Barnstorming was a popular form of entertainment in the 1920s in which stunt pilots would perform tricks with airplanes, either individually or in groups called a flying circus. Barnstorming was the first major form of civil aviation in the history of flight.


Initial growth

The Wright brothers and Glenn Curtiss had early flying exhibition teams, but barnstorming did not become a formal phenomenon until the 1920s. During the first World War, the United States had manufactured a significant number of Curtiss JN-4s (called "Jennys") to train its military aviators and almost every U.S. airman had learned to fly using the plane. After the war the U.S. federal government sold off the surplus materiel, including the "Jennys", for a fraction of its initial value (the $5,000 purchase price of a "Jenny" could be reduced to as low as $200). This permitted many of the servicemen, who were already familiar with the JN-4's, to purchase their own planes. Combined with the lack of Federal Aviation Regulations at the time, these factors allowed barnstorming to flourish during the postwar era.

Regulation and decline

Initially thriving in North America during the first half of the 1920s, by 1927 competition between acts demanded more and more dangerous tricks and a rash of highly publicized accidents forced the implementation of new safety regulations that resulted in the demise of barnstorming. Spurred by a perceived need to protect the public and in response to political pressure by local pilots upset at barnstormers stealing their customers, the federal government enacted several laws to begin regulating fledgling civil aviation. The laws included safety standards and specifications that were nearly impossible for barnstormers meet, and restrictions how low certain tricks could be performed at (making it harder for spectators to see what was happening). The military also stopped selling "Jennys" in the late 1920s, which combined with the regulations made it too difficult for barnstormers to continue to make a living.

Contemporary barnstorming

Some modern pilots flying vintage aircraft continue the barnstorming tradition and offer open cockpit biplane rides to the public from a handful of airports around the country.

Typical performances

Most barnstorming shows started with a pilot, or team of pilots flying over a small rural town to attract the attention of the local inhabitants. They would then land at a local farm (hence the name "barnstorming") and negotiate with the farmer for the use of one of his fields as a temporary runway from which to stage an air show and offer airplane rides to customers. After obtaining a base of operation, the pilot or group of aviators would "buzz" the village dropping handbills offering airplane rides for a small fee and advertise the daring feats that would be performed. Crowds would follow the planes to the field, purchase rides and watch the show. In some towns the appearance of a barnstormer or an aerial troop would lead to almost everything in the town shutting down as people attended the show.Fact|date=September 2008

Barnstormers would perform a variety of stunts, with some specializing as stunt pilots or arealists. Stunt pilots performed a variety of aerobatic maneuvers, including spins, dives, loop-the-loops and barrel rolls while aerialists would perform feats of wing walking, stunt parachuting, midair plane transfers or even playing tennis, target shooting or dancing while on the plane's wings.

Flying circuses

Although barnstormers often worked in solitude or in very small teams, some also put together large "flying circuses" with several planes and stunt people. These acts employed promoters to book shows in towns ahead of time. They were the largest and most organized of all of the barnstorming acts.

Notable barnstormers

* Jimmy Angel
* Hubert Julian
* Clyde Edward Pangborn
* Charles Lindbergh
* Roscoe Turner
* Bessie Coleman
* Pancho Barnes
* Wiley Post

In popular culture

* Many of Richard Bach's novels feature a modern barnstormer as a protagonist or other elements of barnstorming
* In 1982 Activision produced a "Barnstorming" game cartridge for the Atari 2600
* In 1982, Philip Jose Farmer's book A Barnstormer in Oz featured Hank Stover, a barnstorming pilot.
* In "RollerCoaster Tycoon 2", a roller coaster type titled "Barnstorming Roller Coaster" is available when the "Time Twister" expansion pack is installed. The coaster cars of this coaster type are replica biplanes.


*"Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines" (1965) – comedy
*"The Great Waldo Pepper" (1975)
*"Nothing by Chance" (1975) – a documentary produced and narrated by Hugh Downs about the biplanes that barnstormed across America during the 1920s

ee also

*Historic Aircraft Restoration Museum



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См. также в других словарях:

  • Barnstorming — Разработчик Activision Издатель Acti …   Википедия

  • barnstorming — ► ADJECTIVE ▪ flamboyantly vigorous and effective …   English terms dictionary

  • barnstorming — [[t]bɑ͟ː(r)nstɔː(r)mɪŋ[/t]] ADJ: ADJ n (approval) A barnstorming performance is full of energy and very exciting to watch. [BRIT] ...a fabulous version of the classic play, with a barnstorming performance from Gerard Depardieu …   English dictionary

  • barnstorming — barn|storm|ing [ˈba:nˌsto:mıŋ US ˈba:rnˌsto:r ] adj [only before noun] done with a lot of energy and very exciting to watch ▪ a barnstorming speech …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • barnstorming — barn|storm|ing [ barn,stɔrmıŋ ] adjective only before noun done with impressive energy, skill, and enthusiasm: In a barnstorming end to the season, Valencia scored a brilliant victory …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • barnstorming — UK [ˈbɑː(r)nˌstɔː(r)mɪŋ] / US [ˈbɑrnˌstɔrmɪŋ] adjective [only before noun] done with impressive energy, skill, and enthusiasm In a barnstorming end to the season, Valencia scored a brilliant victory …   English dictionary

  • Barnstorming — Barnstormer Barn storm er, n. [Barn + storm, v.] 1. An itinerant theatrical player who plays in barns when a theatre is lacking; hence, an inferior actor, or one who plays in the country away from the larger cities. {Barn storm ing}, n.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • barnstorming — adjective highly theatrical (used especially of a performance) …   Wiktionary

  • barnstorming — v. visit rural towns …   English contemporary dictionary

  • barnstorming — adjective flamboyantly vigorous and effective …   English new terms dictionary

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