If something seems a bit anachronistic at airshows this year, there’s no need to adjust your binoculars. Yes, that is a prop-driven 1929 Taperwing looping overhead, and yes, it does sound a whole lot like a jet. Imagine a Strangelovean combination of a biplane straddling a jet engine, and you have the basic idea behind Screamin’ Sasquatch, a jet-assisted Waco.
Sasquatch features two power plants: a standard Pratt & Whitney R-985 radial and a General Electric J85 turbojet, which produces 3,000 pounds of thrust. The resulting 1-to-1 thrust ratio obviously required serious modifications to the plane’s structure—it’s mostly carbon fiber now, as opposed to the wood and fabric that once dressed the barnstormer. The cockpit was moved back to allow for additional fuel tanks, and it contains state-of-the-art avionics. The additional thrust permits tricks other biplanes can’t match, including a lightning-fast takeoff, the ability to “hang on its props” in a sustained hover and serious vertical acceleration. Sasquatch is scheduled to appear at several airshows this year, including the Reno Air Races and the Oregon International Air Show, both in September. For a full schedule visit johnklattairshows.com.