FAQ - Old Dominion Biplanes
Our Frequently Asked Questions regarding our scenic biplane rides in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, and The Historic Triangle.
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FAQ

Is it safe?

Aviation, like most things in life, is not without risk.  However, with that in mind, we do everything possible at Old Dominion Biplanes to minimize risk.  I wouldn’t let my daughters fly in Woody if I wasn’t confident in their safety.

While our airplane was originally manufactured in 1933, he has been rebuilt as a virtually new airplane and is kept in top shape by Epix Aviation.  Additionally, all passengers are provided with cloth headset helmets and goggles.  While we are almost always within gliding distance of land, we do carry inflatable life preservers for all passengers, should the need arise.

How many people can you carry?

Woody is FAA certified to carry two passengers plus a pilot.  It should be noted that 1930s biplane seating is somewhat tight.  Our experience is that a combined weight of approximately 300-320 pounds is a good factor in determining if two passengers will fit.

Is it cold up there? What should I wear?

Compared to other open cockpit biplanes, the Waco UBF-2 is much less ‘drafty’ and we can comfortably fly at lower temperatures than other biplanes like the famous Stearman.  In the Spring/Fall, a light jacket is usually appropriate.  In the summer months (temperatures above 80 degree F), you will most likely be comfortable in a short sleeve shirt, although you may wish to bring a light jacket just in case.

What should I bring? Can I bring a camera?

Definitely bring your camera.  We want you to have lasting memories of your experience with us!  We do ask that you use a wrist strap to prevent losing the camera to the wind.  Camera phones are fine, but please be careful holding the phone in the wind.  Old Dominion Biplanes is not responsible for items lost to the wind.  Aside from a camera, you may wish to bring a light jacket.  We will provide you with a cloth helmet/headset and goggles.

How far in advance do I need to schedule?

We prefer to schedule at least a day in advance, but the earlier you schedule, the easier it is to fit you in.  Since Andrew has other professional commitments, scheduling a week or more in advance helps to make sure we can fit your flight in.

When should I arrive at the airport?

We ask that you arrive at least 15 minutes prior to your scheduled flight.  That provides sufficient time for the pre-flight briefing and boarding the aircraft.

When do you fly (what time of year)?

Here in coastal Virginia, we actually fly year-round.  The ideal time for a flight is Spring / Summer / Fall, but occasionally the weather is warm enough in December and February / March to make a flight.  If the temperature is above 50 degree F on the ground, we will be happy to take you on a flight.

Can children ride?

Yes, children are welcome to ride.  Our youngest passenger was age 4.  Ideally younger children are best paired with an adult or older sibling.   In an emergency, passengers must be able to exit the airplane on their own or with help from another passenger.  Since different children have varying levels of responsibility, contact us to discuss whether you feel your child is safe to ride alone.

What if there is bad weather?

Your safety and enjoyment are the primary areas of focus for Old Dominion Biplanes.  Thunderstorms, high winds and low clouds can create safety concerns.  If the weather is bad enough to make safety a concern, then you probably wouldn’t enjoy the ride anyway.  Preferred weather is wind less than 15 knots (17 mph) and clouds at least 2000 feet.  We will not fly passengers if the wind is above 20 knots (23 mph).  If it looks like weather will be an issue, we will contact you to reschedule.

Should I tip the pilot?

Gratuity is neither expected nor required.  If you have a particularly enjoyable experience and wish to tip your pilot, it will be graciously accepted, but please do not feel that you must.

Do you do aerobatics?

No, Woody is much happier leisurely wandering around the countryside while folks enjoy the view.  If an aerobatic flight is what you seek, we can put you in contact with an operator who specializes in aerobatic flights.

Can I fly the airplane?

For typical sightseeing operations, Woody does not have flight controls  in the front seat.  If you really wish to experience the opportunity to handle the controls and fly Woody during your ride, we can (with advance coordination) have the controls re-installed.  There is an additional fee ($100) to cover the labor cost of  re-installing/removing the controls.  Call us if you would like to arrange this.  Please note that passengers are not permitted to takeoff or land the airplane.

Where are you located?

We operate primarily from our base with Epix Aviation at the Chesapeake Regional Airport.

(2802 Airport Dr Suite 1, Chesapeake, VA 23323)

Passengers are requested to park in the main (larger) airport lot as Epix Aviation parking is very limited.

For Williamsburg flights, we operate in front of Charly’s Airport Restaurant at the Williamsburg-Jamestown Airport.

(100 Marclay Dr, Williamsburg, VA 23185)