The most spectacular views of Key West may just be found soaring above with Key West Biplanes in one of their vintage aircraft.
We are waiting for the rain to subside inside the hangar of Key West Biplanes at Key West International Airport, gazing at the collection of planes including the Cabanas Aerobatics Pitts S2-C, a couple of cars, posters from air shows across the U.S., a cute red toy plane “Air Knight” and a mammoth flag presiding over the whole scene.
Operated by Susan Cabañas since 1987, the company takes passengers on vintage aircraft rides. Clad in Amelia Earhart style aviator goggles, cap and earphones, we use a step ladder to board the two passenger 1942 Waco bi-plane once used for cargo. We’re told not to touch the pedals and then we hear the control tower and within seconds Key West is beneath us.
It’s so easy to be weightless and airborne and our 15 minute ride passes by quickly. Les, our pilot, points out Duval Street and Mallory square. The greater part of the view though is sea. Near the shoreline, green keys dot the sea, and pelicans fly below, while the engine drones and the propellers turn.
Within minutes, the sight from the open cockpit is nothing but differing shades of blue sometimes dark with coral. It is then another stunning world as Les guides the plane to make a few dips and turns.
This article originally appeared in the Winter 2014/15 issue of City Style and Living Magazine.