Website of the Antique Airplane Association and the Airpower Museum Last Update: Jun 21 2019

Runway Cinema 2010 Movie Schedule

Runway Cinema is proud to show movies about early aviation and barnstorming for 2010. Movies start at dark in the museum hangar, approximately 8:30 PM.

Wednesday: Pancho Barnes (1988)

A made for TV movie in which Valerie Bertinelli portrays the legendary female pilot Florence "Pancho" Barnes - pioneer aviator, barnstormer, movie stunt pilot, world record setter, founder of the Motion Picture Pilots Association, charter member of the Ninety-Nines, air racer, and the owner of the Happy Bottom Riding Club. Fine portrayal of one of the more interesting of the women in aviation history.

Pancho Barnes, Short Bio 1901-1975

Born in 1901 to a wealthy family in Pasadena, California, Florence was raised to become a society lady. However an adventurous streak had always been present in her family, and the young Florence learned eagerly learned hunting, fishing, and camping skills from her father. She is even known to have gone horseback riding with the young George S. Patton. Another inspiration was her grandfather, Prof. Thadeous Lowe, who had pioneered American aviation with the establishment of the U.S. Army Balloon Corps during the Civil War. Her mother's fears about her wild tendencies and tomboy attitude led to a 1919 arranged marriage to Reverend C. Rankin Barnes of Pasadena, with whom she had a son.

The peaceful life of a clergyman's wife was not for Florence however. After her mother's death in 1924 and subsequently inheriting the family fortune, in early 1928 she returned to her flamboyant and headstrong ways. She abandoned her family, disguised herself as a man, and stowed away on a freighter bound for Mexico. It was during this time in 1928, while roaming the land on a donkey, that Florence.s male companion began referring to her as "Pancho", a nickname that stayed with her the rest of her life.

Pancho returned to California in the spring of 1928. While driving her cousin Dean Banks to flying lessons, she decided immediately to learn to fly. She soloed after just six hours of formal instruction. True to her flamboyant devil-may-care spirit, she forthwith began "buzzing" her husband's Sunday morning congregation for the fun of it.

Her passion for aviation took off, and she enjoyed 7 years of fame and notoriety as one of the best female pilots in the country. The high life treated Pancho well, but her poor money management during the Great Depression and disputes with her family were quickly draining her small fortune. By 1935 Pancho had only her apartment in Hollywood left. She sold this in March 1935 and bought 80 acres of land in the Mojave Desert near the Rogers dry lake bed and the adjacent Muroc Field (eventually knows as Edwards Air Force Base). On her land Pancho built the Happy Bottom Riding Club, a dude rand and restaurant which catered to airmen at the nearby airfield. Pancho became very close friends with many of the early test pilots, including Chuck Yeager, Jimmy Doolittle, Bob Hoover, and countless others. Pancho's ranch became famous for the parties and high-flying lifestyle of all the guests.

However, a change of command in 1952 contributed to her getting into a conflict with the U.S. Air Force, and Pancho was evicted from the base after a suspicious fire burned her ranch to the ground in 1953. Pancho filed a law suit against the United States Air Force for having been evicted from her property on Edwards AFB. Her main contention of defense was: "My grandfather founded the United States Air Force." On that argument the court found in her favor and reinstated her property with $375,000 remuneration. Pancho once again became a commonplace figure at the base and was referred to as the "Mother of Edwards AFB". The officer's mess at Edwards was eventually renamed the Pancho Barnes Room.

In later life Pancho endured some very difficult years. She survived two cancer operations. Pancho Barnes passed away in Boron, California in 1975. Another of California's aviation pioneers, General Jimmy Doolittle, eulogized his good friend at her memorial:

"Ladies and Gentlemen, we have recently lost a true friend . . . In a few words, she put great store by courage, honor and integrity. She despised dishonesty and cowardice . . . She was outspoken, and she said exactly what she thought and believed. You know, I can just see her up there at this very minute. In her own inimitable way, with a wry smile, she is probably remarking to some old and dear friend who preceded her, 'I wondered what the little old bald-headed bastard (referring to himself) is going to say.'"

Thursday: Lafayette Escadrille (1958)

While trying to steal a car in New York city, young Thad Walker seriously injures a child on a bicycle. After being beaten by his father after the accident, Thad decides to take the next boat for France and to join in the French Foreign Legion. Instead he ends up in the Lafayette Escadrille, a group of young Americans flying for France in WWI.

The training scenes in this movie as especially appropriate for this year's AAA-APM Fly-In, as they feature predominantly Bleriot aircraft - just like the one here at the 2010 Fly-In! Back the movie .. when on leave in Paris, Thad gets acquainted with a young prostitute and falls in love with her. After a physical confrontation with one of his French flight instructors, Thad is arrested and locked in the base jail. That same evening, his comrades help him to escape, and Thad goes by foot to back to Paris to join his new lover.

While he is in Paris, his friends in the Lafayette Escadrille learn how to fly the various planes of the French Air Force and obtain their pilot's license. Eventually Thad cannot bear any more to remain locked up all day long in his lover's hotel room in fear of being arrested as deserter. Finally, one day, he dares to speak to an American General and explains his peculiar situation to him. The General agrees to give him a second chance, and soon Thad finishes his flight training and joins the aerial fight against the German Air Force.

Thad Walker ..... Tab Hunter
Rene Beaulieu ..... Etchika Choureau
George Moseley ..... Clint Eastwood (in one of his first movie roles)
U.S. General ..... Paul Fix

Friday Double Feature: Mission Dawn Patrol and Barnstorming

Mission Dawn Patrol

A new DVD documentary travel log covering the flight of three WW-I Fokker fighters belonging to the Vintage Aero Flying Museum on a 1,000 mile journey from Colorado to the U.S. Air Force Museum in Dayton Ohio. This feature length DVD was filmed by producer Art Annecharico and edited by Russ Wiltse.

By stopping at grass landing strips across the heartland of America, these modern day fly boys were the news-of-the-day for many towns along the route. Watch the outstanding adventure as the pilots shared the history of the aircraft, their construction and engineering, as well as the history and personalities of the WW-I Aces who flew these aircraft, all along the route.


Barnstorming is the true story of an unexpected friendship that developed between a farm family and two pilots who literally dropped out of the sky. Their friendship has created a new tradition out of an old one from long gone - Barnstorming. Barnstorming captures their annual gathering: the exhilaration of flight, the anticipation of the barnstormers. arrival, and celebration of the reunion. Shot in real time, and told in the participants' voices, the film immerses the viewer in the innocence of earlier times, the fleeting nature of childhood, and the joy of friendship. It is a testament to our ability to connect as human beings, no matter where we come from, or how we get there.

Saturday: Pearl, Official Pre-Release Screening

We are excited to announce that on Sat. Sepember 4th the APM Runway Cinema will present an official pre-release screening of a brand new aviation feature movie titled "PEARL". This family friendly historical drama is the story of Pearl Carter Scott. Befriended by Wiley Post, 12 year old Pearl catches the bug for flying and takes off on an adventure that leads her to become the youngest pilot in American aviation history.

Raised in the late 1920's in Marlow, Oklahoma, Pearl encountered her share of obstacles. This Chickasaw Indian girl rises above adversity, takes on responsibility and, with the guidance of her father, holds fast to her 'never give up' attitude. Beautifully filmed, impeccably portrayed, this new feature film is a welcoming breath of fresh air for audiences of all ages. The story of Pearl Carter Scott is one worth telling, as it is inspiring, heartfelt and true to the character of Pearl.

We are delighted to announce that part of the cast and crew of PEARL will be in attendance at the fly-in. We have also confirmed that three of the antique aircraft featured in the film will be on hand. They include Dave Mars's Curtiss Robin, Ted Davis's New Standard D-25 and Clay Adams's Travel Air.

Join us Saturday for an historic evening at the APM "Runway Cinema" for the screening of PEARL.