Photos of Ranger Airfield’s 1966 Cessna 150F by Jack Fleetwood (

By Laurie Einstein Koszuta

Jared Calvert was only 5 years old when he took his first plane ride in a Cessna 175 around Ranger Airfield (F23) in Ranger, Texas. It was all he needed to become so enamored with avia­tion that it became his lifelong passion, mission, and occupation. As he grew into adulthood, Jared became his family’s first pilot and, lat­er, an A&P. Now he also holds commercial and instrument ratings.

When he was 19, Jared purchased a Pitts S-2A, an aero­batic biplane project. Although he intended to fully restore it, he never got it to fly and eventually sold it, replacing it with a Piper Cub as a restoration project. Since then, he has owned at least a half-dozen planes, including his favorite, a 1927 Travel Air 4000, dubbed “Old Sport,” which he has owned since 2015.

Although Jared spends much of his time restoring vintage aircraft, he’s also a freelance ferry pilot. A notable ferry job he was involved with was relocating four biplanes from four different locations all the way to Florida for Paramount Pic­tures. They were to be used in the upcoming movie Mission Impossible 8.

Back in the hangar sits several current restoration projects that include the Travel Air 4000, Travel Air 2000, Geebee Model C, Fairchild 22C-7B, a 1937 Taylor-Young A, a Piper J3C “Cub,” a Great Lakes 2T-1A-2, and a Mooney Mite M-18C. There is also a 1918 Curtiss Jenny that Jared is restoring.

The Legacy of Ranger Airfield

Ranger Airfield — located less than two miles south of Rang­er and about 86 miles from Fort Worth — dates to 1911 when its first plane landed there. Piloting the plane was Robert Fowler in a Wright B biplane. In 1928, the city decided an airport was needed and called it Ranger Airfield. The field can boast that Amelia Earhart, the aviation icon, landed her Pitcairn Autogiro there in June 1931. Even with that storied history, the airfield was never modernized and exists today as it did in the 1920s with grass runways, and no fuel, lights, or telephone. Even the aging hangar, built in 1928, still stands but needs significant up­dating. The only renovation that has occurred is a 60- by 90-foot hangar with a shower, kitchen, and shop built at the airfield in 2019, using donated funds and mostly volunteer labor. The pub­licly owned property remains in good condition because of the Calverts’ monumental efforts and those of countless volunteers. “I grew up in Ranger and spent a lot of time at the airport hang­ing out with dedicated people who voluntarily maintained the airport and kept it going.”

For many years, the airport did not see a lot of activity and was largely ignored by the city. “I realized at an early age that the town of Ranger couldn’t afford to preserve the airfield and ensure its survival,” Jared said. “One of my goals was to use the field to introduce aviation to underprivileged kids in the com­munity and teach them how to fly. I was 21 then and decided that if I was going to save it, I needed a foundation to do it. That is when the Ranger Airfield Foundation (RAF), a 501c3 non­profit organization, was formed.”

Jared took on the massive project by enlisting volunteers, in­cluding his father, to help with significant tasks such as keeping the runways mowed, working on fencing, tractor maintenance, insurance, and finding funding for the operating expenses.

He also found two pilots, Robert Ellis, and C.K. Lee, who shared his vision and agreed to be directors of the founda­tion. “Jared wanted to maintain the originality of the airfield,” Ellis said, “and honor the vintage airplanes of that era. That is what attracted me to want to help.”

Jared’s passion for the airfield has always been great, and in­stinctively he knew that funding and public awareness of its existence were desperately needed. He sprang into action and organized the Old School Fly-in and Airshow, an annual fly-in event in Texas hosted by the RAF.

“I started the Old School Fly-In when I was 21 and had 55 air­craft attend that first year,” Jared noted. “Sixteen years later, the yearly event has grown to over 250 aircraft. Pilots come from all over the country to talk aviation, camp, socialize, eat, and watch the vintage planes in the airshows.”

The event is free for pilots flying in, and $15 for those who drive in for the day. Further fundraising has always been neces­sary since the city allocates no funding for the airfield. To help, Jared began offering biplane rides in his Travel Air 4000 for a nominal fee at the Fly-In. Before taking the plane out of service for restoration recently, he had given 3,500 people a chance to experience the thrill of the ride and to raise funds.

The Backstory of “Bluebonnet”

After years of organizing the event, Jared decided in 2018 that he wanted to add a fun element to the fundraising effort by raf­fling off a donated or RAF-purchased vintage airplane. The 2023 Aircraft Giveaway is the sixth plane to be raffled, and features N8391G, a 1966 Cessna 150F, affectionately dubbed “Bluebon­net.” Three thousand raffle tickets will be sold, and the winner will be announced in December 2023. For non-pilots or those who don’t have current licenses who win the raffle, a Ranger volunteer will deliver the plane to any airport within the con­tiguous 48 states.

According to Jared, N8391G has gone from time-builder to time-builder. Most recently, the 150F was owned by a young man in his early 20s who was building time for his airline career. After joining a regional airline, he decided it was time to sell, and RAF was fortunate enough to acquire it.

“It is a great airplane,” Jared said, “and it flies straight and true and is surprisingly fast for its 100 horsepower Continental O-200 engine. It is rigged really well. I recently overtook a 150 horsepower Super Cruiser and thought about how great it was to fly over 100 mph on five gallons an hour. My old 1962 150B model fastback might have been a few miles per hour slower than this one, which should be the opposite!”

The 150F has typical upgrades such as chrome cylinders, Slick magnetos, a McCauley Kliptip cruise Met-L-Prop, and a Tem­pest oil filter conversion kit installed by previous owners. The avionics, which include the Garmin GTR 225 comm, a King KT 76 transponder, Garmin GMA 342 audio, and the ADS-B Out, were also upgraded by others. The plane was new in 1966 and, at the time, models had a microphone to talk. However, the N8391G was outfitted with a push-to-talk feature on both sides. The interior of the plane is the original style.

Why the 150 Is a Winner

Jared considers the Cessna 150 a workhorse. “Whether you only own it for a season or a decade, I’ve never heard anyone say they regretted buying their 150. I have heard people say they regretted selling it. These are just nice airplanes. I’m 6-foot, 4-inches, which, in my opinion, is at the height limit for comfort in the plane. Years ago, I flew my mom from Texas to Yellow­stone in my old 1962 B model. It was a little tight, but it was still fun and economical.

Passing the Torch

“Many people have contributed to my flying career, and it’s on me to give back and help others. Aviation is a family that I want to help strengthen and bring more people into. I like operating this antique airfield where people can come and see old aircraft and old engines, tractors, and cars. We even have a Model T in the hangar.

“There is a real connection to ancient aviation here at Ranger Airfield, and we have a growing appreciation for the mission and future of RAF and kids and aviation,” said Lee, one of the two RAF directors. “If kids want to own and fly an old airplane, they will need parts and maintenance support. We don’t want all these planes to end up in a museum, as it’s much more exciting to see them fly.”

Visit to learn about RAF’s mission and “Bluebonnet,” the Cessna 150F that will be raffled off in the Christmas drawing.

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