By Ron Brohm
For Greene County News
JAMESTOWN — Dewey Davenport, a Jamestown resident and aviation icon, was the keynote speaker recently at an area National Aviation Heritage site. Davenport is a national barnstormer pilot, aviator, recipient of the 2021 AOPA Sharples Award, an accomplished military drone pilot and a pilot for NetJets.
The event occurred at the Champaign Aviation Museum, and was organized by Mark Curtner, president of the 421 Chapter of the The Experimental Aircraft Association.
“We are very excited to have Dewey Davenport to speak here today, he is a real aviation icon,” said Curtner. Davenport spoke to the association about his aviation and barnstormer career.
Davenport is the brain child of the “Barnstorming Carnival.” He is owner and operator of one of the most popular biplane ride businesses east of the Mississippi called Goodfolk & O’Tymes Biplane Rides.
Back in the day, barnstormers were pilots, many were men that had served in WWI but there were also women, and minorities who traveled the United States in the early 1920s and 30s selling airplane rides and doing aerial tricks for a living.
Davenport has been Flying for 30 years and has been involved in many aspects of aviation and helping with the community by sharing his love and passion for aviation for many years.
“There are very few of us true barnstormers,” he said. “Less than 10 of us, I think, and my success is because I use social media. I remember everyone I have flown and keep photos of everyone. I’ve flown thousands of people and I love them all.”
His Barnstorming Carnival, which is now in its ninth year, continues to grow each and every year and is a free community event that allows one to experience the Golden Age of Aviation.
Located at the nearby historical Springfield Beckley Airport in Springfield, the event brings aviation enthusiasts and the area communities together. The Barnstorming Carnival is the opportunity to experience some of the rarest 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s aircraft gathered together in our local area and actually has had more than 5,000 spectators and up to 60 aircraft on display, all from the 1920s through the 40s or replicas of that era.
The carnival also includes a pancake breakfast, car show, many kid’s activities and even Ernst Rosser’s famous Tuskegee Tribute ShowCar.
The National Aviation Heritage Area, Aviation Trail, and National Park System includes several nearby Greene County sites
If you are looking for aviation heritage, then look no further than Greene County. Aviation heritage actually began here in Greene County. Wilbur and Orville Wright flew their first airplane right here at Huffman Prairie, which is now a national historic landmark.
Within just a few miles, you can visit the National Museum of the United States Air Force, Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, the Wright Brothers Memorial, Huffman Prairie Flying Field and Interpretive Center, and Wright State University Special Collections & Archives that contains the most complete collection of Wright brothers items.
It was at Huffman Prairie that Wilbur and Orville Wright developed aviation and performed the first circular flight. Learn about this and more at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. These are just a few of the many ways to experience aviation in Greene County. Visit both of these National Historic Landmarks for free.
If you really want a bird’s eye view of Huffman Prairie airfield why not try viewing it in one of Dewey’s open-cockpit biplanes. Enjoy the views of Greene County and the Dayton area from a seat in a vintage biplane. A low and slow flying open cockpit biplane allows you to experience the bird’s eye view of farmlands, cityscape or follow the Great Miami River from above.
For more information call 937-877-0837 or visit www.gobiplanerides.com.
Ron Brohm is an outdoors, tourism, automotive and aviation journalist.