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Helmut Schmidt, Published August 09 2013

Brothers rebuild aerobatics biplane to enjoy 'real flying'

VALLEY CITY, N.D. – Jarrod and Paul Lindemann have sewn, painted and tuned up a tie to their family’s past they hope will take them into an extreme flying future.

The brothers, owners of North Valley Aircraft, spent last winter rebuilding a Pitts Special S-2B stunt flying plane from the nose of the propeller cap to the back of the rudder.

Pitts Specials are small, tough, biplanes that are a favorite of airshow pilots for their ability to climb, dip, dart, corkscrew and otherwise dance around the sky.

Paul, 35, and Jarrod, 32, spent about 1,000 hours checking the engine and other components of the S-2B, painstakingly attaching new fabric to the wooden spars of the wings with thousands of hand-tied knots, and repainting the plane from its original dark blue to a jaunty green and white check and stripe pattern.

“Full restoration. Just everything,” Paul said.

The green and white color scheme is a tribute to their father, Dan Lindemann, and uncle Larry Lindemann, who built the first Pitts S-2E (E for experimental, not factory built) from a kit in the late 1970s, the brothers said.

Paul and Jarrod are now the fourth generation of Lindemanns to take up flying as a business. Three crop-dusters take up two-thirds of their hanger at Barnes County Municipal Airport.

Like their father and uncle, Jarrod and Paul were bitten by the aerobatics bug and have been flying at air shows for a year.

Jarrod said aerobatic flying is physically and mentally demanding.

“It’s more hands-on, manipulating the aircraft,” he said, taking the machine beyond the envelope of typical flying.

“You have to be able to fly the aircraft out of control, then know how to bring it back into control. To feel the aircraft. … It’s real flying,” Jarrod said.

Paul said the aerobatics become instinctual.

“It’s just a blast,” Paul said. “It’s a sport. You’ve got to be a little different to fly aerobatics. … You never stop learning. It never gets old.”

While Paul flies the S-2B, his brother flies a black S-2C with silver and red stripes.

The planes have identical Lycoming AEIO 540 engines, power plants built especially for aerobatics, Jarrod said.

They had hoped to fly in the Fargo AirSho this summer, but federal sequestration budget cuts canceled all appearances by the Navy’s Blue Angels – the show’s major draw – and organizers called off the event.

The Lindemanns’ next performance is 3 p.m. Aug. 17 at the JakeStar Festival near LaMoure.

Meanwhile, when the crop dusting and air show season ends, the brothers and their shop mechanic have a couple of projects in the wings.

A bright yellow, single-seat Pitts S-2S, minus its wings and sporting a bent propeller, is parked on the side of the hanger, awaiting repairs this winter

The S-2S had a bad landing and the brothers picked it up in Missouri.

They also bought an open cockpit Stearman biplane that once flew in the Red Baron Stearman Squadron.

The bright red plane, with its white stripes and pizza company logos, sits in parts around the shop, waiting for its rebuild and return to the sky.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583