Orlando’s Best Kept Secret III–Biplane Rides

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An Old-Fashioned Barnstorm Ride!

You pull the leather helmet over your head, snap the goggles onto your eyes and, with a whimsical flurry, toss the end of your scarf over your back. Climbing into the cockpit, you realize that only the presence of your digital camera strapped to your wrist makes this flight different than the first flights taken by your ancestors in open fields under a hand painted sign proclaiming “Barnstorming!”

Once inside the open cockpit, you marvel at the twin wings of your biplane. The pilot starts the engine and the loud sputtering roar of the wooden propeller makes it difficult to hear your partner who is strapped in right beside you.

As the pilot taxis to the grass runway, you feel every bump and shimmy. The bumps get more intense as the plane picks up speed. Suddenly, they stop. You notice the buildings and trees becoming smaller and smaller as the plane ascends.

What a View!

“Hey! There’s Interstate 4,” you shout to your partner, “that’s the road we just drove on!”

While the view is magnificent, the noise of the engine makes conversation impossible. Just as well; you don’t want to miss the view. You have given the pilot permission to do some mild maneuvers which creates a slight queasiness in your stomach.

You look over the undeveloped Florida landscape and smell the fresh airplane leather mixed with the oily machine smells of a vintage aircraft. You can’t help but muse on how it must have felt for your ancestors to have taken this identical flight back when flying was still a novelty and barnstormers used to go from town to town giving similar flights to families filled with wonderment.

The flight lasts for 15 minutes, which, ironically, feels both very short and like an eternity.

You have just experienced an old fashioned, Waldo Wright’s biplane ride–One of my picks for an “Orlando’s Best Kept Secret.” At $70/person, this 15 minute flight is a bit pricey. But the experience makes it worth the cost. Plus, you can combine the $70 plane ride with the $30 admission to Fantasy of Flight and your entire day of aeronautical exploration costs not much more than a trip to any other day long attraction in the Orlando area.

Waldo Wright’s biplane rides take off from the Fantasy of Flight runway, just 30 minutes down I-4 from Disney World.

For those wanting an even more immersive experience, for $230 you can actually pilot a Stearman biplane during a half hour flight.

Biplane rides, Fantasy of Flight , Balloon rides and the chance to pilot an old fashioned biplane are not attractions that are heavily advertised in this attraction packed area. But for the lucky, well-informed readers of my blog, they are the kind of off-the-beaten-path, “Best Kept Secrets” that are fun to discover during your trip to the Orlando area.

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