I once lived very close to the airport, and the 2-story house had a flat roof. Sometimes when there were air shows, I dragged a folding chair up on the roof. Occasionally, the patterns of planes would go right over me. Once, as I looked south toward the airport, I heard a tremendous roar from behind. I turned my head just as a TriMotor directly over me. It looked to be no more than 50 feet above me and really seemed to be moving about 20 mph - but I'm sure that both of those estimates were wrong. At-any-rate, during practices for the show and then for the show the next day, that plane flew over me in my chair about 5 or 6 times. There is no roar like the roar of those three Wright radials right over your head. What a rush. This was probably about 40 years ago, and I can close my eyes and see it still! 😊
Also, a key detail I omitted. The TriMotor at the EAA show is owned by the museum and operated regularly. So it is available for flights every single year, and available to view in the museum when not being flown at this show or others. It is one of (I believe) 8 airworthy ones left in the world, so truly a limited opportunity adventure. You can look it up online at the EAA website, it is C/N:69, tail # N8407, and is a 4-AT-E model from 1929. It tours the US on a pretty regular basis, so may be at a show near you in the future if one doesn't want to come to WI.
Anytime flying in that area - fire and smoke or not - can be pucker inducing! Your dad must have had some really great stories of his time in the back country in those days.
My wife had an aunt who specialized in coming in late, dressed to the nines, to anything (even carrying out the trash, I think). Her famous line was, "Any entrance you can make where people will notice and remember you is a success". You, sir, and your Maule, with this "arrival" was an obvious success! 😃