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Thread: Eric Presten and the Bleriot XI Replica

  1. #1
    Darrel Starr's Avatar
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    Jan 2003
    Plymouth, MN
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    Eric Presten and the Bleriot XI Replica

    I was driving across Anoka County Airport (North Side of the Twin Cities) this morning and ran across a van pulling a Bleriot XI Replica. It was Eric Presten, Photographer, IA, Pilot and Free Spirit fresh from the American Barnstormers Tour. This is the second time I have met this genuinely talented and nice person. The first encounter was a few years ago when he stopped at ANE on his way back to CA from Oshkosh in his 0-320 powered Piper Clipper on Amphibs - he said the judges complimented him on the authentic sheen of the blue paint on his Clipper and asked him about the formula -- he said he didn't know much about it as he had just bought several rattle cans at the local hardware store; even so they gave him an award. This time the encounter cost me $85 as he cheerfully sold me a copy of his book "Vintage Flyers II" through the driver's window of his van. If you get a chance, look him up at Broadhead, Oshkosh or Blakesburg. You will be rewarded by a conversation with a really neat guy and ... it will cost you $85.

  2. #2
    cubdriver2's Avatar
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    Apr 2003
    upstate NY
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    Eric's books are a great reference on vintage aviation and just a fun to look at picture catalog of most of the cool stuff that was flown before 1960, he also went to England and did alot of the work to assemble and fly the planes that were in the movie Flyboys, he is also called up when someone needs an early aeroplane flown or moved to a airshow like the Jenny he flew to Oshkosh a few years ago.


  3. #3
    Randy's Avatar
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    Feb 2002
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    Eric Presten and the Bleriot Replica

    I and two of my sons also had the privelege of meeting Eric Presten recently when the American Barnstormers tour came to my town.
    He was dismantling the Bleriot replica, readying it to continue its journey to the next stop on their tour, Bismarck, ND.
    I also will repeat Darrel's and Cubdriver 2's interesting and nice guy.
    Although he was busy with dismantling the Bleriot, we still managed to have a great conversation. I offered to help him, but he declined..instead insisting that my 16 year old son and a couple other youngsters do it instead.
    Something I'm sure they won't soon forget.
    He's a great enthusiast for aviation, definitely someone you should meet.
    Yes...He cost me $85, too..and it is a must-have book for pilots

    If the American Barnstormers tour comes your way is something you won't want to miss.


  4. #4
    WWhunter's Avatar
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    Aug 2003
    Laporte, Minnesota and the white sandy beaches of NW Florida
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    My family and I went to the tour this past werekend while it was making its stop in Alexandria, MN. I expressly wanted to see the Berloit. Unfortunately it was either hangared or wasn't able to make it there. All the rest of the old planes were there and I had a great time looking at them and seeing them fly. As others have said...if you get a chance to see them it is worth the time to see these old "flying machines' in the air.

  5. #5
    RobL's Avatar
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    Mar 2008
    Leicester, UK
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    That replica took him (and his wife Debbie & sons Ben & Curtis) 26 days to build, from scratch.

    That's quite an achievement, even with their collective knowledge & experience.

  6. #6
    Fascinating machine. Here's a great video from a Swedish replica builder/pilot. It's absolutely captivating.

  7. #7
    375handh's Avatar
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    Feb 2004
    Santa Rosa, CA
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    Eric's home base is Sonoma Skypark - 0Q9, located in Sonoma, California. When I first started getting my private there in a ratty, old J3, Eric and his two very small, at the time, sons were always there. Now he and his sons, Ben and Curtis (a bit older), are still always there. Every Saturday, and I mean every Saturday, the Sonoma Skypark chapter of the EAA has a hamburger fly in. For $4 you can get a great hamburger with a soft drink and all the fixins. Eric is always there, always willing to show you neat old stuff. He is an incredible pilot of old stuff that really shouldn't fly, friendly as the day is long and always willing to sell you one of his books. An incredible ambassador for all of aviation.
    Ineptocracy - A system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

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