St. Augustine Biplane Rides

It’s St. Augustine Summer Staycation time here in July and I’m blogging 31 Days of Summer in St. Augustine.  For more Simply St. Augustine fun, experiences & eats… subscribe! You’ll receive posts in your in-box: click here to subscribe.

Flying in a biplane is 1,000 times better than flying commercially.  

First, the trim on this beauty is leather and real wood.  Everything about this plane is hand-crafted and it’s clear the pilot, Dave, loves his aircraft and what he does.  Dave took the time to introduce us to his plane and my respect grew with each beautiful, customized part.  She’s just so gorgeous!

Dave checks the engine before each flight.

Your St. Augustine Biplane Ride will be in a 1935 Model YMF-5C – it was built in 2011- combining vintage plans  and construction with modern horsepower resulting in a smooth, luxurious flight.

Check out the custom paint job and leather trim on this classic Waco plane!!

Our takeoff and climb was easy in spite of the afternoon thunderstorm rolling in.  The light plane moved about with a couple of gusts but when we reached cruising altitude (about 1,000 feet I believe) it was smooth sailing err, flying.

Time stood still while we cruised over St. Augustine.

I forgot my gum, but my ears only popped a couple of times- another benefit of flying at the low altitude of a biplane.

Dave had to tell me what I was seeing at first, while I got my bearings.  I spotted my second home, Publix, all by myself and was good from there on.  See the small turquoise cottage in the top left corner {below}? That’s the Beachcomber Cottage we staycationed in for Father’s Day {review coming soon}.  It was so much fun seeing my favorite spots from a new perspective!

Our flight took us over Vilano Beach, Historic St. Augustine, the lighthouse, and out over the Atlantic Ocean.  I know this is going to sound melodramatic, but every moment was magical!

Our pilot’s voice was distant and not intrusive yet comforting as he pointed out landmarks over the steady drone of the engine.  It was my first time in a biplane, yet it sounded familiar.  I was reminded of the soothing sound of heavy rain during an afternoon thunderstorm and felt completely at ease.

The Bridge of Lions is distinct from Vilano & 312 even from the air.  St. Augustine is amazing in that you can see untouched nature, El Galeon from the 1500’s, the St. Augustine Fort from the 1600’s, Fort Mose from the 1700’s, and Flagler Era buildings & bridges from the 1800’s…

much like the plane I was flying in, St. Augustine is the best of the past and present.  She flies gracefully forward through both sun-kissed clouds and dark storm fronts, enchanting all who slow down enough to enjoy her.

When we turned, I had my chance to photograph El Castillo.  Seeing it at the same time as the parking garage puts its size in perspective… but I’ll take centuries-old forts over touring parking garages any day. *grin*

I only had my zoom lens, in hindsight I’d shoot with the 50mm or my wide angle.  I adjusted settings the wrong way when we flew over the fort, thus the funny photoshop coloring below.  You can pretend I’m going for a vintage look.

protip: iPhone photos and your standard lens will capture the panorama beautifully! No need for a zoom on this flight.

Note the fort in the bottom left corner and the cross at Mission of Nombre de Dios in the center.

As we turned toward the airport, Pilot Dave spotted the Schooner Freedom headed out on their sunset sail.  I could clearly see the American Flag even from the air- if you’re looking for a memorable way to see the sunset in St. Augustine, both the Schooner Freedom or a sunset flight with St. Augustine Biplane Tours are fantastic options!

Flying over the marsh near the airport, the mirrored surface took my breath away.  While my photo doesn’t capture what I hoped, perhaps I can describe it…

I love antique mirrors.  Not as much as this blogger does, but the distressed age spots add patina and beauty to a piece- I’m always drawn to them!  When we flew over the marsh, the sun was starting to set and its reflection on the water was much like those spots on a mirror- reflecting thousands of years of nature, progress and beauty.  This ever-changing estuary was captivating to say the least!  And as much as I love kayaking or boating in there, the view from the plane was breathtaking in a whole new way.

The storm was getting close, so we hurried in for a safe landing.  In spite of winds increasing, our landing was smoother than most I’ve had in commercial planes!  Bravo, Dave!!  Masterfully done!  We were escorted to the St. Augustine terminal {is that what you call it even in a teeny airport?} with umbrellas and Dave took the Waco to its hangar.  What an experience!  What an evening!  I’m smitten!  THIS is a St. Augustine adventure to remember!

St. Augustine Biplane Rides
Year round flights, heated cockpit in winter.
(904) 625-1450 

Comments

  1. Nicolas Genet says:

    Hi My name is Nicolas Genet.
    I am Dave’s twin brother.
    My wife, two boys, and I reside in Seattle.
    Dave is the reason I got into and still work in Aerospace.
    I just wanted to take a moment to say that your article is nothing short of fantastic.
    Thank you so much for capturing the spirit and beauty of what Dave strives to share with others.

    -Nicolas Genet, Seattle WA

    • Great to “meet” you Nicolas! This review came from my heart- it was such an amazing experience that “biplane ride” went from one entry on my bucket list to my “need to do annually” list. :D

      Thanks for stopping by & for your kind words.

  2. For father’s Day my daughter expressed that she had the perfect gift.She mentioned that her mom helped her with the idea. Considering the fact that I see you guys fly over our boat at camachee cove ever weekend, I was sure it was a biplane ride. It was very good, but it wasn’t that. May just have to pay for it myself!

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