Up and Away
For the elder Siderwicz, the replica of the barnstorming plane of the 1930s is not just a source of income to keep the airfield open: It’s an homage to a bygone era of grass fields, open-cockpit planes, and the camaraderie of pilots who flew before air travel meant big business. “I wanted a plane from the ‘all-grass’ era for this all-grass airfield,” Sid says. It’s not a leap to picture Sid as the 13-year-old who once biked every day to his hometown airport in Norwood, Massachusetts, to be around airplanes. Sid began a 30-year career as a commercial airline pilot at the age of 19, and years appear to melt from his sun-creased face when he speaks of the beauty of flying a biplane over Cape Cod.
Chris caught the same fever as a toddler riding in his dad’s restored, vintage planes. He made his first solo flight on his 16th birthday. In the years since, he has become an accomplished aerobatics pilot and earned a mechanic’s license. With more than 2,000 hours of flying experience, Chris echoes Sid’s sentimentality about the biplane. “Ask any pilot and they will tell you that a biplane is one of the most romantic planes to fly,” he says. “It takes more skill—you do a lot by feel. You are one with the airplane. Flying out over the grass . . . the way it used to be. Nothing could be better.”
In 2007, after a lengthy search online and through aviation publications, Sid was delighted to find the Waco YMF-5 biplane in turnkey condition in Nevada. Sid has built and restored dozens of planes in his 40-year love affair with flying, and he had always admired Waco’s classic design of this reproduction of a 1930s open cockpit sports plane. Built in 1988 and used as a sightseeing plane in South Africa, the plane had been completely refitted for use by a wealthy private owner who was ready to sell.
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