by Steena Hymes
Guest attending The Great Georgia Air Show this weekend probably won’t consider a biplane to be the star of the show. They will probably be even more surprised to hear what sounds like a fighter jet coming from that biplane, but that’s exactly what air show enthusiast will get when the Screamin’ Sasquatch makes it Georgia debut at The Great Georgia Air Show.
When John Klatts Airshows got a hold of 1929 Taperwing, Mechanic Dell Coller spent a year custom building the plane to accommodate state-of-the-art technology while keeping the vintage design.
Coller spent 12 months, starting January 2013, building and modifying the plane with the sole purpose of taking it to air shows. The most startling of these modifications is the installation of a CJ610 jet engine like those used on commercial or corporate aircrafts.
“Everything is designed for strength and for speed, and designed around the jet,” Coller said.
Coller said what is unique about the plane is its thrust ratio of greater than 1:1, which means the plane can accelerate going straight up.
Unlike most planes, the Screamin’ Sasquatch can climb vertically, stop, and hover and then, with more power, can continue to shoot straight up even higher.
“It wants to go fast and it wants to go high,” Coller said.
The plane’s jet engine has 3,000 pounds of thrust and with both engines it has 4,500 pounds of thrust.
Pilot of the Screamin’ Sasquatch, Jeff Boerboon, said this plane is unlike any other plane he has piloted before.
With its CJ610 engine, the plane can get speeds up to 250 mph and perform stunts such as snap rolls, spins, barrel roll,s and, Boerboon’s favorite, the hover.
“You take a jet engine like that and then you put it on a 1929 biplane and now you have something that’s unlike anything else out there,” Boerboon said. “It’s really something that impresses me every time.”
Boerboon has piloted the Screamin’ Sasquatch since its first flight in January 2014 and taken it around North America watching as it surprises and amazes air show fanatics.
He said crowd reactions are fun to watch as the biplane tricks people into thinking it’s not as powerful as other air show planes. Boerboon joked that a biplane is usually an indication to hit the concession stands, but, once people hear the sound of a jet engine coming from the plane, they immediately sit back down.
“It’s kind of fun to see the crowd looking for a jet not realizing it’s the biplane,” he said.
Boerboon said the Screamin’ Sasquatch is unique to any other plane, and referred to its routine as “cartoon aerobatics.”
“I’ve flown a lot of air shows and a lot of airplanes and never have I had a crowd response flying any other kind of airplane that you do with this airplane,” he said. “It’s just that unique.”
When looking for a sponsor for the plane, John Klatt Airshows Director of Operations, Tim Jarvis, said Jack Link’s was a perfect fit as their motto is “Feed Your Wild Side.” As a play-on to Jack Link’s signature beef jerky, The Screamin’ Sasquatch team joke that the plane is essentially a “beefed up” biplane.