Plane rides, museum tours, book signing planned at airport


The public will have the opportunity to enjoy views of Seymour from the air during Freeman Army Airfield Museum’s seventh annual Airplane Ride Day.

The event, set for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, will give adults, children and families a chance to ride in planes with pilots who will fly them over the city.

A tax-deductible donation of $25 per person will be accepted with proceeds benefiting the museum. The airplane rides will be across the street from the museum, 1035 A Ave., at the big white tent.

The event began in 2016 and has been held every year since, except 2020 during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Airplane Ride Day is popular with children, and the pilots can even help them locate their house from the air during the flight, said museum curator and volunteer Larry Bothe.

“There will be 11 experienced pilots among eight planes for rides,” he said. “Also, most of the planes have four seats, so pilots can only take three passengers at a time.”

Bothe said waivers from each passenger are required to be signed before every ride. Those under 18 must have a parent or guardian sign for them. Reservations are not necessary.

The weight limit for any one passenger is about 250 pounds, and the combined weight of the three passengers cannot exceed 450 pounds.

“There will also be 24 ground volunteers helping because you also have to maintain safety on the ground, not just safety in the air,” Bothe said. “Passengers will be escorted to and from the planes for added safety by volunteers called loaders.”

The Seymour Fire Department will be sending out a firetruck to have onsite along with a couple of firefighters who also are emergency medical technicians in case someone should need emergency help.

Airplanes and military vehicles also will be on display, and food and drinks from Sno Biz Seymour will be available for purchase.

Attendees will be able to ride in the Robinson Aerobatic 500 horsepower Steamin Stearman biplane for an additional fee. Last year, the prices were $120 for a mild ride and $150 for a wild ride. One person at a time can participate in this plane ride.

An added attraction this year is the Louisville Soaring Club will have a glider on the lawn behind the big white tent with a representative there to talk about it. Information will be available on the difference between gliding and soaring, learning to fly gliders and how to join the club.

Also new this year will be a book signing by World War II historian and author Ron May, whose latest book, “World War II Indiana Landmarks,” was released May 1. One of the chapters is on Freeman Army Airfield. Signed copies will be available for purchase at the museum’s main building in the map room during Airplane Ride Day.

May is the author of four published books, and “World War II Indiana Landmarks” explores Indiana’s great contribution to the war by highlighting the military bases, memorials, monuments and museums throughout the state as well as sharing the stories of those connected to those places who served in combat theaters and at home.

May said this is his fourth book on Indiana World War II veterans.

“My first book focused on places in Indiana that have World War II significance as a former base/airfield or a contemporary memorial, monument or museum,” he said.

May said he wanted to include the former sites of major bases and airfields throughout the state in his new book.

“Freeman Field made a significant contribution to the war effort by training pilots to fly multiple-engine aircraft,” he said. “I had a very positive experience visiting the museum on two different occasions.”

May said Bothe was very helpful in responding to his questions and sharing information with him as he researched and wrote the chapter on Freeman Army Airfield.

“World War II Indiana history comes alive in south central Indiana at the Freeman Army Airfield Museum,” May said. “I encourage the public to come and discover the legacy of the airfield and those who once trained there for combat theater missions in Europe on multi-engine planes.”

The author is a native of Erie, Pennsylvania, and lives with his wife, Glenda, in Carmel.

On Saturday, the public may tour the museum’s two buildings for free. Exhibits include items from when Freeman Army Airfield was an active military base during World War II.

Bothe said there have been a few changes and updates at the museum, including a gift shop in the main lobby where there used to be a display of Capt. Richard Freeman.

“The Freeman display has been moved to another room in the museum, and we’ve put a new gift shop up front,” he said. “We have T-shirts, caps, thermal tumblers, mugs, die-cast Hot Wings aircraft and little snap-together runways that are pretty neat.”

He said the gift shop items are now more visible for visitors to browse when they come into the museum.

“There are also pictures of aircraft for sale, which we’ve always had, but they were placed up higher on the wall,” he said. “Now, they are easier for people to see up close.”

Information about Freeman Army Airfield and the museum can be found online at

If you go

What: Freeman Army Airfield Museum’s Airplane Ride Day

When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday

Where: Airplane rides will be across the street from the Freeman Army Airfield Museum, 1035 A Ave., Seymour, at the big white tent

Cost: Airplane rides for a $25 tax-deductible donation per person; an additional fee is required for the aerobatic biplane ride; food and drinks will be available for purchase

Free activities: Tours of the Freeman Army Airfield Museum and a display of gliders, airplanes and military vehicles

Book signing: World War II historian and author Ron May will have his book, “World War II Indiana Landmarks,” available for purchase and will be signing them in the museum’s main building

Information: Larry Bothe at 812-521-7400

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