Barnstormer visits Sonoma Skypark
BARNSTORMER MIKE CARPENTIERO landed in his 1930 D-25 New Standard biplane recently at the Sonoma Skypark.
The golden age of aviation was revisited recently at Sonoma Skypark on Eighth Street East when barnstormer Mike Carpentiero landed in his 1930 D-25 New Standard biplane.
Looking every bit the part of an early era aviator, Carpentiero was returning to his Oregon farm from the Dream Machines Fly-In at Half Moon Bay. After a career as a military fighter pilot, he followed his dream of recreating the life of 1920s and '30s barnstormers, those pilots who most often took passengers for their first airplane rides. Because most flights originated from rural farms, the term "barnstormer" became the poplar label for the pilots.
A great many of them had learned to fly in the World War I Air Service, and took advantage of surplus Curtiss Jennies sold inexpensively at government auctions. The Jenny front cockpit could accommodate two passengers in a squeeze, but profits were slim and the flying hours were long. By the end of the 1920s, most had been patched and repaired so often they became unserviceable, as well as uneconomical.
In an effort to make barnstorming more profitable, the New Standard line of airplanes was designated in 1929 with a front cockpit large enough to seat four passengers in two pairs of facing seats. The same reliable Wright J-5 engine that carried Charles Lindbergh to Paris in 1927 was tasked to power the new aircraft which offered the operator the availability to safely fly as many as 40 passengers an hour.
When the novelty of flying wore thin, many New Standards were converted to crop dusters and flown until damaged in accidents or worn beyond cost effective repair. "Stanley," as Carpentiero has named his biplane, has had many owners and has been rebuilt a few times since new.
It has barnstormed in the Caribbean Islands and coast to coast in the United States.
Carpentiero always looks forward to landing in Sonoma when flying over Northern California. "Sonoma Skypark is a beautiful, friendly little airport and it's always great to go to the Basque on the square for lunch," the well-traveled pilot said.