I'm sorry, but I really didn't like this. An unconvincing love story, a dreadful guest actress and a thoroughly disjointed production had me twitching for the fast forward button.
I'll begin with a few positives. The vintage biplane is good, and I'm glad they made the obvious link to 'The Air Mail Man' from Season Two. Both David Harper and Richard Thomas are on form this week, and as for the pilot... well, I'll come to him later.
I'll admit I'm not a huge fan of 'John-boy meets love interest' episodes, but this one is particularly bad. It's not just the hammy guest actress: the direction and production are also to blame, with the mood and music changing literally from one shot to the next. The editing, and I'm being generous in calling it that, is a total mess, with several scenes cut short and dialogue seeming to come out of nowhere. When John-boy first kisses Bobby in the shed, there's clearly a build-up scene missing. My guess is that they filmed it and left it on the cutting room floor.
The aerial stunts are good fun, though the wire holding the stuntwoman to the plane is cringingly obvious. They also use the same footage for two different flights, with the result that John-boy appears in the passenger seat while also watching the flight from the ground. Little things, I know, but poor for a show as popular as this.
To give the rest of the cast something to do, Maude Gormley gives the family her pet goat. Again, something seems to be missing here. When the children go off to the fair, they make a huge fuss that the goat is missing, yet we don't see anything of the search. At the end, it's simply back on the doorstep.
Anyhow, back to that pilot. When I first saw him, I thought, "he doesn't half look like Tom Bower" (who will later play the part of Curt Willard). And lo and behold, when I reached the end credits, that's exactly who it was. Get in!