This review is based on my own experience.
From mid-June to mid-October, every weekend people flock to the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome to experience some early 1900’s entertainment but at a modern day admission price.
Air show admission is $20 for each adult. For that price, you’ll see an air show where about three or four early 1900’s planes fly above your heads and a whole bunch of others try really hard too.
The airfield at the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome is lined with hand painted signs and old fashioned buildings housing a concession stand, gift shop, model plane museum and some of the oldest air planes in the country.
Seating is provided on the grass field of the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome air strip for the hundreds of people in attendance in the form of gray, weathered boards laid out on crumbling cement blocks. It’s safe to say your admission money is not being used to upgrade audience comfort at the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome. (Indeed, many of the elderly spectators were standing in an attempt to save their stiff backsides by the end of the show).
To add to the aura of the olden days, women & girls are encouraged to try on some period clothing reproductions, after which they are asked to model this clothing in a fashion show. Volunteers then escort these ladies in several rusty old Model T cars up and down the air strip while the planes are preparing to take off.
Everything was slower in the pioneering days of early aircraft and the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome reminds you of this throughout their approximately 2 hour air show. The audience is transfixed by toilet paper suspended in the air as these old air planes circle around it. At the Saturday show I attended, the floating balloons proved to be too speedy for the planes tricky maneuvers, however.
The real treat at the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome, was the shiny acrobatics of the Barnstormer plane. The announcer said that the daredevil pilots of these old planes flew tricks above farming villages to entice the community to buy a ticket for a ride. After seeing this part of the show, you couldn’t help but feel respect for these pilots and even consider one of the $65, 15-minute, open air bi-plane rides offered at the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome. Of course, by that time, all the ride tickets were sold out. (So if a ride up in the old plane entices you, buy your ticket early).
Some other cool aeronautics at the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome include a flying lawnmower and being able to examine planes; constructed out of everything from bamboo rods and canvas with wicker seats and bicycle tires; take to the air (even if it’s just several feet off the ground)!
Restoring and fueling the ancient aircraft at the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome really must be quite a feat but one worthy of the cost of admission, even after the air show I still must wonder about that one. My stiff joints were greatly relieved by the hike up to the musty buildings where more old aircraft were on display.
The dusty garages house the oldest and rarest air craft at the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome. Viewing these dinosaurs does make you appreciate the time and work that went into building them in the first place and then what it takes to restore them.