Best Biplane Rides - 2004
Vintage Aircraft Co.
Ever wonder what Redford and Streep felt like as they soared above picturesque herds of wildebeests stampeding o'er the veld in Out of Africa? We have no idea. But we do know what it's like to soar above housing tracts, wineries, and rusting tractors in Sonoma County. It's grand! Just strap on an old-timey leather flying helmet, step into the cockpit of one of Vintage's World War II-era Stearman biplanes, and head for the wild blue. Given that it was used to train your granddad's generation of fighter pilots, the Stearman is known for its strength and stability, so don't worry about a barf bag. Just relax and drink in the gorgeous views as you cruise noisily over the hidden minivalleys and manicured green checkerboards of wine country. A leisurely flight for two lasts 35 to 40 minutes and costs $295 (yes, it's for special occasions). You can buzz around Sonoma and Napa or fly up to Tomales Bay and back. For adrenaline junkies there's also the "Kamikaze" ride, which includes loops, rolls, hammerheads, Cuban eights, and other stomach-emptying aerobatics. It lasts only 15 to 20 minutes, though, so maybe you'll survive.