Greene County pilot flies people back in time

You can climb inside the wooden cockpit of a World War I-era plane and take it for a spin right outside of Xenia.

Dewey Davenport, of Goodfolk and O’Tymes Biplanes, calls himself a modern-day barnstormer.

“I accept credit cards,” Davenport joked.

After World War I, Davenport said, many pilots became barnstormers, traveling the country and giving people rides in their airplanes. When the war ended, many pilots were suddenly unemployed. This was one way to make money. Many barnstormers also performed tricks with the planes, like flying loops, or had “wing walkers,” who walked on the wing of the planes and performed stunts.

“After the war, the plane needed the pilot, but the pilot really needed the plane,” Davenport said.

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Davenport says he is a “true barnstormer,” because he travels from town to town to give plane rides, just like the barnstormers did in the early 20th century. He has given flights all over the Midwest from Pennsylvania to Indiana to Virginia.

This is more than a plane ride for Davenport. He is passionate about the history of the planes and the people who flew them. He is also eager to share the flying experience with others.

Davenport flies customers in a red D25 New Standard airplane made in 1930. There are only seven of these planes in the world, including the one Davenport owns in Greene County.

He also flies passengers in an orange 1929 Travel Air 4000 plane, which he calls “Ace.” Ace was the plane Davenport started his business with.

Davenport started his business in 2013. He was flying weapons as government contractor and had several deployments to Iraq as a civilian. He got laid off in 2013 and started “barnstorming” full-time. About a year later he was brought back at his other job and now flies a private jet when he isn’t barnstorming.

“I had Ace (his 1929 plane) and Ace took care of me,” Davenport said of his time barnstorming full-time.

Dewey Davenport stands near one of his 1930s vintage biplanes in his hanger near Jamestown. .Davenport says he is a “true barnstormer,” because he travels from town to town to give plane rides, just like the barnstormers did in the early 20th century.   JIM NOELKER/STAFF
Caption
Dewey Davenport stands near one of his 1930s vintage biplanes in his hanger near Jamestown. .Davenport says he is a “true barnstormer,” because he travels from town to town to give plane rides, just like the barnstormers did in the early 20th century. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

Davenport offers 15 minute and 30 minute rides. He does offer longer rides, but said a half hour ride allows customers to see plenty of things. In town, he will fly customers over Xenia, Yellow Springs and Cedarville. He has also flown his biplane over Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, down the runway and then over the Air Force Museum.

There are only a handful of other people in the world who do exactly what Davenport does, he said.

Davenport also founded an air show in Springfield called the Barnstorming Carnival. This year is the festival’s seventh year. Davenport offers biplane rides and there are clowns, games, a magic show and more at the festival. It will be held July 17 through 18 at the Springfield Beckley Airport.

At events like these, Davenport said he can give up to two hundred 15-minute rides in the span of two days.

“I have wanted to do this since I was a kid. I told my parents I wanted to own a grass runway and have a biplane to give rides,” Davenport said.

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Davenport said he played with model airplanes growing up. When he was old enough to drive he started working at the airport. He said the emotions of others when they get to experience an open-air flight is what fuels his passion for Goodfolk and O’Tymes.

“Every person I fly I have some connection with in someway. I’m usually shaking their hand or taking a picture with them, so it’s a very personalized service that I offer,” Davenport said. “I want to make sure it’s something that someone can remember. You give them smiles and give them memories, and that’s really what makes it a business. I’ve had people cry out of joy. They just hug you and kiss you. I have people send me gifts for my birthday, for Christmas.”