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Dewey Davenport

Modern-day barnstormer

By the time Dewey Davenport had flown 10 contract missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, he’d had enough. And when a dear friend was killed, Davenport went home. That was January 2014. “I’d had it. I quit my job; mentally I just couldn’t do it anymore,” he said.
Photography by Edwin Remsberg
Photography by Edwin Remsberg

Home is Jamestown, Ohio, a farming community about 25 miles from Dayton. “We have two red lights now,” he quipped. Davenport was raised in the small town. His family was one of five Black families in the area. His father was a pipefitter and his mom worked various jobs, encouraging their three children to pursue their dreams. Davenport’s “big dream” he says was to fly biplanes. While he was overseas, friends sent him books that kept that dream alive. “Nothing By Chance by Richard Bach is almost a business plan for a barnstormer,” Davenport said. “And ‘Upside-down’ Pangborn: King of the Barnstormers and Chewing Gum, Baling Wire, and Guts: The Story of the Gates Flying Circus influenced me. I just wanted to go and be free.” So, when spring came in 2014, Davenport flew every place he could get to. “Like The Great Waldo Pepper, I never wanted my feet on the ground.”

He has a farm in Jamestown with a grass strip and hangar where he keeps his 1947 Aeronca Champ, 1929 Travel Air 4000, and 1930 New Standard D–25. His “day job” is a first officer for NetJets and his flexible schedule allows him to barnstorm from late April until October “meeting America” throughout the middle of the country. He nicknamed his Travel Air Ace and calls the New Standard Full House because he can share his love of flying with a family of four. His calls his business Goodfolk & O’Tymes Biplane Rides.

“There are very few of us true barnstormers,” he said. “Less than 10 of us, I think, and my success is because I use social media. I remember everyone I have flown and keep photos of everyone. I’ve flown thousands of people and I love them all.”

[email protected]
Twitter: @deweydavenport2
Instagram: @deweydavenport

Julie Walker

Julie Summers Walker

AOPA Senior Features Editor
AOPA Senior Features Editor Julie Summers Walker joined AOPA in 1998. She is a student pilot still working toward her solo.

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