Charles H. Stites, event organizer, said he got the idea for the event when he traveled with the National Air Tour last year. The event took about two months to plan.

He was pleased that several people lobbied to have the tour stop in Goldsboro. Stites flew his plane, the Ryan Navion A, which is 54 years old. He said it took about five years to restore it.

Joe Mancusi, the owner and pilot of the Cessna 120, lives near Raleigh. The plane is stored at the Johnston County Airport. It is a 1947 model, and he flies 50 hours a year to various states, including Florida and Wisconsin.

"It's really neat to be able to participate," he said. "All of the people love their airplanes and aviation."