Olivers Return to Sun ‘n Fun With New Standard D-25
Barnstorming returns to Sun ’n Fun this year as owners and pilots Steve Oliver and Suzanne Asbury-Oliver offer Flying Circus rides for stunning views of the Florida countryside through the thrill of open-cockpit flight.
Olivers Flying Circus is the oldest New Standard D-25 biplane in operation today and can carry up to four passengers at a time. The pilots will be off the grass strip parallel to Sun ’n Fun Runway 9-27. In addition to trips around the pattern, they offer longer options for riders -- including Champagne Sunset Cruises for four persons -- by calling 303-478-4853.
Along with its radio and transponder, the only modernizations on the New Standard are the seat cushion upgrades provided by Oregon Aero, Inc. Ride-hoppers gladly sit in comfort on leather-covered cushion upgrades while cruising at 80 miles an hour at 1,000 feet.
Oregon Aero has sponsored the Olivers’ Oregon Aero® SkyDancer performances since 2006 when the company affiliated with the pair, the only husband-and-wife aerobatic and skywriting duo. Suzanne is the nation’s only active female professional skywriter.
“Oregon Aero has enjoyed a long relationship with the Olivers and I have always considered them among the finest aerobatic and skywriting performers in the business,” said Mike Dennis, president and CEO of Oregon Aero. “Their Flying Circus venture illustrates a depth of aviation skill and a passion for just plain fun.”
The Olivers received a major recognition during the 2010 EAA AirVenture when they received the Bill Barber Award for Showmanship, presented to air show performers or teams who have shown great skill and showmanship.
The Olivers purchased the Flying Circus project in 1998 from Old Rhinebeck Aerodome, a museum of antique aviation in New York.
N9194 started out as a sightseeing aircraft, then was called into service by Clyde “Upside Down” Pangborn as he attempted an endurance record for time aloft in 1929. The plane was the mother ship for Pangborn, serving as the air-to-air refueler during his historic flight. The aircraft eventually was used as a crop duster in California until it fell into total disrepair.
Following an eight-year restoration, the biplane has a “revived heart and soul,” and is fulfilling its original purpose, as declared on its fuselage: “Flying Circus - A Thrill for the Nation!”
“It’s now back doing what it was designed for — barnstorming! — and sharing the magic of flight with passengers,” says Steve Oliver. “The experience of flight is so dramatic in an open cockpit.”
Oliver says experienced commercial pilots are just as excited as someone who has never flown before, because it's comparable to going from traveling in an enclosed car to a convertible or a motorcycle.
“It's all laughs, smiles and back-slapping among every group we've taken up in it.”
There are no age or weight restrictions for passengers. The plane boasts a 1,100-pound payload capacity, reports a stall speed of 35 mph, and lands at 40 mph. Its powerplant is a Wright Whirlwind J-6-7 engine (R-760-8) 225 hp @ 2000 RPM.
The biplane can be reserved for fly-ins, private jaunts, corporate outings, community events, and even for weddings and honeymoons.
How long is the ride?? Good memories last a lifetime!