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WWI Wings & Wheels

By Jon Guttman 
Originally published by Aviation History magazine. Published Online: September 16, 2011 
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For the first time, a World War I aviation theme pervaded the annual Wings & Wheels Extravaganza held July 9-10 at the Golden Age Air Museum at Grimes Field, just outside of Bethel, Pa. Although civil aircraft ranging from the 1920s to the present were on hand—both the museum's and those flown in by owners from all over the northeast—the weekend's focus was on the 7/8th-scale replica Rumpler C.V that had bombed an Arab village in the 1961 film Lawrence of Arabia; the wooden airframe of a replica Sopwith Pup still under construction; a newly completed Fokker Dr.I replica in the markings of Red Baron brother Lothar von Richthofen, with an authentic Le Rhône rotary engine; and the crown jewel in the museum's collection, an original 1918 Curtiss JN-4D Jenny trainer.

On a weekend marred elsewhere by the crackups of a 1961 Beechcraft and a replica Fokker Dr.I at Geneseo, N.Y. (fortunately resulting in no serious injuries), the Golden Age Air Museum put its Jenny, triplane and movie star Rumpler through their aerial paces without mishap, in addition to flying adventurous paying customers on 15- or 30-minute hops in its Bird and Waco biplanes. The museum will likely continue the World War I theme on an annual basis. Find out more at

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