The term “barnstorming” can be used to refer to two different activities. Barnstorming may refer to the execution of dangerous biplan aviation stunts, which was popular in the 1920s. The term may also refer to the process of sports teams traveling to different places and participating in exhibition competitions.
The modern aeronautical acrobatics are only the shadow of what used to be the barnnaggio during its glorious days of the 1920s, also known as the “roaring Twenties”. It is interesting to note that barnstorming did not begin as a dangerous acrobatic show, but as a simple means of civil aviation. The Wright brothers, known for the construction and flight of the world’s first aircraft, often organized show flights that were humble forerunners of barnstorming. In the 1920s, the US government had so many Curtiss Jenny biplanes in the wake of World War I and eliminated many at a disposable price. Hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of Americans have purchased these biplanes, with many of the buyers having previous flight experiences.
Origin of the term
During that time, aviation laws were quite relaxed, and pilots would take flights between cities and give the locals a short flight. With time, an attempt to attract customers, the pilots began to outdo each other by doing stunts as they flew. The simple original acrobatics gradually turned into acrobatics that defied death, including free falls, and the dangerous sport was born. The origin of the term “barnstorming” has produced numerous theories. The widely accepted theory states that these pilots often flew to a city, landing on a large farm where they would ask the farmer permission to use the field as a track to perform stunts. Barnstorming has become a national sensation, attracting fans from all walks of life. It is interesting to note that even African-Americans were the protagonists of these barnstorming events at a time when racism was rampant in the United States. Some barnstorming teams have grown in number and were known as “flying circuses” with dozens of stuntmen and multiple biplanes.
Barnstorming aviation decline
Barnstorming would become a phenomenal phenomenon on a national scale and would even spread to other countries. However, the early 20th century was not known for aviation safety and many accidents were experienced during barnstorming and this diminished the popularity of the stunts. Even the biplanes Jenny who had become synonymous with barnstorming became difficult to find, with the existing fleet suffering from mechanical problems attributed to age. Furthermore, the US aviation industry had grown by leaps and bounds, and the US government had established aviation laws that discouraged the execution of dangerous stunts. All these factors led to the decline of barnstorming and, at the end of the 20th century, there were only a few barnstormers.
Barnstorming in reference to sport
The world of sport also has its barnstorming version in which sportsmen compete in sports competitions hosted in different places, which is seen with teams that have no official bases. During barnstorming, athletes do not just participate in a single sport and can practice different sports in different places, which means that a team can participate in a baseball competition in city A and then participate in a basketball game in the city B.