Before WWI, spectators lined open fields to watch pilots pit their aircraft against each other in competitions of speed, altitude and daring stunts. In the years following the war, aviation entered its "Golden Age," and air shows became major attractions.
Spectators gathered at airfields to watch pilots race and break speed records as the era of the "barnstormer" began.
To help expand awareness of Red Baron America, The Schwan Food Company hired pilots who began towing advertising banners behind open-cockpit biplanes.
In 1984, the Red Baron Squadron began flying air shows. Today, the Squadron is the longest-running, non-military air show act in history.
When the Squadron takes to the skies, they often carry passengers wanting to fulfill a life-long dream.
In each city they visit, the Squadron works with Make a Wish, Children's Dream Fund or other organizations to provide the chance to make someone's dream come true.
While in St. Petersburg, FL, Desiree Dunaway, a 14-year-old bone cancer patient, dreamed of flying and shopping. Having never ridden in a plane of any kind, she was excited at the opportunity.
Pilots strapped the nervous Desiree into the open-air cockpit and took off for a series of rolls, turns and loop-de-loops.
Back on solid ground, a beaming Desiree hopped down from the plane. "How was it?" someone yelled from the crowd.
"Awesome!" she beamed. The Red Baron folks then whisked Desiree off to her second wish on the list-an allexpense-paid shopping spree. The Red Baron Squadron flight team has logged over 48,000 flying hours. Some of their best memories are the smiling faces of kids and adults who, without their help, may have never had a chance to soar the open skies.
Click here to view Red Baron Squadron’s upcoming event schedule.
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