British Airways Pioneers Of Aviation

Every so often an aviation commercial comes along that mirrors an historical movie clip, such is the following by British Airways “To Fly - To Serve”, which is a commercial gem, executed as if it were a major motion picture.

This is not an endorsement for British Airways, rather the desire to share a masterful and superbly crafted film, which embodies British Airways history with the history of aviation. These elements were brought together through people, the aircraft, and CGI.

I know you will agree with me, that this is indeed a visual gem of nostalgia and the romance of early flight and the men who not only pioneered aviation but dared the unknown. Please view these short video's in the full screen mode to get their dynamic impact!

British Airways 2011 ‘To Fly. To Serve’ commercial


Those first young men, the pioneers, the aviators building super highways in an unknown sky. Leaving wives and children in their snug homes, with just a kiss and a promise to return.

Roaring into the clouds to battle wind and stars.

Their safety systems built of brain and heart. They landed where there were no lights. Transforming strange names from tall tales into pictures on postcards home. And those next young men, traveling further, faster, higher than any in history and the ones who followed them, who skimmed the edge of space, the edge of heaven, the edge of dreams.

And we follow them up there to live by an unbreakable promise. The same four words stitched into every uniform of every captain who takes their command.
To Fly. To Serve.

The making of the British Airways ‘To Fly. To Serve’ commercial

Making the most of visual effects

The background of the aircraft in the film

Thank you for your visit.

A Memorable Boeing B-17 Flight

Recently I had the very good fortune to be invited along on a flight out of the Napa Airport in a WWll Boeing B-17 bomber operated by the Commemorative Air Force. The Boeing B-17 Superfortress was utilized during WWll in the European Theater by the United States Air Force. Many of the USAF bomber groups utilizing this aircraft were based out of England during the war. You can view a great video of the aircraft I flew in at Gulf Coast Wing.  

I was able to explore the various B-17 crew compartments during our flight, as well as chat with the crew. During taxi out and takeoff I had a front row seat view from the cockpit, just behind the aircraft commander and copilot. I was surprised at the high level of noise from the engines that the crew was exposed to, as well as the constant vibration from the four Wright Cyclone 1,200 hp radial engines. It was hard to imagine the bomber crews having to function for hours on end, while being exposed to the elements of below freezing temperatures at high altitude and the constant noise and vibration from the engines, all the while having to concentrate on their bombing mission and the constant threat of being jumped by enemy fighter aircraft. I gained new insight and a vivid appreciation for what these young bomber crews had to endure during the war. All in all it as an eye opening experience and one that I will always treasure.

Boeing B-17 at the Napa Airport, California

Flight Crew

Forward bombadier station and the Nordon bomb sight

Right aft machine gun

Gunner's forward lower ball turret

Welcome Aboard!

Welcome to my Napa Valley Biplane Company Blog. I hope that you will take some time to enjoy the historical aviation information presented here and possibly consider taking a ride in our unique 1942 Boeing Stearman biplane. As both a part-time Barnstormer and full-time corporate pilot I hope to be able to share some of my past and present flying experiences with you.