From Our Editors
Sunlight radiates off the pair of 30-foot, brilliant-yellow wings that frame A & M Aviation’s 1942 WACO UPF-7 biplane as it rests on the tarmac at Clow International Airport. A pilot starts the vintage bird's 220 hp Continental engine, and the propellers begin to spin, quickly disappearing into a heart-quickening blur as the plane lurches forward. One of fewer than 80 still in existence, the plane was used as a trainer for US soldiers before they shipped off to fight overseas. Today, after a full restoration in 2003 that returned it to its youthful glory, civilian passengers are transported to those proud days as they sit side-by-side in the biplane’s spacious open-air cockpit behind a windscreen that protects their faces from flying bugs and raspberries from passing beagles. Thanks to the careful executions of the pilot in front of them, they watch the ground slowly pull away as the biplane carries them anywhere within a 25-mile radius of the airport, whether that be a low buzz over the downtown lakeshore or a leisurely cruise over nearby farms, forests, and Midwestern expanses.