EAA AirVenture Oshkosh - The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration

 for Sun, Aug 3, 2008

Index of all articles from
EAA AirVenture Today


Photo Gallery
EAA Radio

EAA AirVenture Today

EAA AirVenture Today is published by the Experimental Aircraft Association for EAA AirVenture from July 27 - August 3. It is distributed free on the convention grounds as well as other locations in Oshkosh and surrounding communities. Stories and photos are copyrighted 2008 by EAA AirVenture Today and EAA. Reproduction by any means is prohibited without written consent.


Advertising information

The official daily newspaper of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh

Volume 9, Number 8 August 3, 2008     

And now there are two blue Stardusters
By Randy Dufault

Twenty years after Dave Baxter finished his Starduster Too, son Dan finished his matching version of the popular aerobatic biplane, and they brought their biplane tag-team to EAA AirVenture 2008. Photo by Dave Higdon

It is not all that unusual to see two identically painted airplanes of the same type at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. Chapter members often work on projects at the same time, and similar paint jobs sometimes are part of the mix.

But a close inspection of the propeller cards on Dan and Dave Baxterís nearly identical, blue Starduster Toos reveals that Daveís biplane is 18 years the senior of son Danís virtually new mount.

To Dan, who spent a great deal of time in his fatherís plane and knew the Starduster Too type well, there was not any question as to what type of airplane he would build when he finally had the means and had the time to do so.

"Iíve always loved the airplane since the first time I ever saw one," Dan said. "Like a good-looking gal it has curves in all the right places. It has what I kind of call airplane sex appeal."

"Thereís faster airplanes; thereís ones that land slower and do all sorts of other stuff," he added. "But I havenít found too many that I thought were more attractive. The Starduster Too just has some indefinable appeal. [Lou] Stolp, the guy who designed it, took a lot of features from a lot of other aircraft and put them into the right package, at the right proportions."

Dan completed his airplane on June 12, 2007. He didnít make the trip to AirVenture last year because he didnít have enough time on it.

A possibly more interesting fact than the limited time on the airplane last year was that Dan did not have a pilot certificate, something he intended to work on once he completed the building project. Dan has his certificate now, though he did take a somewhat unusual training path to get it; he did virtually all of his training in the brand new biplane, including his first solo and, on June 28 this year, his private pilot checkride.

With only 60 or so hours in his logbook, he launched in a two-plane formation with his dad for the 20-hour trip to Oshkosh from their respective homes in Oregon. Dan makes his home in Lake Oswego and Dave makes his in St. Helenís.

There are a few differences between the two planes. Daveís is equipped with a four-cylinder Lycoming engine, while Danís has a much larger IO-540 six-cylinder mill. With the larger engine Danís mount is capable of aerobatics from level flight, while Daveís requires a dive to build up the necessary airspeed.

When it came time to paint the new plane there was no question that the ship would sport the colors of its family partner.

"A lot of people said youíre lacking originality or creativity," Dan said. "Iíve always liked the paint job on [Daveís] airplane, and Iíve always liked the paint job on the original [Starduster]. There are differences, but this paint job certainly is very strongly influenced by the original."

When asked why he chose the Starduster Too as a homebuilt project, Dave Baxter shared a very special connection with the design.

"I lived right around the corner from Flabob airport," Dave said. Flabob Airport in Riverside, California, is where Stolp built the original Starduster Too, and the home of EAA Chapter 1.

Stolp hired Dave on as a welder.

"I used to have to push [the original Starduster Too] in and out of the hangar every morning just to go to work," Dave reminisced.

Daveís plane is not his first homebuilt project. Prior to this airplane he completed a Marquart MA-4 Lancer single-place biplane.

After being completed in 1989, Daveís airplane now has nearly 2,200 hours on the airframe, and likely is the highest time Starduster Too still flying. This is its eighth visit to EAA AirVenture. A map of the United States in Daveís office documents the travels he and the airplane have taken over its 19-year life.

According to Dan, Dave is considered "Mr. Starduster" by many and is a recognized world expert on the type. He maintains a history of the design and is aware of 650 examples that have been completed. Dave estimated around 500 are still flying. His advice is also sought by builders everywhere, along with his services as a check airman.

The two have had a lot of fun with the nearly identical craft. Controllers have questioned the tail numbers, and FBO workers, used to seeing Daveís plane, wondered how, when Dave taxied up in Danís plane, the familiar bird got so shiny.

The two plan to visit a few more west coast fly-in events yet this year and are considering a cross-country trek to Sun ín Fun in the spring.

FUTURE AIRVENTURE DATES: 2014: July 28-Aug. 3; 2015: July 20-26; 2016: July 25-31; 2017: July 24-30
Copyright © 2014 EAA, Inc.
All content, logos, pictures, and videos are the property of the EAA, Inc.
EAA Aviation Center, 3000 Poberezny Road, Oshkosh, WI 54902
If you have any comments or questions contact webmaster@eaa.org.
Disclaimer/Privacy Policy