Dogs and biplanes, then and now


The main difference between dogs and airplanes is that there have been plenty of bad airplanes. I'm not sure any dog has ever been born bad.

Back in 1926, the WACO biplane company used this photograph to advertise its newest airplane. Ninety years ago, that was just about the slickest machine in the air. As a former barnstormer, I love biplanes, but of course I love dogs more, which is why I love this picture. That little white dog looks like a miniaturized Orville. It looks from the way he's leaning like someone is telling him to, "Staaay - staaay - staaaay..," and he doesn't like it one bit.

Back when I was flying rides in an open cockpit biplane over Los Angeles, I also used a WACO. By the time I bought it, the airplane had been used up. It was held together with wire hangers, plumbing fittings from Home Depot and garden hose. It had been wrecked many times, and even drowned once in the Atlantic. It took four months of backbreaking labor just to get it ready for a one-day flight on which it never quite developed the horsepower to climb out of the treetops all the way from New Hampshire to Michigan. Roo got to meet it. Dogs with biplanes, then and now.