A Short History of Biplanes
A biplane is defined simply as a fixed wing aircraft with two main wings stacked one above the other. The configuration of the biplane was derived from the box kite, an invention of the Australian explorer, inventor, engineer, and aeronautical pioneer, Laurence Hargrave.
By the mid-1890s there had been enough success with manned biplane gliders in the United States and Europe for Octave Chanute, “father of aviation and the heavier-than-air flying machine,” to conclude that the externally braced biplane provided the best prospects for manned powered flight. The first manned, powered flight, of course, occurred right here in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina on the Wright Flyer biplane in 1903.
During the pioneer years of aviation biplanes were much more popular than monoplanes. With the low engine powers and air speeds available, the wings of a monoplane needed to be large in order to create enough lift while a biplane could have two smaller wings and so be made smaller and lighter. Just prior to World War I the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) implemented a “monoplane ban” and grounded all monoplanes after several structural failures occurred. By the end of the war, however, biplanes were reaching their limits of performance. Between World War I and World War II technological advances allowed a shift primarily to monoplane development.
The Experience of Flying a Biplane
When you fly in an open cockpit biplane you feel like you are experiencing a part of aviation history. The premier issue of Air & Space/Smithsonian magazine featured a biplane for that specific reason. In May 2011, the editors of Air & Space/Smithsonian magazine justified putting an image of a biplane on their first issue:
“One reason is history. Dozens of biplane types stand out in the history of aviation—as military trainers for both world wars, corporate aircraft, barnstormers, transports, crop dusters, and show planes. Most of the biplane owners we’ve hopped rides with say they regard themselves as caretakers, preserving a bit of aviation heritage until the next owner can take over the job. In recent years, more and more airplane fans have been spending their money and time restoring vintage aircraft—biplanes among them—and reaping more financial reward for doing it. ‘There are more Classic restorations being completed, many for the second or third time on a particular airplane,’ says H.G. Frautschy, executive director of the Experimental Aircraft Association’s vintage group, referring to the EAA category of airplanes built before 1955. ‘I’m also seeing a trend that as their value increases, fewer aircraft are being discarded, and are being restored. The increase is not dramatic, but it’s heartening to see the numbers hold steady or climb’
“Biplanes are not only still being restored, they’re also still being manufactured. Since 1991, WACO Classic Aircraft Corporation of Battle Creek, Michigan, has been producing Waco YMF models under the original type certificate and has sold more than 125. The company recently announced that this year it will begin to manufacture the biplane that was on our cover 25 years ago, the Great Lakes. Even these newly manufactured biplanes teach their pilots and passengers something about flight in its youth. But anyone who has ever had the good fortune to look over the side from an open cockpit at the country gliding by below knows that history can’t fully explain why biplanes are treasured. And utility doesn’t explain it either. Though a biplane can get you from here to there, that seems to be just an excuse to fly it. The biplane’s real purpose is to entertain.”
OBX Airplanes is proud to own a beautiful red Waco biplane, and we think that flying in our open-cockpit biplane is the most exciting thing you can do on the Outer Banks! Call us today to book your biplane ride!
The Citabria is a light single-engine, two-seat airplane that was designed for utility, flight training, and
personal use. It is capable of sustaining aerobatic stresses of +5g to -2g. When the 7ECA Citabria was
first introduced in 1964 it was the only commercially produced aircraft in the United States that was
certified for aerobatic flight. The aircraft derives its name from its aerobatic abilities: Citabria spelled in
reverse is “Airbatic.”
The Design of the Citabria can be traced back to the Aeronca Model 7 Champion, more commonly
known as the “Champ.” In 1954, Champion Aircraft bought the Champ design from Aeronca Aircraft
Corporation and continued production of the more advanced models of the aircraft. Over the course of
the next decade, Champion Aircraft gradually modified these advanced Champ models into the
aerobatic Champion Citabria. Like the Champ, the Citabria features tandem seating, strut-braced wings,
and conventional landing gear. The Citabria does have some very noticeable external changes to the
design including the squared-off rudder surface, wingtips, and rear windows.
The first Citabria model was the 7ECA, which began production in 1964 and utilized a 100 horsepower
Continental O-200-A engine. At first, the 7ECA featured wood-spar wings and oleo-shock main gear.
Within a year of the start of production, the manufacturer began offering an upgrade to a 115
horsepower Lycoming O-235-C1 engine as an alternative to the Continental. The Lycoming engine
became the standard within two years, and in 1967, Champion Aircraft switched to spring steel main
gear legs on the Citabria.
In 1965, Champion Aircraft introduced the 7GCAA Citabria 150 which featured a 150 horsepower
Lycoming O-320-A2B engine. Another 150 horsepower model was introduced that same year: the
7GCBC Citabria 150S. The 150S carries the same Lycoming O-320-A2B engine as the Citabria 150 but has
a wingspan of 34.5 feet which is 1-foot wider than the wingspan of 7GCAA Citabria 150 and the 7ECA
Citabria. The wings of the Citabria 150S also feature flaps, unlike the Citabria 150 and 7ECA Citabria.
In 1970, Champion Aircraft was acquired by Bellanca Aircraft Corporation, which produced the Citabria
until 1980. The Citabria designs then changed hands multiple times during the 1980s before being
purchased by the current manufacturer, American Champion Aircraft Corporation.
American Champion Aircraft Corporation reintroduced the 7ECA as the Citabria “Aurora” in 1995. The
new Citabria Aurora featured metal spar wings, and, in 2004, changed to aluminum main gear legs.
OBX Airplanes Banner Towing
OBX Airplanes uses American Champion Citabria Aircraft for our arial advertising services. We have
found that the Citabria is the perfect airplane for banner towing.
Call OBX Airplanes today to see how we can help promote your local business by marketing to the
crowds of people that visit our beautiful Outer Banks beaches during the summer.
July 1 st marks the twentieth anniversary of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse move, and the National Park
service will be holding a special event in celebration. David Hallac, the Superintendent of National Parks
of Eastern North Carolina, invites the public to join in the free event commemorating the move.
The event will begin at 9:30 am on Monday July 1 st near the lighthouse and will include speeches, a
question and answer session with expert panelists, artifacts from the lighthouse move, expanded
interpretive ranger talks, activities for children, and free lighthouse climbing. The Outer Banks
Lighthouse Society and Outer Banks Forever are partnering with Cape Hatteras National Seashore to
make this event memorable for visitors and the local community.
History of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Move
When the second Cape Hatteras Lighthouse was completed in 1870 it was located approximately 1,500
feet from the Atlantic Ocean. By 1919, the gradual westward migration of the Outer Banks left the
lighthouse only 120 feet from the Atlantic’s dangerous waves. Several attempts, using the construction
of dykes and breakwaters were made to stop the erosion but they were unsuccessful.
In 1935, the waves finally reached the lighthouse. The light was replaced by a beacon on a four-legged
steel tower on top of a sand dune and out of reach of the ocean. The National Park Service took custody
of the abandoned brick tower.
In 1999, with the surf only 15 feet from the base of the tower, it was time to move the historic brick
lighthouse structure or risk losing it the ocean. International Chimney Corp. of Buffalo, New York was
awarded the contract to move the lighthouse, assisted by, among other contractors, Expert House
Movers of Maryland.
The Cape Hatteras Light House Station Relocation Project was an incredible undertaking. It became
known as "The Move of the Millennium" and International Chimney and Expert House Movers won the
40th Annual Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award from the American Society of Civil
Engineers in 1999. The National Park Service describes the preparation and move as follows:
“To accomplish this feat, the original foundation down to the pine timbers was replaced by temporary
shoring beams and supports. Then a steel beam mat was inserted over the timber mat with temporary
posts on top. As cross beams and main beams were set, the temporary shoring parts and beams were
removed. Hydraulic jacks built into the main beams were used to effect the 6 foot raise so that roll
beams and rollers could be introduced. After all jacks were shored, using oak cribbing, the system was
pressurized and the jacks began lifting. At each lift level, jacks were retracted and shored up in sequence
and the system lifted again to 6 feet. At this point it was ready to roll.
“After it was lifted, the tower moved along to its new location 2,900 feet to the southwest on steel mats
starting on June 17, 1999. Steel track beams became rails and roller dollies permitted the support frame
to move along the track. Three zones of hydraulic jacks kept the lighthouse aligned. Push jacks, clamped
to the track pulled the frame forward 5 feet at a time.”
Today, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse stands a safe distance of 1,600 feet from the ocean and continues
to protect mariners from the “Graveyard of the Atlantic.”
Fly Over the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
For us at OBX Airplanes, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is one of our favorite Outer Banks landmarks to
fly over during our Air Tours and Biplane Rides. We offer Biplane Rides and Air Tours that depart from
Manteo and can take you anywhere on the Outer Banks, but one of the best trips you can do is to fly
south to Cape Hatteras and circle the iconic lighthouse! Call OBX Airplanes today to book an Air Tour in
one of our Cessna Airplanes or a Biplane Ride in our beautiful Red Waco Biplane.
The word is out: flying with OBX Airplanes in one of the best activities you can do while on the Outer Banks. OBX Airplanes was featured recently in an article by the online magazine Coast OBX. The writer, Judy Haus, took a half hour flight in one of our Cessna airplanes.
The Outer Banks will host two major kite festivals again this year: the 37 th Annual Rogallo Kite Festival at
Jockey’s Ridge State Park and the 41 st Annual Wright Kite Festival at the Wright Brothers National
Memorial. Both events are great for the entire family and OBX Airplanes encourages you to check them
out and share in the celebration of flight here on the Outer Banks. For those who are interested in
seeing 30 - 100 foot kites from a different perspective, OBX Airplanes would like to invite you to join us
for a Cessna Air Tour or Biplane Ride over the Kite Festivals!
37 th Annual Rogallo Kite Festival: June 14 – June 16, 2019
The 37 th Annual Rogallo Kite Festival will be held at Jockey’s Ridge State Park from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
on June 14 through June 16, 2019. People are encouraged to bring their own kites or come and try out
kites for free (including free stunt kite lessons). There will be kite coloring for kids.
Francis Rogallo was an American aeronautical engineer whose invention of the Rogallo wing, or
“flexible” wing, was the precursor to the modern hang glider and paraglider. Francis Rogallo often flew
his own hang gliders at Jockeys Ridge State Park during the 1970s and 1980s and eventually moved to
the Outer Banks. He died at his home in Southern Shores in 2009. In honor of his accomplishments and
influence on modern gliding, members of the United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association are
known as “Rogallo” members. We hope that you will take part in the celebration of Francis Rogallo and
his accomplishments by coming to Jockey’s Ridge or flying over the Kite Festival with OBX Airplanes.
41 st Annual Wright Kite Festival: July 13 – July 14, 2019
The 41 st Annual Wright Kite Festival will be held at the Wright Brothers National Memorial from 10:00
AM to 4:00 PM on July 13 and July 14, 2019. You can bring your own kite or try one for free (including
free stunt and power kite lessons). There will be a kite building station for the kids.
The Wright Kite Festival celebrates the accomplishments of the Wright Brothers on the same grounds
where Wilbur and Orville made their historic first flights in 1903. Bring the entire family and share in the
celebration of aviation on the Outer Banks.
See the Outer Banks Kite Festivals from Above: Fly with OBX Airplanes
OBX Airplanes offers a variety of Cessna Air Tours and Biplanes Rides. Why not take a flight during one
of the Outer Banks Kite Festivals and see the 30 - 100 foot kites from the sky? Our Air Tours and Biplane
Rides take off from Manteo and fly around Jockey’s ridge State Park and the Wright Brothers National
Memorial, so you will have a great view of all the kites. Flying with OBX Airplanes is perfect for the
whole family at any time, but taking an Air Tour or Biplane Ride during an Outer Banks Kite Festival will
be a truly amazing and memorable experience!
OBX Airplanes hopes that everyone had a great Memorial Day Weekend and enjoyed the perfect beach
weather! If you did make it to the beach (and we hope you did, it was beautiful) you are sure to have
seen our airplanes towing banners along the coast.
Last weekend kicked off the busy summer season for OBX Airplanes. Now on any given day we can
expect to have over sixty departures from Dare County Regional Airport (MQI). These departures will
mainly include four types of flights: air tours, biplane rides, flight training, and aerial advertising / banner
Air Tours: Find the Perfect Flight for You and Your Family
OBX Airplanes offers a variety of different air tours so that we are sure to have something that everyone
will love. We have the perfect flight for everyone: $15 dollar flights, “discovery” flights, inlet tours,
sunrise and sunset tours, photography flights, and custom air tours. Our air tours are flown in Cessna
aircraft with high wings and panoramic windows so that you can have the best views of the Outer Banks
Biplane Rides: Fly in Our Open Cockpit Red Waco Biplane
We think our biplane ride is the coolest thing you can do while on the Outer Banks! Our beautiful red
Waco is amazing just to look at, wait until you are soaring high above the Outer Banks in its open
cockpit! As with our Cessna air tours we offer many biplane ride options. We have surprisingly cheap
flights that circle downtown Manteo, Festival Park, and the Queen Elizabeth II or take you across the
Roanoke Sound to fly over Jockey’s Ridge. We have biplane tours of Oregon Inlet, custom biplane tours,
and sunrise and sunset biplane tours.
Flight Training: Learn to Fly with OBX Airplanes
The Outer Banks is an amazing place to learn to fly. Not only is the OBX one of the most beautiful places
in the world, it is where the Wright Brothers showed the world that manned powered flight was
possible. What better place to learn to fly? OBX Airplanes has a team of certified flight instructors who
are passionate about teaching people to fly. They will help you along the way to getting your Private
Banner Towing: One of the Most Effective forms of Marketing on the Beach
Thousands of people will be on the beaches of the Outer Banks on a summer day. These are thousands
of people who will see aerial banners towed by OBX Airplanes. Aerial advertising has a higher recall and
retention rate than other forms of advertising and OBX Airplanes offers competitive rates that are at
least 25 percent lower than nationwide banner towing companies. Call 252-489-8165 to see how
advertising with OBX Airplanes can help your local business.
OBX Airplanes would like to wish everyone a Happy Memorial Day, especially those serving or who have
served in the United States Armed Forces. Memorial Day is first and foremost a time to remember and
honor those who have died serving in the United States Armed Forces.
The Town of Nags Head will be hosting a Memorial Day Ceremony on Monday, May 27, 2019 at the Nags
Head Town Hall. U.S. Air Force veteran Todd Krafft will be the keynote speaker at the ceremony, which
will be held in front of the Town’s Municipal Complex at 5401 S. Croatan Highway (Mile Post 14).
According to the Town of Nags Head website: “The public is invited and encouraged to attend to honor
and remember family members, friends, and fellow citizens who have given the ultimate sacrifice in
service to America.”
Memorial Day is also the official start of the summer season here on the Outer Banks, and it looks like
we are going to have great weather all weekend. The sun will be shining and the air will be warm, so we
hope that you will get outside and take advantage of all that the Outer Banks has to offer. This weekend
would be an ideal time to take to the sky above the Outer Banks by joining OBX Airplanes for an air tour
or a biplane ride!
OBX Business Owners: Take Advantage of Aerial Advertising to Reach Customers on the Beach
Aerial advertising has been shown to be highly effective where a large target audience is gathered near
the source of advertising (Smith, Ronald D. Strategic Planning For Public Relations). Studies have shown
that aerial billboards and banners have a high consumer recall and retention rate. Customers who see
the aerial advertisement tend to recall the message at a higher rate than with other forms of advertising.
During the summer months the beaches on the Outer Banks are full of vacationers and locals enjoying
the sand and waves. This is exactly the type of large target audience that is inclined to see and
remember aerial advertisements.
Not only does aerial advertising have a high recall rate with potential customers, it is also cost effective.
OBX Airplanes offers rates that are at least 25% lower than nationwide banner towing companies. Our
stunning airplanes and crisp lettering are sure to draw the attention of future customers. Call OBX
Airplanes at 252-489-8165 to learn how we can help you reach more customers on the Outer Banks.
Do you have dreams of flying but are intimidated by the financial commitment of becoming a Pilot? OBX Airplanes can help you get your Private Pilot’s License for cheaper than you may think. As we discussed in last week’s blog, OBX Airplanes offers flight instruction with experienced and qualified flight instructors. This week, we thought we’d follow up with some more information about the cost of flight instruction and the FAA’s specific requirements for obtaining a Private Pilot’s License.
What are the FAA Requirements for Obtaining a Private Pilot’s License?
40 hours minimum flight training which consists of at least:
20 hours minimum of flight training with an instructor on the Private Pilot areas of operation including:
3 hours of cross country flight training in a single engine airplane;
3 hours of night flight training in a single engine airplane, that includes at least:
1 cross country flight of over 100nm total distance; and
10 Take-offs and 10 landings to a full stop with each involving a flight in the traffic pattern at an airport.
3 hours of flight training by reference to instruments in a single engine airplane; and
3 hours of flight training in a single engine airplane within the 60 days prior to the practical test.
10 hours minimum of solo flying in a single engine airplane on the Private Pilot areas of operation including:
5 hours of solo cross country flying;
1 solo cross country flight of at least 150nm total distance with full stop landings at 3 points and one segment of at least 50nm between take-offs and landings; and
3 Take-offs and landings to a full stop at an airport with an operating control tower.
How much does it cost to get a Private Pilot’s License?
With OBX Airplanes, the average cost of obtaining a Private Pilot’s License is between $5000 and $6000. This is significantly less than the cost that you might find at other flight schools around the country.
Why is it less expensive to get my Pilot’s License with OBX Airplanes?
OBX Airplanes helps reduce the cost of getting your Private Pilot’s License by providing low rates on our aircraft rentals and providing discounts when you book your aircraft in 10-hour blocks. Our cost for a Cessna 150 rental is only $100/hr and only $90/hr when you book in blocks of 10 hours. Call OBX Airplanes today to find out how you can become a Pilot!
In addition to our air tours, biplane rides, and banner towing services, OBX Airplanes also offers flight training with knowledgeable and enthusiastic Certified Flight Instructors. OBX Airplanes can help you turn your dream of flying into a reality by helping you along the path to acquiring your Private Pilot’s License.
Summer weather is here to stay on the OBX! Today’s high temperature is 80 degrees, the wind is blowing out of the south, the sun is out. Even better, the sun will be up longer and longer each day. Today’s sunrise was at 6:09 am, and the sun won’t set until 7:50 pm this evening. That means more daylight to experience your favorite Outer Banks activities! More time for surfing and swimming, sunbathing and shell-hunting, fishing and sailing, kayaking and paddle boarding, and our favorite OBX
OBX Airplanes offers air tours and biplane rides over the beautiful beaches of the Outer Banks. Our friendly, experienced pilots are knowledgeable about the local area and will be happy to answer any questions you have while up in the air. Our air tours are fully customizable; we create the perfect flying experience for you and your friends and family, whether that be a scenic sunset air tour in a Cessna or an exhilarating acrobatic flight in our Waco biplane.
Take advantage of these long days and this beautiful summer weather by flying with OBX Airplanes!
Nags Head Beach Nourishment
You will notice quite a bit of activity on the beach this summer in Nags Head. The town of Nags Head is conducting a beach nourishment project that will last the duration of the summer. The project has already begun south of the Limulus beach access in South Nags Head with the dredge Ellis Island pumping sand onto the beach. Work will continue south to the town / National Park Service line at Ramp 1. Operations will then pick up near Pelican Street and move north to the Outer Banks Fishing Pier and then on to Jennette’s Pier.
A second dredge, Liberty, will begin pumping sand through a second submerged pipeline that is installed between Conch Street and Hallowell Street. Nourishment is scheduled to progress north to milepost 11 and then return to the Conch / Hallowell area and move south to Jennette’s Pier.
It will be interesting to see this project underway from the point of view of an airplane! OBX Airplanes’ air tours and biplane rides can fly over the nourishment area to check out the dredges and heavy equipment moving tons of sand to protect our beaches from erosion. Again, our air tours are customizable, so where we fly is up to you!
If you want to take a closer look at the nourishment project from the air, we will be happy to fly you over the beaches of Nags Head before heading on to the iconic landmarks of the Outer Banks like the Wright Brothers National Memorial and the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.
As a Certified Flight Instructor on the Outer Banks of North Carolina I am pleased to say that when you fly with me you will be sure to have fun, be safe and learn to fly!